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Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Where the AFC West stands in Pro Bowl voting

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

It extends a few more weeks, but early Pro Bowl voting is out. Fan voting accounts for a third of the final tally with players and coaches making up the other two-thirds.

The following is the positions where the AFC West is represented in the top five of voting:

Quarterback

2. Jay Cutler, Denver Broncos, 308,166 votes
4. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers, 258,681

My take: I wouldn't be surprised if both Cutler and Rivers advanced to the Pro Bowl. Both players are having big years.

Running back

2. LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers, 263,584

My take: Tomlinson is not having a very good year because of injuries. But this isn't a very good year for running backs in the AFC, so he has a chance.

Wide receiver

1. Brandon Marshall, Denver Broncos, 232,234

My take: I'm surprised Marshall is leading the voting. The third-year player is worthy of a spot but there are some big names that he has passed in the fan voting thus far.

Tight end

1. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers, 195,580
2. Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City Chiefs, 191,648

My take: If an AFC West tight end should be leading the fan voting, it should be Gonzalez. He is having a very solid season. Gates is getting it together in recent weeks after dealing with the effects of off-season toe surgery. Gates has a chance to be a Pro Bowl but he shouldn't be ahead of Gonzalez right now.

Center

5. Nick Hardwick, San Diego Chargers, 67,711

My take: Hardwick is a good player who is coming off an injury. The Chargers' offensive line isn't playing great in the run game and Hardwick could have difficulty making the Pro Bowl this season.

Cornerback

1. Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos, 153,765
3. Antonio Cromartie, San Diego Chargers, 104,958
4. Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland Raiders, 79,408

My take: Asomugha should be leading the conference in voting. If he doesn't make the Pro Bowl it would be a shame. Teams throw his way an average of once a game this season. Bailey has been injured for the past month, but I can see him getting in. He was having a fine season. Cromartie has been both hurt and ineffective.

Kicker

4. Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders, 43,606
5. Matt Prater, Denver Broncos, 41,103

My take: Neither AFC West kicker will likely make it. Both Janikowski and Prater are having decent seasons, though.

Punter

1. Shane Lechler, Oakland Raiders, 51,832

My take: Lechler routinely represents the Raiders in the Pro Bowl and it wouldn't be a shock if he makes it again.

Special teams

5. Kassim Osgood, San Diego Chargers, 38,573

My take: Osgood made the Pro Bowl last season. His best chance is to be voted in by the coaches and players.

Kick return

1. Darren Sproles, San Diego Chargers, 79,522

My take: Sproles is the real deal and he deserves to go to Hawaii but the Jets' Leon Washington will challenge him.