Joel Corry, of CBS sports created a challenge, to create the perfect 53 man NFL roster, with certain restrictions. You can see his 53 here.
His restrictions are as follows:
1. The salary cap for the roster is $148.85 million. The actual salary cap is $143.28 for this year but the average adjusted salary cap for each NFL team is approximately our higher figure according to NFLPA data. This number reflects carryover room from one year to the next allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
2. The backups at each position are limited to players that aren’t established starters. Players competing for starting jobs or where there’s a “by committee approach” at a position, usually running back, are acceptable. An allowance was made to have three starting cornerbacks after colleague Jason LaCanfora, who has assembled his own team, brought up an excellent point about some teams playing a nickel package as a base defense with an increasing number of teams utilizing it over 50 percent time defensively.
This concept limits the ability to create an embarrassment of riches at most positions. For example, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton aren’t allowed to be the team’s quarterbacks. There might be a quarterback controversy affecting team chemistry with both players on the roster. The quarterback relegated to backup duty would likely request a trade.
3. There must be one player from each round of the NFL Draft over the last three years (2013-2015) on the roster. There’s also a limit of one player per round. This makes it impossible to have Odell Beckham and Aaron Donald, the 2014 Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year winners, on the same team. There’s a loophole I didn’t consider relating to 2012 draft picks. There can be unlimited 2012 first round picks, an inexpensive form of talent. Future versions of this concept will likely close the loophole.
4. All 2015 draft picks can be considered as backups.
5. Choosing a player that was given a franchise or transition designation in 2015 is optional. However, only one player receiving a 2015 designation can be selected.
As you can guess I went heavy on the Broncos. I will however, be running a slightly different offense, with 3 wide. On defense, we have a base 3-4 with a third corner installed to account for nickle situations.
Offense (26): 57,851,021
We chose to spend less on offense, under the thinking that a great quarterback can cover up any weaknesses, and went on a spending spree on defense. The offense is still insane however.
Quarterback (2): 8,153,357
Starter: Andrew Luck (7,034,363)
Backup: Brock Osweiler (1,118,994)
Andrew Luck, a top 5 Quarterback, is an absolute steal at this price. His mobility and arm talent would lead this team to Super Bowls. Brock is probably the best backup quarterback in the league, and has superior talents to almost anyone.
Running Back (4): 3,558,564
Starter: C.J. Anderson (589,167)
Backups: Gio Bernard (1,432,903)
Jeremy Hill (853,091)
Denard Robinson (683,403)
It is insane how little Anderson makes. One of the best backs in the league, he is a must have for a bargain. Anderson and Hill would be the team’s power backs, with Bernard and Robinson switching off for a change of pace. This is quite the committee.
Fullback (1): 2,200,000
Starter: Virgil Green (2,200,000
I know, Virgil Green plays tight end now, but his versatility to also backup at tight end is useful, and he has experience as a fullback.
Wide Receiver (5): 22,354,167
Starters: Demaryius Thomas (12,823,000)
Emmanuel Sanders (5,850,000)
Odell Beckham Jr. (2,356,000)
Backups: Martavis Bryant (619,805)
Ace Sanders (705,362)
I chose to go with the contract challenge of taking a franchised player, and who else could I go for but DT. He is a great number one guy. Emmanuel Sanders was a steal, and was one of the best playmakers in the league, Odell Beckham Jr. Keep in mind by the way, that order of starters doesn’t have to do with order of depth chart here, so all three of these guys will cycle out. Martavis Bryant made some huge plays last season, and is a cheap, luxury fourth receiver. Ace Sanders is an electric special teams player who can contribute in a number of ways on offense.
Tight End (3): 9,839,185
Starter: Rob Gronkowski (8,650,000)
Backups: Maxx Williams (736,861)
Ben Koyack (452,324)
Gronk is expensive, but c’mon, it’s Gronk. He is worth every single penny. Maxx was the best tight end in this last class, and is an amazing second guy. Ben Koyack is an athletic high upside player.
Offensive Tackle (4): 5,172,970
Starters: Cordy Glenn (1,584,012)
Demar Dotson (2,500,000)
Backups: T.J. Clemmings (566,238)
Seantrel Henderson (522,720)
This is one big offensive line. Glenn is an underrated left tackle, who has been excellent in Buffalo. Demar Dotson (6’9) is a monster on the right side, who is also underrated. T.J. Clemmings was the steal of this draft in my opinion, and would be a great swing tackle, while Seantrel Henderson is a huge tackle who was pushed into a starting spot before he was ready last year.
