With a little over five weeks of fan voting remaining for the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl, 16 Dallas Cowboys rank in the Top 10 in their respective position groups in the latest Pro Bowl fan voting, according to data from the NFL.
Of those 16 Cowboys, DeMarco Murray, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin rank in first place at their respective positions, and Dan Bailey is ranked second at his. We reported on those five yesterday, so they shouldn't come as a surprise, but some of the others in the top ten at their respective positions might:
- The second leading vote-getter for the Cowboys behind DeMarco Murray is Dez Bryant, but his 166,673 votes rank him "only" fourth among all wide receivers behind Antonio Brown (200,230), Demaryius Thomas (182,922), and Jordy Nelson (179,912).
- Quarterback Tony Romo ranks only 7th among all QBs, trailing Ben Roethlisberger but ahead of Russell Wilson.
- Even fullback Tyler Clutts gets a Pro Bowl nod, coming in 6th overall among all fullbacks.
- Rolando McClain comes in 3rd overall and has a good chance of making the Pro Bowl, provided he stays healthy. The next best defender is Henry Melton, whose chances will likely incresease proportionally to the number of sacks he records over the next six games.
- And hats off to Jeff Heath: recognized as the fourth best special teams guy.
Other Cowboys players recognized in the early Pro Bowl vote are Doug Free, Ronald Leary, Barry Church, Jason Witten, and Dwayne Harris. Here's the full table of all 16 Cowboys.
|COWBOYS PRO BOWL VOTING LEADERS|
|Jeff Heath||Sp. Teams
There's a good chance the entire Cowboys O-line could make the Pro Bowl.
88 players will eventually be eligible for the Pro Bowl draft that will be conducted during the week leading up to the game on January 25, 2015. Those 88 spots will be split as follows:
8 spots: WR, CB
6 spots: QB, RB, OT, OG, DE, DT, OLB, S
4 Spots: TE, OC, ILB
2 Spots: FB, P, K, Return Specialist, Long Snapper, Special teamer.
That means that a player like Ronald Leary, who ranks fifth among all guards, would make the Pro Bowl - if the coaches and players vote the same was as the fans do. If that were the case, and the rankings above hold until all votes are tallied, all five Cowboys offensive linemen would make the Pro Bowl.
A record Pro Bowl haul for the Cowboys?
Additionally, more players will be added to the Pro Bowl roster either as injury replacements or as replacements for Super Bowl-bound players, so a player could still make the Pro Bowl if he is ranked fifth or sixth, even though his position may only officially have four spots available.
Going strictly by the available spots and the current ranking in the fan vote, nine Cowboys would make the Pro Bowl: DeMarco Murray, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, Dan Bailey, Rolando McClain, Dez Bryan, Doug Free, and Ronald Leary.
If we allow for injury replacements and Super Bowl-subs, that list could extend to include Jeff Heatch, Barry Church, Tony Romo and perhaps Henry Melton.
There a remote chance the Cowboys could equal the 2007 franchise record of 13 Pro Bowlers this year, and a double-digit total may be in reach for only the sixth time in franchise history (2007: 13, 1993: 11, 1994: 11, 1995: 10, 1967: 10).
Cowboys have the second-most players in the top ten at each position
The fan vote may not be the most unbiased source of rankings imaginable, but it is part of the Pro Bowl voting process. As such, some players will be more popular than others, irrespective of their actual performance, just as some teams will naturally accrue more votes in their favor than others. Of the 190 players ranked in the top ten across the positions, here's the distribution by team:
|Team||No. of Players||Team||No. of Players|
|Green Bay Packers||19||Cleveland Browns||4|
|Dallas Cowboys||16||Houston Texans||4|
|Denver Broncos||15||New York Jets||4|
|New England Patriots||14||San Diego Chargers||4|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||12||Atlanta Falcons||3|
|Indianapolis Colts||11||Kansas City Chiefs||3|
|Seattle Seahawks||10||Miami Dolphins||3|
|Baltimore Ravens||9||New Orleans Saints||3|
|Philadelphia Eagles||7||Tennessee Titans||3|
|San Francisco 49ers||7||Washington Redskins||3|
|Detroit Lions||6||Cincinnati Bengals||2|
|Carolina Panthers||5||New York Giants||2|
|Minnesota Vikings||5||Oakland Raiders||2|
|Arizona Cardinals||4||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2|
|Buffalo Bills||4||Jacksonville Jaguars||0|
|Chicago Bears||4||St. Louis Rams||0|
To a degree, the ranking here correlates with the success - or absence of success - most teams are having this year. Notable exceptions are the 8-1 Cardinals, the 7-2 Lions, and the 7-2 Eagles, who have a lot less players in the top ten than their record would have you believe.
The Cowboys are positioned well in the fan vote, and if they continue their winning ways, the coaches and players might underline the fan sentiment. Until then you can make sure the fan vote continues to go the Cowboys' way: If you haven't yet voted for your favorite Cowboys players today, go to NFL.com and cast your vote. Multiple times. Every day.