*Three Giants writers debate which player will make his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2017: *
The New York Giants report next week for the start of the offseason workout program. At this time last year, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, safety Landon Collins and special teamer Dwayne Harris were just embarking on a season that ended in them making the Pro Bowl for the first time in their careers.
So who is next to check that box?
In this week's "Cover 3" on Giants.com, we asked our writers about which player will break out and make his first Pro Bowl in 2017. Here is what they had to say:
TIME FOR VERNON TO GET RECOGNIZED
By John Schmeelk
I think Olivier Vernon is the easy answer here. He has played at a Pro Bowl level for two straight seasons, but hasn't put up the raw sack numbers that usually garner Pro Bowl recognition. He also isn't a household name when people think of the top pass rushers in the league. Despite not having the raw sack totals (16 over the past two seasons), he is always near the top of the league in quarterback hits and hurries. He is bound to have a season sooner rather than later where he gets home a few more times and catapults to double-digit sacks. Combine that with what should be the overall success of the Giants this year, and a great chance for the team to make the playoffs, a Pro Bowl bid for Vernon should be in the cards.
IT'S SNACK TIME
By Dan Salomone
Like Richard Sherman in 2012, defensive tackle Damon Harrison joined the list of players who earned first-team All-Pro honors but were snubbed from the Pro Bowl in the same year. Of course, anyone would take the former over the latter because it's a much more elite honor, but it's an anomaly that should be corrected in the near future. Harrison led all NFL defensive tackles last year with a career-high 86 tackles (55 solo), nine more than runner-up Linval Joseph, a former Giant and current Viking. His acquisition shored up a Giants defense that improved from 24th to second in yards allowed per carry. Time to add a Pro Bowl nod to his resume. The Giants just hope he won't be able to play in it because he'll be busy preparing for the Super Bowl.
LOOK TO THE SECONDARY
By Lance Medow
Keep in mind the Pro Bowl is more of a popularity contest than about actual production on the field. Case in point: Damon Harrison in 2016. The reason that's important to note is because you have to take into consideration not only the upside of the player but the competition that player faces at his position across the NFC on an annual basis. Landon Collins made the Pro Bowl in his second year in the league and if you look at the recent history of the game, there's been a great deal of turnover at safety with a player at that position making the Pro Bowl for the first time on nearly an annual basis over the last decade.
That's why I'm going with Darian Thompson. Yes, he has a very small sample size (just two regular season games) and also has to prove he can stay healthy, but the intangibles are there for him to put together a Pro Bowl season. Thompson is the perfect complement to Collins' skillset. He's a centerfielder who was a ball hawk at Boise State (set Mountain West record with 19 career interceptions) and when you have the luxury to play alongside the likes of corners Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple, that's only going to give Thompson more freedom to roam the field. Thompson would have to make huge leaps in his sophomore campaign, but then again who saw Landon Collins making the Pro Bowl this quickly?