Posted Wed Oct 27th by Jon Heath
Your vote counts, so get to the polls!
Fan voting for the 2011 Pro Bowl has started on NFL.com! Voting for the NFL’s annual All-Star Game can be done online and on web-enabled mobile phones by going to NFL.com/ProBowl.
After last weeks embarrassing loss to Oakland, there’s been some grumbling in Bronco Nation that no Broncos deserve to make the Pro Bowl this year. On the contrary, there are in fact six players that do deserve your vote:
- Brandon Lloyd – Wide Receiver. This season Lloyd has been on fire, catching 14 passes of 20 plus yards and 6 of 40 plus yards, ranking him second in the NFL in receiving yards with 709. What’s even more amazing is he’s done all that off only 35 catches, giving him a 20.3 yards-per catch average. To put that in perspective, consider Miami’s Brandon Marshall, Atlanta’s Roddy White, and Indianapolis’ Reggie Wayne all have a 13.8 yards (or less) per catch average. Also of note, 91% of Lloyd’s catches this season have gone for first downs – a stat quarterbacks and coaches love.
- D.J. Williams – Inside Linebacker. A Pro Bowl reserve last year, Williams is the only player in the NFL to lead his team in both tackles (63) and sacks (3.5). Ranked 5th in the NFL in tackles and first among inside linebackers in sacks, Williams is on pace to finish the season with 144 tackles and 8.0 sacks, which would be his highest total since 2007, when he compiled 141 tackles and a sack. Adding to those impressive numbers, Williams also has deflected two passes and forced a fumble. One of the most underrated defensive players in the NFL today, every Denver Bronco would tell you D.J. truly deserves what would be his first Pro Bowl appearance.
- Matt Prater – Kicker. Through the first 7 weeks, Prater has gone 11-of-12 on field goal attempts, 15-of-15 on extra point attempts and only 16 of his 32 kickoffs have been returned – 14 were touchbacks. Prater is tied for 3rd in the NFL in touchbacks and owns the 5th best field goal percentage (92%). He’s not quite earned the title Mr. Clutch, but he’s ever so close. The guy has a rocket for a leg.
- Britton Colquitt – Punter. Owning the 3rd most punting yards in the NFL (1,674) and 4th best yards-per-punt average (46.5), Colquitt has proven invaluable for the Broncos in field position battles. With no blocked punts, a punt long of 63 yards, and a top-13 net punt avaerage (38.7), Colquitt is making a Pro Bowl push in just his first year of handling the punting duties.
- Brian Dawkins – Full Saftey. Before he came to Denver, it was well known that Dawkins was the “Heart and Soul” of the Eagles defense. In the two games the Broncos have played without Dawkins this year, it’s looked like the team’s heart and soul was utterly absent. While he has no real flashy stats, 27 tackles, 1 sack and an interception in five games played, Dawkins has been the Broncos leader on defense for the past two seasons and opposing teams are forced to game plan around him. At age 37, Dawkins is still playing with more heart, aggression and skill than most 27 year old safties in the NFL. If for nothing more than out of respect to what he’s acomplished during his 15-year career, Dawkins deserves your Pro Bowl vote.
- Champ Bailey – Cornerback. Much alike Dawkins, Bailey could make the Pro Bowl purely based on his name recognition and past heroics. The former Georgia Bulldog is nonetheless still one of the best cornerbacks in the game and proves that every week. What’s astonishing is the fact that not only are quarterbacks afraid to throw at Bailey, teams are also shying away from running to his side, as well. When coaches talk about the complete package, they’re talking about Champ Bailey. Dubbed one of (if not the) best tackling corner in the League, Bailey has 15 tackles, 7 passes deflected and one interception this season.
The 2011 Pro Bowl will be played a week before Super Bowl XLV and return to Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, the NFL announced ealier this year. The game will be televised live on Sunday, Jan. 30 on FOX at 7 p.m. ET.
As far as I’m concerned every Denver Bronco deserves our vote, it’s our way of showing our Bronco pride and showing our support for our players. So head over to NFL.com/ProBowl and vote!