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Rob Weintraub's 2019 All-AFC South Team

Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry and Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Nearly forty percent of every team's schedule is made up of division games. Every coach and player talks about the importance of winning games against division foes. Schemes and personnel are very often tailored to matching up with division opponents. Yet when it comes to naming the best players at season's end, we never classify them by division. Where are the All-Division teams? This has always mystified me. Colleges name All-Conference teams, why not do likewise for the professional ranks?

Well rest easy, I've done it for you. Today we head below the Mason-Dixon Line to concentrate on the AFC South. Naturally, this being Football Outsiders, our stats are used to justify selections whenever necessary.

OFFENSE

QB: Ryan Tannehill, TEN

Deshaun Watson was certainly more spectacular, but Tannehill was more efficient across the board. Neither can compete with Pat Mahomes, as we saw in the postseason, but both had strong seasons, with Tannehill's something of a miracle after his time in Miami, where he made exactly zero All-Div teams in seven seasons.

RB: Derrick Henry, TEN
RB: Marlon Mack, IND

These are the lone two division backs with positive DVOA on the season. Carlos Hyde's quality year wasn't reflected in his overall efficiency rating (-3.4%), though he was certainly very close to Mack.

WR: A.J. Brown, TEN
WR: DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
WR: DJ Chark, JAX
TE: Jonnu Smith, TEN

A.J. Green apparently changed colors and teams to make the squad. While Kenny Stills had slightly better efficiency numbers than Chark, Chark's far larger usage -- and not having Nuke on the other side -- gives him the spot here. Smith's surprising season edges out Houston's Darren Fells, who was just a pinky toe behind Smith in all our numbers.

OT: Laremy Tunsil, HOU
OT: Jack Conklin, TEN
OG: Quenton Nelson, IND
OG: Rodger Saffold, TEN
C: Ryan Kelly, IND

Splitting hairs between Conklin and Anthony Castonzo at tackle, and Saffold and Mark Glowinski at guard, but it seemed unrealistic for a pedestrian team like Indy to have four linemen make the squad.

DEFENSE

DE: Calais Campbell, JAX
DE: Harold Landry, TEN
DT: Jurrell Casey, TEN
DT: DaQuan Jones, TEN

Putting Landry at defensive end over more "pure" ends like Yannick Ngakoue is a bit of a cheat, but his season was mostly made rushing the passer, where he was excellent.

OLB: Darius Leonard, IND
OLB: Zach Cunningham, HOU
ILB: Rashaan Evans, TEN
ILB: Jayon Brown, TEN

Throw a blanket over Cunningham, Justin Houston, and Whitney Mercilus, with Cunningham's slightly higher versatility earning him the slot. The Tennessee Two were easy winners inside, even without Johnny Cash.

CB: D.J. Hayden, JAX
CB: Kenny Moore, IND
Slot CB: Logan Ryan, TEN
S: Kevin Byard, TEN
S: Kenny Vaccaro, TEN

Another Titans-dominated sphere. It was a down season for Jacksonville's A.J. Bouye; Hayden only started half the year but was second among qualifying corners in yards per pass allowed.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Josh Lambo, JAX
P: Logan Cooke, JAX
RET: Nyheim Hines, IND

Excellent punting in this division, with Cooke (and his gunners) leading the league in our punting stats. Hines' punt returning likewise led the NFL.

Comments

9 comments, Last at 19 Feb 2020, 7:21pm

1 Tannehill over Watson

Sorry, but that doesn't quite work for me. I don't care about the DVOA here. Tannehill is a play-action QB on a team with a great running attack. Watson is a complete QB. He didn't have Derrick Henry to hand off to 20 times per game. That's why Watson had more than 1000 more EYards than Tannehill did this season.

8 So if Tannehell gets the nod…

So if Tannehell gets the nod over Watson due to similar DYAR and higher DVOA despite half a season, Stafford has to be the pick in the NFC North, right? He has similar DYAR to Cousins and Rodgers and twice their DVOA.