The NFL released their annual Pro Bowl ballot earlier today and you can head over to start voting early and often. The 49ers have a chance to get a decent number of players on the team this year as they continue skyrocketing upward. While the Pro Bowl has turned into a bit of a mess in recent years with numerous players dropping out, it is still an honor to be selected and recognized by the fans and peers.
The vote is decided by taking 1/3 fan vote, 1/3 coaches vote, 1/3 player vote. You can go to the NFL Pro Bowl ballot and vote as frequently as you want. Additionally, you can sort the positions by team and you can only vote for a few positions if you so choose.
Unfortunately, this year's fan ballot has some holes and question marks. First and foremost, Aldon Smith is not on the ballot and there is no room to write in any candidates. I was thinking it was due to a lack of snaps, but Bruce Miller is on the ballot at fullback. Maybe there is some confusion about putting him at defensive versus outside linebacker? If he keeps up his ridiculous sack pace, he would be worthy of a Pro Bowl bid.
The other "interesting" little quirk is that Justin Smith and Ray McDonald are both listed as defensive tackles and not defensive ends. On the 49ers.com roster page, they are also listed as defensive tackles. Additionally the team does in fact move the two of them inside in their nickel defense, sticking Aldon Smith and either Ahmad Brooks or Parys Haralson on the edge (depends on which side A. Smith is lined up). You can vote for three defensive tackles, so you can still vote for Smith-McDonald-Sopoaga with impunity.
Personally, I elected to vote all 49ers for the ballot. I mixed in some of my favorite non-49ers (had to vote for Steve Smith given his monster year), but at every position I made sure to include 49ers. I know some take this a bit more seriously and vote for the absolute best at each position, but I figure I'll leave that up to the players and coaches to decide. I'm going to stick with all 49ers!
However, in looking at which 49ers actually have the best shot at making the Pro Bowl, I'd imagine it would include some of the following:
Bowman might need to rely more on player and coaches vote as I'm not sure how the fan vote will work for him. He has emerged as a great linebacker, but for much of America he is likely still in the shadow of Patrick Willis. He is worthy of a spot, so hopefully he is rewarded.
Blake Costanzo is the only 49ers player listed on special teams at this point. If the 49ers special teams unit can continue its strong play, he would probably have a shot at grabbing a spot. For now, make sure and get some votes in for Costanzo.