3 players every fan should know: AFC edition

Think of this as like cramming for that big test, only it’s not a test. It’s just football. Everybody loves football right? Nod you head and smile (it’s part of the test!). It’s not like this is army training. So “lighten up Francis!”

Nobody wants to be “that guy” (or gal) who puts their foot in their mouth and asks about a player that has been retired or traded to another team. So let me take you around the league and let you know about your teams stars, so you have a starting point at least. I’ll give you at least 3, and sometimes a couple extra, for those eager students!

Baltimore Ravens- Joe Flacco is your Super Bowl winning QB. Steve Smith is your feisty free agent Wide Receiver. Your sackmaster is Outside Linebacker Terrell Suggs. Your first round draft choice is Linebacker CJ Mosley.

Buffalo Bills- 2nd year QB EJ Manuel runs the offense. Former first round pick Mario Williams is your stellar Defensive End. Cornerback Leodis McKelvin is “Lovin’ it” when he returns a pick for a Touchdown!. See what I–never mind. Speedy Sammy Watkins was the draft pick your GM traded up to secure. Watkins was the consensus #1 WR in a draft class that was deep at the position.

Cleveland Browns- Starting Quarterback is Brian Hoyer, shutdown Cornerback is Joe Hayden and your excellent pass catcher is Tight End Cameron Jordan–because Josh Morgan is a little too smokey/drinky. Backup QB Johnny Manziel was not your first draft pick, that would be CB Justin Gilbert. Manziel tends to steal headlines.

Cincinnati Bengals- Andy Dalton is your newly signed QB. AJ Green is one of the best Wide Receivers not named Calvin Johnson. Giovani Bernard is your steady, second year Running Back. Your first round pick is CB Darqueze Dennard.

Denver Broncos- Peyton Manning? Even if you don’t know football, you probably know he’s a QB. Since you are in Denver, you probably know he is your team’s QB. If not, you do now! Demaryius Thomas is your freak of nature WR. DeMarcus Ware is your free-agent Defensive End. Since you were in the Super Bowl last year, your team picked 31st and took CB Bradley Roby.

Houston Texans- Arian Foster is your often injured, but otherwise pretty slick RB. Andre Johnson is your veteran WR. JJ (swat) Watt is your all world sackmaster, Defensive End. Jadeveon Clowney was the #1 pick in this year’s 2014 NFL Draft, which means your team was really bad last year. You might have known that. He rushes the passer, kind of like JJ Watt, only less.*

Indianapolis Colts- Andrew Luck is your young stud QB. Reggie Wayne is your surgically repaired, veteran WR. Trent Richardson is your under-performing but over-paid running back. You don’t have a 1st round pick this year because you GM is crazy and traded it away for Richardson! Hey, many people thought it was a good deal at the time. <crickets>

Jacksonville Jaguars- I’m not sure how to break this to you but, yeah, I’ll just start with your #1 draft pick (who your GM traded up for) in QB Blake Bortles. He could prove to be one of the best QBs in the draft, and a heck of a nice player. Luke Joeckel is your 2nd year starting Left Tackle, who will hopefully stay healthy and keep Bortles healthy as well. Your star WR has been suspended. <sigh> Again. Fear not, you got a solid WR in the 2nd round named Marquise Lee. The future is pointing up guys, I promise!

Kansas City Chiefs- Alex Smith is your steady QB. Your double threat RB is Jamal Charles. Eric Berry is your All Pro Safety. Your #1 draft pick is DE Dee Ford, who I think is going to be a good one!

Miami Dolphins- Ryan Tannehill is your 3rd year QB. He throws to speedy wide-out Mike Wallace. Free agent RB Knowshon Moreno comes over from Denver. If you don’t know about the locker room scandal from last year, I won’t bring it up. I just did, didn’t I? Strike that from the record.  Ja’Wuan James is your first round selection in this years draft, because you really needed offensive lineman.

New England Patriots- Tom Brady is your ageless QB. Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski is your freak of nature TE. Darrelle Revis is your free agent, shutdown CB. Defensive Tackle Dominque Easly is your team’s first round selection.

New York Jets- Geno Smith is your dual threat QB. Never mind that those two threats are more likely to be turnovers than touchdowns (Zing!). Eric Decker is your free-agent and tall WR. Your head coach is Rex Ryan who loves feet and did a heck of a job keeping his job last year (Zing!). You also have former league leading rusher in Charles “CJ 2K” Johnson. He could do it again. You don’t know!

Oakland Raiders- When Matt Schaub is your starting QB, well, that’s kind of like a DirecTV commercial. You know, when all the bad stuff happens? Hey, the good news is you are in the same division as Peyton Manning! Ouch. James Jones is a solid WR and a former Green Bay Packer. Often injured Darren McFadden has some moves at RB, sometimes. When he plays. The good news is OLB Khalil Mack and QB Derek Carr should be big pieces of the future football puzzle for years to come. Hey, I am a Cubs fan, so I know your pain. I really do.

Pittsburgh Steelers- “Big” Ben Roethlisberger is your All-Pro QB. Antonio Brown is your speedy WR. Troy Palamalu is still your game changing, but aging Safety. Outside Linebacker Ryan Shazier is your number one draft pick.

San Diego Chargers- Veteran QB Philip Rivers leads the way. Venerable TE Antoni Gates ages like fine wine (he really does!). Stellar safety Eric Weddle patrols the defensive backfield. CB Jason Verrett is your first round drat pick.

Tennessee Titans- Steady, but maybe injury prone Jake Locker is your veteran QB. 2nd year WR Kendall Wright is your playmaker. Veteran Nate Washington is a pro at WR and makes some plays now and then. Let’s face it, there is no Eddie George or Jevon Kearse on the 2014 team. Things should be looking up though with first round pick Offensive Tackle Taylor Lewan helping protect Locker.


NFC fan? Check out the NFC edition!

*He was injured in week 1.

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