2014 Pro Bowl: Breaking Down Jerry Rice’s Best Draft Picks
Jerry Rice's Top 10 Pro Bowl Picks
With the changes made to this year's Pro Bowl selection process, Hall of Fame wider receiver Jerry Rice was selected as one of the team captains and will square off against fellow NFL legend Deion Sanders. The teams will be comprised of a mix of stars from each conference in a bid to make the contest a more competitive affair after Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed concern at the lack of interest from spectators.
Picked in the first round of the 1985 draft by the San Francisco 49ers, Rice would go on to forge a remarkable career spanning twenty years and is widely regarded as the best receiver of all time. He holds several NFL records including most receiving yards with 22,895, most receptions with 1,549 and most career touchdowns with 197. Rice won three Super Bowls during his 16-year spell with the Niners, including back-to-back victories at Super Bowl XXIII and Super Bowl XXIV. His performance at Super Bowl XXIII would earn MVP honors and he would make a fourth Super Bowl appearance during the 2002 season with the Oakland Raiders.
Unsurprisingly, Rice's incredible play resulted in several trips to the Pro Bowl. He was voted to the end of season show eleven times in a row between 1986-1996, and his thirteen total appearances is second only to offensive lineman Bruce Matthews and defensive tackle Merlin Olsen who both featured a record fourteen times.
The 2014 Pro Bowl fantasy draft took place on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and from the 44 players on his team, these 10 represent the best picks set to feature on “Team Rice."
10. Alshon Jeffrey
Jeffrey led the Chicago Bears with 1,421 receiving yards and formed arguably the most formidable wide receiver tandem in the league alongside eight-year veteran Brandon Marshall.
9. Luke Kuechly
Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly led his defense with 156 combined tackles and four interceptions on the year. The Panthers had their first winning season since 2008, and Kuechly’s productivity on defense was a major factor.
7. Robert Quinn
St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn had a standout season in 2013. He finished second in the sack race with 19 and forced the opposition to fumble seven times, also second best in the league. Quinn also recovered two fumbles, returning one for a touchdown.
6. Jimmy Graham
Tight end Jimmy Graham led the New Orleans Saints’ receiving unit with 86 receptions for 1,215 yards, and his 16 touchdowns represent the highest tally in the NFL this year. This will be the second Pro Bowl appearance in four seasons for the 27-year old.
5. Vontaze Burfict
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict led the league with 171 combined tackles in his sophomore season. In addition, he made one interception and recovered a fumble for a touchdown as the Bengals strolled to the AFC North title with an 11-5 record.
4. Robert Mathis
Indianapolis Colts' star Robert Mathis won the race to the sack title with 19.5 during the regular season and a league-high eight forced fumbles. The eleven-year veteran continues to improve, and this season’s Pro Bowl will mark the sixth in a row for the 32-year old Georgia native.
3. Josh Gordon
Cleveland Browns’ second-year receiver Josh Gordon set the NFL world on fire in 2013, finishing top of the receiving chart with a massive 1,646 yards to his name. Gordon became the first player in NFL history to have two consecutive 200-yard games after amassing 237 yards in Week 12 followed by 261 yards in Week 13.
2. Drew Brees
Saints quarterback Drew Brees had another phenomenal year, throwing for 5,162 yards and 39 touchdowns against just 12 interceptions. With Peyton Manning and Tom Brady not in attendance, Brees is arguably the best quarterback at this year’s Pro Bowl and is sure to link up with Saints teammate Graham.
1. LeSean McCoy
Running back LeSean McCoy led the league with 1,607 rushing yards and was the only player to break the 1,500-yard barrier. The Philadelphia Eagles' star will feature in the second Pro Bowl of his five-year career and will look to test himself against Team Sanders' All-Star defense.