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Seven Cowboys Recognized In Early Pro Bowl Fan Vote

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NFL Pro Bowl balloting is underway, and the NFL announced the leading vote-getters for the 2015 Pro Bowl. Seven Dallas Cowboys rank in the Top 10 in their respective position groups.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Numbers released this week by the NFL show that Zack Martin is the top guard in fan voting, while Travis Frederick received the most votes of any Cowboys player, but only ranks fourth among all centers. Tyron Smith also shows up among the top ten vote getters at his position, ranked as the fifth tackle overall. Other Cowboys who make the top ten list at their position include Sean Lee, Jason Witten, La'el Collins, and Dan Bailey.

If you haven't voted for your favorite Cowboys players yet, go to NFL.com/ProBowl and cast your vote. Multiple times. Every day.

Balloting will conclude on Tuesday, December 15. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes shortly thereafter, and the Pro Bowl players will be announced on Tuesday, December 22. Players will later be assigned to teams through the Pro Bowl Draft during the week leading up to the game on January 31, 2015.

The Pro Bowl players are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. The NFL is the only sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players to determine its all-star teams. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 88 All-Star players who will be eligible for the Pro Bowl Draft.

Here's an overview of the Cowboys players, their accumulated votes and where they rank in their position group.

COWBOYS PRO BOWL VOTING LEADERS
Player Position Votes Pos. Rk.
Martin, Zack OG
28,158 1
Frederick, Travis OC
29,551 4
Smith, Tyron OT
26,480 5
Bailey, Dan K 12,351 5
Witten, Jason TE 18,677 7
Lee, Sean OLB 19,762 8
Collins, La'el OG 17,545 8

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 31, 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.

If Pro Bowl voting were to end today, and if the coaches and players were to vote the same way as the fans do, Martin, Frederick, and Smith would make the Pro Bowl, while Witten, Lee, Bailey, and Collins are currently two or three spots removed from a Pro Bowl spot.

In due course, additional 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.

Campared to last year though, this is a meagre showing for the Cowboys. Last year at this time, and sporting a fan-vote-friendly 7-3 record, the Cowboys had 16 (!!!) players ranked in the top 10 in their position groups, and DeMarco Murray, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin were ranked in first place at their respective positions, and Dan Bailey was ranked second at his.

Cowboys have the tenth-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
Carolina Panthers 18 Philadelphia Eagles 4
New England Patriots 16 New York Giants 4
Cincinnati Bengals 15 St. Louis Rams 3
Green Bay Packers 13 San Francisco 49ers 3
Seattle Seahawks 11 Pittsburgh Steelers 3
Denver Broncos 11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3
Oakland Raiders 10 Indianapolis Colts 3
Arizona Cardinals 10 Cleveland Browns 3
New York Jets 7 Buffalo Bills 3
Dallas Cowboys 7 Chicago Bears 3
Miami Dolphins 7 Houston Texans 3
Baltimore Ravens 6 Detroit Lions 2
Atlanta Falcons 5 San Diego Chargers 2
Kansas City Chiefs 5 Tennessee Titans 1
Minnesota Vikings 4 Jacksonville Jaguars 1
New Orleans Saints 4 Washington Redskins 0

To a degree, the ranking here correlates with the success - or absence of success - most teams are having this year. The Cowboys are one notable exception; despite ranking close to the bottom of the league in losses, they still rank in the top 10 in the table above. Also of note is the fact that the Cowboys, currently in last place in the NFC East, have almost as many top ten nominations as the other NFC East teams combined (Giants: 4, Eagles: 4, Redskins: 0).

What's your take on the fan vote so far, are there any obvious omissions, or does this feel about right?