Raiders Pro Bowl Analysis

The NFL announced this year's Pro Bowl rosters on Tuesday and three Oakland Raiders have made the AFC squad. As is the case with these things, there are always a few players who are bound to get snubbed and the Raiders have their fare share of players who missed the cut. Still others have an outside shot at making the team.

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, punter Shane Lechler and defensive tackle Richard Seymour will represent the Oakland Raiders in this year's Pro Bowl, the NFL announced on Tuesday.

Despite being hobbled by an injured ankle for much of the season, this is Asomugha's fourth consecutive selection. He is slated to start for the AFC across from Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets.

This is also Lechler's fourth consecutive Pro Bowl and sixth overall. This is Seymour's first Pro Bowl selection since 2006 and sixth overall. Lechler will start at punter while Seymour is listed as a reserve defensive tackle behind Baltimore's Haloti Ngata and New England's Vince Wilfork.

Nnamdi Asomugha (Getty)

Nnamdi Asomugha

Stats: 11 games, 17 tackles, 2 assists, 6 pass deflections

Pro Bowl(s): 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

Analysis: Since 2007, Asomugha has recorded only three interceptions and has none this year. Of course, that's an indication of his reputation as the league's best cover corner and the respect he's earned from opposing quarterbacks.

Last year, people jumped on the Revis bandwagon and as a result, most outside of Raider Nation relegated Asomugha to the second best corner in the league.

Asomugha has never put up the flashy numbers but it's clear from simply watching him play why he's held in such high regard. With his combination of size and ability, the only thing that will deny Asomugha of the title of the league's top corner is his own age.

Asomugha has lost more time in 2010 than in any other time in his career. That being said, week to week, there's been no greater neutralizer than Asomugha and for that alone his Pro Bowl selection is worthy.

Shane Lechler (Getty)

Shane Lechler

Stats: 72 punts, 3,384 yards, 47.0 average, long of 68 yards, 26 punts inside the 20

Pro Bowl(s): 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

Analysis: If there ever was a sure thing on the Raiders roster, Lechler is it. Lechler's 47.0 average is the second highest mark in the NFL. The Cowboys' Matt McBriar owns a 48.4 average but has 15 fewer punts than Lechler.

Not much to say here. Lechler is a Pro Bowler through and through.

Richard Seymour (Getty)

Richard Seymour

Stats: 12 games, 36 tackles, 12 assists, 5.5 sacks for 36 yards, 2 pass deflections

Pro Bowl(s): 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010

Analysis: Seymour began the season on a tear and was an integral part of Oakland's success. However, since his infamous encounter with Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger in Week 11, Seymour's play has gone down a few notches.

You can really make the argument that fellow defensive tackle Tommy Kelly is more deserving a Pro Bowl nod, but Seymour's selection is based on a combination of productivity, reputation and Oakland's successful 2010 turnaround.

Of course, Seymour is playing out a one-year franchise tag and a Pro Bowl selection certainly helps his cause in trying to get that big offseason deal.

It's difficult to argue against the Raiders' three selections or any of the other Pro Bowl selections. That being said, there are always a few players who are snubbed and there are a few notables on the Oakland roster who are deserving but just fell short.

Jacoby Ford (Getty)

Jacoby Ford

Stats: 24 receptions for 435 yards and 2 touchdowns, 51 kickoff returns for 1,244 yards and 3 touchdowns

Analysis: Among the many surprises this year for the Raiders, Jacoby Ford is easily one of the biggest. Coming into the season, head coach Tom Cable emphasized the importance of improving the return game and no player responded more to that than Ford.

The fourth round rookie out of Clemson has not only established himself as Oakland's most dynamic receiver, he is already among the NFL's best in the return game. Ford is sixth in the NFL in kickoff return yards with 1,244 and second among rookies, only behind Marc Mariani of Tennessee with 1,411. Ford is tied Seattle's Leon Washington with three kickoff returns for touchdowns.

