My unexpected Pro Bowl pick is none other than kicker Graham Gano. Gano will be in the midst of a position battle this offseason against veteran Neil Rackers. While Rackers has the better career track record, the kicker who performs the best will get the job. That is why I believe Graham Gano could be in for a big year. If Gano can beat out Rackers who is a pretty established kicker, then we could finally see our kicking game be a weapon on offense.
Now I know it is easily to look at Gano's numbers and think I'm crazy, but remember 5 of his 10 missed field goals (and his only missed extra point) were blocked, at no fault of Gano's. On top of that you consistently saw penetration that makes you wonder if Gano felt the need to rush a couple of his other kicks. The additional late round offensive linemen the Skins drafted this year, could mean that the Redskins can actually give Gano the time to get the kick away.
Another factor that could favor Gano this year is a stronger offense. While it shouldn't be expected to be a touchdown machine, which limits field goal attempts (Pats, Packers, etc. ), it should allow for Gano to have some additional shorter field goal attempts, which should also increase his average.
In addition to the reasons above, I think Gano can have a pretty big year for two other reasons. One, Gano was at his best in the 2nd half of games making 15 of 18 attempts (including overtime). The other thing I like is that Gano finished the season strong connecting on 14 of 15 attempts in December and January, with the lone miss being a 36 yard FG attempt that was blocked.
Now I doubt Gano will actually make the Pro Bowl or All-star list (if they eliminate the Pro Bowl), but I think he could very well be in the running which is a huge plus for the Redskins. What do you guys think?