6/9 Roundtable - If You're Starting A Team...
Texas QB Colt McCoy
Texas QB Colt McCoy
Posted Jun 9, 2009

If you were starting an NFL team, which current college offensive and defensive player would you choose? It's the Tuesday topic in the CFN Daily Roundtable Discussion.

CFN Daily Roundtables

June 9

If You Were Starting An NFL Team ... ?

Over the next several weeks, as part of the CFN 2009 Preview, we'll examine some of the key questions going into the year with a daily discussion of the big topics.

Past Roundtables
June 8 Where would you take over as head coach?
June 5 Who does the least with the most?
June 4 Who does the most with the least?
June 3 The star players of September
June 2 The star teams of September
June 1 The coach you'd want for one game
May 28 Should the Big Ten expand, and if so, then what team should be added?
May 27 Should the Pac 10 expand? If so, then what two teams should be added?
May 26 Chizik, Kiffin or Mullen?
May 25 Heisman race sleepers 
May 22 2009's most interesting teams

May 21 Is Tebow the best QB ever?
May 20 When should preseason polls come out?
May 19 Does 2008 Utah have a beef?
May 18 No BCS, No Weis?

Pete Fiutak, CFN

Yes, I'm part of the problem. You can check me out at twitter.com/CFN_Fiu and find out future roundtable topics and other random musings.

Q: If you were starting an NFL team, which current college offensive and defensive player would you choose?

Okay ... I'm starting an NFL team from scratch for the new Los Angeles Freeways and I get my choice of any current offensive and defensive players in college football to start. As the general manager, I have to build with a quarterback for the offense, that's a no-brainer, and I'm a believer in building a defense around strong tackles, the toughest position to properly fill in all of football, with the possible exception of left offensive tackle.

Since my team is going to stink for at least four years, and because I'm building from scratch, I have no problems taking a young quarterback and working with him until he's good and ready to hit the field, like NFL teams used to do. That's why I'm taking the best NFL quarterback prospect in college football, USC true freshman Matt Barkley.

I know, I know, the 6-3, 227-pounder didn't even win the starting job coming out of spring ball, but that'll change in a hurry. Sort of like the Matthew Stafford situation at Georgia, when everyone knew he was going to be a first-pick-overall-caliber prospect from day one, Barkley is already being penciled in as the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. He has the prototype size, arm, and head on his shoulders to work a franchise around. If I'm not going quirky and I'm taking the safe route, I take Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung and tread water with my free agent pickup of Rex Grossman at quarterback.

Starting from scratch, my defensive tackle would be Terrence Cody of Alabama. Gerald McCoy is the best tackle in college football right now but I want more beef to be able to use as a possible anchor in the middle of a 3-4. I'd give some thought to Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh, but I'm not going to ask my franchise tackle on an awful defense to get into the backfield or make plays all over the field. I want a block of granite who will stick in the middle of the line and won't move, and that's the 365-pound Cody.

Now, to take this question from a different angle, what if there's a repeat of 1992 when the Colts had the first two overall picks in the draft. They went with DT Steve Emtman, who was on his way to a special career before getting nailed by injuries, and LB Quentin Coryatt, who turned out to bust in an all-timer first round of busts. In hindsight in the miserable draft they should've taken Wisconsin CB Troy Vincent, who went seventh overall, or either Pitt DT Sean Gilbert or Arizona State safety Darren Woodson, but I digress.

Let's say I'm the San Francisco 49ers and I get the first two picks from the eligible (three years out of high school) talent pool. I either don't mess around and I take the two best players in the 2010 Draft, USC safety Taylor Mays and Oklahoma State junior WR Dez Bryant, or I build around franchise-position picks and take Okung as my starting left tackle for the next ten years and McCoy as my disruptive force for the defensive interior.

Richard Cirminiello, CFN

Q: If you were starting an NFL team, which current college offensive and defensive player would you choose?

On offense, you typically have two choices for this hypothetical, a franchise quarterback or a future Pro Bowl left tackle. Personally, I’d nab Texas QB Colt McCoy and never look back.

Physically and in terms of the intangibles, he has just about everything I’d want under center. No, he doesn’t have Matt Stafford’s rifle, but he’ll precisely fit the ball into tight windows and has exceptional feet inside and outside the pocket. It’s his makeup, however, that I find most appealing. Mentally and physically tough, he’ll bounce back from big hits and play his best football late in close games. Not necessarily a rah-rah type guy, he leads by example and commands respect in the huddle. Teammates want to elevate the level of their play for this guy. You can build a franchise around McCoy and eventually win a championship. Whoever selects him in 2010 is going to get a winner and a face of the organization for the next decade.

