Posted: 3:01 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
By Mark Sandritter
The Super Bowl isn't for two weeks, but the Pro Bowl will help to fill the void this week. Unlike previous seasons, the 2014 Pro Bowl isn't conference affiliated, so the roster selection will be unique.
The Pro Bowl usually serves as a meager appetizer for Super Bowl-hungry football fans, but the NFL is attempting to upgrade the interest in the annual all-star game with a new format. The matchup of NFC vs. AFC is no more and instead this year's Pro Bowl will be based on a fantasy football draft.
The draft will be held in two parts, with Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders serving as alumni captains and selecting the teams. The first part of the draft will be held on Tuesday when Sanders and Rice will select interior offensive and defensive linemen, fullbacks and special teams players. Playing captains will also be selected on Tuesday. The captains were selected by vote totals. J.J. Watt and Jamaal Charles form one pairing with Drew Brees and Robert Quinn the other.
The Day 1 portion of the draft will begin with a coin toss. The winner will have the option to pick a captain pairing or the right to pick first during the drafts on Tuesday and Wednesday. From there, Rice and Sanders will alternate draft selections, pulling from a pool of the 88 players selected to the Pro Bowl. That pool changed dramatically recently with the Seattle and Denver players selected having to be replaced by alternates. With a number of injury replacements also subbing in, the rosters are dramatically different than the ones originally announced.
While most of the attention will be focused on Day 2 of the draft, when the skill players are selected, the first 22 players will be selected on Tuesday. Teams are limited to a certain number of players at each position. When they fill their quota, the undrafted players at that position will automatically be assigned to the other team. For example, if Rice used his first three picks on defensive tackles, the remaining three Pro Bowl defensive tackles would automatically go to Team Sanders. On Tuesday, each team will either draft or be assigned three defensive tackles, three offensive guards, two centers, one fullback, one punter and one special teamer.
Day 1 of the Pro Bowl Draft will occur during the afternoon and will be broadcast on NFL Network at 8 p.m. ET.