Ten guys to rule them all

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August 8, 2019 by squish

Written by Ryan Delaney

So for anyone that doesn’t know, I got this idea from mixtape and the NFL Pick 10. Basically, the rules are that you can pick any 10 players in the NFL for the next three seasons, with no salary cap rules and no position restrictions. My idea was to pick five on defense and five on offense and then go from there; simple enough.

From there, I would then balance out the roster on each side of ball by position. Obviously, every position will not be covered, so you need to figure out which is most important, which I find to be the most interesting and crucial part of all of this. In the end, this is fake and no one will ever be proven right or wrong, but still this is the best team and I am not here to argue about that. Here you go.

Aaron Donald

Now, it does say that you need to list your picks in order, but I really don’t think that matters, so I’m just going go with defense first. In that case, I think this goes without saying considering the year he had last year and the player he has proven to be. 20.5 sacks last season as a DEFENSIVE TACKLE. Those numbers are unheard of for most players, never mind a position that has more of a focus on run stopping than pass rushing.

I don’t think much more needs to be said and anyone who leaves off Donald is a fool in my book, although I do believe Khalil Mack is better overall than him. However, I did leave Mack off my list, but I will explain why later.

JJ Watt

Watt’s injury struggles over the past few seasons have seemed to decrease people’s opinion of him, but what he did last year was nothing short of incredible. He was able to amass 16 sacks, which is dwarfed by Aaron Donald’s numbers, and is only the 4th highest total of his career, but is still nothing to sneeze at.

People leaving Watt off this list is foolish as well. Having Watt and Donald already gives you the best Defensive line in the league, whether you run a 3-4 or a 4-3. It simply does not matter who else you have on your line as those two players are so elite that this team is going to dominate. Also, this adds to the balance aspect of the roster and I think this allows you to focus more on secondary by having such a strong line with only 2 guys.

Bobby Wagner

As I mentioned before, Watt and Donald on your D Line gives you the best D Line in the NFL. The same goes for linebacker. If you have Bobby Wagner as one of your linebackers, you already have the best linebacking core in the league and that’s just a fact. Think what you will but Wagner is simply the most dominant LB and the numbers are there to show for it.

Wagner is a middle linebacker so his pass rush numbers are not near what some other linebackers are, but his tackling, run stopping and coverage numbers are unbelievable and having a guy who’s so strong on all facets of the game strengthens your team exponentially. This is also part of the reason why I did not pick Khalil Mack, as I think with the pass rush numbers of Donald and Watt, Mack becomes less useful and also weakens your defense in coverage as you would either have to leave off Wagner or a defensive back if I took Mack as well.

Stephon Gilmore

It is certainly up for debate, but in my opinion, Gilmore is the best cornerback in the NFL. The year he had last year was far and away better than anyone else. Gilmore can do it all. He can shut you down to point where he doesn’t even get thrown at, and if he does there’s a strong chance it’s getting knocked down if you’re lucky enough to not get intercepted. There are multiple other guys who could have been selected here, but I had not hesitation in selecting Gilmore as my cornerback. I love his game, his physicality, and his overall confidence on the field.

I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical of Gilmore when he first came to New England as he struggled early on. I hated the excuse of communication issue and that he didn’t fit well in a zone system and thought it was all just people skating around the fact that we overpaid for him, but he proved us wrong and is now an absolute stud that we love here in NE.

Derwin James

This decision was probably the most up for grabs going in. Not due to the fact that I doubt James or that his interchangeable, but I just wasn’t sure what position I wanted to balance out this defense. Having Gilmore and say Patrick Peterson or Jalen Ramsey would be deadly, but with the focus of my roster being on balance, I wanted to have elite talent at every level on Defense. I have no doubt James is the best safety in the league right now. I know Eddie Jackson had an unbelievable season and most people are putting him near number 1, but I’m still taking James as he can do anything you need him to.

He’s great in coverage, while also having an impact in the run stopping game. With this combination of these five on defense I honestly don’t know how the opposition is going to score points. Anyone not taking these five would be a class A buffoon.

Aaron Rodgers

So the trend of balancing out the roster is going to continue on both sides of the ball. With that being said, I don’t think anyone in the right mind would not be taking a quarterback. Most important position in all of sports, absolutely have to have. I also think there are only a few guys worthy enough of making this list. Right now, I’d say there are three, maybe four: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, and maybe Drew Brees. Out of them, Rodgers makes the most sense to me as this is only for three seasons.

