2011 Pro Bowl: Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Devin McCourty Headline Patriots

The New England Patriots were second to the Atlanta Falcons in number of players voted to the Pro Bowl with six. Three of them are starters -- Tom Brady, Logan Mankins and Vince Wilfork -- while three others are reserve -- Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo and Brandon Meriweather. SB Nation's Pats Pulpit has a run down of the Pats Pro Bowl list including the near-snubs and a surprise:

I think most Patriots fans will be elated with the fact that Devin McCourty and Jerod Mayo have been voted in as Pro Bowlers.  While they both certainly deserved the nod, a lot of us thought that they would get snubbed, as neither player is a household name quite yet.

Mayo was the rookie of the year in 2008 so I think he has at least some name recognition. And McCourty is making people recognize him as he's second in the NFL in interceptions this year. He's also one of the best players on the secondary of the best team. That doesn't hurt.

The biggest surprise to get a Pro Bowl nod is safety Brandon Meriweather.  While Meriweather hasn't had a bad season, he hasn't been nearly as effective as he was last season, when he recorded five interceptions and got his first Pro Bowl nod.

Meriweather was a little surprising to me as well. But if someone's on the fence about selecting a player, playing on the best team probably helps your case. The fans' vote is mostly name recognition but the coaches and players vote isn't far off from that (as Logan Mankins, who missed half the season, would attest).

Check out Pats Pulpit for more on the Patriots Pro Bowlers.

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