2014 NFL Pro Bowl Draft: Team Grades

The 2014 Pro Bowl featured, for the first time in history, a draft, with team drafters being NFL Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders. It seemed like just a pathetic attempt at getting the public more interested in the NFL Pro Bowl again. To be completely honest though, it was great. The way we were able to see the players interact when being chosen, or not chosen for that matter was just fun. Now it is an honor for these guys to get selected to be a part of this game so to make it fun for them is equally as important as making it fun for us at home. But at the end of the day, both teams are here to win so I am here to break down who had the best Pro Bowl Draft by each position.

Each position for each team will get a letter grade. These grades will only range from A-D. No F’s, because no one is an “F” in the Pro Bowl, come on.

Pro Bowl 2

 

 

Team RiceCoach: Ron Rivera, Panthers

 

Quarterback

Drew Brees, Saints

Philip Rivers, Chargers

Alex Smith, Chiefs

Grade: C, Drew Brees is the best quarterback in the Pro Bowl, but Alex Smith was the very last player picked in the Pro Bowl draft. This group is a good balance.

 

Wide receivers

Josh Gordon, Browns

Alshon Jeffery, Bears

Brandon Marshall, Bears

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

Grade: A, this team has the perfect balance of receivers. The two biggest breakout players in Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffery mixed with two crafty veterans in Fitzgerald and Marshall.

 

Tight end

Jimmy Graham, Saints

Tony Gonzalez, Falcons

Grade: A, the greatest tight end in today’s game on the same team as the greatest tight end in the history of the game. This is a rare position group to say the very least.

 

Running back

LeSean McCoy, Eagles

DeMarco Murray, Cowboys

Matt Forte, Bears

Grade: B, LeSean McCoy was an elite running back this season and has proven to be one of the best backs into today’s game. Demarco Murray had a breakout year as well. Finally there is Matt Forte who is a tremendous combination of vision, quickness and catching ability.

 

Fullback

Mike Tolbert, Panthers

Grade: A, if you are still a major contributor at fullback in today’s NFL, you are an A.

 

Offensive tackle

Joe Thomas, Browns

Tyron Smith, Cowboys

Jordan Gross, Panthers

Grade: B, Joe Thomas has been one of the top offensive tackles since he entered the league; that reign continues. Tyron Smith was the brightest link on a weak 2013 Cowboy line.

 

Offensive guard

Jahri Evans, Saints

Ben Grubbs, Saints

Evan Mathis, Eagles

Grade: A, This position is a powerhouse for team Rice. Jahri Evans and Evan Mathis are the two best guards in the NFL.

 

Center

Ryan Kalil, Panthers

Nick Mangold, Jets

Grade: C, Unfortunately team Rice is unable to sweep the offensive line categories. Bright side, Nick Mangold is quite the veteran.

 

Defensive end

Robert Quinn, Rams

Cameron Jordan, Saints

Cameron Wake, Dolphins

Grade: A, Robert Quinn had a phenomenal season and has been in serious consideration for Defensive Player of the Year. The two Cameron Boys are a nice compliment to that as well.

 

Defensive tackle

Jason Hatcher, Cowboys

Marcell Dareus, Bills

Kyle Williams, Bills

Grade: C, A solid group all around, but this is not where the strength in the position is in Hawaii.

 

Outside linebacker

Justin Houston, Chiefs

Robert Mathis, Colts

John Abraham, Cardinals

Grade: B, Robert Mathis leads the NFL in sacks. He was forcefully traded to team Rice however which forces me to downgrade him just a nit for not actually selecting Mathis. Justin Houston keeps Rice up to a solid B though.

 

Inside linebacker

ILB Vontaze Burfict, Bengals

ILB Derrick Johnson, Chiefs

Grade: A, Burfict leads the NFL in tackles. D.J. was the best tackler on the best tackling front seven in all of football in 2013. Good drafting Jerry.

 

Cornerback

CB Joe Haden, Browns

CB Brandon Flowers, Chiefs

CB Antonio Cromartie, Jets

CB Alterraun Verner, Titans

Grade: C, Alterraun Verner was a pleasant surprise this season. He has really developed into something special. Joe Haden is a decent cover guy, but Brandon Flowers is the best pick out of this bunch. Antonio Cromartie did not have a Pro Bowl season to me.

 

Safety

S Eric Reid, 49ers

S Jairus Byrd, Bills

S Antrel Rolle, Giants

Grade: C, Antrel Rolle is still on the top of his game, a great veteran safety who deserves this spot. Jairus Byrd will be a sought after Free Agent this year, and Eric Reid is one of the best rookie Safeties I have seen in some time.

 

Special teams

ST, Justin Bethel, Cardinals

PR, Dexter McCluster, Chiefs

K, Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots

P, Johnny Hekker, Rams

LS, Matt Overton, Colts

Grade: A, I’m not sure if this group actually has A grade talent, but when Stephen Gostkowski proclaimed himself as “the best athlete here(in the Pro Bowl)” how could I argue?

