Jordy Nelson, DeAndre Levy deserving of Pro Bowl nods

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Every week, Chris Wesseling will roll out the power rankings for one specific NFL position or attribute. So far, we have covered running backs, safeties, red-zone threats, throwing arms, quarter-pole surprises, disappointments and franchise cornerstones.

Now that Pro Bowl balloting has kicked off this week, we are turning our attention to 10 players deserving of Pro Bowl consideration.

The average reader already knows star quarterbacks, rushing leaders and the most dominant defenders are worthy of a trip to the Pro Bowl. This list will identify players flying under the radar or at least deserving of their first career Pro Bowl nod.

1. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers wide receiver: Antonio Brown has been to a pair of Pro Bowls, which leaves Nelson as most underappreciated offensive superstar in the game. I have been on a crusade for over a year now to correct this oversight, as Nelson is a premier route-runner, an acrobatic boundary receiver, a dangerous deep threat and a clutch possession receiver. He's currently second only to Brown in receiving yards and second to teammate Randall Cobb in touchdowns among wideouts. In an injury-plagued season for Calvin Johnson, Nelson is on the short list for the title of the NFL's best receiver.

2. DeAndre Levy, Detroit Lions linebacker: Levy was robbed of a Pro Bowl berth last season when he rivaled Thomas Davis and Lavonte David as the best coverage linebacker in football. This year, he's been dominant against the run and is even getting after opposing quarterbacks. Levy and Ndamukong Suh are the twin engines driving the NFL's No. 1 defense.

3. Vontae Davis, Indianapolis Colts cornerback: Davis set the tone for the Colts' dismantling of the Bengals' offense in Week 7, lighting up Giovani Bernard with a bone-crushing hit. He added four passes defensed against Andy Dalton, giving him 12 on the season. If you're wondering how Chuck Pagano's defense has suddenly developed a pass rush and become impenetrable on third downs, start with the aggressive, press-man cornerbacks. Davis and Greg Toler allow Pagano to dial up more blitzes.

4. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers tight end: With a rookie (Kelvin Benjamin) as his best receiver, Cam Newton is relying heavily on Olsen to carry the aerial attack this year. Never included with the former hoopsters regarded as the most dynamic athletes at the position, Olsen leads all tight ends in yards and yards after the catch. He's also Newton's favorite end-zone target, notching five touchdowns. A case can be made that Martellus Bennett and Delanie Walker are just as deserving at tight end.

5. Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants defensive end: After two seasons ravaged by back injuries, Pierre-Paul started showing flashes of dominant 2011 form in August. A stalwart against the run since the season began, Pierre-Paul tortured rookie Jake Matthews in Week 5 and beat Cowboys standout left tackle Tyron Smith for a pair of sacks in Week 7. Cameron Wake is the only 4-3 defensive end playing at a higher level right now.

6. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions wide receiver: Tate topped our list of the best free-agent bargains in early March because he led all NFL receivers in forced missed tackles and yards after catch per reception in Seattle's run-heavy offense last season. The Lions have quickly discovered that his hands are among the most reliable in the league, as Tate has the NFL's best catch rate since 2011. He has been especially impressive in traffic, snagging Matthew Stafford's fastballs in tight windows and evading defenders for extra yards. Tate has carried the offense in Johnson's absence.

7. Kyle Williams, Buffalo Bills defensive tackle: Mario Williams has the name; Kyle Williams has the game. Kyle was unblockable in the first six games, as The Around The NFL Podcast deemed Buffalo's defensive line the most disruptive in the league. Williams' Week 3 performance versus the Chargers was the most impressive we have seen from a defensive tackle this season. Teammate Marcell Dareus, also meriting Pro Bowl consideration, was similarly impressive in the Bills' upset win at Detroit.

8. Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings safety: We were a year early in declaring that Smith had made the leap to Pro Bowl-caliber, as the former Notre Dame star missed the majority of the 2013 season due to turf-toe surgery. Smith has adjusted well to Mike Zimmer's scheme, showing ideal range, big-play ability and run support at the line of scrimmage. He's the Vikings' lone star now that Adrian Peterson has been banished.

9. Rolando McClain, Dallas Cowboys linebacker: Twice retired by the age of 24, McClain has been the most surprising player on the NFL's most surprising defense. Playing at a higher level than he ever did in Oakland as the Raiders' No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, McClain has brought a physicality off which the other defenders have fed. He's the front-runner for Comeback Player of the Year honors.

10. Pat McAfee, Indianapolis Colts punter: We're as guilty as any other site in overlooking punters, but McAfee's virtuosity is impossible to ignore. As a punter, he leads the league in net yards and is second in kicks landed inside the 20-yard line. As a kickoff specialist, he leads the league in average distance and successful onsides kicks. It's fair to take the position that McAfee has been the most valuable special-teamer -- and NFL AM guest -- this season.

Also deserving of Pro Bowl consideration: Martellus Bennett, Delanie Walker, Willie Young, Devin Hester, Antoine Bethea, Perrish Cox, Brandon Flowers, Kawann Short, Marcell Dareus, Khalil Mack, C.J. Mosley, Pernell McPhee, Ryan Kerrigan, Jelani Jenkins, Travis Frederick, Justin Forsett

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Week 7 game, and breaks down Peyton Manning's record-breaking night. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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