NaVorro Bowman, ILB, third selection: Bowman has played admirably after missing all of the 2014 season recovering from that horrific injury to his left knee suffered in the 2013 NFC title game at Seattle. Sure, there were moments when it looked as though Bowman lost his lateral movement, such as when Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel juked Bowman and three other 49ers defenders out of their jock straps, but Bowman has continued to plug along. If kicker Phil Dawson has been the Niners’ most consistent player this season, Bowman has been their most valuable. His 136 tackles are tied for the NFL lead with the Indianapolis Colts’ D'Qwell Jackson, and Bowman also has two sacks and a pair of passes defensed. How much of a roller coaster has Bowman’s season been in 2015? Per Pro Football Focus, he followed up his career-worst grade of minus-6.5 at Cleveland with a career-best grade of plus-5.8 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Joe Staley, LT, fifth selection: Despite having what many observers believe to be a down season, at least by his standards, Staley was selected to his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl. Obviously it’s something to celebrate, but it also should be a tad bittersweet, as Staley is charged with protecting the quarterback’s blind side. Niners quarterbacks have been sacked 49 times, tied with the Tennessee Titans for most in the NFL. Beyond that, the 49ers also have the lowest-scoring and bottom-ranked offense in the league and are flirting with setting a franchise record for fewest points scored in a season. Staley was picked on reputation.
Phil Dawson, K: To quote Niners coach Jim Tomsula, I get it. It’s hard to present a super strong case for a guy who ranks only 28th in scoring in the league, but Dawson has been the 49ers’ most consistent player in this wreck of a season, if not their most valuable. Consider: After getting a kick blocked in the season opener, Dawson made 19 straight field goals, the second-longest streak in franchise history, before getting blocked again Sunday by the Bengals. He has also made all 17 of his PATs from the new, longer distance. It’s all enough to at least consider the 40-year-old Dawson for his second Pro Bowl, no? Maybe kicking for a more potent offense, rather than for the lowest-scoring unit in the NFL, would have helped. Again, I get it. You get it. We all get it. (Tomsula voice)