Tonight, the NFL will officially announce the 2011-2012 Pro Bowl rosters, and several Patriots players are expected to be honored with Pro Bowl selections. Ultimately, of course, Patriots fans don't want any New England players actually participating in the game, as teams who make the Super Bowl don't have their players play (the game is played the week before the Super Bowl). Nonetheless, here's who I think should or could get Pro Bowl honors for the Patriots:
Tom Brady, QB: No one else in the AFC is even having close to the kind of season that Brady is having at quarterback for the Patriots this year.
Wes Welker, WR: Welker leads the league in receptions and yards and has established himself as a top five receiver in the league. Looks like a Pro Bowl guarantee.
Rob Gronkowski, TE: Gronkowski is having a historic year for tight ends with his 15 touchdowns being a record for the position. He's a guarantee.
Brian Waters, G: Waters is having the best year of any Patriots offensive lineman and should be a Pro Bowl lock. But "should be" is different from "will be." My hunch says he gets in, but it's not a guarantee.
Andre Carter, DE: Carter is out for the year, but was the leading vote-getter at defensive end in the AFC. He should still get in before getting replaced due to the quad injury.
Vince Wilfork, DT: Wilfork has seen his playing time dramatically increase this year due to the Patriots' shift in personnel. While he hasn't had the best year as a run stuffer, he has been making big plays with 4 takeaways and 2.5 sacks.
Aaron Hernandez, TE: Hernandez should get selected, but I can't imagine a team has ever had two Pro Bowl selections at tight end before. I think he gets in, but it could be a coin flip.
Logan Mankins, G: Mankins isn't having a Pro Bowl caliber year, but reputation could get him into the game.
Kyle Arrington, CB: Arrington is tied for the league lead in interceptions with seven, and was second in fan voting for cornerbacks. I say there's a 50/50 chance he gets in, as I'm not sure he will get a lot of votes from players or coaches.
A Look at who else could make the Pro Bowl after the jump!
There's a Chance:
Matt Light, T: Light is having a good year, and was second in fan voting. He definitely has a chance to get in.
Matthew Slater, ST: Slater was third in fan voting for special teams, and his dual role as a safety and receiver could also help get him some votes.
Zoltan Mesko, P: Mesko is having an excellent year, with a 46.4 average and 41.4 net. He is fourth and fan voting, and while he could get in, it looks like a long shot with Shane Lechler in the conference.
Julian Edelman, ST: Edelman wasn't on the fan ballot, but his play has been excellent and could get a look from the coaches and players.
Stephen Gostkowski, K: Gostkowski was third in fan voting, and has connected on 26/31 field goals this year. Not bad, but not expecting him in the Pro Bowl.
Patrick Chung, S: Chung has 55 tackles a sack and an interception in seven games this year and was fifth in fan voting. While he may have been on his way to a Pro Bowl year, missing the last seven games has made that goal nearly impossible. But hey, if Brandon Meriweather can get in...
Jerod Mayo, LB: Mayo started the year slow and was hampered by a sprained MCL. Nonetheless, he has come on as of straight with 37 tackles, two sacks, and two interception in the last four games. Doubt that's enough to get him in the Pro Bowl for a second straight year, but who knows.
Dan Connolly, C: Connolly was fourth in fan voting and has had a pretty average year at center. Looks like a longshot for the Pro Bowl.
Feel free to discuss who you think will make the Pro Bowl for the Patriots below!