The first thought was they got it wrong.

Brian Dawkins didn't deserve a seventh trip to the Pro Bowl.

His Hawaiian lei should have been placed around the neck of Eagles teammate Quintin Mikell or some other more deserving safety from the NFC.

The second thought?

This could be just the thing that puts Dawkins over the top when it comes time for the voters to decide if the best free safety in Eagles history belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Seven Pro Bowls is quite a number. Whoever attempts to sell Dawkins' case to the 44 voters at a future Super Bowl can point out that Chuck Bednarik, with eight, is the only Eagles player to go to more Pro Bowls. The only other Eagles player to achieve Pro Bowl status seven times was defensive end Reggie White, who went to six more Pro Bowls with Green Bay.

Anyway, the point here is that Dawkins got another page for his potential Hall of Fame resume, and it's not as if he's having a terrible season. The free safety's improved play has been a factor in the team's three-game winning streak, which has thrust the Eagles back into playoff contention.

As for the debate on whether Dawkins already has the credentials needed for a bust in Canton, it's an interesting one.

Only nine of the 170 modern-era players in the NFL are safeties, and two of them - San Francisco's Ronnie Lott and Dallas' Mel Renfro - also played cornerback at one point in their careers. Minnesota's Paul Krause in 1998 was the last safety to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

All nine safeties in Canton were named to at least eight Pro Bowls and none had fewer than 48 career interceptions. Dawkins' 34 interceptions are tied for the most in Eagles history, but they might not be enough to unlock the door to the Hall of Fame.

It's really not fair to compare Dawkins to safeties from a different NFL era. Compare him to guys who have played his position in the last decade and you'll be hard-pressed to find anybody better.

Dawkins and New England's Rodney Harrison have been the class at their position among guys whose careers started in the mid-1990s. Both have 34 career interceptions. Harrison has 30½ sacks, 10½ more than Dawkins. Dawkins, however, has been to five more Pro Bowls and has 15 more forced fumbles than Harrison. The statistic that probably makes Dawkins most envious of Harrison is the two Super Bowl rings to his none.

More Pro Bowl thoughts

Combing the rosters of the AFC and NFC Pro Bowl rosters, I decided the following:

Sean Morey has had a really cool career. The former Ivy Leaguer from Brown and a two-year member of the Eagles in 2001 and 2002 was drafted by his hometown team, the New England Patriots, in 1999, played for a Super Bowl champion in Pittsburgh in 2005-06 and is now a Pro Bowler with Arizona. Morey, 32, is the NFC's special teams player.

The Jets have had some terrific centers over the last 10 years. Kevin Mawae went to the Pro Bowl six times during his eight seasons in New York and now he's going to his first with Tennessee. The Jets replaced Mawae by drafting Nick Mangold in the first round of the 2006 draft and he's going to his first Pro Bowl.

If Cleveland's Joe Thomas is really the best left tackle in the AFC, then there's a shortage of good left tackles in that conference.

San Diego should have traded LaDainian Tomlinson and kept Michael Turner, who's appearing in his first Pro Bowl after signing as a free agent in the off-season with Atlanta.

The Jets' Thomas Jones is really underrated.

Jets quarterback Brett Favre is really overrated.

Denver quarterback Jay Cutler is the most undeserving player from either conference.

San Diego's Philip Rivers and Atlanta's John Abraham were the most deserving players not to make their respective teams.

The Giants' Jeff Feagles will punt until he's 75.

Zorn not the worst

Redskins coach Jim Zorn beat himself up after a loss to the lowly Cincinnati Bengals last week, saying he felt like the worst coach in America. In an effort to make Zorn feel better before today's game against the Eagles, we'd like to remind him that Rich Kotite is still alive.

We'd even argue that Zorn isn't the worst active coach in America. Rod Marinelli's .217 winning percentage at Detroit earns him that honor.

The pick

After nearly nailing the final score with last week's prediction, things get a little tougher today. I liked the Eagles a lot more before Kevin Curtis, Hank Baskett and Todd Herremans all sat out practice Friday with injuries.

Even without those guys, the Eagles should be able to beat the free-falling Redskins.

Eagles 21, Redskins 17.

Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or bbrookover@phillynews.com.