Guard (5): 4,264,134
Starters: Laken Tomlinson (1,554,589)
Kelechi Osemele (1,064,595)
Backups: La’el Collins (442,000)
Cyril Richardson (558,000)
Trai Turner (644,950)
Laken Tomlinson was my favorite player in last class, and also my only projected rookie starter. He combines size, talent and technique and is ready to roll from day 1. Kelechi Osmele was a top 5 guard last season, and he is a steal at that price. La’el Collins is cheap and would also play 4th tackle probably. Richardson and Turner both put in decent rookie years last year.
Center (2): 2,308,644
Starter: Travis Frederick (1,873,644)
Backup: Matt Paradis (435,000)
Frederick is one of the best centers in the league, while Paradis is a developing, cheap backup.
Defense (24): 86,004,359
This is a unit with lots of money spent towards pass rush and secondary. I would be terrified to play against them.
End (4): 23,003,077
Starters: J.J. Watt (13,969,000)
Muhammad Wilkerson (6,969,000)
Backups: Malik Jackson (1,595,403)
Michael Bennett (469,674)
I don’t need to say anything about J.J. Watt, the scariest player in the NFL. Wilkerson has been great in New York, while Jackson was PFF’s 3rd best 4-3 end last year. Considering he’s more suited to play in a 3-4, he is a scary third end. Bennett was a draft faller, who could have gone as high as the second round. He is a good pass rusher with versatility to play tackle.
Nose Tackle (3): 6,166,535
Starter: Dontari Poe (3,601,822)
Backups: Sylvester Williams (2,067,750)
Grady Jarrett (496,963)
Dontari Poe is one of the better noses in the league, so it’s a shame he plays for KC. Williams is up for a breakout year, and Jarrett is a prototypical Phillips’ nose who can play a bit of end.
Outside Linebacker (4): 23,720,805
Starters: Von Miller (9,754,000)
Elvis Dumervil (7,375,000)
Backups: Brandon Graham (6,000,000)
Danielle Hunter (591,805)
I know, Dumervil is aging, but how cool would it be to see him and Von back on the same field? Von is probably the most talented player in the league in my opinion, and Graham is a PFF star who can contribute. Hunter is a very talented rookie who would develop into Dumervil’s replacement.
Inside Linebacker (4): 7,034,637
Starters: Luke Kuechly (4,002,283)
Brandon Marshall (585,000)
Backups: Kevin Minter (1,197,354)
Nate Irving (1,250,000)
Kuechly is arguably the best ILB in the league, while Marshall is an underpaid star. Minter and Irving are both excellent depth players who will contribute on special teams.
Cornerback (5): 19,166,950
Starters: Jimmy Smith (3,600,000)
Vontae Davis (11,250,000)
Chris Harris Jr. (3,000,000)
Backups: Kayvon Webster (731,950)
Marcus Cooper (585,000)
Chris Harris is the best corner in the league. There, I said it. Smith and Davis are also both excellent, with both having their fair share of supporters in the corner debate. I originally had over Smith, but I couldn’t fit that under the cap. Webster and Cooper are both excellent, cheap players with starter potential.
Safety (4): 6,912,355
Starters: Tashaun Gipson (2,356,000)
Harrison Smith (2,271,355)
Backups: Jeromy Miles (Last Contract, 635,000)
David Bruton (1,650,000)
Tashaun Gipson is one of the most underrated players in the league, and Smith is finally starting to get talked about as an elite safety. Miles played excellently last year but is still yet to find a new deal. Bruton is a special teams ace who can fill in in a pinch.
Special Teams: 1,940,500
Kicker: Chandler Catanzaro (510,500)
Punter: Drew Butler (585,000)
Long Snapper: Aaron Brewer (845,000)
Catanzaro and Butler were both excellent last year, and Brewer gets the hometown nod. It’s special teams though, so I didn’t spend too much here.
This unit fits the requirements, and I think it would beat Corry’s, Prisco’s and La Canfora’s. None of them have the Line to stop our pass rush, and our Line is decent enough to at least slow theirs. This dream team would thrive on pass rush, and passing although depth is a slight concern at a couple of positions. C.J. would also keep the running game going, as he will for Denver this year.
What would you do differently?