The Dolphins exceeded expectations when they had six players selected to the Pro Bowl team. But were the right players selected? Were some unjustly left off the team? We attempt to answer that highly debatable question.

Let's start by listing the six Pro Bowl selections — RB Ricky Williams, DE Jason Taylor, DT Tim Bowens, LB Zach Thomas, CB Patrick Surtain and FS Brock Marion.

In addition, TE Randy McMichael, K Olindo Mare and CB Sam Madison were chosen as second alternates, with G Jamie Nails and special-teamer Tommy Hendricks also chosen as alternates.

Let's begin with the no-brainers, and that would be Williams, Taylor and Surtain.

Notice we didn't include Thomas on that list, even though many figured he was a lock to make the team. We don't share that opinion because we feel Thomas has had a solid, but not great, season.

Yes, Thomas has made a lot of tackles, but the Dolphins defense is designed to free him up to make a lot of tackles. The real gauge of Thomas' success has to be making plays at or behind the line of scrimmage and creating turnovers.

Quite simply, he has fallen short in both categories. Ask Zach, and he's probably tell you this isn't one of his best seasons.

That having been said, it's certainly not an outrage that he's on the Pro Bowl team, but it also wouldn't have been wrong to leave him off.

The same goes for Marion, who simply is an overrated player. Yes, he has three picks this season and he came up with a big pass breakup at Indy, but he also has been victimized in the passing game and he isn't a major factor in run support.

Marion developed a reputation as a big-play guy a couple of years, and that got him in the Pro Bowl this year.

Bowens also was a borderline Pro Bowl guy. It's not that he doesn't do a good job, because he does.

But Bowens is a run-stuffing specialist who always comes off the field in passing situations. Besides, you'd be hard-pressed to find a difference between the play of Bowens and fellow defensive tackles Larry Chester and Jermaine Haley. All three have been solid.

Coach Dave Wannstedt listed five defensive players on Wednesday when he was asked which Dolphins deserved Pro Bowl recognition, and Bowens wasn't one of them.

In all fairness, Bowens probably was more deserving than Marion, but he doesn't really strike us as Pro Bowl material this season.

Among the alternates, Madison has had a mediocre season by his lofty standards and probably got the votes he got because of his reputation.

McMichael simply hasn't caught enough balls recently to have gotten more votes, while a slow start proved too much for Mare to overcome.

Among players who got overlooked, the first who comes to mind is fullback Rob Konrad. Williams hasn't rushed for over 1,600 yards without blocking help, and Konrad also has been a factor in the passing game.

Konrad probably played as well as any fullback around, and should at least have been an alternate.

Elsewhere, Nails got the most publicity along the offensive line, but it's somewhat surprising he was the only Dolphins lineman recognized given Williams' great season.

Defensively, it's simple. If Bowens gets voted to the team, then Chester and/or Haley should at least been alternates because there was practically no difference in the way the three played.

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