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AFC East's best: No. 7 Vince Wilfork

By Tim Graham

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

The choice

New England Patriots captain Vince Wilfork is one of the NFL's elite interior linemen and the glue that has held together a sometimes-shoddy defense in recent years. He was chosen for his fourth Pro Bowl last season, his third in a row. He has been a second-team All-Pro four times.

Wilfork last year led the Patriots' D-line with 74 tackles (Patriots coaching staff film review) and recorded a career-high 3.5 sacks. He intercepted two passes, forced a fumble and recovered two, one for his first NFL touchdown. He added 2.5 more sacks in the postseason.

In his eight seasons, has helped the Patriots finish in the top 10 in points allowed six times. He has missed only six games over his career.

Fast fact

Wilfork's two interceptions last season made him only the second defensive lineman (Anthony Pleasant in 2001) in Patriots history to have that many.

How acquired

Selected in the first round (21st overall) of the 2004 draft.

Hint about No. 6

As a high school senior he averaged 10 yards per rushing attempt and blocked five kicks.

Picks to date

7. Vince Wilfork, Patriots nose tackle
8. Jake Long, Dolphins left tackle
9. Logan Mankins, Patriots left guard
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 |