NFL Total Access Roundtable – Best Player To Start A Franchise Discussion

It was the most interesting debate on the NFL I’ve seen in a while.  These analysts had the entire NFL to choose from and their choices were very strange to me.  I will give my thoughts on the subject in a minute, first, here’s their selections:

Warren Sapp – Mario Williams.  Says he’s a dominant guy that can play either side of the line and wreak havoc.  I say you can double team him and a defensive end is going to be limited in his impact most of the time.

Marshall Faulk – Shawn Merriman.  An edge rusher that can also play in the coverage game.  Yes, he’s a guy that San Diego sorely missed from 2007 to 2008, but I still say that one single rusher doesn’t make an entire defense.  A good pass rush overall makes a secondary and entire defense better.

Jamie Dukes – DRUMROLL PLEASE……………..Michael Vick.  Yes, the convicted quarterback that hasn’t played in two years and might be playing outside the NFL his first year back.  While he is intriguing in the Wildcat formation, Vick has never shown the ability to throw the ball.  Dukes says Vick’s team would lead the NFL in rushing.  While that’s true, Vick’s Atlanta teams commonly rushed for 160+ yards/game in his prime, the offense sputtered in the passing game, against top defenses and in the playoffs.

I always think a top quarterback trumps any other position in the NFL.  Starting a franchise makes the list shorter because the shelf life of Tom Brady or Peyton Manning is a lot shorter than the young quarterbacks – although their resume is more impressive to have leading your team.  Everyone knows running backs are replaceable.  Wide receivers are made a lot better by a running game and a quarterback.  Offensive linemen are important, but playing as a unit with few injuries helps a lot (ask the 2008 Falcons’ offensive line).  Linebackers need a good defensive line to keep them clear (ask Ray Lewis a couple years ago) and a secondary can get exposed after a quarterback has 4 or 5 seconds to scan the field.  So here are my favorite players to start a franchise with as of June 2009……Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub and Ben Roethisberger.  Ryan is a clear cut above because of his age.  The other two are 27 and 28 respectively, which is why they get the nod over Peyton Manning (33 years old) and Tom Brady (31 years old).  You need the potential for 10 years with the same quarterback to solidify the franchise from the start.