Pro Bowl rosters were released today, and the Patriots had the most selections in the AFC with 8 players-7 of them selected as starters.
Perennial Pro Bowl selectee (but not often attendee) Tom Brady will be joined by WR Wes Welker, TE Rob Gronkowski, G's Logan Mankins and Brian Waters, NT Vince Wilfork, and DE Andre Carter (who will obviously not play given his injury) as starters, and special teamer Matt Slater will be the 8th Patriot on the team.
Brady is a regular on the Pro Bowl roster, and Welker certainly knows his way around Honululu as well. While Gronkowski was something of a surprising selection as a rookie last year, in his sophomore season the record setting tight end was a no-brainer. Both guard selections are regular attendees-and typically deservingly so-but at this point I wonder if it's not just a name recognition thing amongst the fans who just fill in a name for some of those trench positions. Then again, who else are you gonna take from the AFC at guard? Can you even name another guard? I didn't think so.
Vince is an obvious pick, the only d-tackle in the league better than him is Ngata, and he's going as well. I love Carter as a pick for the recognition of what he's meant to this defense, it's too bad he won't be playing. Slater's a solid player as well, finding a better special-teamer would be hard.
The biggest snub on the team is obviously Aaron Hernandez-although I suppose I understand the difficulty in sending a pair of tight ends from the same team to the Pro Bowl-he's an amazing talent who deserves the recognition. I hope he makes it as a reserve somehow. Gates is a great pick at tight end-perhaps the best tight end talent in the league-but there are at least a dozen tight ends in the league with better numbers than he has, and Hernandez has a full 100 more receiving yards than Gates, who is probably making it on name recognition alone, as Dustin Keller of the Jets also has much better numbers than he.
All in all, a pretty good day for the Patriots. Now we just have to hope that all 8 players are busy preparing for the Superbowl that week and can't make the game.