College Football: Starting Roster That Would Make NFL Playoffs

Austin Porter@@aporte11Correspondent IIIOctober 7, 2011

College Football: Starting Roster That Would Make NFL Playoffs

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    College football lacks a true "all-star" game that showcases the best players in the country on one team.

    Even more intriguing is the idea of forming a roster composed of the best NFL prospects and seeing how they would stack up with current teams in the National Football League.

    How would they measure up?

    Judge for yourself as we have compiled the best NFL prospects at each position for your enjoyment.


Quarterback-Andrew Luck, Stanford

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    Andrew Luck is the consensus No.1 draft pick for the 2012 NFL Draft. Not since fellow Stanford alum John Elway has there been such a sure-fire quarterback to be selected first overall.

    Luck is rated 99 by Scouts Inc., a distinction only awarded to the rarest of extraordinary NFL prospects.

    The Stanford quarterback would represent the ideal leader of a talented crew of All-American talent. Luck is adept at distributing the ball to numerous play makers while having the skill set of a prototype NFL quarterback. 

    I once told a friend that Luck is a top 10 NFL quarterback today, prior to even being drafted. With a talented cast of the greatest college football players, Luck would instantly rocket to NFL star status. 

Running Back-Trent Richardson, Alabama

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    There are statistics and then there is the "eye test." Richardson passes both with flying colors. 

    Watching the Alabama tailback is akin to watching a bowling ball mow over pins with no resistance. Pair that impressive power with 4.5 40-yd speed, and you have a future elite ball carrier.

    Richardson is averaging 124.4 yards per game on the ground with 10 touchdowns on the young season. Let us not forget that he is putting up incredible numbers against future NFL players that reside on SEC defenses.

    Richardson would fit right in handling the ball in an NFL backfield. Combined with the passing prowess of Luck, this wrecking ball would guarantee balance in an overpowering offensive attack. 

Fullback-Cody Johnson, Texas

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    In the NFL, it is advantageous to have a fullback who can lead block, be effective in short yardage situations, and catch the occasional pass out of the backfield. 

    Texas back Cody Johnson is capable of all three, bringing versatility to a blue collar position. The 250 pound fullback prospect rushed for 592 yards for the Longhorns in 2010 and has already scored four touchdowns in 2011.

    Johnson would be a valuable asset in short yardage situations and an exceptional lead blocker for Trent Richardson in this mock roster. While never flashy, this future NFL fullback would make for a perfect backfield sidekick to Richardson.  

Wide Receiver-Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State

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    There must be something running in the water through Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma State program has produced two NFL caliber receivers in recent years with Dez Bryant and now, Justin Blackmon.

    Blackmon caught an astounding 111 passes for 1,782 yards in 2010 and already has 450 yards and four touchdowns so far in 2011.

    With Andrew Luck's impeccable accuracy, Blackmon would become a star receiver and put up ridiculous numbers. Blackmon would by far be the best talent Luck has ever targeted, and would form a formdiable tandem when paired with... 

Wide Receiver-Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina

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    Alshon Jeffery, a stud wide receiver out of the Southeastern Conference, is comparably gifted to the aforementioned Blackmon.

    Jeffery possesses more size than Blackmon, standing at 6' 4" and 229 pounds. He would produce more as a possession-type option for Luck in this dynamic offense.

    The South Carolina product put up over 1,500 yards of receiving despite smothering SEC defenses and inconsistent quarterback play in 2010.

    Give this guy an elite quarterback, and watch a star be born before your eyes. 

Tight End-Dwayne Allen, Clemson

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    Today's prototypical NFL tight ends possess elite pass catching skills, impressive athleticism, and the ability to stay in and block against quality pass rushers.

    Dwayne Allen fits that mold.

    The Clemson tight end is a match-up nightmare for linebackers because of his speed and is likewise hard to cover for defensive backs because of his 6 '4" size.

    Allen has made his presence felt in an impressive early season for the Tigers, registering 291 yards and four touchdowns in five games.


Left Tackle-Matt Kalil, Southern California

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    Quarterback Andrew Luck has an exceptional left tackle at Stanford in Jonathan Martin. However, redshirt junior Matt Kalil from USC edges Martin out on this list and in most draft boards.

    Kalil earned the left tackle spot at Southern California in 2010, beating out future first round pick Tyron Smith. At 6' 6" and athletically gifted, Kalil was utilized to block a 41-yard field goal attempt by Utah to secure the game earlier this season. 

    He has since elevated his draft stock to a potential top five selection in the 2012 NFL Draft and is a perfect option to protect the blind side of Luck for this all-star collegiate roster. 

