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December 16, 2005

Which Panthers will make Pro Bowl?

When it comes to talking about which Panthers should make the Pro Bowl, it's a lot like talking about the Panthers wide receivers.

There's Steve Smith. And there's everybody else.

The Pro Bowl rosters will be announced Wednesday and Smith is a lock to make the NFC squad. Heck, Smith might even be the league's Most Valuable Player. If he doesn't get a trip to Hawaii, Congress should put Paul Tagliabue in Mark McGwire's chair.

But after Smith, nothing is certain. The Panthers have one of the best records in the conference and that means they're likely to get a fair amount of Pro Bowl berths. But who else goes is anybody's guess.

Defensive end Julius Peppers went to the Pro Bowl last season. His 7.5 sacks don't put him among the league leaders, but he's made some spectacular plays and his name recognition is pretty high.

Defensive end Mike Rucker has the same amount of sacks as Peppers, but if any Carolina defensive lineman will make the all-star team it probably will be Peppers.

Cornerback Ken Lucas should be in the Pro Bowl. He was the best free agent signing in the entire NFL this year. He's already the best cornerback in franchise history and his presence has elevated Chris Gamble to No. 2, while making safeties Mike Minter and Marlon McCree better.

Linebacker Dan Morgan went to his first Pro Bowl last year and a return trip isn't out of the question. Chicago's Brian Urlacher probably will start in the middle, but Morgan's a worthy candidate for a backup job.

This may sound a little outrageous because his season has been very up and down. But quarterback Jake Delhomme is a legitimate Pro Bowl candidate. Seriously, name three NFC quarterbacks that are better and remember Donovan McNabb and Daunte Culpepper are injured and Brett Favre's not having a good year. Matt Hasselbeck and Michael Vick probably make the team ahead of Delhomme. But there's room for three quarterbacks and Drew Bledsoe and Mark Brunell are the only other viable options.

The Panthers moved Jordan Gross back to right tackle from the left side in hopes that he would be a Pro Bowl-type player. Maybe Gross hasn't been dominant, but he's been solid and that gives him an outside shot at making the roster.

If Lucas is the best free agent signing in the league, Mike Wahle ranks in the top five. Wahle doesn't play a glamour position, but it's hard to find a better guard. He was often overshadowed by former teammate Marco Rivera in Green Bay, but this could be Wahle's chance to finally get to the Pro Bowl.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 16, 2005 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

Comments

Give me a break - if you think anyone but Smitty will be a PB'er you are smoking the funny stuff Pat...more over if you think anyone deserves it besides Smitty...you might be clinically ill...although you might have a good point about Lucas...btw: has anyone been brave enough to ask Lucas if he would rather be back in Seattle this year - imagine how good they'd be if they had a good corner right now :)

This team is all over the board...up one week, down the next - we thought we had them figured out around week 9 or 10...but nope - I got no clue who this team is except for one special player. PB'ers play solid ALL year regardless of the crowd, weather, play calling, etc...and every time you turn around there is an excuse from this team about this or that...PB'ers dont make excuses - you'll never hear Smitty make excuses...

Posted by: Ritchie | Dec 17, 2005 8:31:34 AM

The bigger question is which Panther team will show up against the Saints.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 17, 2005 8:54:48 AM

I want my Delhomme Pro-Bowl jersey this year... Jake was passed over last year as well because the voting starts too early IMO - Jake easily had a pro-bowl year in 2004, unfortunately it didn't start until after Game 7.

Posted by: LJ | Dec 20, 2005 3:27:00 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

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