Ronde Barber is a five-time Pro Bowl cornerback in the NFL. He may soon be a Pro Bowl safety, as well.
The Buccaneers’ 16th-year veteran defender is in his first season at the back end of the secondary after 15 remarkable years at his natural position. He converted to safety during the 2012 offseason and, as was somewhat expected given his intelligence and experience, has taken to it with relative ease. He is even tied for the team lead with three interceptions, which is obviously not new territory for him, even if his starting position is.
Barber has even impressed the NFL viewing public as a whole. The NFL chooses its Pro Bowl rosters through a three-pronged process, with input coming from fans, players and coaches, and the fan portion of the balloting began on NFL.com in October. On Wednesday, the league released its first update on the leading vote-getters at each position, and it was good news for Barber and the Buccaneers.
With roughly a month left in the Pro Bowl fan polling, Barber is the leading vote-getter at the free safety position in the NFC. He has garnered 43,953 votes, and if this early trend proves predictive of the final results, he would form a Pro Bowl safety tandem with Green Bay’s Charles Woodson, another former all-star cornerback.
The leading vote-getters in the NFL overall are, as usual, all offensive players, with five of the top 10 spots going to quarterbacks. Denver’s Peyton Manning is in the top spot, followed by New England QB Tom Brady, Houston RB Arian Foster, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers and Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson. The NFL update lists only the top 10 overall and the leader at each position in the two conferences.
As such, it’s not obvious how big of a lead Barber has over the next man at NFC free safety, or who that man is. But he’s definitely the fan-vote leader, and that’s a good place to be in mid-November.