Anytime any of these All-Star teams are chosen, in any sport, there are always going to be guys that get left off that are fully deserving to be there. The Broncos were lucky enough to have 3 selected to travel to Honolulu on February 10, but cvertainly a fourth could and should have made it.
Let's take a look at the Broncos that are going, then take a look at Javon Walker who should be there....
Champ Bailey, CB(7) - There might not be a more deserving defensive player than Bailey, who makes his 7th consecutive appearance in the game. Bailey is tied for the lead in interceptions with 8, and 5 of those have occurred inside the Bronco 5 yard line. Somehow it appears is getting better with age, and unlike other "cover corners" before him Bailey does it all very well. He is excellent against the run and is probably the best tackler on the team. Bailey currently has a career-best 85 tackles already and his 26 passes defensed is on pace for a career high.
Al Wilson, MLB(5) - Wilson makes his 5th appearance in the last 6 years and is enjoying what might be his finest season in his under-appreciated career. Wilson doesn;t get the hype and pub of guys like Ray Lewis, but getting the Pro Bowl start provides the best respect of all, that of his peers in the NFL. Wilson leads the Broncos with 106 tackles and is a leader and team captain. Wilson is one of the toughest players in the game, getting carried off the field against Seattle before returning to the field the next week.
John Lynch, S(8) - Lynch heads back to the Pro Bowl for the 3rd time in his three years with the Broncos. Not bad for a guy that most in the league thought was washed up when he was released by the Buccaneers after the 2003 season. Lynch may have lost a step in coverage, but his run stopping skills combined with his leadership on the field and in the locker room have made the 14-year vet indispensible. Lynch is enjoying what might be his best season in a Bronco uniform, amassing his highest tackle total during his time with the team. All this while keeping a banged up defensive backfield together, with Lynch being the only guy left of the top 3 safeties that started the season.
All three deserved a spot, and amazingly it marks the 26th straight season the Broncos will send at least 1 player to the Pro Bowl. When compared to a team like the Browns, who have had only one Pro Bowler(Jamir Miller) since returing to the league in 1999.
Now on to the guy who should be there. Where would the Bronco offense be without Javon Walker. Surviving an enigmatic offense that included a quarterback change, not to mention returning from a major knee injury, Walker has put up the numbers of a Pro Bowler. let's compare, shall we...First, the guys that made the team --
Andre Johnson - 97 rec, 1087 yards, 11.2 ypc, 5 TD
Chad Johnson - 80 rec, 1284 yards, 16.1 ypc, 7 TD
Marvin Harrison - 82 rec, 1180 yards, 14.4 ypc, 9 TD
Reggie Wayne - 77 rec, 1213 yards, 15.8 ypc, 9 TD
Javon Walker - 62 rec, 1007 yards, 16.2 ypc, 7 TD
On paper, it might appear as the four guys who made the team over Walker deserve it. Sure, they are all having nice seasons, but of the guys chosen over Walker I'd have to take out Andre Johnson. Yea, I know, he leads the league in receptions, but looking at his average yards per catch shows he is catching a lot of dink and dunk passes. Even Marvin Harrison who would be considered a possession receiver has averaged over 3 yards per carry more per catch. Walker leads the group in average, and has reached the end zone two more times than Johnson.
Lastly, All those catches for Johnson has done very little to help the Texans win anything, while Walker has been a huge part of the success of the Broncos. Case in point, when the Broncos lost 4 straight games Walker was held out of the end zone all four times.
I know it is splitting hairs when trying to dissect players like this, but if you can get beyond the number of catches Johnson has he has done little else to help the Texans, while Walker has been a much needed breath of fresh air for the Broncos.
Let me know what you think....