Ten Carolina Panthers were selected to the 2015 Pro Bowl, a team record. The previous high was eight in 1996.
Cam Newton, QB, third Pro Bowl selection: Can you say NFL MVP? Newton has a career-best 40 touchdowns, including a career-best 33 passing. He has thrown five touchdown passes in three of his past five games. He has helped the Panthers to a 14-0 record this season and has won 17 consecutive regular-season starts.
Luke Kuechly, MLB, third Pro Bowl selection: Despite missing three games because of a concussion, Kuechly leads the Panthers in tackles (101) for the fourth straight year. The 2013 NFL defensive player of the year leads middle linebackers with 13 passes defensed and four interceptions. He’s playing better than he did in 2013, so another award may be forthcoming.
Greg Olsen, TE, second Pro Bowl selection: Olsen finally is getting the due he didn’t receive for years playing in the shadows of Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez in the NFC South. The Carolina tight end leads the team in receiving with 71 catches for a career-best 1,048 yards. His seven touchdowns are one shy of his career high, and he has two games left.
Thomas Davis, OLB, first Pro Bowl selection: It’s about time. Davis has been at the top of Carolina’s Pro Bowl snub list for so long, it almost became a badge of honor. Davis has been bypassed before in favor of outside linebackers who play in a 3-4 scheme because they get big sack numbers, something he’s not asked to do in Carolina’s 4-3 scheme. But as Davis has said repeatedly this year, his goal is to go to the Super Bowl, not the Pro Bowl.
Josh Norman, CB, first Pro Bowl selection: He has emerged as one of the best cover corners in the NFL. He began the season with four interceptions, two returned for touchdowns, in the first four games. He helped hold Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson and T.Y. Hilton to a combined seven catches on 19 targets for 72 yards and no touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus.
Kawann Short, DT, first Pro Bowl selection: His career-high nine sacks are a franchise single-season record for a defensive tackle. These numbers rank third in the NFL among defensive tackles behind St. Louis’ Aaron Donald (11) and Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins (10). Short has three games with two or more sacks. Only Houston’s J.J. Watt (five), New England’s Chandler Jones (four) and Oakland’s Khalil Mack (four) have more.
Ryan Kalil, C, fifth Pro Bowl selection: He tied the team record for most Pro Bowl selections. He anchors an offensive line that ranks third in the NFL in rushing with 144 yards a game. He’s also the emotional leader in addition to making most of the line calls. He came up with the idea to print Panthers “Star Wars’’ Purrbacca T-shirts as well.
Trai Turner, G, first Pro Bowl selection: The second-year lineman out of LSU has helped limit Newton to 30 sacks, the fewest of his career. Turner has been a part of a line that has helped produce 25 consecutive regular-season games with at least 100 yards rushing, tied with Seattle for the longest streak in the league.
Mike Tolbert, FB, second Pro Bowl selection: His value as a runner, receiver and blocker has been invaluable to this offense that leads the league in scoring. He has 185 rushing yards and a touchdown, along with 132 receiving and three touchdowns through the air.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, first Pro Bowl selection: He ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing with 989 yards on a career-high 242 carries despite missing his last start with a sprained foot. His six touchdowns are his most since he had 10 in 2009.
Kurt Coleman, FS: He’s having a career year with seven interceptions, which ties him for second in the NFL behind Cincinnati’s Reggie Nelson. Coleman has 82 tackles to rank third on the league’s third-ranked defense. No question he deserved to make it.
Michael Oher, LT: He has given up only four sacks protecting Newton’s blind side, solidifying the left tackle position.