NFL Pro Bowl voting begins: Which 49ers are worthy?

Patrick Willis, 2012 Pro Bowl - Mandatory Credit: US PRESSWIRE

The NFL announced the start of Pro Bowl balloting. We look at the 49ers and who might be worthy.

Earlier this morning, the NFL announced the start of the voting period for the NFL Pro Bowl. The voting period runs from now until Monday, December 17 following the conclusion of Monday Night Football that night. The game itself remains the least enjoyable of the four All Star games, but it is still nice to get some recognition for strong performances by the 49ers.

The 49ers success last season was key to getting the team additional Pro Bowl recognition. As David Akers said after his selection, "A rising tide raises all ships..." The 49ers had six players selected as starters, two players in as reserves and Brian Jennings as a need player. Add in ten alternates and it was a big year for the 49ers at the Pro Bowl.

As we look ahead to the 2013 Pro Bowl, the 49ers likely will find themselves with a strong contingent of players. The fan vote helps, but with the coaches and players also voting, I have to think a full year of success could lead to an even stronger contingent of Pro Bowlers.

Last year, Joe Staley was the only offensive player selected as a starter or reserve. Mike Iupati and Jonathan Goodwin were each selected as alternates, but were not needed by game-time. This year, the offensive line has put together a dominant year in the running game. Additionally, Anthony Davis and Alex Boone are putting on quite a show on the right side of the offensive line. I would not be surprised to see one or both in the mix for a spot.

On the defensive side of the ball, Justin Smith and Patrick Willis would seem likely to be locks for a spot, with NaVorro Bowman hopefully working his way into position to be more than just an alternate. The 49ers defense is already recognized as a great unit, so we'll see how much individual recognition they get this season. Dashon Goldson was selected as a reserve last year. If he can build on his early season momentum, he might very well be able to work his way into the starting lineup.

Do you see any surprises in store for 49ers Pro Bowl balloting? Head over now and vote. You have the option of voting on just some of the positions, as opposed to having to complete the entire ballot, if you so choose.

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