The best of the best in the AFL
It's time to hand out some awards in the AFL, writes Scouts Inc.
MVP for 2007: Clint Dolezel, QB, Dallas -- He is basically another coach on the field. He calls his own plays and is the heart and soul of the best team in the AFL. His 107-9 TD-to-interception ratio is off the charts and he rarely makes a mistake.
Best Defensive Player: Rashad Floyd, DB, Colorado -- He is the leading tackler in the AFL and the ultimate playmaker. He breaks on the ball well and he has great instincts, as evidenced by his nine interceptions.
Best Offensive Player: Joe Germaine, QB, Utah -- For a good part of the season Germaine was the most effective and consistent QB in the league and he finished the regular season with 107 TD passes and a 124.4 QB rating.
Best Wide Receiver: Bobby Sippio, Chicago -- There has never been a receiver more responsible for the production of his offense than Sippio. He scored an amazing 53 TDs and every time Chicago needed a big play he was up for the challenge.
Best Runner: Dan Alexander, Nashville -- The Kats are more committed to the run than any other team in the AFL, as evidenced by Alexander's 42 TDs and 426 yards on the ground. He runs with power and is a great red-zone weapon.
Best Pass Rusher: Greg White, Orlando -- In a league where it is hard to get to the QB, White posted an amazing 15 sacks (14 solo) during the regular season. He has excellent quickness off the edge and his tenacity is unrivaled.
Best Defensive Back: Ahmad Hawkins, Nashville -- Although not surrounded by great defensive talent, Hawkins became a huge playmaker. He recorded 13 interceptions, including two he returned for TDs, and posted a solid 71.5 tackles.
Best Linebacker: DeJuan Alfonzo, Chicago -- He is in the top 10 of the AFL in tackles with 93, and he also has posted six interceptions, including three he returned for scores. He is also an excellent complementary receiver on offense and is just a guy that always makes plays.
Best Place Kicker: Mark Lewis, Austin -- On a bad team he posted a great number and was the only guy the Wranglers offense could count on. He converted 110 of 118 extra points and 15 of 25 FGs for a total of 155 points.
Best Kick Returner: Timon Marshall, Grand Rapids -- Although he is now in the Chicago Bears' camp, Marshall was so much better than anyone else that he still deserves the honor. He had 1,901 yards and six kicks returned for TDs and added another score returning a missed FG in a shortened season.
Best Ironman: Will Pettis, Dallas -- He is a force on offense and defense and he quietly makes plays every week. He is not the flashiest guy in the league, but he might be the most dependable and consistent.
Best Coaching Job: Tim Marcum, Tampa Bay -- The Storm started out 0-5 and they looked like an overrated team, but Marcum never let them give up. The result was a 9-7 record and a trip to the playoffs.
Best Front Office: Philadelphia -- With Jon Bon Jovi as an owner and Ron Jaworski as the general manager the Soul are committed to building a championship roster and they are not afraid to make bold moves. They know what they want and go about it aggressively.
Most Underrated Player: Chris Jackson, WR, Georgia -- Because the Force have three quality receivers who share the offensive production, we don't hear about Jackson, but his 1,915 receiving yards and 51 TD catches speaks volumes.
Most Underappreciated Player: Raymond Philyaw, QB, Kansas City -- All he does is win. Philyaw isn't flashy and isn't on a marquee team, but he's efficient, rarely makes mistakes and led his team to the playoffs.
Best Passing Game: Georgia -- This offense posted almost 5,000 yards in passing. With three great receivers and a very efficient QB, the Force put up numbers that will be hard to repeat -- especially 119 passing TDs .
Best Running Game: Nashville -- Not only are the Kats the most productive run offense with 470 yards and 46 rushing TDs, but they are also the most committed to the run with 198 rushing attempts.
Best Run Defense: Georgia -- Head coach Doug Plank is a defensive-oriented coach. He knows how to stop the run and his unit gave up a league low 1.6 yards per attempt. The Force offense gets all the publicity, but the defense is pretty good, too.
Best Pass Defense: Chicago -- The Rush have three solid playmakers in the secondary and recorded a league high 24 interceptions, held opposing QBs to a 91.4 passer rating and rarely gave up big plays.
Best Special Teams: Grand Rapids -- Even though kick returner Timon Marshall is now with the Chicago Bears, the Rampage are still at the top of the league in returns. They also do an excellent job covering kicks.
Most Complete Team: Dallas -- The Desperados are a veteran group that never panics and nobody is better at coming from behind. They are smart, have excellent depth and they are one of the few teams that can survive injuries.
Most Underrated Team: San Jose -- All the attention in the AFL seems to focus on the East with teams like Dallas, Georgia, and Chicago, but while the SaberCats sit out West, they have quietly posted a 13-3 record and are a good bet to get to the ArenaBowl.
Most One-Dimensional Team: Utah -- The Blaze are great on offense, but they needed to rely on shootouts to win games. They gave up a lot of big plays on defense and really struggled to make key stops.
Most Surprising Team: Kansas City -- The Brigade seem to be a team that flies under the radar. They don't have a lot of flashy players or gaudy stats, but they come to play every week and never give a game away.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.
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