My All-Time Draft Team

I drafted 7th overall... I went with a 3-4 defense which focused on rushing the passer and having the best possible secondary behind them while focusing on having a humongous offensive line that would dominate up front as far as offense went. <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"Times New Roman"; panose-1:0 2 2 6 3 5 4 5 2 3; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:50331648 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-parent:""; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} -->

QB: Otto Graham, Cleveland Browns
Consider this guy to be the Bill Russell of football. Otto Graham had a 10-year career with the Cleveland Browns appearing in the championship game in all 10 years. The first four came in the old All-American Football Conference from 1946-1949 with the next six coming in the NFL. Otto and the Browns won all four AAFL titles and then went three for six in NFL Championship Games. The Browns accumulated a 105-17-4 record during Graham’s tenure. While throwing for 174 TD passes and throwing for 23,584 yards may not rank him very high on the all-time list in either category, keep in mind that in the mid-1940s to mid-1950s, football was a much different game where teams were much more dependent on the run, so Otto was actually very well ahead of his time. He averaged nine yards per pass attempt, which is still an NFL record today. Very accurate, consistent, tough and a member of the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team, Nine-time All-Pro “Automatic Otto” Graham is one of the best to ever play the game of football at any position. While he did play in a run first era, here is a guy who is more than capable of getting the ball to my receivers, tight end and two running backs via the air. My team is in good hands with the Class of 1965 Hall of Famer and ultimate winner.
RB: O.J. Simpson, Buffalo Bills
Yeah yeah, I know Orenthal James Simpson is now mostly remembered for what has gone on in his life off the field (murder trial, robbery case), but we still can't discount what a great running back this guy truly was on the field. Simpson was used a lot as a kick returner his first couple of years in the league, but once Lou Saban got the job as the Bills head coach in 1972, "The Juice" was turned loose. In spite of playing for a less than stellar Bills team, O.J. led the league run rushing for four of five seasons from 1972-1976 using his outstanding speed and power to dominate as he was named All-Pro every year in that time period. This includes 1973 where "The Juice" ran for 2003 yards in 14 games (imagine what he would have done if there were 16 games played then). In addition to running for over 11,000 yards and 61 TDs in his career, O.J. also caught 203 passes out of the backfield for over 2100 yards and 14 TDs. The six-time Pro Bowler is on the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team and was inducted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 1985.
FB: Marion Motley, Cleveland Browns
Former teammate Otto Graham as well as plenty of former coaches (including Paul Brown himself) considered Marion Motley to be a better all-around fullback than the great Jim Brown. When you’re getting that kind of praise, you're doing something right. Marion Motley was a powerful back who not only had the brute strength to terrorize opponents going straight up the middle, but he also had plenty of speed to run outside as well. Think of Earl Campbell while he was with the Oilers. Motley also was a terrific pass catcher and an excellent pass blocker. He is considered by many to be the best pass blocking back to ever play the game. Between Motley and “The Juice”, my belief is opposing defenses will be worn out having to deal with not only one, but two speedy power backs for 60 minutes. Basically, this guy was Jim Brown before Jim Brown came to the Pro Game. Motley is one of three fullbacks on the 75th Anniversary NFL team with Jim Brown and Bronco Nagurski. Motley made the Hall of Fame in 1968.
WR: Steve Largent, Seattle Seahawks
Largent was never the biggest or fastest guy on the field, but that didn’t stop him from setting all kinds of NFL records (which would later be broken by Jerry Rice and others) during his 14-year NFL career before retiring after the 1989 season. At the time of his retirement, Steve Largent was the all-time leader in receiving yards (13089), receptions (819), most TD catches (100), most consecutive games with a reception (177), most seasons with 50 or more receptions (10) and most seasons with 1000 or more receiving yards (8). Pretty amazing for a guy who was taken by the Houston Oilers in the 4th round of the 1976 Draft and was then traded to the Seattle Seahawks for an 8th round pick. Something tells me the Oilers would like to take that trade back as Steve Largent did nothing but prove them and the rest of his critics who thought he was too small and too slow to be a great NFL player. That was far from the case. In spite of his size, Largent was also quite durable and could also lay a big hit. Just ask former Broncos safety Mike Harden. This sure-handed, better than his physique would suggest receiver will make an excellent #1 receiver for Otto Graham to throw to. The 7-time Pro Bowler and 8-time All Pro was inducted as a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1995, becoming the first full-time Seattle Seahawk to earn such honors. Cortez Kennedy followed him in 2012 and there will soon be another career Seahawk in the Hall of Fame. I will get to that in a minute.
