*With the end of the regular season approaching, our attention is beginning to turn to postseason honors. Chris Wesseling has done a great job looking at the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year races in recent weeks. *
We wanted to shine a spotlight on Pro Bowl voting, which ends at midnight on December 14. We've noticed that players on the Panthers, Raiders, and Packers are particularly well represented in the voting. That means that their fans have been stuffing the ballot box. Here's a look at 11 players that we think should be getting more attention, with the top ten overall vote getters also at the bottom.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks quarterback
It's strange that Wilson is getting so ignored in a season where he's shaving or swimming with Macklemore on television every other minute. Wilson is playing as well as any quarterback over the last month, yet he's currently No. 10 in Pro Bowl voting. He's throwing better than ever from the pocket and still pulls off "wow" plays escaping pressure every week. It's been Wilson's best season, yet he's behind guys like Derek Carr, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers.
Carson Palmer is also a little under-represented. He's a legitimate MVP candidate, yet only fifth in quarterback voting.
Adam Jones, Bengals cornerback/returner
We have a soft spot for Jones, who is playing better than ever in his 11th season. Who would have guessed that he'd be one of the last men standing as a quality starter from the 2005 draft?
Jones is a worthy candidate as a slot cornerback or a return specialist. But he's only No. 12 in votes among cornerbacks and No. 9 as a returner. The return slot is often where a deserving player from another position sneaks in. Jones is second among punt returners with at least 10 returns; that's likely his best chance to get in.
Reshad Jones, Dolphins safety
This forgettable Dolphins season shouldn't prevent Jones' outstanding season from being recognized. He's a run-stopping playmaker who also holds his own in coverage. He's currently sixth among strong safeties. Charles Woodson is way out in front of this group, but Jones is having the best season at the position.
Tyrann Mathieu, Cardinals safety
Alright, so Honey Badger doesn't have to worry about missing the Pro Bowl. He's second among free safeties, even though you could easily list him at cornerback. We list him here because he's more than 50,000 votes behind Panthers safety Kurt Coleman. Carolina fans should be lauded for their dedication, but that's a crime against logical football thinking. Mathieu is a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate. The Honey Badger does care:
Mike Daniels, Packers defensive tackle
Daniels is listed at defensive tackle, even though he's certainly versatile enough to be listed as a defensive end. His solid stats (four official sacks) don't show the wreckage he causes on a weekly basis. ProFootball Focus lists him with 33 hurries and six QB hits. Perhaps no player has earned more money this year than Daniels, a free agent-to-be. He's currently 10th in the voting at defensive tackle. We'd also be happy to see Cardinals stalwart Calais Campbell get more love; he's fifth among defensive tackles in votes.
Cliff Avril, Seahawks defensive end
It's been a strange Seahawks season. Russell Wilson is playing better than ever, yet the team has five losses. The strength of the defense, so long in the secondary, has been up front. Michael Bennett and Avril have played like top-five defensive ends all season. Bennett is getting the love from the voters, but Avril is getting overlooked in ninth place overall. Nearly 30 years old, Avril is still among the fastest players in the league around the edge. He has been disruptive in every game he's played. He should not be behind guys like Jared Allen.
Malcolm Butler, Chris Harris, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, cornerbacks
The owner of the biggest play in Super Bowl history has pulled off a more difficult feat in his second season. Butler's developed from a part-time player to a legitimate stopper. He's tasked with covering the opposing team's best receiver, and has done an exceptional job. (His game against Odell Beckham is a great example.)
Anthony Barr, Vikings linebacker
Barr is the NFC's answer to Jamie Collins. He is an asset as a pass rusher, a running-back heat-seeker and a legitimately strong coverage option. Collins is second among outside linebackers despite his recent illness that kept him off the field. Barr is only 11th despite an array of skills that defines defensive versatility in 2015. He's made the leap.
DeAngelo Williams, Steelers running back
This is the best Williams has looked since 2008, when he was a second-team All-Pro. Few backs combine Williams' receiving, blocking, and running skills. He's almost more patient as a running than Le'Veon Bell, always waiting for the excellent Steelers offensive line to open up holes. The explosiveness and tackle-breaking ability have been the biggest surprises. Essentially he's replaced the best back in the league, and the Steelers haven't missed a beat. Williams is only 14th in the voting, which is criminal. We'd also suggest Thomas Rawls, but he's not even listed as an option!