The Miami Dolphins (8-7) are still fighting for the final wild card in the AFC. However, the Pro Bowl team also will be announced on Friday, and it will be interesting to see if any Miami players make the cut.
Here are five Dolphins up for consideration:
1. Punter Brandon Fields
Stats: 48.8 average, 33 inside the 20
Thoughts: Fields is second in the NFL in punting average and third with kicks inside the 20-yard line. Fields has been consistently at the top of punter rankings the past few years, but it hasn’t earned him a Pro Bowl bid. This may be Fields’ best chance, especially since the Dolphins experienced some success this season. The biggest challenge is only one punter represents the AFC.
2. Cornerback Brent Grimes
Stats: 55 tackles, 4 interceptions
Thoughts: Although Grimes hasn’t gotten his due on a national scale, his play for Miami has been amazingly consistent this year. He’s done a great job of shutting down opposing No. 1 receivers on most weeks, and teams have shown respect by not throwing his way. Grimes still made four interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. He may not make the Pro Bowl, but Miami better treat him like a star when it comes time to re-signing Grimes in free agency next offseason.
3. Defensive end Olivier Vernon
Stats: 55 tackles, 11.5 sacks
Thoughts: Vernon has been one of the biggest surprises in the AFC this year. But will it be enough to get a Pro Bowl nod? Vernon leads the Dolphins with 11.5 sacks. His play kept No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan on the bench for the entire season. But lack of name recognition may keep Vernon on the outside looking in.
4. Defensive end Cameron Wake
Stats: 35 tackles, 8.5 sacks
Thoughts: Wake did not have a Pro Bowl year. However, sometimes name value gets a player into the Pro Bowl. Therefore, Wake has a chance at making it for the second straight year. A knee injury early in the season rendered Wake ineffective for about a month. He’s still second on the team with 8.5 sacks.
5. Center Mike Pouncey
Stats: 14 starts
Thoughts: Pouncey is one of the top centers in the AFC. But this wasn’t his best year. Pouncey had some off-the-field controversy because of a subpoena in relation to the Aaron Hernandez investigation, and Pouncey also missed two games this year will a stomach illness that caused him to lose 15 pounds. Miami’s offensive line has been inconsistent with pass protection and running the football. That certainly won’t help Pouncey’s case.