Each divisions is a host to bitter rivals. Each team plays the other teams twice during the year, and the match-ups are heated, to say the least. But what if each division was represented by only one team?
This is the first article in a series of eight that compiles the best players from each division. At the end of the eighth article, I will do a "Division Series" bracket in which I will state, in my opinion of course, the most talented division.
*Note: There could be a pretty big delay in the timing of these articles. I am a full-time college student. The series should be complete by the summer though. Thank you for your patience!
AFC East Teams
New England Patriots
New York Jets
AFC East First Team
Quarterback: Tom Brady (NE)
This is a no-brainer. Brady, the winner of three super bowls, is by far the best quarterback in the division. Not only is he one of the best quarterbacks in the division, he is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. This gives this team a huge advantage already.
Running Back: Ricky Williams (MIA)/Shonn Greene (NYJ)
As most teams run a two back system, I chose two running backs here. Ricky Williams is one of the picks because he still showed that he could run over defenders in his 30's.
To be un-biased, I chose Shonn Greene over Ronnie Brown. It is hard to pick between those two players because of their upside, but Brown is simply injured too much, while Greene has already become a high caliber back.
Fullback: Lousaka Polite (MIA)
Polite became one of the best fullbacks this year as he opened up many holes for Miami's running game. He also converted every 3rd-and-short or 4th-and-short of the season except for one attempt.
Randy Moss is a touchdown machine. Wes Welker is borderline unguardable. Braylon Edwards, although his hands are unsure at times, is a definite playmaker. After all these Patriots in the first three positions, I'm beginning to realize why they put up so many points...
Tight End: Dustin Keller (NYJ)
This is a pretty thin group. Miami's Fasano was unable to put up numbers similar to his 2008 season, the Patriots just signed Alge Crumpler, but he hasn't warranted much attention lately, and the Bills are in direct need of a tight end of any kind.
Offensive Tackle: Jake Long (MIA)/Damien Woody (NYJ)
Jake Long, entering his third season, is making a name for himself as one of the NFL's best tackles. Damien Woody has been a great tackle for years in the NFL, and this is a pretty powerful duo for the outside of the offensive line.
Offensive Guard: Alan Faneca (NYJ)/Logan Mankins (NE)
Both of these guys have been busting heads for years. Faneca was a blockbuster signing after Pittsburgh let him go several years ago, and has lived up to his reputation. Mankins has been a great guard ever since he joined the team in 2005.
Center: Nick Mangold (NYJ)
Mangold is the most consistent and dominant center in this division. He is probably the most important member of the Jets' dominant offensive line. Without him, their offense would flutter.
Defensive End (3-4): Randy Starks (MIA)/Shaun Ellis (NYJ)
Starks exploded in Miami's defensive scheme last season, and Shaun Ellis has been a solid end for years. This is a great combination for the defensive line.
Nose Tackle: Vince Wilfork (NE)
In my opinion, this is the best big man in football. He always demands a double team, and he even beats it more often than not. This is a true anchor to any defensive line.
Outside Linebacker (3-4): Tully Banta-Cain (NE)/Calvin Pace (NYJ)
Not a super group of outside linebackers, but they are very hard working. Pace is a play-maker in the right system, and Banta-Cain has always been a reliable player.
Inside Linebacker: David Harris (NYJ)/Karlos Dansby (MIA)
David Harris is an absolute ball-hawking, play-making inside linebacker. Dansby is a seasoned veteran who is always in the right place at the right time. This combination would even shy away greats of the old-fashioned gridiron.
Cornerback: Derrelle Revis (NYJ)/Vontae Davis (MIA)
Killer young combination. Revis is arguably the best corner in football, while Vontae was Tom Brady's worst nightmare last year.
Free Safety: Jairus Byrd (BUF)
Byrd was the lone bright spot of an injury plagued Bills defense last year. He alone caused nine turnovers, all by interception.
Strong Safety: Brandon Meriweather (NE)
Meriweather could play either safety spot. He is an able tackler as well as a ball hawk playing at strong safety.
Kicker: Dan Carpenter (MIA)
Carpenter has been money his first two seasons in the NFL. In his most recent season he made nearly 90 percent of his tries, nailing 25-of-28 through the posts.
Punter: Brian Moorman (BUF)
You know you have a good punter when he is one of the best players on your team. Moorman has been one of the most consistent punters in the NFL in the past decade.
Kick Returner: Ted Ginn (MIA)
Just ask the Jets about Ginn. He single-handedly beat them in their second match-up last season, returning back-to-back kicks for touchdown. As a receiver, though, he leaves more to be desired.
Punt Returner: Wes Welker (NE)
Miami regrets letting Welker go. Not only is he the best slot receiver in the NFL, he is a shifty and skilled returner. The combination of him and Ginn in the same returning backfield is scary.
Honorable Mention :
Marshawn Lynch (RB)
Ronnie Brown (RB)
Kevin Faulk (RB)
Lee Evans (WR)
Davone Bess (WR)
Matt Light (LT)
D'Brickashaw Ferguson (RT)
Ty Warren (DE)
Kris Jenkins (NT)
Jason Taylor (OLB)
Jerod Mayo (ILB)
Paul Posluszny (ILB)
Yeremiah Bell (SS)
Stephen Gostkowski (K)
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