2013 Midseason All-Division Team: AFC South
Nathan Jahnke looks at the AFC South and picks out the best players halfway through the season
2013 Midseason All-Division Team: AFC South
We have reached the point of the season where every team has played at least eight games. While our midseason All Pro team shows the best of the best, there are a lot more great performers that deserve recognition. Because of that, we present to you the all division teams at the midway point.
The AFC South has been a division of transition this year. The Colts have gone from a playoff team to one of the league’s best, while the Titans have gone from a below average team to a playoff contender. While the Texans haven’t been winning games they still have a number of stars, and the Jaguars are also in the division even though you wouldn’t know by looking at this team.
Quarterback: Andrew Luck, IND (+16.2)
In his second year, Luck has continued his ascension to joining the elite quarterback in the NFL. We saw plenty of good games out of Luck as a rookie, but some bad games mixed in. Now he is consistently playing well, game in and game out. It’s also hard to argue that any quarterback has been as good at scrambling as Luck has.
Running Back: Arian Foster, HST (+5.6)
He has recently been battling injury, but Foster played well enough over his first six games to remain the best back in the division. The AFC South is full of teams that try to establish the run, but none have done it was well as Houston this year.
Full Back: Collin Mooney, TEN (+8.9)
The full back is a dying breed, but don’t tell the AFC South that. There are only 19 teams with a fullback with at least 100 snaps this year, and four of them are in this division. Despite being a part time player, Mooney makes this team because he has the second highest run block rating of all fullbacks this year.
Tight End: Coby Fleener, IND (+2.5)
Joining his sophomore quarterback on this team is sophomore tight end Coby Fleener. Without Dwayne Allen in the lineup, Fleener has stepped up as a receiving option. One of his biggest assets is avoiding mistakes with no penalties and just one dropped pass.
Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson, HST (+14.6) and Reggie Wayne, IND (+7.9)
The first receiver spot was easy to pick as Johnson has found the fountain of youth with a league leading 2.86 Yards Per Route Run. The other spot was a little more difficult as Wayne likely won’t play enough snaps to make this team at the end of the year. At this point Wayne still makes the team due to his consistency, as he had at least 45 yards and four catches in all seven games he played in.
Tackles: Michael Roos, TEN (+10.6) and Gosder Cherilus, IND (+8.9)
Taking the left tackle spot is Michael Roos for his all-around ability to pass block, run block and even screen block. While he hasn’t been considered in the top tier of tackles, he has consistently been a very good tackle in recent years. The right tackle spot goes to Cherilus also for his all-around play and his improvement of the Colts offensive line in 2012.
Guards: Andy Levitre, TEN (+3.5) and Brandon Brooks, HST (+3.0)
Offensive guard is certainly not the strength of the AFC South, but these two players have made a positive impact on their team. Of of the three new interior lineman in Tennessee, Levitre has been the only one to shine at this point. After earning some playing time late in his rookie year, Brandon Brooks has emerged as an every down player to continue the recent tradition of strong run blockers in Houston.
Center: Chris Myers, HST (+15.5)
In each of the last five years Chris Myers has rated as one of our eight best centers, and for the second time in the last three years he has topped our ratings. An easy choice to make him the center on this team.
To put the best 11 players on the field that we can, the AFC South All-Pro team will run a 3-4 defense.
Defensive Ends: J.J. Watt, HST (+51.0) and Cory Redding, IND (+13.2)
J.J. Watt could be the first player since Lawrence Taylor to win Defensive Player of the Year twice in a row, so he was a no brainer to make this list. It took an average season for Cory Redding to return to his potential, but he is stopping the run like he used to in Baltimore.
Defensive Tackle – Nose: Jurrell Casey, TEN (+18.0)
From Day 1 as a rookie, Casey entered the defensive tackle rotation helping the Titans stop running backs game after game. The difference for Casey in his third year is he’s added pass rushing to his assets. His pass rushing productivity is sixth best for all defensive tackles.
Edge Rushers: Robert Mathis, IND (+14.4) and Derrick Morgan, TEN (+2.6)
This season Mathis has made his mark with a few great games, including four games where he’s recorded multiple sacks. While Derrick Morgan doesn’t have the sack total this season that he had last year, his Pass Rushing Productivity is still 13th best among 4-3 defensive ends.
Inside Linebackers: Brian Cushing, HST (+2.1) and Russell Allen, JAX (+0.3)
While Brian Cushing is out for the year, he played too well against the run in his first seven games to ignore him on this team. Across from him is Russell Allen who has been incredibly average no matter what metric you look at, but average is good enough to fill the other spot on this roster.
Cornerbacks: Jason McCourty, TEN (+12.1) and Alterraun Verner, TEN (+11.7)
The position with the most competition for this roster was cornerback as Vontae Davis of the Colts also has one of the five highest coverage ratings in the league. Verner gets a spot on the roster as he’s tied for the most combined interceptions/passes defended in the league with 12, while McCourty has been one of the best all around corners in the league.
Safeties: Michael Griffin, TEN (+7.7) and LaRon Landry, IND (+4.6)
Both of these players have a reputation for playing well against the run, but they are also the top two safeties in terms of coverage rating within the division. All three of the Titans defensive backs improving are a big reason why the Titans are playoff contenders. Landry is the fifth Colts player to make this team who wasn’t on the Colts two years ago.
Kicker: Josh Scobee, JAX (+10.0) The Jaguars rarely get to use him, but he is one of four kickers that are still perfect on field goals.
Punter: Shane Lechler, HST (+18.5) He has both a high yards per punt at 46.8 as well as punts inside the 20 at 18.
Returner: Keshawn Martin, HST (-3.5) He is the only returner to have a job at the start of the season and still have it now.
Special Teamer: LaRoy Reynolds, JAX (+2.0): The Jaguars haven’t had the best special teams unit but it’s not for the want of trying from Reynolds.
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