With all due respect to Mariani, who is starting at kick returner for the AFC, Ford was clearly snubbed of an invitation. While Mariani has more total yards (and six more returns), Ford's three touchdown returns should have been the trump card in the argument. In anything, the Jets' Brad Smith has more yards (1,432) and touchdown returns (2) than does Mariani.

Sebastian Janikowski (Getty)

Sebastian Janikowski

Stats: 32 of 40 field goals made (80 percent), long of 59 yards, 39 of 39 PATs, 135 total points

Analysis: It was an interesting year for Sebastian Janikowski. In 2009, Janikowski hit a career-high 89.7 percent of his field goal attempts and only missed three all year long. Four weeks into 2010, Janikowski had already missed five field goals, including a potential game-winner in the closing seconds against Arizona.

But Janikowski recovered nicely, kicking his way to a career-high 135 points. That is the highest mark in the AFC and second only to David Akers (136) in the entire league.

Baltimore's Billy Cundiff got the nod for the AFC, and while Cundiff has a superior field goal percentage to Janikwoski, he is well behind Rob Bironas' 95.7 percentage. The word is Janikowski is the top alternative behind Cundiff but unless something drastic happens, it looks like Janikowski will be snugged.

Tommy Kelly (Getty)

Tommy Kelly

Stats: 15 games, 34 tackles, 20 assists, 7 sacks for 37 yards, 1 pass deflection

Analysis: Tommy Kelly came into 2010 with a mission. He entered the season a svelte 300 pounds and had perhaps the best season of his career. His seven sacks in 2010 are more than what he tallied in the previous three seasons combined. In addition, among AFC defensive tackles, Kelly is number one in sacks.

As stated above, you can argue that Kelly is more deserving of the reserve spot than Richard Seymour. You really can't argue against Vince Wilfork and Haloti Ngata—although Ngata plays defensive end in Baltimore's 3-4 scheme. That being said, Kelly is an alternate for the AFC and should any a roster spot open up, he very well might make his first ever Pro Bowl.

Darren McFadden (Getty)

Darren McFadden

Stats: 13 games, 223 carries for 1,157 yards and 7 touchdowns, 47 receptions for 507 yards and 3 touchdowns

Analysis: You can't say enough about Darren McFadden's 2010 season. As we've said at S&BI, this year was going to make or break McFadden's career in Oakland and it's clear to say he responded to the pressure.

McFadden tallied career highs in nearly every category. Health was a major reason why he revitalized his career but just from watching him play, it's clear that McFadden made quite the attitude adjustment during the offseason. Everyone knew what he was capable of with the ball in his hands, but he went from being an injury-prone athlete to a dynamic, physical running back.

Despite his awesome season, it's going to take a miracle for him to make the Pro Bowl unfortunately. Maurice Jones-Drew is listed as the starter with Arian Foster and Jamaal Charles set to back up. Not only would McFadden need someone to pull out of the roster, he would have to compete against Chris Johnson, Rashard Mendenhall and Peyton Hillis.

A Pro Bowl selection might not be in the cards for McFadden this year, but he's done enough to put himself on the map for next year.

Zach Miller (Getty)

Zach Miller

Stats: 14 games, 55 receptions for 654 yards and 5 touchdowns

Analysis: It was a strange year for Zach Miller. Despite grabbing a career-high five touchdowns this season, Miller was less a part of the offense as in year's past. Of course, that is thanks in large part to the improved running game but Miller's 55 receptions and 654 yards are the lowest he's tallied since his rookie year in 2007.

With that said, recent news suggests Miller will make the Pro Bowl roster. Antonio Gates, who was listed as the AFC starter, was placed on the IR due to a foot injury. Jacksonville's Marcedes Lewis will assume the starting position but Miller, who was reported to be the top alternate, will take Lewis' spot. If that's the case, Miller will be making his first Pro Bowl in what some might say is a down year for him.

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