Rodgers is still in the prime of his career, and although we’ve seen a slight dip in numbers due to injury in recent years, I still think he is the most talented quarterback in the NFL. Brady and Brees are a question mark for whether they’ll make it another three years. Mahomes is just as good of an option as Rodgers, it’s more of just who you prefer and I simply would just trust Rodgers more, although I don’t think either one makes much of a difference.

Julio Jones

The vast majority of people would consider Deandre Hopkins to be the best receiver in the league and I don’t hate that opinion. I see this one as just like the Rodgers or Mahomes debate as either one is interchangeable, but to me Julio is still the best receiver in the league. The biggest thing I look at here for picking a receiver is yards. Receivers create the yards, while the quarterbacks create the touchdowns. Yes, you have to have ability to make catches in the redzone to be considered a great receiver, and Julio has this ability. The problem is he just doesn’t have the redzone targets that some of these other receivers get, which is why his touchdown numbers are slightly lower.

If that’s on him or not is up to interpretation, but I don’t fault him for it considering how good he is everywhere else. He led the league in yards last season and that’s exactly what I’m looking for. Also his size and strength is unmatched in this league making him a no brainer.

Travis Kelce

This is where it started to get tough for me and I really needed to think about who made the most sense. It was either going to be another receiver or a tight end. I never even considered a running back as I don’t think even the best running back has a major impact on the game, i.e. Saquon Barkley.

In terms of tight ends, now that Rob Gronkowski is gone, there are two real options: George Kittle and Travis Kelce, and it all depends on what you value more. Kittle has a slight edge in the blocking game with great receiving ability, while Kelce is a decent blocker and a phenomenal receiver. To me, just overall Kelce makes your team more dynamic as he is so dangerous as a receiver.

His speed and strength combination is incredible and the numbers he puts up are better than most receivers. Also, with Rodgers I think this combination could be deadly alongside Julio. It’s not a realistic scenario, but it just gets football fans like me excited to even think about. I love Kelce’s game and he’s a lock for this team in my opinion.

David Bakhtiari

What I saw from a good amount of other people’s 10s were that they were leaving off offensive linemen. To me that’s a huge problem as I picture five average level linemen going against the guys on my defensive line. Buddy, that’s just gonna be a tough day.

At that point it won’t even how many weapons you’d have on offense as your QB won’t even have a chance to get the ball out all day. I think a lot of guys could be considered here for this selection as there are a lot of great offense tackles currently in the league, but Bakhtiari seems to be the consensus number one.

Offensive line numbers are strange to look deep into as you really just need to go off sacks allowed and pressures allowed to see who’s good and who isn’t and Bakhtiari is great in both. It’s a weird concept considering the injuries Rodgers has suffered over the past few seasons due to hits he’s taken, but even on a shaky O-Line, Bakhtiari is still able shine and I have no problem putting him on here.

Jason Kelce

The idea of two all-world offensive linemen makes me feel very good about this team, as having a strong O-Line makes your offense infinitely more effective. It’s really a toss-up of who to pick if you do choose two linemen as you could go with tackle on the other side or possibly a guard, but to me that’s the least important position on the line, although that’s up for debate as well.

Left tackle is more important than right tackle, which is why I chose Bakhtiari. At that point I think I can survive with an average right tackle and the best left tackle in the game on the other side. With center being more important than guard in my opinion, I just had to go with the steadiest option. There’s also a large number of great centers in the league as well, but Kelce allowed zero sacks last season. Yes, you read that right, zero (0), no sacks all year. And to go along with that, he only allowed a very small number of pressures as well. No doubter for me, and you get the Kelce brother connection. Can’t teach that type of chemistry.

Overall, I think this roster is built based on fundamentals like you read about. All facets of the game lines, QB, skill positions, LBs, secondary, all solid. Absolutely nothing to knock about it and I’d be willing to put my team up against anyone. Now, one real aspect everyone is leaving out is special teams. Average across the board special teams could get ugly, but let’s just hope having ten all-pro guys spread amongst the other two phases would prevent any disaster. As I’ve said multiple times, this is a fake scenario and none of this matters, but I’ve had fun with it. Anyway, I’ll go back to doing what I was doing, which is likely just more things like this and also counting down the days til kickoff.

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