Nate Davis wisely hits it in his premise: it’s harder to find underappreciated players in the NFL when invitations to the Pro Bowl are passed out like advertising fliers on a Times Square street corner.
Nevertheless, USA Today’s published its annual All-Joe team, a squad of players who don’t quite get the sort of recognition they might deserve.
The AFC South’s presence comes primarily in the middle of the offensive line.
Here’s the entry on the guards:
Ryan Lilja, Chiefs -- Plucked off Colts' scrap heap, he was a linchpin in K.C.'s top-ranked rushing attack despite battling thumb and foot injuries. Wade Smith, Texans -- Journeyman joined team, joined lineup for 16 starts and helped RB Arian Foster join all-pro ranks as league's rushing king. Vince Manuwai, Jaguars -- Fully recovered from a devastating 2008 knee injury, he was a major reason Maurice Jones-Drew hit his stride in the second half.
I thought Smith was solid and represents the sort of addition the Texans need more of. Manuwai was very good at his peak, but was a late entry into the starting lineup after losing out in a position battle in camp.
Also mentioned: Colts tight end Jacob Tamme.