 

OVERALL (Average) TEAM GRADE: B+

 

Team SandersCoach: Chuck Pagano, Colts

 

Quarterback

Andrew Luck, Colts

Cam Newton, Panthers

Nick Foles, Eagles

Grade: B, From the top to the bottom it is consistency of young leaders who had their biggest seasons in 2013.

 

Wide receivers

A.J. Green, Bengals

Dez Bryant, Cowboys

Antonio Brown, Steelers

DeSean Jackson, Eagles

Grade: B, This group is very top heavy with A.J. Green and Dez Bryant leading the way. Jackson and Bryant are big time playmakers and could be players to watch for some trick plays on Sunday.

 

Tight end

Jason Witten, Cowboys

Jordan Cameron, Browns

Grade: D, after looking at the last position group it is hard to rate this one close to it. Cameron and Witten both had great seasons but they were not complete seasons so this is not the strongest group on the team.

 

Running back

Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

Eddie Lacy, Packers

Alfred Morris, Redskins

Grade: B, Jamaal Charles was the best all-around offensive player in the NFL this year. Eddie Lacy, according to fellow rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, is the “Rookie of the Year”. Then you have Alfred Morris who was one of few bright spots back for the Redskins this season.

 

Fullback

Marcel Reece, Raiders

Grade: A, unfortunately, based on my previous explanation, neither full back can win this one.

 

Offensive tackle

Trent Williams, Redskins

Duane Brown, Texans

Branden Albert, Chiefs

Grade: C, Duane Brown is nothing short of great but the other two tackles are the two worse in the Pro Bowl. Do not get me wrong here though, nothing is wrong with being the worst tackle in the Pro Bowl.

 

Offensive guard

Marshal Yanda, Ravens

Logan Mankins, Patriots

Kyle Long, Bears

Grade: D, Mankins is very good and comes from an elite line system with the Patriots. Kyle Long is tough but I’m not sold on him as a Pro Bowler.

 

Center

Mike Pouncey, Dolphins

Alex Mack, Browns

Grade: B, Mike Pouncey is a part of an offensive line full of bad reps, but at least the guy can ball.

 

Defensive end

J.J. Watt, Texans

Greg Hardy, Panthers

Mario Williams, Bills

Grade: A, J.J. Watt is on this team. Need I say more? Greg Hardy was one of the best pass rushers in the NFL this season as well. Williams adds the perfect hint of veteran leadership.

 

Defensive tackle

Ndamukong Suh, Lions

Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers

Dontari Poe, Chiefs

Grade: A, THIS is where the strength in the position is. Ndamukong Suh is the leagues most feared player. Gerald McCoy had the best season of his career. Dear I bring up Dontari Poe? The heart of the Kansas City defensive line. This group is special.

 

Outside linebacker

Brian Orakpo, Redskins

Tamba Hali, Chiefs

Terrell Suggs, Ravens

Grade: C, Brian Orakpo has dealt with injuries and played for one of the worst defenses in the NFL this season. Oh well, welcome to the Pro Bowl.

 

Inside linebacker

ILB Luke Kuechly, Panthers

ILB Paul Posluszny, Jaguars

Grade: B, Luke Kuechly is a special young player in the NFL and is developing into one of the best players in this league. Posluszny is cool too, I guess.

 

Cornerback

CB Patrick Peterson, Cardinals

CB Darrelle Revis, Buccaneers

CB Brent Grimes, Dolphins

CB Tim Jennings, Bears

Grade: B, Patrick Peterson was born for Pro Bowls and will be fun to watch. Revis is still on his way back to his Island, but he is almost there. This group gets the nod mostly because they all deserve to be here.

 

Safety

S Eric Berry, Chiefs

S Eric Weddle, Chargers

S T.J. Ward, Browns

Grade: B, Eric Berry and Eric Weddle are two of the best safeties in the game and T.J. Brown has really made a name for himself as well.

 

Special teams

ST, Matthew Slater, Patriots

PR, Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings

K, Justin Tucker, Ravens

P, Brandon Fields, Dolphins

LS, J.J. Jansen, Panthers

Grade: A, Matthew Slater is one of the best special team contributors I have ever seen. This entire group is great.

 

 

 

OVERALL (Average) TEAM GRADE: B

 

 

After weighing it all out, it seems that Jerry Rice had the better draft between him and Deion Sanders. Team Sanders may appear stacked because of the bigger names, but do not be fooled, Team Rice went for balance. Not one category did Jerry Rice grade less than a C in. We will see who truly drafted the better team this Sunday. Let us just hope that Leon Sandcastle doesn’t try running any routes.

The 2014 NFL Pro Bowl is happening on Sunday, January 26th 7:30 PM ET at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Post By Jeremy Dawson (7 Posts)

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