The 4 Editors for the AFC North Division of Fansided’s NFL coverage have converged to create the All Division team. We started with the All AFC North Offensive Team last week. Today we give you the All AFC North Defensive Team. We will use the All Division team in a competition against the other divisions. Fans will vote in the competition to see what Division is the best in the NFL. Here is our defense, a 3-4 front since 3 of the 4 teams run that defense, what do you agree/disagree with?
Geno Atkins - Atkins is the stud DT for the Bengals but in our defense he slides outside. Atkins has a quick first step and is powerful. In the 3-4 he will have to learn how to hold down blockers to allow the linebackers to make plays. Atkins also doesn’t have the requisite height normally fit for the 3-4 defense. Atkins will be disruptive in both the run and pass game based on his high level of skill. Year after year the pounding could be tough on him but for this exercise he is a good fit.
Cameron Heyward - The former Buckeye won out in a competition that was tough. In the AFC North there were not strong candidates for the other spot. Phil Taylor got some attention but the longer Heyward end up with the victory here. Heyward, unlike Atkins, fits the 3-4 end position well. With his long arms and athleticism he should occupy blockers fine to allow the outside backers to make plays.
Haloti Ngata - Ngata was a landslide winner here. He has been the interior dominate force in the AFC North for years. The Ravens move him around a ton, making great use of his variety of skills. For the AFC North team he will be asked to hold down multiple blockers and push the interior pocket. By name alone he will take a ton of attention. With his age it is possible that Taylor could take over this spot next year.
Terrell Suggs - Suggs is the stalwart outside linebacker left in the AFC North. Suggs makes impact plays all over the field especially causing disruption for the quarterbacks. With Atkins and Heyward causing double teams on the outside, Suggs should get some free runs at the QB. With dual threat QBs likely in many matchups, Suggs’ ability to read plays will come in handy.
Vontaze Burfict - Burfict has made his name in the NFL in a positive way, after establishing a bad reputation in college. Undrafted he is now impactful all over the field. Burfict still causes problems with poor decision making, hitting after plays and free lancing. Yet his playmaking ability is undeniable.
Lawrence Timmons - Timmons will provide solid run and pass defense. A veteran of the Zone Blitz scheme, Timmons can also make an impact in rushing the passer. With Timmons the AFC North will get solid coverage skills with all the solid tight ends in the league.
Jason Worilds - Worilds has come on over the last year. His inclusion shows how name value at the OLB position in the North has diminished. It also shows how little respect Jabaal Sheard has with the other Division Editors. Expect him to change that his year. Worilds will make a solid impact in all phases of the game.
Joe Haden - Browns fans don’t need told how great Haden is. He is a lockdown corner that some believe is the best in the league. Unlike many of the other top guys, Haden has been responsible for locking down the other team’s best receiver most of the game.
Jimmy Smith - Smith takes the other cornerback spot. The solid Raven beat out Lardarius Webb, his teammate, and others for the position. Justin Gilbert could have a shot at this spot in a couple of years as well.
Donte Whitner - The AFCN has a weakness at the backend. With no free safeties standing out, Whitner gets the call here. A strong safety by play he has enough range, as well as big hitting to impact both the run and pass game. New to the AFCN, Whitner is expected to make a huge impact on the Browns.
Troy Polamalu - A healthy Polamalu is a no brainer for this list. Sadly as he has aged Troy’s injuries have mounted to the point where his play has been signficantly impacted. He will still make a few huge plays every game that he is in but those games are becoming few and far between. Hopefully Polamalu has a big bounce back season of health and his name value will carry weight with the fans voting.
What do you think of our defense?