8 unheralded players worthy of your Pro Bowl vote

Esten McLaren, Mitch Sanderson, Michael Amato, Michael McClymont 5d ago
Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Voting for the 2018 Pro Bowl opened Tuesday and can be found here. While choices are fairly obvious at the most prominent skill positions, it can be quite difficult to make selections in some less glorified areas that don't have obvious stats to back the candidacies.

Here's a look at eight underappreciated selections to help voters fill out their ballots.

Evan Engram, TE, Giants

Everyone is probably going to ponder giving their vote to the usual suspects in Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, or Zach Ertz, but don't forget about Engram. The Giants rookie has been fantastic on a 1-8 team and is tied for second in the league in touchdowns among tight ends. Engram also has 40 catches and is averaging more than 11 yards per reception, and is doing it all even though opposing defenses are keying on him thanks to numerous injuries in the Giants' receiving corps. - Michael Amato

Will Fuller, RS, Texans

Fuller started his season with seven touchdowns through his first four games, but hasn't found the end zone since Tom Savage took over for an injured Deshaun Watson in Week 9. With plenty of qualified receivers having a larger sample of production, give Fuller the vote as a returner and allow him the chance to experience another high-end quarterback. - Esten McLaren

Tommy Bohanon, FB, Jaguars

The trend of sending fullbacks who are actually just large running backs to the Pro Bowl needs to stop. Bohanon has no rushing yards on just two attempts, but his blocking ability and overall performance can be credited in part with reviving a true power running attack alongside Leonard Fournette in Jacksonville. Under Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone, the Jaguars have looked like a playoff team despite Blake Bortles remaining their quarterback, in large part due to what Bohanon has brought to the table. - Mitch Sanderson

Kevin Byard, FS, Titans

Most fans would be shocked to learn Byard leads the league in interceptions with six. On a nondescript Titans defense, the sophomore is making a name for himself by adding 51 tackles and a league-leading 18 passes defensed. Those stats are often dominated by corners, not free safeties. - Michael McClymont

Darius Slay, CB, Lions

Slay ranks as Pro Football Focus' No. 9 cornerback. The keystone of a Lions pass defense ranked 12th in the league by Football Outsiders, it's largely Slay's presence that has the team ranked fifth in DVOA against opposing No. 1 receivers. Slay shares the league lead with 13 passes broken up, and sits third with four interceptions. - McLaren

DeForest Buckner, DT, 49ers

Buckner's 45 tackles trail only Khalil Mack among defensive linemen, and he's managed to excel this season on a woeful 49ers squad. The second-year defensive tackle also disrupts the game in other ways, recording three passes defensed, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. Buckner certainly isn't the reason San Francisco has managed only one win in 2017. - Amato

Chris Jones, DE, Chiefs

No longer known as the guy who had the unfortunate incident at the combine, Jones has been tearing it up on the Chiefs' defensive line this season. After producing three sacks, two forced fumbles, and one interception against the top-ranked Eagles in Week 2, Jones hasn’t been able to put up such gaudy stats as teams have focused on taking him away. Still, Jones has done his job as an interior lineman, freeing up his teammates to get pressure in the backfield and stuff the run. - Sanderson

Vince Williams, LB, Steelers

T.J. Watt gets the headlines, Ryan Shazier the adulation, and James Harrison commands the respect, but Williams is the Steelers linebacker that should receive the Pro Bowl nod this year. Through nine games, Williams is having a career season. He's six tackles away from setting a new personal best and is halfway to the 10-sack goal he set for himself this year.- McClymont

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)