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All-time XI, AFC South: No. 2 slot for Peyton Manning, J.J. Watt

With the 2018 World Cup upon us, Jeremy Bergman and Adam Rank are divvying up the NFL and selecting the top 11 -- or in, yes, FOOTBALL parlance, all-time XI -- players from each of the 32 teams' history. Today, Bergman presents the top XI for each team in the AFC South.

Houston Texans

1) Andre Johnson, WR (2003-2014)
2) J.J. Watt, DE (2011-present)
3) Arian Foster, RB (2009-2015)
4) DeAndre Hopkins, WR (2013-present)
5) Duane Brown, OT (2008-2017)
6) Mario Williams, DE (2006-2011)
7) Brian Cushing, LB (2009-2017)
8) Matt Schaub, QB (2007-2013)
9) Johnathan Joseph, CB (2011-present)
10) DeMeco Ryans, LB (2006-2011)
11) Whitney Mercilus, OLB (2012-present)
Coach: Gary Kubiak (2006-2013)

The Texans are the NFL franchise with the shortest history and smallest talent pool from which to draw an all-time XI. If this team was a human, it would be struggling with trigonometry on Tuesdays and celebrating Sweet Sixteens on Saturdays. If it were a soccer team in this year's World Cup, Houston would be Croatia, an entity founded around the turn of the century from the parts of another (i.e., Yugoslavia, NFL Expansion Draft) and now finding little to moderate success on the field. Houston's best players have been homegrown. Johnson, Watt and Hopkins were/are the most feared men at their position and fan favorites for their physical and/or flashy play. They were all first-round selections. Foster's poetic overnight emergence from undrafted backup to fantasy darling made him Houston's most marketable star on offense for some time and earned him a spot in the top three of this list. Brown, Williams and Cushing were mainstays who are no longer with the team. Schaub is my most shocking inclusion on this list, given his Average Joe career elsewhere and his prolific propensity for pick-sixes. But Schaub is Houston's all-time leading passer. He's responsible for four of the five most productive seasons by a Texans QB and led Houston to the postseason more than any other QB -- twice! "Where are Jadeveon Clowney and Deshaun Watson?," you may be mumbling. Give it a year! Just be thankful Brock Osweiler didn't make the cut.

Indianapolis Colts

1) Johnny Unitas, QB (1956-1972)
2) Peyton Manning, QB (1998-2011)
3) Marvin Harrison, WR (1996-2008)
4) Raymond Berry, WR (1955-1967)
5) Gino Marchetti, DE (1953-1966)
6) Reggie Wayne, WR (2001-2014)
7) John Mackey, TE (1963-1971)
8) Dwight Freeney, DE (2002-2012)
9) Edgerrin James, RB (1999-2005)
10) Lenny Moore, RB (1956-1967)
11) Art Donovan, DT (1950, 1953-1961)
Coach: Tony Dungy (2002-2008)

This list pits two eras of Colts football, defined by their signal-callers, against one another: Unitas in Baltimore in the 1950s and 1960s vs. Manning in Indianapolis in the aughts. It's split pretty evenly, with six from the Unitas era and five from the Manning era, which is a telling examination of the franchise's splintered history. Johnny U vs. Peyton is an intra-franchise debate for the ages that involves all of the variables. How do you compensate for the different eras? How much do titles matter? Does iconography come into play? At the end of the squabble and after the weighing of inflated and deflated statistics, Unitas' three titles with the Colts, which include a victory in the sport's most iconic game, trump Manning's one championship with Indy and multiple postseason letdowns. Maybe Manning can take solace that Harrison and Wayne, No. 18's favorite receivers, are each ranked a spot ahead of where Johnny U's Berry and Mackey fall on the list, respectively. There are linemen (Marchetti and Freeney) and running backs (James and Moore) from both eras who made the list, and those who just barely missed the cut (Jeff Saturday, Robert Mathis, Marshall Faulk). But thems the breaks when your organization has a winning history in two wildly different time periods.

