Sep 29, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) talks with Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny (51) after their game at EverBank Field. The Indianapolis Colts beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-3. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

FanSided Debate: All-AFC South Linebackers


As posted earlier, NFL team editors around the FanSided network are getting together and compiling All-Division teams for an epic 32 team tournament to decide the most talented division in the NFL. Regarded by some as one of the worst divisions in all of football, the AFC South has some work to do to put together a team that can go far in the bracket.

We’ve already locked in on a quarterbacktight end running backwide receivers, offensive line, and defensive line, so let’s take a look at the linebackers.

As discussed in the defensive lineman post, we decided to go with a 3-4 front since the majority of the division utilizes that scheme. With that in mind, we decided to focus on the pass rush in selecting our 4 linebackers.

Although there are some question marks about him thanks to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy and an impending 4-game suspension, Robert Mathis has to be on the all-division team. At age 32, Mathis had his best season last year, finishing with 19.5 sacks. There’s a good chance he won’t be a candidate next season, but for now he’s the most proven pass rusher in the AFC South.

Another guy who is making the team mostly on reputation is Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing. The former first round pick was a borderline All-Pro in his first 3 seasons coming out of USC in 2009, but he’s been plagued by injuries ever since. The talent and instinct is there to be a reliable inside backer, but Cushing needs to stay on the field. He gets the benefit of the doubt in this discussion.

To help Cushing out in the middle of the field, we went with the reliable presence of Jacksonville’s Paul Posluszny. Poz has been a polarizing player since coming to Jacksonville thanks to his massive contract, but he is a more than adequate middle linebacker. He’s a sure tackler who has steadily improved his coverage skills since coming into the league. He’s definitely overpaid, but that’s not factored into our choice for the all-division team.

Finally, we decided to be a bit bold choosing the other outside linebacker. Despite being a rookie and making a position switch, first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney is too good to pass up here. Much like the Texans are doing in real life, pairing Clowney alongside J.J. Watt should absolutely terrify opposing quarterbacks.

Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below.

 

- Daniel Lago

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Brian Cushing Jacksonville Jaguars Jadeveon Clowney Paul Posluszny Robert Mathis

  • Bobby Postma

    So just curious. ….. In other positions like QB (bortles) and RB (bishop Sankey) you said you are not choosing them because they are rookies abs need to prove themselves first but here you chose a rookie who, to me and others, have the most question marks of all rookies. Please explain

    • Daniel Lago

      Good question Bobby, and really it’s because the situations at the positions are different. At quarterback, Andrew Luck is the clear choice and it doesn’t really matter that Bortles is a rookie. Same with running back – Arian Foster is the obvious choice. It’s different at linebacker because there really aren’t too many obvious guys to choose from. Clowney has question marks, but he’s still a better choice than the rest of the guys in the division, at least to me.

  • SoTxJoe

    Clowney? And you expect us to take your opinions seriously? How is it you are impressed with his three sacks and ten TOTAL tackles all of last year against average COLLEGE offensive linemen? He didn’t exactly dominate at the college level last season and it was before the convenient and previously unknown mysterious diagnosis of “sports hernia”, one of Mario Williams favorite excus… i mean “injuries”, not excuses.

    • Daniel Lago

      Injuries are excuses now? And the NFL thought enough of Clowney to make him the first overall pick in one of the strongest drafts over the last several years. Who would you put in over Clowney?

      • SoTxJoe

        You think it’s a real injury? it looks more like jClown looked at Mario Williams’ history and is choosing to repeat it after getting his payday. Don’t you think if he really played all last season with a real “sports hernia”, that would have showed up sometime last year or even in the combines (in which the “sports hernia” didn’t hurt his performance)? Or the pre-draft physicals? And outside of that, what has he done specifically besides to deserve the current hype?

        And who would i choose as an all-division linebacker? i would probably start with someone who’s actually played the position. EVER.

        • Daniel Lago

          Clowney had 21 sacks in his first 2 seasons at South Carolina. He had 3 as a junior, but he was constantly disruptive despite double and triple-teams on every play. He was taken first overall because he’s the most talented pass rusher to come out of the draft this generation.
          You still haven’t said who you would choose over him.

          • SoTxJoe

            If we’re picking people who’ve never played the position before, i’d take JJ Watt, Andre Johnson, or Andrew Luck.

          • Daniel Lago

            So salty. Thanks for making my point for me.