Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts)
Asked to do more, Manning responded with a fantastic season obscured by 17 interceptions. He also responded by dragging his team into the playoffs again. Not ready for the scrap heap yet.
Arian Foster (Houston Texans)
Breakout year from Foster, who led the NFL in rushing. Perhaps even better as a receiver out of the backfield, and with a knack for making the first man miss.
Greg Jones (Jackonville Jaguars)
Had some of the best full back performances all year long.
Marcedes Lewis (Jackonville Jaguars)
Touchdowns got him the hype, but his run blocking makes him one of the most complete tight ends in the league. Second in our TE rankings.
Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis Colts)
Nine dropped passes are an un-Wayne like number, and he certainly wasn’t as good as the 2009 version. But he still produced the yards even if it took an NFL leading 172 throws at him to achieve it.
Andre Johnson (Houston Texans)
Played on a bad ankle most of the year. Did it stop him being one of the league’s best receivers? No. Remains a complete physical mismatch for most (including a helmetless Cortland Finnegan).
Duane Brown (Houston Texans)
His pass blocking still needs work, but some good run blocking earned him this nod over Michael Roos, who is living off his 2008 play.
Wade Smith (Houston Texans)
Would be better if he was more consistent with his run blocking but a shrewd signing. May go down as the best piece of value for money business this past off season.
Chris Myers (Houston Texans)
Just beats out Jeff Saturday. Myers was as good as any with his run blocking, but 20 pressures are too many for a center to give up. Redeemed himself by not being penalized once all season.
Mike Brisiel (Houston Texans)
No real competition for this spot, so the man with 510 snaps makes the team. He was good in those snaps (at times very good), but there’s a lack of depth in this division at guard.
Eric Winston (Houston Texans)
Had some really bad games (whenever Jason Babin lined up against him) but take away those moments and Winston is one of the better right tackles in the league.
Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis Colts)
Really quite poor against the run, but so good getting to the passer you can’t help but appreciate it. Once again our top ranked pass rusher from the defensive end spot.
Jason Jones (Tennessee Titans)
Season somewhat fizzled out after a really strong first half of the year. Does a really good job of getting up field without being being driven out of plays.
Terrance Knighton (Jackonville Jaguars)
When Knighton was good, he was very good. When he was bad, he was very bad. Suffering perhaps from being overused, Knighton will be looking to be more consistent in 2011.
Jason Babin (Tennessee Titans)
Quite the turnaround for Babin, who was phenomenal despite the high penalty count. 64 QB disruptions and some good play against the run. Great pick up.
Daryl Smith (Jackonville Jaguars)
He wasn’t as good as he was in 2009, but after some rough games (being matched up against Antonio Gates didn’t help) he really picked it up.
Stephen Tulloch (Tennessee Titans)
Tulloch was a tackling machine in 2010 with 128 solo tackles. Really good year for the Titan who didn’t struggle at all as a three down linebacker.
Justin Durant (Jacksonville Jaguars)
This all depends on what you want from Durant. If you want a guy to drop into coverage you stay away from this guy. Now if you want to use him as a two down linebacker to attack the run, he’s amongst the best.
Alterraun Verner (Tennessee Titans)
For a time Verner looked like a rookie of the year candidate. Then he came back down to earth, which was still good enough to make this team with plenty to spare. Real late round find.
Jason McCourty (Tennessee Titans)
McCourty only played 505 snaps, but we really couldn’t go another way given the level of CB play in this division. Played well when he started and when he was an outside corner in nickel situations.
Antoine Bethea (Indianapolis Colts)
Let’s be clear. The AFC South isn’t home to great secondary play. Bethea was above average and extremely active, but he also gave up four touchdowns.
Chris Hope (Tennessee Titans)
It’s never good when our 43rd-ranked safety makes this team. But Hope makes it because guys like Bernard Pollard, Michael Griffin and Don Carey are that much worse.
Rob Bironas (Tennessee Titans)
Continues to be one of the league’s best kickers, missing just one on the year.
Pat McAfee (Indianapolis Colts)
In the team more for what he brings with his kickoffs (and the lack of quality punters in the AFC South).
Marc Mariani (Tennessee Titans)
A touchdown on kickoffs and as a punt returner, and just generally giving the Titans good field position. Real find.
Kassim Osgood (Jackonville Jaguars)
When you watch a lot of special teamers they seem erratic, and make bad decisions. Osgood is coolness personified, and it’s why he makes good plays look like routine plays.