WR: Art Monk, Washington Redskins
Given that Art Monk played in mostly a run heavy offense throughout the course of his Washington Redskins career and that my offense will be leaning a lot on the power run game as well with the likes of O.J. Simpson and Marion Motley, he’s a guy who is perfectly suited to be the second receiver in this offense. The three-time Pro Bowl receiver is referred to as the “complete package” by his former coach Joe Gibbs. This was a guy who was very big at 6’3” and 210 pounds who was not afraid of going inside, making short catches and making tough catches. That’s another thing I was looking for in a receiver for this team I was putting together. At the time of his retirement, Art Monk set what were then NFL records with most receptions in a season (106 in 1984), most consecutive games with a reception (183, ironically breaking the record of Steve Largent who is also on my team) and most receptions (820, again ironic since that was also Largent’s record). Monk finished his career with 940 receptions, 12721 yards and 68 TD grabs. Like Steve Largent, Art Monk may not be the flashiest guy out there, but he is extremely consistent and a guy who cannot be underestimated. After an outstanding 16-year NFL career, Monk was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.
TE: Mike Ditka, Chicago Bears
Before becoming the Chicago Bears head coach back in 1982, ‘Iron Mike’ Ditka had a Hall of Fame career as a tight end. The reason I had Mike high on my list of all-time tight ends is because I like to have a guy at this position who can not only catch balls, but also get the job done as a blocker. Back in Ditka’s playing days, the tight end mostly just took on blocking duties. Enter Mike Ditka who was a terrific blocker, but also an excellent pass catching tight end as well. In his rookie season where he took home rookie of the year honors, Ditka caught 56 balls for 1076 yards and 12 touchdowns. Then three years later, he had 75 catches in a season. He would play six seasons in total for the Bears, including winning an NFL Championship in 1963 until moving on to the Philadelphia Eagles. Injuries started to take over Ditka’s career, but not before moving onto the Dallas Cowboys and being a part of their first two Super Bowl winning teams. Ditka would of course also go on and win a Super Bowl as the head coach of the 1985 Chicago Bears. The five-time Pro Bowler was elected into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame in 1988. I’m very happy to have ‘Iron Mike’ on my team knowing he can give Len Dawson a security blanket in two senses, both as a receiver and as a pass/run blocker.
LT: Walter Jones, Seattle Seahawks
One of the best left tackles in recent memory as well as all-time, Walter Jones seems to be a shoe-in to become the third career Seattle Seahawk to be inducted into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame. The only real question there is whether he will be inducted on the first ballot. His first year of eligibility comes in 2015. To put it mildly, this very large man was a beast as both a pass protector and run blocker and also very athletic for a guy his size. Checking in at 6’5”, 325 pounds, Walter Jones has the prototypical type of size you look for in your blind side tackle today. Shaun Alexander was undoubtedly thankful for the number of huge holes Walter opened up for him in the run game while Matt Hasselbeck undoubtedly felt exactly the same way as a passer. He knew Jones would keep any opposing pass rusher at bay. The remarkable thing about the career of Walter Jones is not being a 9-time Pro Bowl selection nor is it being a 7-time All-Pro selection, it’s the very low number of sacks as well as the even lower number of holding calls he was flagged for. In his 13-year career, Walter Jones gave up just 23 QB sacks and was only called for holding nine times. Just nine holding penalties over 180 starts? That number is unbelievable. Otto Graham will have plenty of time to throw and won’t have to worry about an opposing defensive player surprising him from his blind side. In 2010, Walter had his #71 retired by the Seahawks. He was just the second Seattle player to have his number retired (the other, of course, being Steve Largent). Be patient, Walter Jones. A place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is in your not too distant future.
LG: Bruce Matthews, Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans
If you like your offensive linemen to be versatile, then Bruce Matthews is the man for you. While he did spend most of his time inside at either guard position or center, Bruce also lined up some at both tackle spots in his legendary career, all spent with one organization. From 1983-1996 in Houston with the Oilers, then from 1997-2001 when the Oilers moved to Tennessee and became the Tennessee Titans. The 14-time Pro Bowl Guard and 10-time All-Pro in my mind is, after Anthony Munoz, the best offensive lineman to ever play the game. Blocking for Warren Moon for many years in Houston, his outstanding pass blocking goes without saying; and so does his run blocking. In his 19-year career, this iron man never missed a single start. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame on the very first ballot in 2007. Before last season, Matthews was hired by fellow Hall of Fame offensive lineman and former teammate/current Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak to be the Titans offensive line coach. He was the first offensive lineman I took to be on this team. I consider him one of the two anchors of this O-Line.
