By John Turney
Here is our crack at reading the tea leaves this year:
We think these players will get 35-40 or more votes
LG— Quenton Nelson
S—Justin Simmons—We picked him last year and this. The rest of the media will discover him this year.
K—Justin Tucker—Josh Lambo had a slightly better year, but Tucker will take the vote. However, maybe he is one who will get less than forty votes.
P—Brett Kern—Another one who we think is a lock, but maybe short of 40 votes. Maybe we should put him in "probables".
KR—Cordarrelle Patterson—Could also fall below 40 votes.
These players will get the slot but will have fewer than 35 votes
C—Rodney Hudson—He's been better in past years, but center is a position where you get some "rep" votes. He was very good, but there were better centers in our view. Jason Kelce will also gets some notes, but there are several players "coming on". So there will be some diversity in the voting.
RT—Ryan Ramczyk—La'el Collins could challenge as well as Mitchell Schwartz and
Zach Martin-only reason he's not a lock is Brandon Brooks will get plenty of votes. We think Martin is in class by himself but the voting policy (to the extent voters follow it) is to vote for a left guard and a right guard and Brooks is a special player with special physical qualities.
Edge—Wide open, knowing the voters it will likely be TJ Watt over Chandler Jones and Shaq Barrett and Za'Darius Smith. The second slot is harder. Smith and Jones will fight over it and we think Barrett will be fourth in the voting. Cameron Jordan should get some votes, too, as well as Danielle Hunter. Those two 40 ends will make things interesting. All are worthy of All-Pro. We will see who gets it, but we think Watt will score one. After that, it's a maybe.
DI—Cameron Heyward will likely get this slot, but Grady Jarrett will make it interesting and others interior players will get some votes.
S—Jamal Adams. Lots of safeties will get votes (they always do) but we think Adams will take this slot over Budda Baker and Anthony Harris and others.
DB—Richard Sherman. This slot gets lots of candidates every year but our guess is Richard Sherman will take it.
PR—Deonte Harris is our guess, but voting will be varied some.
Impossible to tell
Flex—Could be anyone. McCaffrety will get some votes, Travis Kelce will, too. Derrick Henry and some other running backs. Cooper Kupp should get some as a slot. Too close to tell.
WR—The second slot here is wide open. Chris Godwin is likely the one but it could be Julio Jones as well.
Tremaine Edmunds as well. Our best guess is standbys Keuchly and Wagner take the two slots, edging Kendricks, but we could be wrong here. It's a tight race.
So, this is all in fun, but there are always surprises and that enhances the fun.