If you weren’t paying attention yesterday, the NFL hosted it’s first annual Pro Bowl draft last night on NFL Network, allowing all-time greats, Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, to pick their own team from an un-conferenced group of top-tier players. To some, including myself, it seems as though the Pro Bowl committee has simply been “making it up as they go” with how the selection process is going to happen.
Yesterday, it was announced that there would be “Pro Bowl captains” for each team, purportedly the top offensive and defensive vote-getters from the AFC and NFC. Those happened to be J.J. Watt and Jamaal Charles for the AFC, and Drew Brees and Robert Quinn for the NFC. To start the day of festivities, Rice and Sanders engaged in a coin flip to determine who would get first choice of captains and who would get the “first pick” in the Draft. Rice would go on to win the toss, and opted to go with the top passing quarterback and the top pass rusher in Hawaii (i.e. Brees and Quinn).
Starting at 8PM ET, the actual Draft was scheduled to begin, but with another odd twist. Instead of an “open format,” like a typical fantasy draft, the teams would be forced to pick players on a position-by-position basis. On Day 1, the teams would select defensive tackles, guards, centers, punters, special teams players, fullbacks, and a “needs player,” which ended up being a long snapper for both teams. Here are those rosters:
- Jamaal Charles, running back, Kansas City Chiefs
- Marcel Reece, fullback, Oakland Raiders
- Marshal Yanda, guard, Baltimore Ravens
- Logan Mankins, guard, New England Patriots
- Kyle Long, guard, Chicago Bears
- Mike Pouncey, center, Miami Dolphins
- Alex Mack, center, Cleveland Browns
- J.J. Watt, defensive end, Houston Texans
- Ndamukon Suh, defensive tackle, Detroit Lions
- Gerald McCoy, defensive tackle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Dontari Poe, defensive tackle, Kansas City Chiefs
- Matthew Slater, special teams, New England Patriots
- Brandon Fields, punter, Miami Dolphins
- J.J. Jansen, long snapper, Carolina Panthers
- Drew Brees, quarterback, New Orleans Saints
- Mike Tolbert, fullback, Carolina Panthers
- Jahri Evans, guard, New Orleans Saints
- Ben Grubbs, guard, New Orleans Saints
- Evan Mathis, guard, Philadelphia Eagles
- Ryan Kalil, center, Carolina Panthers
- Nick Mangold, center, New York Jets
- Robert Quinn, defensive end, St. Louis Rams
- Jason Hatcher, defensive tackle, Dallas Cowboys
- Marcell Dareus, defensive tackle, Buffalo Bills
- Kyle Williams, defensive tackle, Buffalo Bills
- Justin Bethel, special teams, Arizona Cardinals
- Johnny Hekker, punter, St. Louis Rams
- Matt Overton, long snapper, Indianapolis Colts
As you can see, there was some obvious favoritism by the player captains in the selection process. Drew Brees managed to snag both of his (i.e. New Orleans Saints) guards, while Robert Quinn was about to get the only other Rams player in Hawaii, Johnny Hekker.
Tomorrow, the teams will start by picking the skill positions, then move over the defensive side of the football. Guess we’ll have to tune in to see how the teams turn out. Go #TeamRice!