The NFL will announce the Pro Bowl teams tonight. The Cowboys won’t have a lot of players, especially judging by fans’ balloting, but they will have a handful.
Receiver Dez Bryant deserves his first; tight end Jason Witten likely will make his eighth; linebacker DeMarcus Ware hasn’t had his best year but could make his seventh on reputation; and kicker Dan Bailey probably won’t make it though he has a case.
Only Witten and Ware ranked in the top five in fan balloting. Witten was third and Ware second at their respective positions.
Witten should be one of two tight ends, along with Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez. He has set the NFL record for most catches in a single season for a tight end with 103. New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, who kept Witten out last year, leads the league in dropped passes.
Ware has only 11.5 sacks this season, tying him for third in the NFC. He might not play in the game, even if selected, because of injuries he has played through this season. Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer has played better than Ware, and deserves it more, and could end up going as an alternate.
Bryant, who is in his third season, is the most deserving of the Cowboys. He should be one of the four receivers selected, with Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, Chicago’s Brandon Marshall and one other, probably Atlanta’s Roddy White. Bryant ranks third among NFC wideouts with 88 catches and fourth in yards with 1,311. His 12 touchdowns ranks second among NFC wideouts. Balloting for players and coaches took place last week, though, before Bryant had nine catches for 224 yards and two touchdowns against the Saints.
Bailey has missed only two field goals, though he ranks only sixth in the NFC in scoring with 128 points. His .933 field-goal percentage is tops among NFC kickers who have played all season. (Washington’s Kai Forbath is a perfect 17-for-17, but he has played only 10 games.)
The Pro Bowl teams are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches, with each group’s vote counting a third. The 43-man rosters for the AFC and the NFC will be announced at 6 p.m. on The NFL Network.