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Best offensive player: Ronnie Brown, Dolphins.
In five of his games he carried 14 times or fewer, yet he still has 465 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, second only to Tennessee Titans goal-line specialist LenDale White. Brown also has 143 receiving yards and a touchdown pass.
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|Joey Porter is on pace to set the single-season sacks record.|
Best defensive player: Joey Porter, Dolphins.
There was temptation to go with Jets anchor Kris Jenkins, but Porter is playing like the NFL's defensive MVP. He leads the league with 11.5 sacks, putting him on pace to break Michael Strahan's season record.
Best coach: Bill Belichick, Patriots.
He's working without his superstar quarterback, his top three running backs and a defensive captain. Yet even with a quarterback who hadn't started since high school, Belichick has the Patriots two games over .500.
Best front office: New York Jets.
They hit on a series of free agents, including guard Alan Faneca, linebacker Calvin Pace, and fullback Tony Richardson. They traded for Jenkins and were aggressive in landing quarterback Brett Favre. The Jets' draft mostly has been barren, with fourth-round pick Dwight Lowery the lone contributor so far.
Most overrated player: Brett Favre, Jets.
Overrated doesn't equal bad. Favre is an active legend who isn't as good as his larger-than-life reputation anymore. The more he manages games as opposed to dictating them, the better the Jets will be.
Most underrated player: Matt Cassel, Patriots.
Tom Brady's understudy is doomed by comparisons. No, Cassel hasn't maintained the Patriots' high-octane offense. But take a look at his numbers: 67 percent completions, seven touchdowns, seven interceptions, 83.4 passer rating. He hasn't been nearly as awful as many think, and he's steadily improving.
Biggest surprise: Greg Camarillo, Dolphins.
Unrecruited out of high school and not invited to the NFL scouting combine, he wasn't expected to make the roster this year. But Camarillo leads Miami with 43 catches for 483 yards and a touchdown.
Biggest disappointment: Patriots pass protection and Jason Peters, Bills.
Only the doormat San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals have allowed more sacks than the Patriots, who boast three Pro Bowl linemen. Peters, the Pro Bowl left tackle who sat out training camp because of a contract dispute, has been mediocre on a team that desperately needs better.
Most effective acquisition: Kris Jenkins, Jets.
The hefty nose tackle is the main reason the Jets own one of the NFL's top defenses. They're second in sacks and fourth in run defense. The Jets gave up third- and fifth-round picks to pry Jenkins from the Carolina Panthers, and he's playing like two players.
Biggest bust acquisition: Ernest Wilford, Dolphins.
On the first day of free agency, the Dolphins gave Wilford a four-year, $13 million contract with $6 million guaranteed. He has been a healthy scratch for five games and has one reception.
Best offensive rookie: Jake Long, Dolphins.
The No. 1 overall selection -- and highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history -- has started every game at left tackle and hasn't looked out of place since leaving Michigan.
Best defensive rookie: Jerod Mayo, Patriots.
The 10th pick from Tennessee is an every-down player, replacing inside linebacker Junior Seau. Mayo unofficially leads the Patriots with 59 tackles.
Best draft value: Dwight Lowery, Jets.
Taken in the fourth round out of San Jose State, he has started all eight games and unofficially leads the Jets with 43 tackles along with nine passes defended. Also worthy of mention is Dolphins guard Donald Thomas, a sixth-round pick who was their opening-day starter.
Worst draft value: Vernon Gholston, Jets.
The former phenom from Ohio State has made zero impact despite being taken sixth overall. Gholston has struggled with the transition from full-time defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker. He hasn't started a game and has four solo tackles.
Best undrafted rookie: Dan Carpenter, Dolphins, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots.
Carpenter came to camp from Montana and beat out veteran Jay Feely for th
e job. Carpenter has made 86 percent of his field goals, but hasn't been tested on a long one yet. Green-Ellis began on the practice squad, but injuries gave him a shot at running back. The Ole Miss product has two starts and three touchdowns.
Least-represented team in this report: Buffalo Bills.
The Bills are pretty good in most facets, but they're not consistently mind-blowng anywhere. Their top offensive players -- quarterback Trent Edwards, running back Marshawn Lynch, receiver Lee Evans -- have produced dazzling games, but they've also disappeared at times. Injuries and recent shaky play have tempered enthusiasm. The draft class has provided negligible impact.