Friday, March 02, 2007

33rd Team Anybody?

With the advent of this year's free agent period finally upon us in the NFL and teams trying to jockey for more dollars to spend, a number of veteran players were cut or are known to be on the market as trade bait. With the numbers available at each position, takers for trades might be harder to come by.

With the numbers available, one could easily construct a reasonably competitive 33rd football club with these players. Particularly at specific positions.

Let's take a look at what a person could do (and for the sake of argument, let's call it the L.A. Fantasy - sure it sounds like a strip club, but when was the last season that you remember that didn't involve some incident with a professional athlete at a strip club?) -

For the purposes of this exercise, I will primarily be eyeing unrestricted free-agents, but will mention the occasional bit of trade bait on the premise that they may get released at some point due to the market. Also, I'm looking at the people that I think could give you a reasonably competitive 53 man roster - not necessarily a Super Bowl winner, but a team that could make the post-season if it gels.

Head Coach - Marty Shottenheimer (asst coaches at his discretion - sorry AJ).

Offense -

QB - Take your pick based on system and/or the line you can put together: Drew Bledsoe, Jeff Garcia, Joey Harrington, Brad Johnson. Known to be available for the right price - David Carr, Jake Plummer (although likely to just switch teams) and Trent Green.

Center - Seth McKinney, Trey Teague (also Tackle), Jeremy Newberry

Guard - Bennie Anderson, Ruben Brown, Chris Dielman, Grey Reugamer (also Center), Adam Timmerman, Ross Verba, Chris Villarrial

Tackle - Anthony Clement, Marc Columbo, Damion McIntosh, Luke Petitgout, Todd Steussie, Floyd Womack

Tight End - Christian Fauria, Daniel Graham, Doug Jolley, Jerramy Stevens, Jermaine Wiggins

Wide Reciever - Joe Horn, Eric Moulds, Brandon Stokley, Donte Stallworth, Dennis Northcutt, Sean Morey, Keenan McCardell

Running/Full Back - Correll Buckhalter, Reno Mahe, Fred McAfee, Dominic Rhodes, Cory Schlesinger, Anthony Thomas

Currently for offense, the biggest area of concern would be the running game.

Special Teams -

K - Morten Anderson, Billy Cundiff, Jay Feely

P - Todd Sauerbrun, Matt Turk

Defense -

DE - Bobby Hamilton, Rodney Bailey, ND Kalu, Patrick Kerney, Robaire Smith, Marcellus Wiley

DT - Jason Fisk, Dan Klecko, Monte Reagor, Keith Traylor, Jeff Zgonina

LB - LaVar Arrington (only if you could get him on the cheap), Tully Banta-Cain, Dexter Coakley, Don Davis, Na'il Diggs, Donnie Edwards, Carlos Emmons, Larry Izzo, Joey Porter, Junior Seau, Donnie Spragan, Adalius Thomas, London Fletcher-Baker, Napoleon Harris

CB - Phillip Buchanon, Nate Clements, Chidi Iwuoma, Nick Harper, David Macklin, Dexter McCleon, Fred Smoot

S - Jay Bellamy, Mike Doss, Ken Hamlin, Tebucky Jones, Michael Lewis, Mike Rumph, Lance Schulters, Tavares Tillman, Troy Vincent, Shaun Williams

Without even delving into the draft a person could put together a decent team. Sure it would still have holes - not a lot is available for running backs (would probably have to be solved through the draft), you could put together a decent but aging D-line - but depth might be an issue, there are some good linebackers available, but the defensive backfield could be suspect. There is good special-teams type depth though with people like Izzo, Morey, Tebucky Jones and Stone out there.

For my money -

QB - Bledsoe, Harrington, Rookie to develop (3)

OL - Newberry, Reugamer, Timmerman, Verba, Columbo, Petitgout, Steussie, Womack, two rookies (10)

TE - Graham, Jolley, Wiggins (3)

WR - Horn, Moulds, Stokley, Stallworth, Morey (5)

RB - Mahe, Rhodes, Schlesinger, Rookie (4)

25 on offensive roster

K - Feeley (1)

P - Sauerbrun (1)

2 Dedicated special teamers

DE - Hamilton, Bailey, Kerney, Wiley, Rookie (5)

DT - Fisk, Klecko, Traylor (3)

LB - Fletcher-Baker, Harris, Edwards, Izzo, Porter, Seau, A. Thomas, Rookie (8)

CB - Clements, Harper, McCleon, Smoot, Rookie (5)

S - Doss, Hamlin, T. Jones, Lewis, Vincent (5)

26 Defenders.

And that's my 53 man roster based on what's available and where I would draft for help and for the future. I believe this gives me a good group of veterans at every position with a strong core of special teamers, a veteran QB that can help bring along a rookie, a decent offensive line, talented receivers and tight ends, veteran leadership on both sides of the ball and a strong linebacking corps.

Would love to hear other roster ideas.

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