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Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Walker's Fab 40: Nos. 25-28

By James Walker

The AFC East blog continues its ranking of the top 40 players in the division.

Here are Nos. 25-28:

Mayo
Mayo
No. 28: Jerod Mayo, LB

Team: Patriots

Stats: 95 tackles, two interceptions, one sack

Analysis: Mayo is exactly the type of player the Patriots covet. He's smart, solid, not flashy and rarely makes mistakes. Some expected Mayo to be a perennial Pro Bowler when he was drafted by New England in the first round. But that's not the kind of player Mayo is. His strength is more in his consistency. Mayo is very coachable, will get everyone lined up and does his job. New England coach Bill Belichick called Mayo his version of Tom Brady on the defense.

Wood
Wood
No. 27: Eric Wood, C

Team: Buffalo Bills

Stats: Nine starts

Analysis: Wood, 25, has Pro Bowl potential. He's crafty and equally good at run blocking and pass protection. Wood also is the key to Buffalo's offensive line. Things fell apart at times when Wood suffered a season-ending knee injury. Wood already has multiple leg injuries, which may be a concern down the road for Buffalo. He played in just nine games in 2011.

Moore
Moore
No. 26: Matt Moore, QB

Team: Miami Dolphins

Stats: 2,497 yards, 16 touchdowns, nine interceptions

Analysis: Who knew at the beginning of the season that Moore was the second-best quarterback in the AFC East? We settle that debate with the "Sanchez-Fitz-Moore Watch." Moore out-dueled New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick by winning the final two quarters of the season. Moore is mobile and throws a surprisingly good deep ball. He's just not the kind of starting quarterback to lead a franchise to the Super Bowl. The Dolphins are making that obvious by showing interest in every good quarterback soon to hit the free-agent market.

Dareus
Dareus
No. 25: Marcell Dareus, DT

Team: Bills

Stats: 43 tackles, 5.5 sacks

Analysis: Dareus had a solid rookie year. He showed at times that he can dominate a game, and that's what Buffalo hopes to see from Dareus more in future seasons. The Bills played Dareus at defensive end and nose tackle last year. Buffalo's switch to a 4-3 defense in 2012 should help prevent double teams. I fully expect Dareus to be higher on this list next year. He's just scratching the surface of what he's capable of.