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Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Five AFC Southies are All-Joes

By Paul Kuharsky

USA Today’s All-Joe team is a nice recognition for largely unsung heroes. Only players who’ve never been to the Pro Bowl are eligible for the team, selected every year since 1992.

Five of the 53-man roster on the team selected by Nate Davis are from the AFC South:

Texans FB James Casey

Davis: “Versatility personified. He's played quite a bit of tight end for Houston but settled in last season as the lead blocker for Arian Foster, who churned out 1,424 yards. Casey once played seven positions in one game while attending Rice and could probably spell Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in a pinch. After all, Casey spent three years pitching in the Chicago White Sox farm system.”

Kuharsky: Casey is heading for free agency and would be wise to flee. In a different environment in need of a pass-catching tight end, he and his great hands could be a very productive piece. He’s wasted as a lead blocker.

Colts TE Dwayne Allen

Davis: “Here's one Indianapolis newcomer you might not have heard much about even though his 45 receptions for 521 yards led all rookie tight ends. However Allen's crushing run blocks earned him a lot more playing time than teammate and fellow frosh tight end Coby Fleener, who entered the league with far more fanfare.”

Kuharsky: Allen is not just a productive player already, but he’s shown really good leadership qualities that will pay off for a young team.

Jaguars LT Eugene Monroe

Davis: “He's probably Jacksonville's steadiest, most reliable player. That alone warrants some rare recognition.”

Kuharsky: He was good, not great. He can still get better. A new position coach will be big for him and he should excel in a new zone-blocking scheme the team intends to install.

Titans CB Jason McCourty

Davis: “He's emerged as the best corner on his team and in his family now that twin brother Devin (a former Pro Bowler) of the Patriots has moved to safety. Few corners are more willing to get their hands dirty than Jason McCourty, whose 92 tackles paced the position among AFC players.”

Kuharsky: It took him a while to find his groove in 2012, but ultimately he showed himself to be the quality player the Titans believed in when they extended him.

Texans special-teams ace Bryan Braman 

Davis: “Playing as if his flowing hair was on fire, he blocked two punts, both returned for Houston TDs (one by Braman himself) and was a demon in coverage, making a team-high 16 special-teams tackles.”

Kuharsky: He’s a special-teams demon. The next stop is making himself a viable option for some snaps at outside linebacker as the Texans look for more pass-rush burst out of the position.