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How the top 25 AFC East list was assembled

By Tim Graham

Whenever somebody trots out a list of the top this or all-time that, folks want to know what the criteria are. With the launch of my top 25 AFC East players Monday, I wanted to explain some of the background before we got too deep into the series.

So is it based on last year's performances or a projection of how I think they'll play in 2012?


In general, I'm evaluating how I view these players as we head into the season. My view, of course, is heavily influenced by what they've done on the field to date. I also took injuries into consideration. Injuries impacted where I slotted Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood and defensive tackle Kyle Williams among others.

The list is subjective and based on my opinion. But others helped me tweak the list.

I assembled preliminary rankings and then shared them with four people I trust: and Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williamson (with a great Twitter feed @WilliamsonNFL), statistical analyst KC Joyner (aka The Football Scientist, whose "Fantasy Draft Guide 2012" comes highly recommended from me) and two NFL personnel men who help to keep me from looking stupid on occasion but don't want their bosses to know they talk to me.

Their opinions helped convince me to adjust a player here or there, but my name is on this thing. So if you disagree, please lodge your complaints with me.

My preference is for readers to debate the selections in the comments section underneath each article. Please consider registering at The more fans we have exchanging ideas here, then the better this forum will be.

But I'd also like to invite you to contact me at Fire off your questions on this series or anything you wish. I'll collect your submissions and convert them into a regular mailbag feature.

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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 |