C: Mike Webster, Pittsburgh Steelers
The second offensive lineman I took, Mike Webster’s football credentials need no introduction. The fifth round pick of a legendary 1974 Draft class for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Webster is considered by many to be the best center to ever play the game. The 9-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection, it took Webster a couple of years to break the starting lineup as the team’s center, but when he did, he never looked back. Equally adept in both pass protection and run blocking, Mike Webster was the anchor of the Steelers offensive line in the 1970s when they won four Super Bowls until 1988 when Mike would finish out his NFL career in Kansas City. No guy has ever played more seasons or games in a Steelers uniform (much less at a Hall of Fame level) than Mike Webster. Yes, not even Hines Ward. A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Teams in the 1970s and 1980s as well as the 75th Anniversary All-Time team, you won’t find much better Round 5 selections or offensive linemen to ever play the game than Mike Webster. He also helped Terry Bradshaw call plays. This is my second anchor of this offensive line.
RG: Will Shields, Kansas City Chiefs
My fourth selection for the offensive line was used on career Kansas City Chief Will Shields. Given that I took Mike Webster to be my center and knew Bruce Matthews could certainly transition to left guard, it made all the sense in the world for Shields to be my right guard. One of the best offensive linemen to ever play the game, this 12-time Pro Bowl selection and 8-time All-Pro played and started in every single game of his professional career with the exception of the first game of his pro career in 1993. After that, he took over and never looked back. His Pro Bowl selections came in 12 straight years, from 1995 through 2006. Shields was amazing as both a run blocker and a pass blocker. He opened up running lanes for the likes of Marcus Allen, Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. While his QBs were not quite as special, he did play a huge role in helping the likes of Elvis Grbac and Trent Green have four seasons of 4000 or more passing yards. In addition to all this, Shields was also one of the least penalized offensive linemen in NFL history. Will Shields was a finalist for the 2012 Hall of Fame. He fell a little short there, but has already been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as well as the Chiefs Hall of Fame. Given his credentials, it’s not going to be very long before Will Shields also has his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
RT: Gary Zimmerman, Minnesota Vikings/Denver Broncos
Seems to me like some people tend to forget a little bit about Gary Zimmerman even though he was one of the best blind side protectors to ever play the game. I was able to snatch him up quite late in this draft. It was either move him Walter Jones over to right tackle. For me, moving Jones was not an option, so Zimmerman was the man to make the move. Given how great he was at left tackle, he will be just fine at right tackle. The 7-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time All-Pro began his pro football career in the now defunct USFL with the Los Angeles Express before making his NFL debut in 1986 with the Minnesota Vikings. During his career, Gary was a very quiet guy as he basically avoided talking to the media at all times. He just let his play on the field do the talking; and his great play did just that. Gary Zimmerman was named a member of the All-Decade Team in both the 1980s and 1990s. Running backs knew he would create big running lanes for them to run through while QBs also rested easy knowing he was just as adept at pass blocking. Luckily for both Zimmerman and the Denver Broncos, the organization was able to convince him to come back for one more season to protect the blind side of John Elway. It paid off greatly for both sides as the Broncos won Super Bowl XXXII in a fairly sizable upset over the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. Zimmerman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
LDE: Lee Roy Selmon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Long before the likes of Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and John Lynch were the mainstays of a dominant Tampa Bay defense which helped them win a Super Bowl a little over a decade ago over the Oakland Raiders, the Bucs had to begin building from the ground up as an expansion team in 1976. Their first ever NFL Draft pick was spent on Lee Roy Selmon, a big, dominating defensive end out of the University of Oklahoma. Actually, it’s kind of a funny how I ended up making Lee Roy Selmon a part of my defensive line. My first overall pick was used on Lawrence Taylor and then I used my second pick of this draft on Reggie White. Then something clicked inside of me, suddenly I remembered that Lawrence Taylor played in a 3-4 defense with the ‘Big Blue Wrecking Crew’ Giants defenses while White played in a 4-3. So I either had to flip LT to a 4-3 or White to a 3-4. Since LT was most suited to pass rushing while Reggie White excelled as both a pass rusher and run stopper, I felt it made far more sense to set up my team to play a 3-4 defense. The Six-Time Pro Bowl selection and Five-Time All-Pro certainly did not disappoint former Tampa Bay GM Ron Wolf when he made Selmon the first overall pick in team history. He won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1979. One of Selmon’s assistant coaches in Abe Gibron said at the time, Selmon had no peers at the defensive end position. He was just that much better than everyone else. A back injury in 1984 did cut the career of Lee Roy Selmon short, but not before he recorded 78.5 sacks and was eventually later recognized by Sporting News as one of the top 3-4 defensive players to ever play the game. He made that list along with the likes of Harry Carson, Curley Culp, Lawrence Taylor, Howie Long and Andre Tippett among others. Eleven years following his retirement in 1995, Selmon was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Keep in mind how bad the Bucs were most of the time when Selmon played for them; that only makes his greatness even more impressive in my eyes. Unfortunately, Mr. Selmon passed away in 2011 due to complications from a stroke. From all accounts, he was a first-class guy in addition to being one of the all-time greats in NFL history. R.I.P.