Jacksonville Jaguars

1) Jimmy Smith, WR (1995-2005)
2) Fred Taylor, RB (1998-2008)
3) Tony Boselli, OT (1995-2001)
4) Maurice Jones-Drew, RB (2006-2013)
5) Mark Brunell, QB (1995-2003)
6) Keenan McCardell, WR (1996-2001)
7) David Garrard, QB (2002-2010)
8) Marcus Stroud, DT (2001-2007)
9) John Henderson, DT (2002-2009)
10) Tony Brackens, DE (1996-2003)
11) Rashean Mathis, CB (2003-2012)
Coach: Tom Coughlin (1995-2002)

As with Houston, the Jaguars are, relative to the league's forefathers, disaffected millennials. In futbol terms, which Jags and Fulham Football Club owner Shad Khan surely understand, they resemble the Colombian national team -- all that in the '90s and finally ready for a resurgence. Jacksonville's best days produced the franchise's best players, like Smith, Boselli and Brunell, who were with the organization from the very beginning, when the Jags made four playoff and two AFC title game appearances in their first five years of existence. While Boselli was a three-time All-Pro and Duval's first-ever draft pick, his shortened career (abbreviated due to injury) and unsexy position keep him behind Smith and Taylor, who were hyper-productive Y2K icons. Jones-Drew and Garrard carried the Jacksonville offense through the mildly successful Jack Del Rio years (see: Jacksonville's 2007 wild-card upset of Pittsburgh for the peak), while Henderson and Stroud held together a forgotten defense. (Henderson & Stroud should be a package deal and/or a law firm specializing in asbestos relief, but that's not how the rules work.) In due time, this list will be filled with members of today's Sacksonville defense, but for now, Jalen Ramsey and Telvin Smith will have their places held by Mathis and Brackens.

Tennessee Titans

1) Bruce Matthews, OL (1983-2001)
2) Earl Campbell, RB (1978-1984)
3) Warren Moon, QB (1984-1993)
4) Steve McNair, QB (1995-2005)
5) Eddie George, RB (1996-2003)
6) Mike Munchak, OG (1982-1993)
7) Elvin Bethea, DE (1968-1983)
8) Ray Childress, DE (1985-1995)
9) Robert Brazile, OLB (1975-1984)
10) Jevon Kearse, DE (1999-2003, 2008-2009)
11) George Blanda, QB/K (1960-1966)
Coach: Bum Phillips (1975-1980)

The Colts aren't the only AFC South team with a bifurcated franchise history. Today's Titans are yesterday's Oilers, linked by Bud Adams, a baby-blue color scheme and a select few franchise legends. In the span of four seasons, McNair and George wore the uniforms of the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Oilers and Tennessee Titans, helping transform the fledgling, nomadic franchise back into a consistent winner and coming up just one yard short in the organization's only Super Bowl appearance. But the pair's path back to the postseason was already paved for them by Campbell and Moon, who did it first and, by statistical metrics, better than their successors. Campbell's career in Houston was shorter than George's, but far more electric. Before McNair broke down barriers, there was Moon. Blocking for all four of these franchise legends was Matthews, a nine-time All-Pro and 14-time Pro Bowler who played every position on the offensive line over 19 seasons with the Oilers/Titans. That gets you top billing on this list. After the top five listed here, trenchmen dominate. Munchak and Bethea are enshrined in Canton. Brazile will join them when he's enshrined this summer. Childress is second all-time to Bethea in franchise history with 74.5 sacks, and Kearse was the face of Tennessee's fearsome, Super Bowl-bound defense at the turn of the century. Blanda gets recognition here for being the father of the franchise, a two-way player who put the Oilers and the AFL on the map in the early 1960s. Respect your elders, internet.

Follow Jeremy Bergman on Twitter @JABergman.

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