There are two top contenders, right tackle Lane Johnson and middle linebacker Jordan Hicks. Johnson probably won't make it as long as Jason Peters is still an automatic selection, unless the Eagles absolutely dominate the conference or something.
NFC middle linebacker also is a tough Pro Bowl nut to crack, when Seattle's Bobby Wagner and Dallas's Sean Lee are healthy. But Hicks' nose for the ball might get him there. His 11 takeaways in his first two NFL seasons are the most since the Steelers' Jack Ham, 45 years ago.
With Johnson, you always have the prospect of another drug-test problem, which would result in a two-year ban and pretty much end his career. With Hicks, there is the prospect of injury, which dropped him in the 2015 draft to the third round and ended his rookie season early. But Hicks played 95 percent of the defensive snaps last season. If I have to choose between the two, I'll take Hicks, partly because he doesn't have a Peters blocking his path.
It's a tight race. The answer, clearly, is right tackle Lane Johnson, who would have made it in 2016 if he hadn't been suspended for 10 games for a second PED offense. Those offenses might color voters' opinions, even though both were the result of idiocy rather than duplicity. If that's the case, then the next most likely player to go is tight end Zach Ertz, Carson Wentz's new favorite target since the trade of Jordan Matthews. As the new favorite, Ertz, who is a pedestrian blocker, could compile 85 catches, eight or nine touchdowns, and a 13-yard average and compete with Greg Olsen, Jordan Reed, and Jimmy Graham for Pro Bowl honors. Ertz might never be a better player than Wentz, but he might have a better chance to go to the Pro Bowl than Wentz, who competes with Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, Matt Stafford, and Russell Wilson.
The one who won't play a snap this season. Sidney Jones will be the player who finally gives the Eagles an elite cornerback, once he fully recovers from Achilles tendon surgery. He's got the whole package of speed, toughness, decent size, and instinctual coverage ability. You have to be good to be taken in the second round coming off an injury like that, and he is every bit that good. I almost picked Jordan Hicks, because he is approaching that caliber of play, but his history of injury works against him. Derek Barnett is another candidate, but defensive end is a tough position to break through and make the Pro Bowl, and he's not playing in a system in which blitzers create gaps for everyone else to slip through. Crazy long shot? Mack Hollins. I think he's going to be great. Not just good. The question is when.