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Andrew Luck, Arian Foster, J.J. Watt head All-AFC South Team

When it comes to highlighting top NFL talent, league-wide evaluations are the norm -- meaning some of the better players in each division are often overlooked. With his divisional all-star series, Dave Dameshek will be taking a deeper dive into the NFL's elite, putting together the best squad possible from each division -- continuing with the All-AFC South Team below.

For additional analysis on this topic -- and a whole lot more -- listen to The Dave Dameshek Football Program.


He's 3-for-3 in getting the Colts to January, and with each passing year, he's gotten 'em one weekend closer to February. Since Indy reached the AFC title game last season, that means ... well, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Running back: Arian Foster, Houston Texans

Plain and simple, the Texans win way more when he's on the field. Maybe it's the injuries, but Foster wins the 2015 Frank Gore Award for Underappreciated Running Backs. (By the way, what ever happened to Gore?)

The Colts' offense has a chance to be one of those all-time great units, with Gore, Andre Johnson, a pair of higher-end pass-catching tight ends in Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener ... and this splash-playmaker-who-makes-more-than-just-splash-plays gem.

Perhaps this generation's least-heralded future Hall of Famer moves to Indy. If the former longtime Texan can stay healthy, a massive year awaits.

By letting Johnson go, the Texans formalized a process they'd essentially begun two seasons ago: focusing the passing game around Hopkins.

The former Broncos scoring machine (24 touchdowns in 27 games over the last two seasons in Denver) edges out other worthy options in the Colts' Allen and the Titans' Delanie Walker. By the way, did you know Thomas played basketball in college?

A Pro Bowler in each of the last three seasons, the former first-round pick is the longest-tenured Texan on the roster.

If nothing else, the talented 'Bama product will have a slightly more sculpted physique to show off heading into his third pro season.

If the NFL were considered more of a center league than a quarterback league, the AFC South would be in a lot of trouble.

A Pro Football Focus Pro Bowler in his rookie year, the former 'Cane looks like a foundational piece.

Perhaps the only dependable piece on the Colts' line, the starting left tackle gets moved to the right side on our team.


Defensive end: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

The best defensive player of (at least) this decade.

Defensive tackle: Jurrell Casey, Tennessee Titans

The Titans' defensive foundation is the rare nose tackle who not only stuffs the run, but brings consistent pressure on the quarterback from the inside.

If Marks can repeat his 2014 performance (8.5 sacks) after recovering from surgery to fix an end-of-year ACL tear, our divisional team is going to be near-impossible to block.

As long as we're doing the if thing, if Mathis can get beyond the Achilles injury that -- combined with a four-game suspension -- kept him from participating in 2014 and reach his career average of double-digit sacks, the Colts' defense has a chance.

Outside linebacker: Derrick Morgan, Tennessee Titans

The Titans made sure the coveted edge rusher out of Georgia Tech didn't get away in free agency this offseason. Look for him to take off in new defensive assistant Dick LeBeau's linebacker-friendly scheme.

Inside linebacker: D'Qwell Jackson, Indianapolis Colts

From Cleveland to Indy, the tackling machine has stayed consistent. He posted 141 tackles for the Browns in '13 and 138 for the Colts in '14.

Outside linebacker: Brian Orakpo, Tennessee Titans

With Casey and Co. doing their thing up front, Orakpo and Morgan could become twin terrors in the division this year, provided the former D.C. star can stay healthy.

Trump your pals and impress the experts by invoking the name "Vontae" the next time a debate over the mythical Best Shutdown Corner rages around your local tavern.

Since his arrival in Houston back in 2011, Joseph has helped elevate the Texans' secondary from punch-line status to respectability. Now the vet will play mentor to 2015 first-round pick Kevin Johnson.

The undrafted journeyman (Indy is the fourth stop in his 11-year career) landed in the Pro Bowl last season.

Coming off the best of his four pro seasons in Buffalo, the Titans' free-agent signee needs to show he can maintain his high standard of play away from the Bills' stellar front seven.


Sight unseen, the first-round pick -- who is expected to fill this role this season -- is better than any of the veteran options available. But let's also appreciate the man who held the post in Indy for a time last season, Griff Whalen. There just aren't a lot of guys named Griff.

The future Hall of Famer led the league in efficiency last season, making 30 of his 31 attempts.

We'd put him on the team if only for his mirth-making in the locker room. The fact he happens to also be the best punter in the division is a bonus.

Follow Dave Dameshek on Twitter @Dameshek.

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