Pro Bowl Cheat Sheet: The AFC

With half the season now gone, Khaled Elsayed gives you a cheat sheet to fill out your AFC Pro Bowl ballot.

| 5 years ago

Pro Bowl Cheat Sheet: The AFC

Out with the old, and in with the young right? With Neil Hornsby either occupied elsewhere or deposed from his Pro Bowl cheat sheet writing duties depending on your perspective, I’ll be trying to steer you in the right direction.

You see we bang on about how we watch and grade every player on every play in every game. That means we’re pretty confident in pushing you in offering guidance so players get the recognition they deserve. As always with our Pro Bowl Cheat sheet we’re following the rules set out by the Pro Bowl ballot.

(NFC Cheat Sheet found here)

AFC Offense (starter’s name first)

Quarterbacks: Tom Brady (NE), Peyton Manning (DEN) and Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)

The hardest thing in this contest was deciding who would start. While Manning maybe the hot quarterback right now, it’s the work of Brady throughout the year that earns him the nod. Matt Schaub is playing well enough to feel like he deserves a mention, but it’s safe to say third string Big Ben is doing more with less right now.

Running Backs C.J. Spiller (BUF), Ray Rice (BLT) and Willis McGahee (DEN)

Spiller may only be 14th in terms of rushing yards, but his 7.2 yards per carry leads the league as does his 115 Elusive Rating. He’s as explosive a back as there in the league this year. Arian Foster may lead all AFC backs in yardage, but when I look at Rice and McGahee I’m seeing guys doing more to earn their yards.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne (IND), A.J. Green (CIN), Andre Johnson (HST) and Wes Welker (NE)

Green is an obvious slam dunk pick and playing as well as anyone right now while Johnson is averaging just 0.05 yards per route run less than Welker. While he hasn’t quite built on that superb display against Green Bay, Reggie Wayne has already proved the doubters wrong and is well worth a start. Demaryius Thomas can thank his habit of fumbling for his non-inclusion.

Fullback: Vonta Leach (BLT)

A predictable selection but well earned. Leach remains the best pure lead blocker in the AFC.

Tight Ends: Rob Gronkowski (NE) and Heath Miller (PIT)

The AFC affords us the luxury of picking up two guys who can both be described as complete tight ends. That’s what gives them the edge over Owen Daniels even if his 2.31 yards per route run matches Gronkowski as the best of both leagues at his position. Miller comes 15th in that regard and while he’s a better blocker out in space than in line, he can still get the job done.

Offensive Tackles: Duane Brown (HST), Sebastian Vollmer (NE) and Ryan Clady (DEN)

It finally happened. Brown gave up a sack for the first time since the 2010 season. He still edges Ryan Clady though for the starting spot by virtue of some far superior run blocking even though Clady has yet to give up a sack. The right tackle we’ve stumped for (because there should always be a right tackle in these things) is Vollmer. The little talked about Patriot has surrendered just 14 quarterback disruptions and done a quietly efficient job with his run blocking.

Offensive Guards: Willie Colon (PIT), Marshal Yanda (BLT) and Kevin Zeitler (CIN)

While picking Yanda was one of the easiest decisions out there (he is after all our top ranked right guard and rightfully so), choosing the left guard was not quite so. I threw out some names but none of them inspired me. In the end I decided I could look past the eight penalties of Willie Colon because of what he offers when he’s not breaking the rules.

Centers: Mike Pouncey (MIA) and Alex Mack (CLV)

The better of the Pouncey brothers starts here and it’s down to you guys to ensure the right one is bragging at the end of the year. Joining him you’ve got a fight between Mack, Nick Mangold and Chris Myers and I really wouldn’t argue with any of the choices. Overall, Mack has been that little bit more consistent.

Turn The Page for the Defense

  • izach

    i think are fooled by eric weddles skill level, he isnt a great play, just the best player on a horrible team and the only one left to make plays, when i watch the chargers i see weddle all over the field usually because he is the last one to to the action but the only one who shows up to play. put him on a team with any other player half way decent and he doesnt make nearly has many play, not to mention has well more than his fair share of mistakes

    • Cameron

      You have no idea what you are talking about

      • izach

        yes i do, its the big fish little pond effect, weddle looks better than he is becuase he stands out with no talent around him, im not saying he is bad, but he isnt on the level of a reed or polamalu were in there prime, and there are at least a half dozen safeties better than him outside of those 2 at each position FS and SS. he good but he is over hyped. re watch some of those games every single play weddle is in on is usually because someone else failed their job first, he is a clean up guy but not a great open field tackler

  • hp

    Willie Colon is an astute pick.
    He is one bad dude.

  • alex

    steelers is defense number 1 but they don´t have any defensive player, not even Clark, Lewis or Woodley

    • izach

      clark is the only steeler thus far i think deserves the probowl nod based on production, but clark lacks the “ball skills” to make splash plays, he is a great tackler and smart player who is usualy always in position, but doesnt get the fame guys like troy do.

    • Asmitty56

      Woodley is not getting that many sacks, hits, and pressures. Lewis I think is playing pretty well, I’m not sure how good he is compared to other CBs in the AFC because it’s nearly impossible to find anything about Lewis on here. Clark should be a probowler and it’s an embarrassment that he is not on here. Clark is the reason the secondary is playing as well as it is. The guy is the Steelers defensive MVP hands down and has been a major reason the defense recovered after the first couple of games playing next to sub-par SS’s, Taylor when he was struggling early on, and 2 other young CBs. Izach if you want to talk about ball skills and splash plays, how about all the balls knocked loose that Clark forces? The guy scares WRs and that alone is invaluable. Not to mention he is very reliable, unlike some DBs that takes a lot of risks going for a big hits or interceptions and get themselves out of position an burned. You will rarely find Clark out of position because he stays disciplined, as does most of the Steelers DBs (outside of Mundy).

  • izach

    was a little surprised to see colon on this list, not only did he have 8 penalties earlier in the season but was responisble for mulitpe sacks on ben in the first few games i can remember 2 in the bengals game alone. he actually reminds me alot of chris kemo, getting into fights, being a beast in the run game, but soso in pass protection. i cant agree with the colon pick as a steeler fan but i am starting to like colon alot more tho now that he is at OG not OT

    • Asmitty56

      The penalties are one thing. (you can call holding on any player
      through out the game regardless of talent). But Colon’s slow start has
      more to do with learning to play LG and missing some of training
      camp. Other than that Colon has been a monster run blocker and solid
      in pass protection, while Kemo was merely solid in run blocking and one
      of the worst pass blocking OG’s I have seen in a while. I see PFF’s
      hatred of Maurkice Pouncey continues. He is the better Pouncey, no ifs,
      ands, or buts about it.

  • George McDowell

    Marcus Thigpen was an all-star returner in the CFL, and now he’s doing the same thing down south. Just like CB (and Pro Bowler) Brandon Browner of the Seahawks. The CFL just reloads and continues to produce a more exciting brand of football.