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AFC East's best: No. 10 Cameron Wake

By Tim Graham

WakeMugA countdown of my top 25 AFC East players continues, one weekday at a time ...

The choice

Miami Dolphins pass-rusher Cameron Wake is one of the NFL's most inspiring stories. He was undrafted out of Penn State, and although the New York Giants signed him as a rookie free agent, he was released before training camp. Wake took jobs as a personal trainer and pushed papers at a bank before giving football another whirl and dominating the Canadian Football League for two seasons.

Wake has been a force since getting his first legitimate NFL shot in 2009. He has led the Dolphins in sacks, tackles for losses and quarterback hits each of the past two seasons. He finished third in the league race with 14 sacks in 2010, his first as a starter, and amassed 21 tackles for losses with 28 quarterback hits.

Wake's numbers dipped last season, but they remained impressive. He had 8.5 sacks, 16 tackles for losses and 22 quarterback hits. rated Wake the NFL's finest 3-4 outside linebacker last year. PFF credited him with 52 quarterback hurries, most among all 3-4 OLBs and second in the NFL among all linebackers and defensive linemen -- regardless of alignment.

PFF charted St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long with a league-high 58 hurries. Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers tied Wake for second at 52. The next-closest 3-4 OLB, Dallas Cowboys star pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, had eight fewer hurries than Wake did.

Fast fact

Wake's 16.5 sacks on the road are tied for fifth in the NFL since 2009 behind DeMarcus Ware, Jared Allen, Brian Orakpo and Trent Cole.

How acquired

Signed as a free agent out of the CFL in 2009.

Hint about No. 9

His college head coach used to be an assistant under Bill Belichick.

Picks to date

10. Cameron Wake, Dolphins outside linebacker
11. Fred Jackson, Bills running back
12. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Jets left tackle
13. Kyle Williams, Bills defensive tackle
14. Sione Pouha, Jets defensive tackle
15. Jairus Byrd, Bills safety
16. Brandon Lloyd, Patriots receiver
17. Stevie Johnson, Bills receiver
18. Reggie Bush, Dolphins running back
19. Jerod Mayo, Patriots inside linebacker
20. Randy Starks, Dolphins defensive lineman
21. Sebastian Vollmer, Patriots right tackle
22. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots tight end
23. Marcell Dareus, Bills defensive tackle
24. Antonio Cromartie, Jets cornerback
25. Eric Wood, Bills center

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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 |