This article is part of our NFL Observations series.
You might think coming up with content when there are no sports going on would be challenging, but not for me. I think of irrelevant and impossible sports and fantasy sports scenarios all the time. I even spent a ton of time on this project that has no application whatsoever. So this part of it is easy. (We also did a similar exercise last week with baseball.)
In that vein, I persuaded Jeff Erickson to draft a real-life, all-time NFL team with the condition that it would compete in a 2020 environment, e.g., Johnny Unitas and Dick Butkus would be risky choices in the modern game. We allowed some roster flexibility – you could run a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense, and while you needed a QB, RB, 2-WR and a TE, you could run whoever you wanted at the last skill position.
Because it was my idea, I generously gave Erickson the first pick, and he rewarded me by taking Lawrence Taylor, my favorite player of all-time and obviously the guy I would have picked. One's true character often comes out in difficult times, and this is but another example.
In any event, here are our squads, and the order in which they were picked. (Keep in mind in a two-team league, there was no need to pick a player at a position that your opponent had already filled.)
|1||Lawrence Taylor||Deion Sanders||QB||Steve Young||Pat Mahomes|
|2||Anthony Munoz||Aaron Donald||RB||Marshall Faulk||LaDainian Tomlinson|
|3||Ed Reed||Randy Moss||WR||Randy Moss||Jerry Rice|
|4||Jerry Rice||Rob Gronkowski||WR||Calvin Johnson||Terrell Owens|
|5||Terrell Owens||Ray Lewis||TE||Rob Gronkowski||Ton Gonzalez|
|6||Ronnie Lott||Reggie White||FLX||George Kittle||Julio Jones|
|7||Patrick Mahomes||J.J. Watt||LT||Joe Thomas||Anthony Munoz|
|8||Brian Urlacher||Calvin Johnson||LG||Will Shields||Larry Allen|
|9||Larry Allen||Marshall Faulk||C||Alex Mack||Jeff Saturday|
|10||Joe Greene||Darrelle Revis||RG||Alan Faneca||Bruce Matthews|
|11||Julio Jones||George Kittle||RT||Orlando Pace||Johnathan Ogden|
|12||Jonathan Ogden||Von Miller||DE||Reggie White||Bruce Smith|
|13||Junior Seau||Luke Kuechly||DT||Aaron Donald||Joe Greene|
|14||Bruce Matthews||Khalil Mack||FLX||Luke Kuechly||Julius Peppers|
|15||Richard Sherman||Alex Mack||DE||J.J. Watt||Patrick Willis|
|16||Bruce Smith||Troy Polamalu||OLB||Von Miller||Lawrence Taylor|
|17||Julius Peppers||Steve Young||OLB||Khalil Mack||Junior Seau|
|18||Patrick Willis||Joe Thomas||ILB||Ray Lewis||Brian Urlacher|
|19||LaDanian Tomlinson||Orlando Pace||S||Troy Polamalu||Ronnie Lott|
|20||Tony Gonzalez||Will Shields||S||Earl Thomas||Ed Reed|
|21||Charles Woodson||Alan Faneca||CB||Deion Sanders||Richard Sherman|
|22||Jeff Saturday||Earl Thomas||CB||Darrelle Revis||Charles Woodson|
I'm guessing Jeff's team maybe wins nine games and snags a Wild Card, while mine is easily the greatest of all time. What do you think?
And while I'd also have gone with Mahomes as my QB, here are some Steve Young highlights for those of you who don't remember how great he was: