USA Today continues its positional series of top players in the NFL, focusing on interior offensive linemen. The top two spots belong to linemen in the AFC East -- Jets center Nick Mangold is No. 1, while Patriots guard Logan Mankins is No. 2.
As part of the piece, the importance of Mangold's role is highlighted while including a Patriots twist: How Mangold matches up with players such as Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork.
Because the Jets don't consistently double-team Wilfork -- trusting Mangold in a one-on-one situation -- it allows them to release guards to help double-team on the edge.
"I always look forward to playing the Patriots and getting Vince (Wilfork)," Mangold says of his battles with the 325-pound Pro Bowl nose tackle. "You know you'll be there for 60 minutes-plus."
Meanwhile, Mankins edges Saints guard Jahri Evans as the top guard. Evans is slotted at No. 3.