AFC East: Shane Lechler

What AFC East players make the Pro Bowl?

December, 28, 2010
12/28/10
8:41
AM ET
The NFL will announce Pro Bowl rosters at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Here's a look at the most likely candidates from each AFC East club.

You'll notice a dearth of wide receivers. Before the season began, that looked like a loaded position within the division. They've been good, but none has the numbers worthy of Honolulu.

As a reminder, fans, coaches and players each count for one-third of the selection process.

Buffalo Bills

Legit candidates: None.

Outside shots: Receiver Steve Johnson, defensive tackle Kyle Williams.

Note: The Bills have a lot of players, Williams included, who are easy to root for because they were late-round draft choices or not drafted at all. But they weren't prolific enough to crack a Pro Bowl roster this season. Williams' 5.5 sacks are tied for sixth among all defensive tackles, but it will be tough to surpass Vince Wilfork, Haloti Ngata and Casey Hampton when the Bills rank dead last against the run. Williams could make it as an alternate. Johnson has impressive numbers, but his drops will cost him.

Miami Dolphins

Legit candidates: Offensive tackle Jake Long, outside linebacker Cameron Wake, kicker Dan Carpenter.

Outside shots: Inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, cornerback Vontae Davis, punter Brandon Fields.

Note: Long has been selected for the Pro Bowl each of his first two seasons. He has the reputation and is having a decent season while fighting through a shoulder injury. Wake leads the NFL with 14 sacks. Dansby has never been so much as an alternate before and didn't play like the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history. Fields likely won’t displace Shane Lechler, but might have garnered enough attention with his brilliant performance (56.4-yard average on 10 punts) to beat the Jets in Week 14. Carpenter went as an alternate last year and carried the Dolphins for a long stretch, but his four misses right before the players and coaches turned in their ballots will hurt.

New England Patriots

Legit candidates: Quarterback Tom Brady, receiver Wes Welker, nose tackle Vince Wilfork, inside linebacker Jerod Mayo, cornerback Devin McCourty.

Outside shots: Tight end Rob Gronkowski, guard Logan Mankins.

Note: Brady and Wilfork are locks. Mayo leads the NFL in tackles (unofficially). McCourty is having a fine rookie season and is tied for second with six interceptions. Quite a few receivers have had better seasons than Welker, but he has an established reputation and captured even more respect from players and coaches for his remarkable recovery from reconstructive knee surgery. Gronkowski also has been sensational in his first year. He's second to Antonio Gates and tied with Marcedes Lewis for touchdowns among tight ends. Mankins has been phenomenal, but didn't join the team until November.

New York Jets

Legit candidates: Center Nick Mangold, guard Brandon Moore, cornerback Darrelle Revis, special-teamer Brad Smith.

Outside shots: Tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, inside linebacker David Harris.

Note: Mangold and Revis are stars who automatically get voted for. They'll probably get selected again. Smith would be a newcomer. Smith is deserving as a return specialist with a 28.6-yard kickoff average. But will he beat out Jacoby Ford (three touchdowns) and Joshua Cribbs? Moore seems to gain increasing respect from opposing players and coaches every year, and with Mankins a difficult pick and Alan Faneca out of the AFC, maybe Moore makes it. Ferguson and Harris have been fantastic, but they're at tough positions. Ferguson went to the Pro Bowl last year as an alternate.

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