Left Guard-Cordy Glenn, Georgia

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    Getting playing time at left tackle this season, Cordy Glenn is the top offensive guard prospect for the 2012 NFL Draft. 

    His overwhelming size at 338 pounds and 6' 5" height makes him a more suitable candidate for left guard rather than tackle in the National Football League.

    That being said, his ability to play tackle displays the athleticism that he possesses and prepares him for the quicker, stronger interior linemen he will face on Sundays.

    Glenn will open up huge holes in the running game while simultaneously being effective at pass protecting and blitz pickup.  

Center-Peter Konz, Wisconsin

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    A preseason Rimington Trophy favorite, Konz is the leader of one of the best offensive lines in the country. 

    Konz guided a talented line to only 14 sacks allowed in 2010 and six sacks given up thus far in 2011.

    Comparably speaking, Konz possesses impressive size for a center measuring in at 315 pounds and a 6' 4" frame. Konz has impressed scouts with his nimble feet and versatile blocking.

    The Wisconsin product provides smart leadership for any offensive line and can also handle his own blocking the best interior linemen in the NFL. 

Right Guard-Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State

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    The offensive guard class for the upcoming NFL Draft does not lack bulk, as evidenced by another 330 pound prospect from Iowa State.

    Osemele, who like Cordy Glenn plays left tackle, projects as a right guard in the NFL. At 6'5", Osemele possesses strength, size, and athleticism far ahead of the curve relative to fellow collegiate offensive linemen.

    Osemele has the ability to overpower defensive linemen and create a clean pocket for the quarterback while providing lanes to run through in the running game. 

Right Tackle-Jonathan Martin, Stanford

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    The aforementioned Jonathan Martin, who is projected as a early first round draft pick, can play either right or left tackle in the National Football League.

    Martin is known for protecting the blind side of Andrew Luck. Martin anchors one of the best offensive lines in college football, featuring two NFL prospects on the left side of the line alone.

    Luck will be comfortable with a familiar teammate protecting his front side. Martin competes a star-studded, bulky, and athletic offensive line comprised of the best offensive linemen in college football.

Defensive End-Quinton Coples, North Carolina

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    The University of North Carolina has a scary defense if you look at the NFL potential on this roster. Starting with Coples, NFL scouts should just camp out in Chapel Hill.

    Coples accrued 10 sacks and 59 tackles in 2010. This was while moving back and forth between defensive tackle and defensive end. As long as he stays in position during his electric pass rush, this Tar Heel will be a force in the National Football League.

    Look for Coples to be top 10 pick the in the 2012 NFL Draft and grow into an edge threat. 

Defensive Tackle-Brandon Thompson, Clemson

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    Elite NFL defensive lines have that dominant nose tackle that clogs up the middle of the field and occupies multiple blockers.

    Brandon Thompson is that guy. With unlimited potential, Thompson is quick off the snap and can terrorize centers and guards. At 6'3" and 310 pounds, he has the bulk to take up space while simultaneously possessing quickness to fend off blockers.

    The Clemson defensive tackle is a big reason why the Tiger defense has improved this season under Coach Dabo Swinney.  

Defensive Tackle-Alameda Ta'amu, Washington

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    Speaking of clogging up the middle, Alameda Ta'amu from Washington fits the bill.

    Weighing in at a hefty 337 pounds, Ta'amu is an elite run stopper with the athletic ability to rush the passer. 

    Ta'amu is the rare breed at defensive tackle that is mobile and powerful enough to break into the backfield and make the tackle against agile runners.

    Like the equally terrorizing Brandon Thompson, Ta'amu will wreak havoc against centers and guards in the NFL. 

Defensive End-Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

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    No, he is not eligible for the 2012 NFL Draft. Nor will he be eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft.

    Could he play professionally tomorrow? Yes.

    Clowney represents the ideal skill set necessary in the National Football League. He is starting for an SEC defense in his first year out of high school. His tremendous growth curve projects him as a future NFL star and top 5 selection.

    Yes, it is early in his career. But, if given the chance, wouldn't you want the freshman phenom on your roster? I thought so. 

Outside Linebacker-Zach Brown, North Carolina

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    The University of North Carolina makes a second appearance on this list with talented linebacker Zach Brown. 

    Brown has the ability to make tackles and be strong at the point of attack. However, his most valuable asset is his blinding speed from sideline to sideline. With a 4.48 second 40 time, Brown will make his presence felt all over the field.

