The defense for the AFC East Dream Team is set and it features everything one would need in a stellar defense: run-stuffing linemen, pass-rushing linebackers, and shutdown corners. Voters picked the bulk of the secondary, and you can see the results of the poll here. Collectively, this defense boasts 784 tackles, 39.5 sacks, 28 interceptions, and 11 forced fumbles based on stats from the 2009 regular season. The defense will run a 3-4 scheme. Unfortunately, you will only find one Patriot on this list, but more on that later. Without further ado, I give you the AFC East defense:
Defensive End: Shaun Ellis (New York Jets) and Randy Starks (Miami Dolphins)
Nose Tackle: Vince Wilfork (Patriots)
Inside Linebacker: Karlos Dansby (Dolphins) and David Harris (NYJ)
Outside Linebacker: Aaron Schobel (Buffalo Bills) and Calvin Pace (NYJ)
Corner back: Darrelle Revis (NYJ) and Vontae Davis (Dolphins)
Nickel Back: Will Allen (Dolphins)
Free Safety: Jairus Byrd (Bills)
Strong Safety: Yeremiah Bell (Dolphins)
Of course, there are some names that could potentially have been here and one I feel should have been here.
I talked about linebacker snubs already and you can view that here. At safety, Brandon Meriweather certainly merited consideration, much more than what he got in the voting. Meriweather was a Pro Bowler last season and made some big-time plays in the secondary, snagging 5 interceptions. However, Yeremiah Bell also was a playmaker and a steady presence in the Miami defensive backfield. It’s hard to argue against his inclusion in the lineup. However, I feel the biggest snub here on the roster is the exclusion of Patriots corner Leigh Bodden. Bodden, I feel, suffered from the perception that New England has a weak secondary. While that was true overall last season, Bodden individually was stellar. Bodden made 55 tackles, 5 INT’s and forced a fumble as well last season, and was rarely ever beat by the receiver he was covering. Bodden should have been the nickel corner in this defense, but alas, democracy doesn’t always go the way you want it to.
Another snub from the secondary would be Buffalo corner Terrence McGee. McGee, while he does not have eye-popping stats due to missing some time last season, is pretty close to being a shutdown corner. Opponents generally do not throw in his direction, which also leads to an overall decrease in stats. McGee is lauded by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and that should be enough to get placement on an AFC East All-Star squad. Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section and drop a name you feel was snubbed from this defense.
Next to come: special teams and offense!