2012 PFF All-AFC West Team
The format is simple. Find 11 guys to start on offense and defense, with four more on special teams, to field as strong a starting unit as possible for a division.
Here’s the AFC West, and links to the others:
Quarterback: Peyton Manning (DEN)
A First Team All-Pro in our eyes, and a co-winner of our MVP award, what can you say about the comeback year Peyton Manning has had that hasn’t already been said. Given the most talent he’s ever had to work with, he looked as good as ever.
Running Back: Jamaal Charles (KC)
Charles didn’t impress quite as much as back in 2010 when he was our top ranked back, but he got stronger as the season went on. A real home-run threat whenever he touches the ball.
Fullback: Marcel Reece (OAK)
With some improved blocking Reece made himself a contributor on more than just plays where he touched the ball. Nonetheless, that remains his biggest weapon, and it’s a real weapon wherever he lines up.
Tight End: Jacob Tamme (DEN)
While Joel Dreessen saw more playing time, it was Tamme who caught the eye in a year where the likes of Antonio Gates and Tony Moeaki struggled. The former Colt finished the year with the second-highest grade we handed out to all tight ends in the receiving game.
Wide Receivers: Demaryius Thomas (DEN) and Malcom Floyd (SD)
Thomas earned his selection with a fine year that saw him emerge as one of the league’s best receivers. The introduction of Manning really took his game to another level, as the 1,436 yards and 10 touchdowns show. Floyd didn’t have quite the same quarterback to work with, but took his opportunity to step from the shadow of Vincent Jackson.
Tackles: Ryan Clady (DEN) and Eric Winston (KC)
Jared Veldheer had a fine year and would have made many a divisional team except for the excellence of Clady. His teammate, Orlando Franklin finished the year with a higher grade than Winston, but the Chief offers more balance, generating more movement in the run game.
Guards: Zane Beadles (DEN) and Jon Asamoah (KC)
Beadles is another of those players who saw his game improve with the stability that Peyton Manning brought to the Broncos’ offense. Joining him, Asamoah finished the year ranked sixth overall in our guard rankings, opening up some big holes for his backs in the process.
Center: Ryan Lilja (KC)
With the Raiders struggling with another new blocking scheme, J.D. Walton injured, and Nick Hardwick having a poor year there really was only one choice. Lilja converted to center out of necessity and, while he ended the year looking a little worse for wear, he can be happy to have retired after a good season.
Defensive Line: Lamarr Houston (OAK), Justin Bannan (DEN) and Desmond Bryant (OAK)
We’ve opted for a 3-4 front from this division, and it means fitting a lot of guys into positions they didn’t play a lot of this year. For Houston and the versatile Bryant that shouldn’t prove a problem, with both men stout in the run game and with enough speed and power to get some penetration. Bannan was a trickier selection given that the Broncos line up their defense in a variety of ways, yet his run defense this season couldn’t be ignored.
Outside Linebackers: Von Miller (DEN) and Justin Houston (KC)
Miller, our top ranked 4-3 outside linebacker by some distance, was a no brainer. You could line him up in any scheme and the outcome would be mayhem. Houston finished the year a lot slower than he what he started, but still wound up our fourth ranked 3-4 outside linebacker on the year.
Inside Linebackers: Derrick Johnson (KC) and Philip Wheeler (OAK)
In our All-Pro team, Johnson was a starter which should tell you all you need to know about his talents. Wheeler made a name for himself while those around him faltered. He just gets the nod over Wesley Woodyard.
Cornerbacks: Champ Bailey (DEN) and Chris Harris (DEN)
Brandon Flowers may be disappointed not to make this list, but we couldn’t ignore the Broncos pair. Bailey once again delivered the goods, rarely giving much up and doing so while going toe-to-toe with the best the opposition had to offer. Harris wasn’t far off his year, handling slot duties as well and being the kind of every-down difference-maker who will have a long career in this league.
Safeties: Eric Weddle (SD) and Rahim Moore (DEN)
Weddle is the type of safety you can just put on the field and watch him make plays. A real underrated gem of a player who has a great feel for the game. Moore took his chance to start and really looked the part.
Kicker: Sebastian Janikowski (OAK)
All of Janikowski’s misses came from over 50 yards.
Punter: Dustin Colquitt (KC)
Good enough to have made our Second Team All-Pro outfit.
Returner: Javier Arenas (KC)
While Trindon Holiday is a threat to take it all the way he’s as likely to put it on the ground, while Michael Spurlock spent too much time in Jacksonville. Arenas was a consistent producer.
Special Teamer: Darrell Stuckey (SD)
Led Chargers with 10 special teams tackles.
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