Learning the 9-2 Ravens have six players leading their respective positions in voting for the Pro bowl is no surprise, but the list of names is a change from the past with linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs missing large portions of the season with injuries.
Free safety Ed Reed, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, and fullback Vonta Leach each made the Pro Bowl last season for the Ravens and are once again leading their respective positions in the voting. Joining them are cornerback Cary Williams, strong safety Bernard Pollard, and kick returner Jacoby Jones when the latest voting totals were released on Wednesday.
Often maligned by Ravens fans, Williams has played better as the season has progressed and is tied for the AFC lead with four interceptions. Pollard leads the team with 82 tackles this season with the perennial leader Lewis being sidelined for the last five games with a torn right triceps. Neither defensive back has been selected to the Pro Bowl in their respective careers.
Jones appears to be the favorite in the AFC to go to Honolulu as a kick returner after being named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice this season. He has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and his 63-yard punt return for a touchdown was the difference in the Ravens’ 13-10 win over Pittsburgh two weeks ago.
The news of Reed and Ngata leading their respective spots is no shock, but their underwhelming performances — at least by their incredible standards — would leave their inclusion up for debate. Reed is an eight-time selection to the game while Ngata has been named to the last three Pro Bowls. Leach is a two-time Pro Bowl selection at the fullback position, one coming in his first season in Baltimore and another with Houston in 2010.
Ngata leads the team with 219,581 votes and is followed in order by Williams (141,660), Leach (127,610), Reed (84,017), Jones (80,278), and Pollard (57,875).
Voting continues through Dec. 17, and teams will be announced on Dec. 26. The Pro Bowl will be played on Jan. 27, 2013 in Honolulu.
The AFC and NFC teams are selected based on voting by players, coaches, and fans with each counting for one-third of the final outcome.