With the NFL season drawing to a close, that means it's close to the time of the year when the Pro Bowl rosters are announced. Last year, the NFL began an unconferenced Pro Bowl with a fantasy-style draft and they will continue that this year. Fan voting continues until Monday, December 15, while the players will then be announced a week later, on Tuesday, December 23. The specific teams will be selected during the week leading up to the game, which this year will be held on January 25 in Arizona, the site of the Super Bowl.
Last year the Colts had three players represent them in the Pro Bowl: quarterback Andrew Luck, outside linebacker Robert Mathis, and long snapper Matt Overton, as well as Chuck Pagano and the Colts' coaching staff coaching one of the teams during the game.
What about this year? With just a few days remaining in the fan voting, the NFL has released the current leaders at each position, and that includes some Colts. Let's take a look at those Colts who are in the top ten (or at some positions, the top five) at their respective positions. Most positions are composed of the top ten overall vote-getters, but center, fullback, free safety, strong safety, punter, kicker, and special teams are the positions that are only listed as the top five.
Andrew Luck, # 4 Quarterback - Luck isn't just the fourth leading vote-getter among quarterbacks, he's also the fourth leading vote-getter among all players. He's behind just Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady, and it seems very likely that Luck will be heading back to the Pro Bowl for the third time in three years. He deserves it, too, as he's on pace to top 5,000 passing yards and 44 touchdowns.
T.Y. Hilton, # 5 Wide Receiver - Luck's top target, T.Y. Hilton is also having a Pro Bowl worthy season. He is on pace for 96 catches, 1,594 yards, and 9 touchdowns on the season, as he's the top receiver on the league's top passing offense and has emerged into the discussion of top receivers in the league this year. He has yet to go to the Pro Bowl, but he's incredibly deserving this year.
Dwayne Allen, # 9 Tight End - Allen doesn't get as much recognition because he's not putting up the stats of a Rob Gronkowski, but Allen is a huge part of the Colts' offense and in fact he does have seven touchdown catches, tied with Hilton for the team lead. He's one of the best all-around tight ends in the league, and while he has a bit of catch-up to do in the voting in order to actually make the roster, he's in the top ten in the voting at his position.
D'Qwell Jackson, # 6 Inside Linebacker - Yes, you read that correctly. D'Qwell Jackson is in the top ten at his position. Statistically, I can see it. He's seventh in the league and leads the Colts with 110 tackles, he has 4 sacks, has forced a fumble and recovered three as well as returned a fumble for a touchdown. He's started every game for Indy, and certainly the statical resume looks good - as does the name recognition. On the field, though? In actuality he's not had a very good season. It's really hard to judge a 3-4 inside linebacker just off of tackles, seeing as they're always right in the middle of things. Jackson doesn't deserve to be this high in the voting, and it shows once again that many people vote off of stats and not actually watching the players play.
Mike Adams, # 5 Strong Safety - If there's one player on the Colts' defense who hasn't been talked about enough, it's Mike Adams. The Colts signed Adams late in the summer at a position of great need, and he was in a battle in training camp for the starting spot (a battle he kind of won by default after Delano Howell was injured). But Adams has turned a safety position that was a big concern at the start of the season into one of the biggest strengths of the Colts' defense. Adams has started every game and leads the entire NFL in takeaways with seven (five picks and two fumble recoveries) while also adding 70 tackles, 11 pass deflections, and a forced fumble. He has had a tremendous and very under-appreciated year, so it's nice to see him getting a bit of recognition here.
Adam Vinatieri, # 3 Kicker - There is only one kicker in the NFL who is still perfect: Adam Vinatieri. He is 27 for 27 on the season and has made 33 in a row dating back to last season, which ties for the fourth longest streak in NFL history. Furthermore, he has made all 44 extra point tries and has proven himself able to make difficult kicks in difficult environments (like just last week making a 51-yarder outside in the wind in Cleveland). It is perhaps the best season for perhaps the greatest kicker in the history of the league.
Pat McAfee, # 4 Punter - McAfee has arguably been the NFL's best overall special teams player this season. He's fourth in the league in punting average, second in net punting average, fourth in fewest return yards per punt, and has 23 punts downed inside the 20 with only two touchbacks. Furthermore, he leads the entire NFL with 64 touchbacks on kickoffs and leads the NFL with three successful onside kicks - one of which he recovered himself. Oh, and he's also made three special teams tackles. McAfee absolutely deserves to make the Pro Bowl this season.
Alright, those are the Colts players in the top ten (or five) at their respective positions. Obviously, the fact that Vontae Davis isn't even in the top ten cornerbacks is a grave, grave mistake, as he's been arguably the best corner in football this year. Regardless of whether you think he's the best this year or not, it's hard to argue with the fact that he deserves a Pro Bowl recognition this year. But so far in the fan voting, he's not even in the top ten. Who else do you think could be snubbed for the Colts? And remember, you can still vote until Monday - so stop voting for D'Qwell Jackson and start voting for Vontae Davis. Seriously, do it.