NT: Curley Culp, Houston Oilers
Speaking of Curley Culp, here he is. Yes, he began his career with the Kansas City Chiefs and did play some as a nose tackle there since Hank Stram did like to play around some with a 3-4 defense in his days, but Culp did not become a full-time 3-4 nose tackle until moving on to play for the Houston Oilers in 1974. He was so strong that he very often required double and sometimes triple teams from opposing teams up front. The five-time Pro Bowler made four of his Pro Bowl appearances while a member of the Oilers with the other coming in 1971 while he was still with the Chiefs. Over his career, Curley Culp recorded 68 sacks. That’s quite a feat for a nose tackle. Today, you usually see nose tackles just take up space and own the middle in the run game, not so much create pressure in the pass game. However, Curley Culp was more than capable of doing that. Recent Curley Culp news is he was named one of two senior Finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2013 along with former Green Bay Packers linebacker Dave Robinson. Given that, it seems likely Culp will soon have his name enshrined in Canton since it’s not often when senior finalists don’t get elected to the Hall. The best thing you can say about Curley Culp though is nothing I just said, but something Raiders Hall of Fame center Jim Otto once said about him… he called Curley Culp quite possibly the strongest man he ever played against. If you can get that type of compliment from arguably the best center of all-time, it says volumes.
RDE: Reggie White, Philadelphia Eagles/Green Bay Packers
Even though ‘The Minister of Defense’ spent his career playing in a 4-3 base defense, I feel like truly great players who can do everything are more than capable of playing in any scheme. That certainly applies to Reggie White. Yes, the 13-time Pro Bowl selection and 10-time First team-All Pro was an outstanding pass rusher accumulating a total of 198 sacks (124 of those coming in Philadelphia over 121 games) over 16 NFL seasons, but he was also a terrific run defender and also played defensive tackle at times, so you know he could handle being a 3-4 DE. He won a Super Bowl as a member of the Green Bay Packers in 1996. In the Super Bowl game against New England, he recorded 3 sacks of Pats QB Drew Bledsoe. Reggie retired in 2001 as the all-time NFL sack leader. He was later surpassed by long-time Buffalo Bill Bruce Smith; a guy who I was not able to get my hands on. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and being a member of the 1980s and 1990s All Decades teams as well as the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team, Reggie White is one of the greatest players in NFL history and in my opinion, the best defensive lineman ever. Between him, Curley Culp and Lee Roy Selmon, I have constructed an outstanding defensive line. My strategy was to try winning battles up front on both sides of the ball when constructing this team. I don’t see this team losing to anyone up front. As of 2011, no defensive player has recorded more consecutive10+ sack seasons in NFL history. Reggie White recorded nine straight seasons of 10 or more sacks. That’s important to keep in mind when I talk about the next player on my team.
LOLB: DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys
DeMarcus Ware was drafted 11th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by Dallas out of Troy University and he has been nothing short of amazing ever since. The 6-Time Pro Bowl selection and four-time first team All-Pro selection has already come up with quite a career resume. Counting his stats from the first seven games of the Cowboys season in which Ware has recorded 6.5 sacks, he already has 106 career sacks. Only one man has reached 100 career sacks faster in NFL history; Reggie White. To get back to what I was talking about with Reggie White, DeMarcus Ware has had six seasons with 10 or more sacks dating back to his second NFL season in 2006. Only Reggie White, John Randle, Bruce Smith and Lawrence Taylor have done it more. Given that Ware already has 6.5 sacks in seven games in 2012, he appears to be well on his way to making it seven straight seasons with 10 or more sacks in a season, which would tie him with Smith and L.T. All this and he is only in his eighth season this year? That’s astounding. Here are a couple more tidbits about DeMarcus Ware. He has already tied the NFL record for most seasons leading the league in sacks with two. Two seasons may not seem like a lot, but it is when you notice that only five other players in NFL history have accomplished this feat. Those guys are Mark Gastineau, Reggie White, Kevin Greene, Michael Strahan and Jared Allen. Had it not been for Jared Allen recording 22 sacks in 2011, Ware would have become the first in NFL history to lead the league in sacks in three different seasons. He had 19.5 sacks last year. In just eight seasons, DeMarcus Ware has already broken the Dallas Cowboys record for most multiple sack games with 25 and most forced fumbles with 29. He seems to be becoming the Lawrence Taylor of our generation. The only question is if he’ll get a Super Bowl ring or two on his resume because he’s well on his way to the Hall of Fame.
LILB: Willie Lanier, Kansas City Chiefs
Nicknamed ‘Contact’, Willie Lanier is a guy I wanted on my team because I felt it was necessary to have one linebacker who could play in pass coverage. Lanier was the first African-American to become a truly great middle linebacker. In his days, teams would lean towards having white middle linebackers since they were perceived as more intelligent. Willie Lanier was nicknamed ‘Contact’ due to how hard he would hit opposing offensive players. He was a fantastic run defender who could run from sideline to sideline and track down opposing ball carriers. Willie was also quite a pass defender in his day as well, recording 27 interceptions in his 11-year career. This guy was so consistent recording at least two interceptions every year of his career other than his first and last years. He was also very durable. Willie missed the first four games of his rookie season, but after that, never missed a game. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986, the six-time Pro Bowl selection (not including two AFL All-Star selections) and eight-time All-Pro is a perfect fit for my defense. Playing under legendary coach Hank Stram, he may not have always played in a 3-4 defense, but he did play in it some and fared just as well as he did when the Chiefs played in a 4-3. Lanier is also a member of the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.
RILB: Harry Carson, New York Giants
With my first overall pick of the draft being Lawrence Taylor, I felt like grabbing his former teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Harry Carson later on in the draft would be a great idea. They played together for eight seasons for the Giants as part of both the Big Blue Wrecking Crew and also the Crunch Bunch; the latter of which included four linebackers. Carson, L.T., Brad Van Pelt and Brian Kelley. In his 13-year career, Harry Carson made nine Pro Bowls, recorded 19 sacks, intercepted 11 passes and recovered 14 fumbles. A ferocious run defender and capable pass defender, Carson played a big role in leading the Giants to a Super Bowl XXI victory over the Denver Broncos. Amazingly, Carson played defensive end in college at South Carolina State before being converted to a middle linebacker in the pros. He played all 13 years of his career with the Giants from 1976 through 1988 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
ROLB: Lawrence Taylor, New York Giants
Lawrence Taylor… what can be said about him that isn’t already very well known? With the seventh overall pick, I saw L.T. was still on the board and thought it would be a very good idea to snag the guy who many consider to be the greatest defensive player in NFL history. His impact on the game of football cannot be understated. He totally changed the way defense is played, completely changed pass rushing and also changed the way offensive lines would block linebackers of his caliber. This 10-time Pro Bowler and 10-time All-Pro selection is one of just two defensive players in league history to win an MVP award. Hall of Fame defensive tackle Alan Page is the only other man to do the same. He did this in 1971 with the Minnesota Vikings. L.T. accomplished winning the NFL MVP Award in 1986 with 20.5 sacks. In addition to this, Taylor was a three-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner and quite arguably the most intimidating defensive player in NFL history. With 142 career sacks, 9 interceptions and a style of play which completely changed the game of football, there’s no doubting the greatness of the man known as L.T.
LCB: Rod Woodson, Pittsburgh Steelers
With the front seven being able to create endless pressure but perhaps lacking a bit in pass coverage skills with the exception of Willie Lanier, I decided I needed an exceptional secondary to compliment my front seven. My first secondary selection was used on Ronnie Lott (more on him on a minute); after him came Rod Woodson. For my money, this guy was a better cornerback than Deion Sanders. Deion may be slightly better in terms of coverage, but in terms of being able to do it all (pass coverage, run defense, rushing the QB), Rod Woodson has Deion beat by a mile. The 11-time Pro Bowler and 6-time first team All-Pro selection finished his 17-year NFL career with 1163 tackles, 71 interceptions and 13.5 sacks. This guy’s versatility was simply amazing. After starring as a cornerback his first 12 years in the league, he made the change to free safety his last five seasons while playing for the Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders without missing a beat. He made four Pro Bowls and was a one-time All-Pro free safety as well. A member of the 75th-Anniversary All-Time team, Rod Woodson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009 on the first ballot.
FS: Ronnie Lott, San Francisco 49ers
As was stated above, I used my first secondary selection in the third round of the draft on perhaps the best defensive back to ever play the game in Ronnie Lott. I could have used him basically anywhere in the secondary I so chose since he was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro performer at the cornerback, free safety and strong safety positions. Lott earned a reputation of being one of the hardest, most efficient open field tacklers in NFL history. The 10-Time Pro Bowler, 8-Time All-Pro and four-time Super Bowl winner is exactly the type of tough leader I wanted in this secondary. He finished his legendary career with 63 interceptions, 17 fumble recoveries and 8.5 QB sacks. To talk about toughness, Ronnie once had part of his pinky amputated after the 1985 season. After a long career with the 49ers, Lott finished his career with the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders, playing for each of those teams for two years. He retired after the 1994 season and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000. Also a member of the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.
SS: Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
The second of my three still active players I selected for my team, Troy Polamalu may be viewed as a homer pick by a Steelers fan, but given not only how great a player he is and also his experience in a 3-4 base defense, I felt as though he was the perfect guy for the strong safety position on my team. Funny thing about Polamalu is he wasn’t even the Steelers Plan A prior to the 2003 season. They were going to sign ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneer Dexter Jackson as a free agent to take over their strong safety duties. However, Jackson signed with the Arizona Cardinals and the rest is history after the Steelers made Polamalu their first round pick in the 2003 Draft. Since being drafted in 2003, Troy has gone on to be a 7-time Pro Bowler, 5-time All-Pro selection, a two-time Super Bowl champion and the defensive player of the year in 2010. Troy Polamalu is a very quiet, soft-spoken man off the field, but his play on the field is exactly the opposite. He is just so smart and so fast that it gives him such a major advantage. Opposing offenses know they have to keep #43 in check or else. His all-out reckless style has left him prone to injury over the years, and even moreso now that he’s getting older, but as I’ve said time and again, you can’t argue with the results his all-out style has produced. Through the games he has played so far this year, Troy has 612 career tackles, 9 QB sacks and 29 career interceptions. Big thing about the latter is he used to be more of a run defender early on, but also became an excellent pass defender later on in his career. Troy has become the heart and soul of the Steelers defense over the years. A spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame seems to be in his future as he and Ravens free safety Ed Reed have been far and away the best safeties of their respective era.
RCB: Darrell Green, Washington Redskins
Darrell Green… one of the fastest (if not the fastest) players in NFL history. He was not the biggest guy in the world at 5’9” and about 185 pounds or so, but that didn’t stop “The Ageless Wonder” from putting together an amazing 20-year pro career, all of which came with the Washington Redskins. His all-world speed was on display in his very first career game, which was on Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys when he was able to catch up to speedy Cowboys great Tony Dorsett to prevent him from scoring a touchdown. Not one other NFL player would have been able to run down Dorsett on that play I am talking about. In addition to his speed, Darrell Green was also a very tough player for a man of his small stature (by NFL standards, of course). The seven-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion could come up with some hard hits with the best of them. The secret to Darrell Green’s speed? Tootsie rolls. Don’t believe me? Just ask him! Green finished his remarkable career with 1159 tackles and 54 interceptions. He and former Rams right tackle Jackie Slater are the only two players in history to play 20 years for the same organization. He also holds an NFL record for most consecutive seasons with an interception with 19. Between Lott, Woodson, Polamalu and Green, which guy are you going to throw on in this secondary? Exactly. Nobody; especially with the great pass rush which will be generated up front.
Kicker: Adam Vinatieri, New England Patriots
As far as kickers go, you always want a guy who will keep calm during the big kicks. Well, nobody in league history has done a better job of that than Adam Vinatieri. He is known as Mr. Clutch for his game-winning kicks in playoff games. “Automatic Adam” and “Iceman” are two other nicknames for this man. Remember the infamous “Tuck Rule Game” in 2002 between the Patriots and Raiders? Well, you can say Tom Brady’s “tuck” was actually a fumble, but keep in mind that wouldn’t have mattered anyway if not for Vinatieri. He kicked a game-tying 45-yard field goal into heavy wind and snow to force that game into overtime and then in overtime, kicked a 23-yard field goal to win that game. Two weeks later in Super Bowl XXXVI against the Rams where the Patriots were two touchdown underdogs, Vinatieri nailed a 48-yard field goal as time expired to send the Pats to their first Super Bowl victory. Then two years later in New England’s run to their second Super Bowl championship, Vinatieri made two more very key field goals. Late in the 4th quarter of a divisional round playoff game against the Tennessee Titans where temperatures in Foxboro would reach as low as 4 degrees, he made a 46-yard field goal which proved to be the game winner and again in the Super Bowl against the Carolins Panthers three weeks later, he nailed a 41-yard field goal to win that Super Bowl game. He would win one more title with the Patriots the following season and then again with the Colts during the 2006-2007 season. Whether kicking inside a dome or in snowy, windy conditions in Foxboro, pressure kicks with everything on the line do not bother this man.

Punter: Ray Guy, Oakland/LA Raiders
Normally you wouldn’t select a punter in the first round of an NFL Draft, right? Well, I didn’t do that in this mock draft either. However, I did take a punter a little higher than I usually may so I could secure the services of the best punter of all-time in Ray Guy. The Raiders made him their first round selection (23rd overall) in the 1973 Draft. And he delivered for them. The seven-time Pro Bowl selection and six-time All-Pro never had a single punt returned for a touchdown, had 210 punts which landed inside the 20-yard line and had a streak of 619 straight punts before he had one blocked. His punting was quite instrumental in helping the Raiders win three Super Bowls. Pro Football Hall of Fame historian Joe Horrigan said about Guy: "He's the first punter you could look at and say: 'He won games.'" In the 1976 Pro Bowl, he became the first punter to hit the Louisiana Superdome video screen. Hang time was a stat used for punters and it was instituted during his era; some believe this was because of Guy. In 2000, he eventually had a college football award named after him (Ray Guy Award), which is awarded to the best punter in college football. Ray Guy does not vote on this award himself. My team doesn’t plan on punting a whole lot, but when they do, they can count on Ray Guy helping them win games if necessary.
Head Coach: Hank Stram, Kansas City Chiefs
Finally, the head coach of my team! He was my last selection in this mock. For my coach, I looked for a guy who was not only a winner, but just as importantly, had experience with running a 3-4 defense. For my money, Hank Stram may well be the most underrated head coach in NFL history. A three-time AFL Champion and one-time Super Bowl winner in 1969 with the Chiefs, Stram retired with a record of 131-97-10 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2003. He led the then Dallas Texans (later the Kansas City Chiefs) to a 1962 AFL Championship game win, 20-17 over the Houston Oilers. He would also make two Super Bowls; losing Super Bowl I 35-10 to Bart Starr, Vince Lombardi and the Packers but bouncing back to win Super Bowl IV 23-7 over Fran Tarkenton and the Minnesota Vikings. The latter game is the exact reason why I chose him as my head coach. Stram decided to use an interesting strategy in Super Bowl IV. He used a 3-4 defense that game which was rare in the NFL though common in the AFL. He would line up either Buck Buchanan or Curley Culp directly in front of Minnesota center Mick Tingelhoff. It proved to be a total mismatch as Culp and Buchanan frustrated Tingelhoff. Minnesota only ran for two first downs all game long. Also worthy of note, Hank Stram was the first coach in Super Bowl history to wear a microphone during the big game. NFL Films guy Ed Sabol was able to convince him to wear a mic so his comments could be recorded for NFL films. An underrated coach who helped bring the 3-4 defense to the NFL and was also a nice enough guy to be the first coach to wear a microphone during a Super Bowl, what’s not to like about Hank Stram?

<em>This FanPost was written by a Windy City Gridiron member, and does not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of its staff or community.</em>

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Windy City Gridiron

You must be a member of Windy City Gridiron to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Windy City Gridiron. You should read them.

Join Windy City Gridiron

You must be a member of Windy City Gridiron to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Windy City Gridiron. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.