Over on the other side of the ball, you have a lot of good choices, like Carlos Dunlap and Gerald McCoy up front or Brandon Spikes and Rolando McClain at linebacker. I favor defensive players that are versatile, such as the end, who stuffs the run or the linebacker, who excels in pass coverage. My choice would be Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry. Is he a safety? Is he a corner? All of the above. He’s a dynamite playmaker, with the instincts and athleticism to impose his will on all facets of the game. In just two years, he already has 158 tackles, 14 turnovers, and three touchdowns, testaments to his unique ability to impact the game in so many different ways

Matthew Zemek, CFN

Q: If you were starting an NFL team, which current college offensive and defensive player would you choose?

Offense: Julio Jones - Wide Receiver, Alabama.
Jones nips Terrelle Pryor of Ohio State, simply because the question is specific in referring to a "current player." If I were to pick a college football player one year from now, the answer would be Pryor, given the fleet-footed phenom's tremendous ceiling of potential, which hasn't been remotely reached. At this point in time, however, the choice is Jones, a man-child on the edges who properly undressed SEC corners in his freshman season, with a less-than-legendary quarterback feeding him the ball. Just imagine what he'll do in the NFL, when a pro-caliber flamethrower can deliver darts into his big and inviting frame.
Defense: Taylor Mays - Safety, USC.
The boyo's gonna be collecting a paycheck for a solid decade at minimum, provided he stays healthy. A spiritual football descendant of Ronnie Lott, to be sure. Just the latest terrorizing Trojan to pilot a defensive backfield in the L.A. Coliseum.

Jon Miller, Publisher, HawkeyeNation.com

Q: If you were starting an NFL team, which current college offensive and defensive player would you choose?

There does not appear to be a sure fire NFL Hall of Fame offensive tackle in next year’s draft class, and I would typically start with a pick like that.  So I next look to the quarterback position, because running backs are becoming a dime a dozen in the NFL these days and fewer teams are featuring just one.  The odds say that at least 50 percent of first round quarterbacks will not have the level of success that the teams drafting them want them to have.  That being said, I like Colt McCoy of Texas over Sam Bradford of Oklahoma.  You probably won’t go wrong with either pick here, and Bradford may be the better pure passer at a pro level.

On defense, if there were a home run defensive tackle, I’d certainly go that route but I don’t see any that make me think ‘HOF’er’.  I do see a future Hall of Fame safety, however, in USC’s Taylor Mays.  Remember, I am building a franchise here, and in this day and age of the NFL, with more teams adding spread nuances to their offense, I need a quarterback of the defensive backfield.  Mays is that player for me.

Hunter Ansley, Publisher, DraftZoo.com

Q: If you were starting an NFL team, which current college offensive and defensive player would you choose?

A: Forget the draft status ... I’m going with Tim Tebow and will accept the slings and arrow that will go with it.  

No one in the draft community seems to think he’ll succeed, but I don’t care. Quarterback, above anything else, is about winning games.  It’s about being a leader.  It’s about making everyone around you a better player.  Tebow has the arm strength to play in the NFL.  He also has the accuracy, the size, and the all the intangibles.  He’ll need to shore up his footwork, but the Gators just brought Scott Loeffler in to tutor him, and in case you don’t know who that is, he’s the guy that coached Brian Griese, John Navarre, and Tom Brady at Michigan.  Yes, that Tom Brady.  I’m willing to be he can help Tebow with his steps.

Just as much as the quarterback is the most important piece on offense, being able to get pressure on the opposing quarterback is the most crucial component of a good defense.  That’s why I’m going with Gator DE Carlos Dunlap here.  His potential is unlimited.  He’s 6-6 and 290 pounds to go along with his quickness and athleticism.  He’s got amazing athleticism to beat offensive tackles to the quarterback, and he’s one of the strongest players on the Gators’ team so I know he can hold up against the run.  Those are the building blocks I want – a QB who knows how to lead and how to win.  Who puts himself on the line and wants the ball in crunch time.  And a defensive end with freakish measurables who can ease the load on my secondary by planting the opposing passer into the ground.