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AFC East's best: No. 25 Eric Wood

By Tim Graham

WoodMugA countdown of my top 25 AFC East players starts now and runs one weekday at a time until training camp ...

The choice

It's hard to illustrate Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood's impact with stats. You can't compare the team's rushing averages with him to without him. Wood went down with a knee injury one week before running back Fred Jackson was lost for the season.

But according to organizations that grade offensive linemen, Wood was among the best centers in the NFL last year before he got hurt. Sacks allowed is a subjective stat, but and STATS Inc. each charted him for zero. PFF tagged him with one quarterback hit and just two hurries. He committed one holding penalty.

Those numbers are impressive on the surface, but then consider Wood played against these formidable fronts: New York Giants (Super Bowl champs, tied for third in sacks), Philadelphia Eagles (tied for first in sacks), Cincinnati Bengals (fifth), Dallas Cowboys (tied for seventh) and Washington Redskins (tied for 10th). He also tangled with talented AFC East nose tackles Vince Wilfork and Sione Pouha.

Fast fact

Wood was selected with the draft pick the Bills received from the Eagles in exchange for perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters.

How acquired

Selected in the first round (28th overall) of the 2009 draft.

Hint about No. 24

He's a target of ridicule for opposing fans, but quarterbacks still have to be aware of his location on every snap.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |