Voting proves Seahawks have 13 Pro Bowl-caliber players

Dec 21, 2016, 12:45 PM

The Seahawks' defense produced four Pro Bowlers, including Cliff Avril, and two alternates. (AP)...

The Seahawks' defense produced four Pro Bowlers, including Cliff Avril, and two alternates. (AP)


One of the interesting things about the Pro Bowl is how votes from NFL players, coaches and general managers has changed what used to be an event that only fans selected the players.

The NFL gives fans a chance to vote for a couple months, and those votes carry some weight in the Pro Bowl selection process as fans get a third of the vote. Players get another third, as do coaches and GMs together.

In the end, the Seahawks had four players selected to annual game: defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, linebacker Bobby Wagner and cornerback Richard Sherman. Eight other players were selected as alternates, and that doesn’t include Earl Thomas, who is on the injured reserved list. It’s safe to say the Seahawks have 13 Pro Bowl-caliber players based on this year’s voting.

Let’s take you through how the voting of the coaches and players altered the vote:

• In the fan vote, the Seahawks had six defensive players in the top five of the voting league-wide: Bennett, Avril, Wagner, K.J. Wright, Sherman and Kam Chancellor. Earl Thomas had been in the top five before going on injured reserve. On offense, the Seahawks had Jimmy Graham (tight end) and Tyler Lockett (returner) in the top five.

• Wright was fourth among linebackers in the fan vote with 181,444. He was behind Denver’s Von Miller, Dallas’ Sean Lee, Atlanta’s Vic Beasley and Buffalo’s Lorenzo Alexander. Beasley ended up being the starter after the coach-GM and player votes. Wright and Lee were jumped by Carolina’s Thomas Davis and Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan. The Davis selection had to come from players and coaches who respected his body of work during his career. Davis, who came into the league in 2005 and waited 11 years to make his first trip to the Pro Bowl, has now been selected in back-to-back years. Kerrigan was rewarded for his sack number (11). What is encouraging to Wright is the recognition of 4-3 linebackers. Beasley and Davis work in 4-3 defenses, while Kerrigan is in a 3-4. In past Pro Bowl votes, 3-4 linebackers with sacks dominated, so it’s good news for pure linebackers such as Wright and Davis that they aren’t being ignored.

• Chancellor was the fans’ top strong safety with 212,583 votes, while players and management went with Landon Collins of the New York Giants, who was third in the overall vote and second highest among fan votes in the NFC. Collins has had close to an MVP-caliber season with the Giants.

• Graham was second to only Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers with 448,200 fan votes. Graham was jumped by Jordan Reed of the Washington Redskins, who wasn’t in the top five among fans, in the player and management votes. Reed has 61 catches for 646 yards and five touchdowns. Graham has 59 catches for 818 yards, and he’s done that while coming off a ruptured patellar tendon. Incredible.

• Lockett was third in the fan vote as a returner with a 131,058, but the Minnesota Vikings’ Cordarelle Patterson ended up jumping Lockett and getting the Pro Bowl selection, leaving Lockett as an alternate.

• Finally, the big surprise was the immediate recognition by coaches and players of the play of Justin Britt at center. Britt getting Pro Bowl alternate mention bodes well for the future and shows he’s in line to be one of the top centers in football.

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