The NFL will announce the 2016 Pro Bowl selections tonight, turning 88 players from the league into all-stars for this year. This year will mark the third time in which the league will use the "unconferenced" selections, meaning players are selected league-wide, with no regard to whether they play in the AFC or the NFC. The league will then hold a "fantasy" draft to place the players onto teams to compete in the Pro Bowl at the end of January.
Are there any Miami Dolphins players who could be announced during tonight's selections?
Reshad Jones, safety
Jones probably deserves the trip to the Pro Bowl more than anyone else on the team. He is tied for sixth in the league in interceptions this year, tied for the league lead in interception returns for a touchdown, and is fifth in the league in tackles, with 14 more tackles than any other safety in the league. Jones is clearly having a Pro Bowl - if not All Pro - season, but he plays for a team where not a lot of people take notice. He finished the fan voting in fourth place at the strong safety position, which was a dramatic increase from the ninth place position he held when the first update tot he voting was released. Prediction: Selected.
Mike Pouncey, center
Pouncey has not had the dominating year at center that he had two seasons ago, but he has not been bad. He is likely to land on inured reserve this week after a foot issue took him out of this past Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers, but his play was probably borderline Pro Bowl worthy this season. What helps Pouncey is his last name, with he and his twin brother Maurkice both playing the center position at high levels most years (Maurkice broke his leg early in the season and has not played since, but the Steelers could activate him at some point and bring him back for a potential playoff run). It also helps that, once an offensive lineman makes the Pro Bowl, he typically continues to make the Pro Bowl; the Dolphins' Pouncey was a Pro Bowl selection in 2013 at center and last year at guard. Prediction: Alternate, but injury will prevent him from being added to roster.
Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle
This is a harder one to guess, because the name outweighs the performance this year. Suh has been good for the Dolphins, at times dominant, but not nearly to the level the team wanted when they signed him this offseason. Suh could have played better this year, but a combination of trying to fit into a defense that did not play to his strengths, adjust to a new team, figure out his chemistry with Cameron Wake at defensive end, and deal with a change to the defensive scheme that did not play to his strength, all seemed to factor into a down year for Suh. Of course, a "down year" for Suh still has him at 52 tackles (one shy of his total from last year - the second most in his career - and 14 shy of his career high set in his rookie season of 2010), 4.5 sacks, and five passes defensed, all with two games to go. Dolphins fans, and NFL fans, expect to see Suh destroying offensive linemen every single play, and that did not happen this year, but it does not mean it was a bad season for Suh. Prediction: Selected, but would not be surprised if he is an alternate.
Jarvis Landry, wide receiver
Landry is fourth in the league in receptions this season, breaking the Dolphins' franchise record for pass catches in a year this past weekend. He is the only played in the top seven in receptions to be under 1,000 yards, but he should fix that this week, needing just 26 yards to reach the mark. Landry could make the Pro Bowl based on his receiver stats, but he will not because he is competing against players like DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham, Jr., Calvin Johnson, and Brandon Marshall. Landry is not flashy enough, nor does he play for a high-profile team. Landry, however, does have a shot at making the roster as a returner, where he was seventh in the fan vote. Coaches and players likely see more in Landry than the standard NFL fan, but it is probably a long shot that Landry slips into the game this year. Prediction: Not selected.
Matt Darr, punter
Outside of Jones, Darr may actually deserve the Pro Bowl selection more than anyone else on the team. He is, however, playing for a last place team, and he is a rookie punter. Tough to make the Pro Bowl with those working against you. Darr is sixth in the league in punting average, with a 47.4 mark and fifth in the league in kicks inside the 20 (27). It seemed strange when, before the season, Miami released veteran punter Brandon Fields for Darr, but the year has shown it was not just the team being cheap, but rather Darr can actually kick. Darr, again, is a rookie so it will be tough for him to make the Pro Bowl, but he at least showed up in the fan vote, finishing 10th. Prediction: Not selected.
Ryan Tannehill, quarterback
Tannehill is not having the year anyone hoped he would have this season, especially with the expectations that he was ready to establish himself as one of the top younger passers in the league. He has not, however, been terrible either, no matter what Dolphins fans write on Twitter. He is currently 12th in the league in passing yards, and could reach 4,000 for the second straight season. He is not a Pro Bowl quarterback yet, but, he was snubbed as an alternate last year as alternates were called onto the roster and he appeared to be skipped. He could land somewhere on the alternate list this year, but it is more understandable if he does not make this game. Prediction: Not selected.
Lamar Miller, running back
Miller probably deserves to make the Pro Bowl this season, but will not because the Dolphins cannot figure out how to give him the ball. He is 14th in the league with 781 yards this season, but is 23rd in attempts with just 160 carries. His 4.9 yards per attempt ranks him fifth in the league. He is having an outstanding season, when he actually is asked to participate in an offense that seems to forget he exists. Prediction: Not selected.
Brent Grimes, cornerback
Grimes' play has fallen off this season, after making the Pro Bowl each of his first two years with Miami. Was it age related? Was there an injury that just never let Grimes get back to his high level of play? Whatever the case, Grimes of 2015 was not the Grimes Dolphins fans were sued to seeing. He still is, however, tied for 11th in the league in interceptions with four this season, a tie which includes players like Josh Norman and Darrelle Revis, while being ahead of players like Aqib Talib, Vontae Davis, and Dominique Rodger-Cromartie, all of whom are consider among the top corners in the league. This was not a Pro Bowl caliber year, but Grimes has an outside shot of getting onto the alternate list based on his number of picks and his name recognition. Prediction: Not selected, but possible alternate.