The first-ever Pro Bowl Draft takes place this week, with Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice serving as alumni captains. NFL Network is broadcasting the two-day event at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday and Wednesday. (Click here for a detailed outline of the draft process/schedule.)
Looking at the Pro Bowl roster pool, which player stands out as the most valuable asset in Hawaii?
Patrick Peterson could headline a unique draft strategyGive me Patrick Peterson. He can cover, return kicks and even run some end-arounds on the offensive side of the ball.
But let's concentrate on that first thing: coverage. The Pro Bowl is all about scoring points. Yet, if you could pair Peterson with Darrelle Revis at cornerback, and add a premium safety like Eric Berry, you'd really make the opponent work for points through the air. In fact, I hope Deion Sanders takes that exact strategy. And I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the Hall of Fame cornerback pounces on Peterson early.
Do it, Prime Time. Make an early run on defensive backs and give the Pro Bowl a different vibe -- a competitive vibe.
I like Drew Brees' pocket mobility in this all-star setupJust like in the regular NFL draft, it all starts with quarterback. The difference here is you can surround the QB with a number of talented players, whereas in the normal draft, you have to live with the rest of the players you have.
The original choice, to me, was between Drew Brees and Tom Brady, but it was announced on Tuesday that Brady won't be making the trip to Hawaii. No matter. For this game, I like Brees. He has nice pocket mobility, which helps when you are playing in an all-star game preceded by limited practice time.
If you're looking for explosive plays, LeSean McCoy is your manWell, since Jamaal Charles is already involved in the player-captain portion of this process, I'll dip into the general player pool. And in doing so, I'll move on to my guy -- and the NFL's leading rusher -- LeSean McCoy.
Shady paced the NFL with seven 100-yard rushing efforts -- which really stands out in an era of running back by committee -- and also led the league with an Eagles franchise record of 2,146 scrimmage yards. The thing that really sets him apart is the big plays: McCoy had 47 rushes of 10-plus yards this season, another NFL high.
If I were picking a team, I'd love to get Charles and McCoy on the same side and see if an all-star defense would have any chance of stopping them.
Gimme the guy who thoroughly enjoys the Pro Bowl experience: Drew BreesAs a media member, my first thought is Geno Smith, because you could get an extra Pro Bowl story on the plane ride out. Ah, but you said "Pro Bowl roster pool" -- yeah, doesn't quite apply to Geno. Moving right along ...
Drew Brees is my pick, because he loves playing in the Pro Bowl. I'd snag him as a captain, and let him play 2 1/2 quarters (and throw four touchdown passes in the process).
Cornerback run! Deion should draft to his strengthsIn a game in which offensive fireworks are almost guaranteed, gimme one (or two ... or three ...) of the best corners available.
For all the chest-puffing bravado of Richard Sherman and his swaggering peers, one thing I've learned in talking to NFL players over the last few years: They have great regard -- even awe -- for the guys they grew up watching dominate the sport. Imagine, then, the thrill for Darrelle Revis, Brandon Flowers or Patrick Peterson (who wears No. 21) to be selected by Deion Sanders. You think they're not gonna want to impress the best to ever play the position?