While I was away from the blog last week, USA Today put out its "All-Joe Team," which is a 53-man roster of guys that have never been to the Pro Bowl. The AFC North was well represented with eight players making the team.
The Super Bowl champion Ravens had the most players of the division teams with three: quarterback Joe Flacco, safety Bernard Pollard and kicker Justin Tucker. The Steelers had two players on the team (linebacker Lawrence Timmons and cornerback Keenan Lewis), and the Bengals had two as well (linebacker Vontaze Burfict and offensive tackle Andre Smith). Running back Trent Richardson was the lone representative for the Browns.
The question I have is which one of this group is the likeliest to make the Pro Bowl next season? Flacco is the knee-jerk choice considering his playoff heroics and Super Bowl MVP award. And, while Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are earmarked every year for Hawaii, Flacco could beat out the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and Matt Schaub for that third spot if he has truly turned the corner. But it's unknown if the consistency Flacco showed in the postseason will spill over into the 2013 season.
My pick would be Richardson, who has the chance to be a top-five running back in this league. Some were disappointed in Richardson as a rookie because he only ran for 950 yards and averaged 3.6 yards per carry. But he was never healthy. Richardson had his knee scoped in early August and played with broken ribs for most of the season. I can see a Pro Bowl season for Richardson with the combination of a new offensive coordinator in Norv Turner and an improving offensive line.