Bleacher Report's 7-on-7 Offensive Dream Team for 2015
Football used to be a sport that was only played during the fall and ended in the winter. Now, it is essentially played all throughout the year due to seven-on-seven football passing-league games and tournaments.
Offensive seven-on-seven teams consist of a quarterback, plus usually any variation between five running backs and receivers. The seventh offensive player is the center, although he is not eligible to catch passes.
Looking at the crop of 2015 recruits, it's time Bleacher Report fielded an offensive "dream team" for seven-on-seven football. This team was put together quite carefully with general fit and strategy in mind, and it certainly should make defenses tremble.
No. 1 WR: Christian Kirk
The initial slot at the receiver position on this team goes to Christian Kirk. At 5'11" and 195 pounds, he is a 4-star recruit with fantastic speed to stretch the field.
He can also be used on routes underneath to exploit his outstanding run-after-catch skills. To get Kirk matched up against linebackers, the Arizona native can easily line up at running back and release out of the backfield.
Keep an eye on Texas A&M with him.
No. 2 WR: Damarkus Lodge
With Kirk's speed and ability to stretch the field, the smart thing to do at the next receiver position on this team would be to find a guy who can dominate the second level of the defense.
Kirk also is not the biggest receiver in the country, so whoever is paired with him ideally would have size and length.
The perfect guy for the job is 5-star receiver Damarkus Lodge. At nearly 6'3", the 190-pound Texas native makes most of his money in the intermediate passing game. Lodge is a sharp route-runner who has a wonderful pair of hands that he uses to haul in passes in traffic across the middle.
Schools such as LSU, Baylor and Texas A&M are in the hunt, per 247Sports.
TE: Aliz'e Jones
For seven-on-seven football, tight ends do not need to block at all. That is why pure receiving tight ends work best in these settings.
Aliz'e Jones is the pick here, as the Las Vegas native is essentially a jumbo receiver. At 6'4" and 222 pounds, Jones' speed allows him to race up the seams past linebackers. He has the athleticism and quickness to separate from safeties, plus he routinely displays impressive ball skills and hands.
While Jones would be used as a classic in-line tight end on this team, he would also be able to be flexed to the slot, perimeter and even in the backfield. He is committed to UCLA.
No. 1 RB: Taj Griffin
Running backs in seven-on-seven settings need to be able to catch the football. If not, then they are essentially useless.
They also must be versatile enough to be able to spend some time working out of the slot. Taj Griffin, a 4-star running back from Georgia, can catch the ball cleanly as a running back or slot receiver.
Griffin, who is 5'10" and 175 pounds, has the explosiveness and speed to make big plays versus linebackers. In fact, his quickness when working from the slot would command a defensive back to cover him.
He is committed to Oregon.
No. 2 RB: Malik Lovette
Power running backs aren't really great fits for seven-on-seven. That is why the second running back slot goes to another scatback in Malik Lovette.
The 4-star California native has impressive speed, but his elusiveness is even better. Lovette would be able to turn short routes underneath into big gains on this team, plus he can also play a little receiver. This pick may be a bit of a surprise, but he is a terrific fit.
USC, Notre Dame and Texas A&M are his top suitors, per 247Sports.
On May 13, the running back told Chis Swanson of USCFootball.com (subscription required), "I'm open to both positions but I do want to play some slot at the next level."
Starting QB: Josh Rosen
Although there generally is no pass rush in seven-on-seven football, quarterbacks still must get the ball out of their hands in usually less than four seconds.
That means a quick and decisive decision-maker is needed here, as well as a passer who has excellent physical tools. Right now, there is no better quarterback in the country than 5-star field general Josh Rosen.
The California native is 6'4" and 205 pounds, plus he plays with good intelligence and awareness. Rosen generates a lot of velocity on his throws, but he pitches with good accuracy. It was fairly easy selecting the UCLA commit for this slot.
Backup QB: Jake Browning
While seven-on-seven offensive teams consist of a center, pivot players don't do anything after snapping. For this list, a center will be substituted for a another quarterback.
Decision-making and accuracy are the two biggest traits that were considered here, with arm strength coming in a distant third. A ton of quarterbacks were considered, but the best man for this job is 4-star quarterback Jake Browning.
The California native is a Washington commit who is 6'2" and 185 pounds. He has good mechanics and solid arm strength. Plus, the game seems to unfold in slow motion for him.
Browning's ability to read defenses and anticipate windows makes him a good fit for the squad.
All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports' composite rankings.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.