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Wednesday, November 18, 2009
A look at AFC East in Pro Bowl balloting


The NFL on Tuesday released the leading candidates for each position in each conference, but where do various AFC East players rank?

When it comes to how they rank among the top five at a given position within the conference, the New England Patriots lead the way with 13 players. The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins have four each. No Buffalo Bills rank in the top five.

Here are the position-by-position results and how AFC East players rank within the conference:

Quarterback

2. Tom Brady, Patriots (295,477)

Comment: He has the fourth-most votes of any quarterback behind Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.

Running back

4. Ronnie Brown, Dolphins (129,271)

Comment: Comeback Player of the Year candidate Cedric Benson leads everyone in the AFC with 321,552 votes.

Fullback

4. Sammy Morris, Patriots (40,118)

5. Tony Richardson, Jets (36,481)

Comment: Ravens back Le'Ron McClain is way ahead with 78,194 votes.

Wide receiver

3. Randy Moss, Patriots (232,652)

Comment: Andre Johnson leads the AFC with 279,395 votes.

Tight end

None.

Comment: No AFC East tight end deserves to be in the top five.

Center

5. Nick Mangold, Jets (55,949)

Comment: Mangold is the NFL's best center, but fan voting is a popularity contest. Colts center Jeff Saturday leads the league with 215,658 votes. I would tell Jets fans to get on the stick, but I predict Mangold will be the starter after the players and coaches weigh in.

Guard

1. Alan Faneca, Jets (122,029)

5. Logan Mankins, Patriots(51,316)

Comment: Also proving it's a popularity contest, Faneca isn't what he used to be but appears on his way to running away with it again. He has gone to eight straight Pro Bowls.

Tackle

1. Jake Long, Dolphins (107,299)

2. Matt Light, Patriots (76,977)

Comment: They're comfortably ahead of the rest of the field. Steelers tackle Max Starks is third with 69,749 votes.

Defensive end

None.

Comment: Ex-Patriots star Richard Seymour is fourth with 71,199 votes, but Colts sackmaster Dwight Freeney has over 200,000.

Defensive tackle

2. Vince Wilfork, Patriots (104,038)

Comment: In what could turn into a close race, Casey Hampton of the Steelers is about 17,000 votes ahead, and Haloti Ngata of the Ravens is 3,001 votes behind in third place.

Outside linebacker

5. Joey Porter, Dolphins (70,132)

Comment: Given his season so far, Porter might not remain in the top five for long. James Harrison of the Steelers and Elvis Dumervil of the Broncos are running away with it.

Inside linebacker

3. Bart Scott, Jets (45,200)

4. Jerod Mayo, Patriots (44,876)

Comment: Scott's old Ravens teammate, Ray Lewis, leads the pack with 148,480 votes. Scott's current teammate, David Harris, probably deserves to be on this list, too.

Cornerback

3. Darrelle Revis, Jets (86,143)

Comment: Revis will go to his second Pro Bowl, but he won't catch Broncos star Champ Bailey, the NFL's leader with 185,103 votes.

Strong safety

4. Brandon Meriweather, Patriots (34,584)

Comment: Meriweather is having the best season, but it will be tough to compete with Steelers star Troy Polamalu, who has 192,289 votes.

Free safety

5. Brandon McGowan, Patriots (14,132)

Comment: Not many people gave much thought when the Patriots signed McGowan as a free agent, but he's having a fine season. Bills rookie Jairus Byrd, with eight interceptions, isn't on the ballot because he wasn't a starter when it was compiled. Bills fans need to get cracking with the write-in votes.

Kicker

2. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots (45,831)

Comment: The folks who stuffed the box for Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter last year better wake up.

Punter

5. Chris Hanson, Patriots (24,663)

Comment: The least-voted-upon position always seems up for grabs. Hanson is only 24,000 votes out of first place.

Kick returner

4. Wes Welker, Patriots (31,788)

Comment: There's a big dropoff from a close race among Darren Sproles, Joshua Cribbs and Eddie Royal.

Special teamer

5. Sam Aiken, Patriots (25,495)

Comment: No Larry Izzo on the list. Doesn't look right, but it probably is.