The Oakland Raiders probably aren't where they want to be right now, but they've been playing above the expectations of most around the league thus far. Nobody really knows how the Carson Palmer trade will actually work out in the end, but there are plenty of really good players on the team, and definitely some good coaches. Now that the 2012 Pro Bowl is open for fan voting, it's time to recognize some of those players.
Of course, you can go through and just vote for every Raider on the ballot if you want - and of course, some of you will, but we'll take a quick look at some of the outstanding players this season and how they're deserving of making the Pro Bowl, even if the game itself is really a snoozefest these days. The honor is still important to most players, and although fan voting doesn't take precedence, the NFL assures the fans that it is a part of the process.
RB Darren McFadden - He might be a little bit banged up at this point in the season, but McFadden has been one o the best running backs this season. He had over 1000 yards last season, and that's with missing three games. Through six games, he's above 600 yards and four touchdowns, and is the main weapon of the Raiders offense. There's no question that he should be worthy of the Pro Bowl if the numbers keep up.
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey - What a turnaround for this guy, yeah? He has been very disappointing since being made the seventh overall pick, but his 2011 campaign thus far has done a lot to change that. He's got 434 yards through six games - more than his total over fifteen games last season.
DL Richard Seymour - He's had five sacks so far this season and looks incredibly fresh out there. Many thought the Raiders gave up too much for him at the time, but Seymour has been playing lights out. Without Seymour, the defense would have no anchor.
P Shane Lechler - The perennial pro bowler leads the league in gross average and is likely a lock to make it. His combination of sheer power and ability to pin opponents deep is legendary at this point.
K Sebastian Janikowski - Seabass is out with a hamstring pull, but if he only misses the one game, he could be in line for a Pro Bowl bid. He is as accurate as any kicker on 50+ and has the strongest leg in the league. He's having his best season ever and is worthy of a spot.
Those are just the best for right now. There are plenty that might be deserving of your vote: Kamerion Wimbley has been very solid, as has safety Michael Huff. Stanford Routt has been a great number one corner for the team, and the entire offensive line have had some really, really good games. Jason Campbell might have been a candidate before going down an injury, too.
For now, head on over to the ballot to cast your vote - and make sure McFadden gets one of 'em.