Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Walker's Fab 40: Nos. 17-20
By James Walker
We are now in the top 20. The AFC East blog continues its rankings of the top players in the division.
Here are Nos. 17-20:
No. 20: Vontae Davis, CB
Team: Miami Dolphins
Stats: 43 tackles, four interceptions, one sack
Analysis: Davis, like the Dolphins, had a slow start in 2011. But in the second half of the season, Davis may have been the best corner in the AFC East with the exception of Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets. Davis got healthy and focused late in the year and showed why Miami made him a first-round pick. He frustrated receivers in coverage and showed good ball skills and playmaking ability. Davis' next task is to be a legit, No. 1 corner for a full season in 2012, not just part of the season.
No. 19: Cameron Wake, OLB
Stats: 42 tackles, 8.5 sacks
Analysis: Wake faced the harsh reality of becoming a Pro Bowl player following the 2010 season. Opponents were no longer caught by surprise and sent a lot of attention and double-teams Wake’s way, and his numbers were down last season. Wake finished with 8.5 sacks, which is 5.5 fewer than he had the previous year. He still brought consistent pressure and remains the only pure pass-rusher on the Dolphins' defense. Miami may need to get him some help on the opposite edge.
No. 18: Steve Johnson, WR
Team: Buffalo Bills
Stats: 76 receptions, 1,004 yards, seven touchdowns
Analysis: Johnson completed his first back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011. It comes at a good time, because Johnson is one of the biggest free agents in the division. Johnson wants to return to Buffalo and the feeling is mutual. But the Bills don't want to overpay. Johnson is kind of a tweener. He's not a dominant No. 1 receiver, but he’s better than most No. 2 receivers. The Bills and Johnson have been at odds over the receiver's value since last year, and both sides have been unable to close the gap with free agency looming next month.
No. 17: Reggie Bush, RB
Stats: 1,086 yards, six touchdowns, 43 receptions
Analysis: Bush concludes this Dolphins-heavy group in "Walker's Fab 40." He's coming off a career year in which he eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing for the first time. Bush came to Miami to prove he's a feature back. He stayed healthy and proved a lot of critics wrong. Bush is still one of the best players in the open field, and he also showed a lot of strides running in between the tackles. Bush will be even more dangerous in 2012 if the Dolphins are able to land a franchise quarterback.