Which Bolts will be Pro Bowl bound?

The only thing that has floundered as much as the Chargers in recent years is the Pro Bowl. After enough complaints, the Pro Bowl has gotten a major overhaul. There's a chance this year could be the last Pro Bowl. So who on the Chargers will make the roster? Based off of training camp, these are the predictions...

OFFENSE

Makes It

TE Antonio Gates

An unhealthy receiver corps means more opportunities for Gates. The team cannot rely on Ryan Mathews inside the 20, which means Rivers will most likely be targeting No. 85. Ken Whisenhunt has said the team will be taking less shots down field, which means more balls going toward the middle. Gates may not have the YAC abilities he used to possess, but with his established name and a solid year fans will vote Gates into his ninth Pro Bowl.

WR Vincent Brown

Brown could be a surprise replacement for the Pro Bowl. After you take out the wide receivers whose teams make the Super Bowl and the players who get injured, Brown could get the nod to play in the Pro Bowl. If Malcom Floyd cannot stay healthy (which is highly likely), Brown will become the new No. 1 for the Chargers. A 900-yard season could be enough to get the job done.

Misses Out

Ryan Mathews

Even if Mathews rushes for 1,000 yards and has 10-plus touchdowns, he's not going to get the votes over Arian Foster or Doug Martin. Unfortunately for Mathews, his reputation in the NFL fans' eyes will never be repaired. He'll only make the Pro Bowl again via replacement.

Philip Rivers

Even if Mike McCoy and Whisenhunt fix Rivers, he won't make it to the Pro Bowl this season. Rivers could be looking at his fifth 4,000-yard season in six years, but his turnover count will still be too high. The Chargers must make more upgrades to the offensive line before Rivers regains his Pro Bowl form.

DEFENSE

Makes It

Corey Liuget

This season could be Liuget's coming-out party. He may be the only guaranteed Pro Bowl starter for this Chargers team. The only defensive lineman with more passes deflected than Liguet (nine) last season was J.J. Watt (16). If he can continue those numbers and reach double-digit sacks, the league will have no choice but to recognize Liuget for the game-changer he is.

Manti Te'o

How does a rookie linebacker who missed all but one game of the preseason make the Pro Bowl? He's Mant Te'o. The top selling jersey amongst rookies, Te'o is already a fan favorite. After an impressive camp prior his foot injury, anything more than a solid rookie year will get Te'o back home to Hawaii.

Eric Weddle

Weddle won team MVP last year, but his interception total was significantly lower than his 2011 campaign. Although only posting three interceptions last year, he had 83 tackles and two forced fumbles. Expect Weddle to reach 90-100 tackles this season. Even if he only records three or four interceptions, he is still one of the elite safeties in the game.

Misses Out

Donald Butler

Yes, it seems odd to say Te'o would make the Pro Bowl over Butler, a proven stud and defensive captain, but the Pro Bowl is a glorified popularity contest. Bulter will have the best season of his career, no doubt. But not enough people are familiar with the former third-round pick. The Chargers are going to be media deprived as the No. 27 ranked team in the AP Power Rankings. Without proper coverage of Butler on the national scene, he will not get enough votes to make it.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Makes It

Mike Scifres

The constantly snubbed Scifres deserves to be a Pro Bowler. He has yet to make the Pro Bowl despite being voted to the Chargers 50th Anniversary Team. With 30 punts last year inside the 20 and a career best 48 yards-per-punt average, he's the knight in shining armor on this anemic special teams unit. The punters who make the Pro Bowl always come from the teams who use their punter most. The Raiders, Chiefs and Redskins have had a constant representative at punter. So for the Chargers' sake, let's hope Scifres continues to miss out on the Pro Bowl. Just don't count on it.



Which Chargers will earn Pro Bowl invites? Discuss inside the message boards.



Brian Ducoffe is in his third year of covering San Diego sports. He has been published on Fox Sports San Diego and University Link Magazine. Follow Brian on twitter @brianducoffe.

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