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Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Where's AFC East in Pro Bowl balloting?


The NFL on Tuesday released the leading Pro Bowl candidates by position in each conference, but where do various AFC East players rank?

With a week of fan voting left, let's take a look at where AFC East players rank within the conference. The fan vote comprises one-third of the selection process. The coaches and players submit their choices next week. Pro Bowl rosters will be announced Dec. 29.

Quarterback

2. Tom Brady, Patriots (622,916)

Comment: He's the only AFC East player in the top 10 of overall voting. Brady has the fourth-most votes of any quarterback behind Drew Brees, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning.

Running back

None.

Comment: Ronnie Brown generated some votes early in the process, but now that he's done for the year, he has fallen out of the top five. I'm surprised Ricky Williams or Thomas Jones isn't on the list. Williams is 25 yards from another 1,000-yard season, and Jones is carrying the Jets' offense.

Fullback

3. Sammy Morris, Patriots (77,663)

5. Tony Richardson, Jets (70,183)

Comment: Ravens back Le'Ron McClain is way ahead with 160,915 votes.

Wide receiver

3. Randy Moss, Patriots (522,035)

5. Wes Welker, Patriots (313,641)

Comment: How in the world Welker isn't higher, I have no clue. The guy only leads the NFL in receptions, is second in yards and is incredibly fun to watch. Other than that, he offers nothing.

Tight end


None.

Comment: No AFC East tight end deserves to be in the top five.

Center

5. Dan Koppen (124,727)

Comment: Jets center Nick Mangold is elite, but he somehow doesn't rate among the fans. Colts center Jeff Saturday is winning a landslide with 448,406 votes.

Guard

1. Alan Faneca, Jets (232,097)

5. Logan Mankins, Patriots (104,836)

Comment: Faneca has gone to eight straight Pro Bowls and appears to be headed to another.

Tackle

1. Jake Long, Dolphins (214,924)

2. Matt Light, Patriots (152,749)

Comment: Long is comfortably ahead of the rest of the field. No sign of D'Brickashaw Ferguson despite Rex Ryan's declarations he and Long are the best in the NFL.

Defensive end

None.

Comment: Ex-Patriots star Richard Seymour is fourth with 127,258 votes, but Colts sackmaster Dwight Freeney won't be caught. Freeney has 416,693 votes so far.

Defensive tackle

1. Vince Wilfork, Patriots (221,195)

Comment: Wilfork is leading a tight race over Casey Hampton of the Steelers (about 5,500 votes separating).

Outside linebacker

5. Joey Porter, Dolphins (136,022)

Comment: James Harrison of the Steelers is in first place, well ahead of Broncos star Elvis Dumervil.

Inside linebacker

3. Jerod Mayo, Patriots (98,601)

Comment: Jets linebacker Bart Scott was in the top five but dropped out. Strange that only one member of the NFL's top-rated defense is in the top five at any position.

Cornerback

3. Darrelle Revis, Jets (188,824)

Comment: Revis might be having the best season of any cornerback, but Broncos veteran Champ Bailey is the people's choice with an insurmountable 344,646 votes. Former Patriot Asante Samuel leads the NFC with 258,751.

Strong safety

3. Brandon Meriweather, Patriots (71,986)

Comment: Steelers icon Troy Polamalu, what with all that hair and the Head & Shoulders commercials, is winning the popularity contest by a heavy-duty margin.

Free safety

None.

Comment: Bills rookie Jairus Byrd, with eight interceptions, isn't on the ballot because he wasn't a starter when it was compiled. Bills fans need to submit more write-in votes.

Kicker

2. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots (90,087)

Comment: Gostkowski is too far behind former Patriot Adam Vinatieri. The injured Colts kicker is leading the way with 143,299 votes.

Punter

5. Chris Hanson, Patriots (50,839)

Comment: Raiders punter Shane Lechler has twice as many votes as Hanson. The Bills' Brian Moorman, one of the NFL's top three or four punters, isn't in the AFC's top five.

Kick returner

4. Wes Welker, Patriots (76,324)

Comment: Darren Sproles has separated from Joshua Cribbs and Eddie Royal and has twice as many votes as Welker.

Special teamer

None.

Comment: Patriots receiver Sam Aiken was in the top five for a second or two, but has dropped out.