    In addition to being a linebacker, Brown is a track star and can excel in covering speedy tight ends and backs due to his quickness.

    Look for Brown to be a valuable mid first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. 

Inside Linebacker-Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State

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    If you have not watched Vontaze Burfict play football, you are missing out on one of the most exciting defensive players in the nation.

    Burfict is an aggressive, ferocious linebacker with impressive instincts. Yes, he possesses the tangible qualities of an NFL inside linebacker. In addition, he excels at the intangible qualities such as timing snap counts and is lighting quick on blitzes. (Think Troy Polamalu)

    While Burfict may commit the occasional personal foul penalty, his intensity and leadership on the field are assets highly valued by NFL defenses. 

Outside Linebacker-Courtney Upshaw, Alabama

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    Any list of the best defensive prospects in college football must include a defender from Alabama. Courtney Upshaw is a stingy outside linebacker with the potential to carry on a heralded tradition of impressive linebackers coming from Tuscaloosa. 

    Upshaw weighs more than the majority of his fellow outside linebacker prospects. At 265 pounds, Upshaw adds versatility by being able to rush from a four-man front in addition to playing the linebacker position.

    With his added bulk brings about questions regarding coverage skills, however. Despite that, Upshaw has the talent to follow in the footsteps of former SEC defensive beasts and excel at the professional level. 

Cornerback-Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama

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    Did I mention Alabama has a great defense? Add a second future NFL player to the mix in Dre Kirkpatrick.

    The best receivers in today's NFL have a combination of height and speed to go with incredible leaping ability. Future corners need a similar combination of size and speed to counter the passing frenzy that characterizes NFL offenses.

    Kirkpatrick possesses both traits. At 6' 2" and 195 pounds, Kirkpatrick has the potential to play a similar style to Darrelle Revis. He can physically control the receiver at the line of scrimmage and force the wide- out to one side or another.

    Having a shutdown corner is a must in today's NFL. You are looking at a future one in Kirkpatrick.  

Cornerback-Morris Claiborne, LSU

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    Speaking of great defenses. Enter LSU defensive back Morris Claiborne, who is projected to be one of the first three corners in the 2012 NFL Draft should he decide to leave early.

    Not only has Claiborne faced off against the speedy receivers of Oregon and West Virginia this season, he also must cover stud receivers from the Southeastern Conference.

    The LSU product has two interceptions in 2011 and had five picks in 2010. As a bonus, Claiborne is an excellent kick return option in the NFL with a 33 yard kickoff return average to go along with a touchdown on the young season.

    When building an all-star college football roster, you cannot go wrong with two SEC corners manning the outside. 

Free Safety-T.J. McDonald, Southern California

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    Free safety T.J. McDonald certainly has the bloodlines to be a play-making NFL defensive back. The Southern California product is son of former San Francisco 49er Tim McDonald. 

    The younger McDonald has the versatility to play the run and cover the pass in the secondary. McDonald also can use the knowledge gained playing under former NFL defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, who is now the defensive coordinator at USC.

    With NFL bloodlines and NFL coaching, McDonald is sure to be prepared for the intricacies of playing defensive back in the professional ranks. 

Strong Safety-Mark Barron, Alabama

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    Rounding out the defensive unit for this NFL-caliber team is safety Mark Barron from Alabama. 

    Barron possesses a perfect combination of speed and size occupying the back of the secondary.

    Not afraid to deliver the big hit, Barron is often in the right position to make huge plays for the Crimson Tide defense. Barron also possesses solid hands for a defensive back.

    Barron rounds out a physical, but quick secondary that would make it a challenge to throw against in the National Football League. 

Kicker-Philip Welch, Wisconsin

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    As a kicker for Wisconsin, Philip Welch gets to kick high pressure situations, adverse conditions, and gets many opportunities because of a high powered offense.

    Welch, who recently returned from a quadriceps injury, has yet to attempt a field goal in 2011. However, Welch converted 17 of 22 attempts last season and was a perfect 67 for 67 on extra points.

    If Welch can get healthy for the rest of the season, Welch will have the opportunity to kick for a potential NFL contract next season and be the best kicker on the 2012 NFL Draft board. 

Punter-Drew Butler, Georgia

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    Drew Butler from the University of Georgia is the consensus No.1 punting prospect in the 2012 NFL class. 

    In three seasons from 2009-11, Butler has averaged 48.05, 44.50, and 47.00 yards per punt attempt respectively.

    While having the big leg is important, a model of consistency is valuable when evaluating potential punters in the National Football League.

    Butler is a consistent performer who will consistently make an impact on the field position aspect of the game.