The Perfect Team: AFC West Style (Part 1)
A couple of days ago, I read a article titled, "The Perfect Team: AFC North Style" by David Lurie. I was a bit intrigued by the content of the article that I tend to wonder what a AFC West all-star team would look like.
So I did some research and this is the group of all-stars I came up with in the following slides to represent our AFC West team against the likes of the AFC North and whoever.
There isn't any rookies in here as they haven't proven anything. I hope you enjoy this article as much as I enjoyed making it.
Many will agree with my starters and a lot will disagree with it so let the debate begin on who should represent the AFC West in each position.
This is the first or two articles that'll show who I believe will be in the AFC West all-star team. Hope you like it.
Starting Quarterback: Philip Rivers
What can I say? When you lead your team to the playoffs every year as a starter and take the Chargers to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 1994, that says something about the man and his abilities as a QB.
Philip Rivers style of play is that of a gun-slinger as he led the NFL this past season with 64 completions of 20 yards or more.
He was the top rated AFC QB as he compiled 4,254 passing yards for 28 TD's and 9 INT's.
He single handedly lead the Chargers with their one-dimensional offense and mediocre defense to a 13-3 record against a very tough schedule after coming off of a AFC West title but 8-8 record.
Rivers is a winner as he's the best candidate for the starting job at QB for this AFC West all-star team.
Starting Running Back: Jamaal Charles
Of all the RB's in the AFC West, it's tough to say who can take the top spot. There is however, one RB that can outplay all the experienced RB's in the AFC West and that's Jamaal Charles.
Three words comes to mind when I think of Charles: Running Game Threat. The man had 190 carries that went for 1,120 yards and 7 TD's. He did that all the while starting only 10 games during the 2009 season.
The man, in my eyes, is just as much of a game breaking back as Chris Johnson as Charles went out and averaged 5.9 yards a carry. That's insane!
I think Charles would represent the AFC West pretty well as the leading back as he's only 23 years old and have many years ahead to possibly become something special.
Starting Fullback: Mike Tolbert
There aren't many FB's in the league that are versatile as Mike Tolbert. As it stands from last season, only three other FB's have more carries than Tolbert's 25 carries.
Of all the FB's with 25 or more carries, Tolbert is at the top as he averages 5.9 yards per carry.
He's just as capable to carry the ball for 37+ carries with the likes of Lousaka Polite, Le'Ron McClain, or Leonard Weaver and still be effective.
The only reason why Tolbert may not have those FB's type of stats is because unlike them, Tolbert is on a very talented Chargers passing attack offense.
Tolbert has deceptive speed and has the ability to catch the ball and gain yardage much like how he took a screen pass 66 yards against the Browns.
Out of all the FB's in the AFC West, there isn't much competition against Tolbert as the starting FB to represent the AFC West on this all-star team.
Starting No. 1 Wide Receiver: Vincent Jackson
If Brandon Marshall was still in the AFC West, he'd be the number one WR but as of right now, it's definitely Vincent Jackson representing this spot.
After posting back-to-back 1,000+ yard seasons, no one in the AFC West can brag that they've accomplished this lately.
Jackson averages 17.2 yards per catch which tells you a lot about a player, meaning that Jackson is a deep-threat WR.
Not many in the NFL can claim they are a deep receiving threat. At 6'5" and nearly 240 lbs., that's one big target for any QB to take advantage of on any CB.
Starting No. 2 Wide Receiver: Malcolm Floyd
It's hard to argue against Malcolm Floyd being the second WR in this line-up as there isn't any WR in the AFC West that can come close to Floyd's production.
It is a bit sad as Floyd outplayed all the WR's in the AFC West besides teammate Vincent Jackson and former Bronco WR Brandon Marshall while only starting nine games during the season.
Floyd averaged 17.2 yards per catch which is identical to what teammate Jackson had. Floyd is the second WR of the "twin towers" tandem for the Chargers as he also stands 6'5" with 220+ lbs. to that frame.
Starting Tight End: Antonio Gates
This is pretty self-explanatory. Antonio Gates is arguably the best tight end in the NFL and one of the top three tight ends since 2004 when he started his dominating trend in the passing game.
At 6'4" and 260 lbs., he is the focal point of the Chargers elite passing game for the last six years and now has been part of the NFL's tallest WR's and TE combo.
Gates had 79 receptions for 1,157 yards and 8 TD's. His 14.6 yards per catch tells me that he can stretch the field as much as he's a short to mid-range receiving threat.
Being too fast for LB's and being too physical and big for anyone in the secondary to cover makes this tight end a very dangerous weapon.
Gates should make this AFC West offense a dangerous one for any division all-star defense to go up against.
Starting Left Tackle: Ryan Clady
I was thinking about putting Marcus McNeil in here but one thing sort of came to my mind though, McNeil haven't fared well against elite pass rushers unlike Ryan Clady who played very well not giving up a sack in his rookie year.
Although he may have given up eight sacks last season, he was still dominant in pass protection as many of the sacks he given up was when Kyle Orton held on to the ball to long.
A healthy Clady will definitely dominate this year much like he did in his rookie year.
Starting Left Guard: Kris Dielman
This was a no-brainer. When you think of a guy that can dominate the line of scrimmage and plays with a mean streak, you think of Kris Dielman.
His story of coming in as a undrafted free agent who played defensive tackle then made the transition to offensive guard for the first time and then end up starting in 2006 just shows that he's a player willing to do anything to contribute to a team.
He showed his loyalty to San Diego when he opt to stay instead of leaving to Seattle for the big money.
He's loyal to the Chargers, respectful to his teammates, and has nothing but utter love for the game.
He was part of the offensive line that helped LT to two NFL rushing titles and numerous records.
He also is part of the offensive line that made the transition from a running team to a passing team in protecting one of the top QB's in the league.
Starting Center: Nick Hardwick
There aren't many centers in the AFC West who can be argued for this spot.
Nick Hardwick was injured nearly the entire season last year but when he came back, he still came out and played well in place of another injured center who ironically was the guy that replaced him.
Hardwick brings some versatility to the offense as he's able to do something most centers in the game don't do often and that's having the ability to pull and make blocks along the perimeter of the offensive line.
He's a very good pass blocker and rarely gets overpowered.
Starting Right Guard: Chris Kuper
Chris Kuper never made much headlines but what I do know about the guy is he approaches the game with a blue collar-like attitude.
Compared to other right guards in the AFC West, only Louis Vasquez plays as well as he did but it'd be unfair to put a guy that only played as a rookie last season.
Kuper has been the a steady blocker in the run game and also in the passing game.
What is a interesting statistic is that he only gave up 4 sacks in the last 2 1/2 seasons. I think that's a pretty good guy to play along the AFC West offensive line.
Starting Right Tackle: Ryan Harris
There aren't many good right tackles in the AFC West but if there is a positive tackle to look at that has played pretty consistently, look no further than Ryan Harris.
He's a surprisingly athletic tackle. He's also pretty good in the run game but he's a pass blocking specialist.
If Ryan Clady wasn't on the blind side, Harris would have been the starting left tackle.
If you notice, there is sure a lot of Chargers and a bit of Broncos in the line up.
I'm a Chargers fan and I was definitely unbiased in my assessment of this starting offense as their stats reflect how good they really are compared to their AFC West counterparts.
I'm sure many will disagree but let the debate begin as I'm more than willing to take defend my starting line-up of my AFC West all-star team.
I hope you enjoy the different change of pace from the other articles that have been written as I'll come out with Part 2, which will have the AFC West all-star defense.