All-Time AFC South Team: The Linebackers

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistMay 29, 2012

Bulluck was a do-it-all force for the Titans.
Bulluck was a do-it-all force for the Titans.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The AFC South has been around for 10 often-glorious years, and it's time to give the unappreciated division some love.

For the next few weeks, I'll be letting you vote on the all-time AFC South team. We'll be picking players and a coach based on their best single season from 2002 to 2011.

We started with the quarterbacks, moved on to the running backs, the wide receivers, tight ends, the offensive line, defensive tackles and the defensive ends.

Today, the linebackers are up, and there have been some good ones in AFC South history.

You can vote for the best. Voting runs through next week.

Keith Bulluck, 2003

Bulluck was dominant in 2003, and was named to both the Pro Bowl and the All Pro Team. He piled up tackles, sacks and interceptions. He forced five fumbles and helped the Titans to a 12-4 record and a trip to the playoffs. He had many great years for the Titans, and it would have been just as easy to pick any of them.


Marcus Washington, 2003

Washington barely edged out Cato June and Gary Brackett for this spot. Brackett's 2008 would probably have been the choice if he hadn't gone down with an injury and missed the final four games of the season. Still, none of that takes away from how good Washington was in Indianapolis.

While he wouldn't go on to make a Pro Bowl until he had left the Colts, he was a force in 2003. He helped Indy finish 12-4 and win their first AFC South crown, chipping in with six sacks and three forced fumbles.


Mike Peterson, 2005

Peterson is a personal favorite of mine, and was dominant in all phases of the game in 2005. He had high volume tackle numbers, but also contributed six sacks and three picks. He was snubbed for the Pro Bowl, which was unforgivable considering he was the heartbeat of one of the best defenses in the league.

The Jaguars went 12-4 and made the playoffs thanks in large part to his efforts.


Brian Cushing, 2009

This was a difficult choice because of Conner Barwin's 11 sacks in 2011, but I went with Cushing. Barwin was more of an end-playing linebacker, and I felt Cushing was a better 'apples to apples' pick with the other guys on this list. I also could have gone with Demeco Ryans' rookie year and not batted an eyelid.

Cushing burst onto the scene, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year and being named to a Pro Bowl. It's hard to argue with four sacks and four interceptions and two forced fumbles. Cushing's effort helped to push the Texans to their first winning season.