Seeing as how Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders are new to this “picking teams” thing, we thought we’d show them how it’s done.
The Pro Bowl teams were selected between Tuesday and Wednesday night, when the two legends picked their teams among the players who were selected to go to Hawaii.
We modified the selection process to see how it would turn out if we did it ourselves. Shutdown Corner’s Eric Edholm and Anwar Richardson were our general managers. I'll provide the commentary on the picks.
The changes: only 22 players a side, so we’re just picking a starting offensive and defensive lineup. Eric and Anwar could go with a 4-3 or a 3-4 on defense, and on offense either two running backs and two wide receivers, or one running back and three receivers.
Also, just because Deion and Jerry can’t pick guys in the Super Bowl or those who dropped out because of injuries, but that doesn’t mean we can’t. Come on, it makes it a heck of a lot more fun to debate when Peyton Manning and Calvin Johnson are on the board. Anyone listed on the Pro Bowl roster (http://probowl.fantasy.nfl.com/) including guys playing in the Super Bowl and those who dropped out with injuries are fair game.
Feel free to play along at home and put together your own team. Team Eric won the coin toss so he’ll pick first, then Team Anwar gets the first pick in the even-numbered rounds:
TEAM ERIC: QB Peyton Manning, Denver
TEAM ANWAR: DE Robert Quinn, St. Louis
Schwab’s analysis: Tough call on the first pick. Do you grab a difference maker at another position and pass on the NFL MVP? Team Eric didn’t, scooping up Manning. “I wasn't going to get cute,” Eric said. “The dude dominated almost every game, and it was a no-brainer.” Quinn, who I'd take as this season's defensive player of the year, is a fine choice by Anwar to start his team.
TEAM ANWAR: RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City
TEAM ERIC: WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit
Schwab's analysis: Interesting second pick by Anwar with Charles over Megatron. "I’d rather have a guy who can touch the ball 28 times a games and score five touchdowns (see his performance against Oakland in Week 15) than anybody else," Anwar said. Johnson, the best receiver in football, was not a bad pick to fall in Eric's lap.
TEAM ERIC: DE J.J. Watt, Houston
TEAM ANWAR: WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati
TEAM ANWAR: TE Jimmy Graham, New Orleans
TEAM ERIC: CB Richard Sherman, Seattle
Schwab's analysis: If I was picking, Watt would be my first overall choice. But I wasn't so he's a steal at No. 5 instead. Nice back-to-back picks of Green and Graham for Anwar's passing game. Pretty high for Sherman, but I'm not going to tell him that. I will not be the one to talk about him.
TEAM ERIC: OT Jason Peters, Philadelphia
TEAM ANWAR: WR Josh Gordon, Cleveland
TEAM ANWAR: RB LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia
TEAM ERIC: WR Brandon Marshall, Chicago
Schwab's analysis: A few interesting picks these last couple rounds, including the first offensive lineman off the board in Peters. "I looked at the group and thought: I had better put together a great line," Eric said. "I picture an up-tempo, fast-paced offense with this group, and Peters showed this season (coming off Achilles injury) that he still can move with the best of them."
Anwar keeps loading up at the skill positions with Gordon and McCoy. "Tell me how Eric’s team plans to stop my guys," Anwar said. "Imagine what Gordon can do with a real quarterback throwing him the ball." I think Marshall was a reach by Eric here – I'd much rather roll with Dez Bryant or Demaryius Thomas (or maybe even Marshall's teammate Alshon Jeffery).
TEAM ERIC: S Earl Thomas, Seattle
TEAM ANWAR: LB Luke Kuechly, Carolina
TEAM ANWAR: DT Dontari Poe, Kansas City
TEAM ERIC: LB Robert Mathis, Indianapolis
Schwab's analysis: Was surprised to see Poe as the first defensive tackle off the board. "You win football games in the trenches," Anwar said. "Poe is big and athletic, which is exactly what Quinn needs to make plays on the outside." Fair enough. The Thomas pick by Eric was a strong one, and I agree with it. He's the best safety in the game.
TEAM ERIC: C Alex Mack, Cleveland
TEAM ANWAR: DE Mario Williams, Buffalo
TEAM ANWAR: CB Aqib Talib, New England
TEAM ERIC: DT Haloti Ngata, Baltimore
TEAM ERIC: LB NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco
TEAM ANWAR: DT Kyle Williams, Buffalo
Schwab's analysis: Good, solid picks the last few rounds as Eric keeps beefing up his offensive line with Mack and Anwar chooses to wait. I'm glad we have the "injured players are fair game" rule because if Bowman wasn't eligible it would give me yet another reason to feel horrible about seeing a great player like him go down on Sunday with that knee injury.
TEAM ANWAR: LB Tamba Hali, Kansas City
TEAM ERIC: LB Justin Houston, Kansas City
TEAM ERIC: CB Darrelle Revis, Tampa Bay
TEAM ANWAR: S Eric Berry, Kansas City
TEAM ANWAR: S Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh
TEAM ERIC: G Logan Mankins, New England
Schwab's analysis: I think Anwar should have jumped on Revis when he kept falling, but Eric scooped him up instead. I respect Anwar getting a great pair of safeties, but I might have gone with T.J. Ward over Polamalu.
TEAM ERIC: OT Tyron Smith, Dallas
TEAM ANWAR: OT Branden Albert, Kansas City
TEAM ANWAR: LB Terrell Suggs, Baltimore
TEAM ERIC: LB Patrick Willis, San Francisco
TEAM ERIC: G Louis Vasquez, Denver
TEAM ANWAR: CB Joe Haden, Cleveland
Schwab's analysis: Two great 17th-round picks. It's a steal for Anwar to get Haden this late, making up for not grabbing Revis, and Eric keeps building the line with the rock-solid Vasquez. Also like the Willis pick for Eric this late, but that's probably because he's one of my favorite players in the league to watch.
TEAM ANWAR: C Ryan Kalil, Carolina
TEAM ERIC: S Eric Weddle, San Diego
TEAM ERIC: DE Cameron Jordan, New Orleans
TEAM ANWAR: OT Joe Thomas, Cleveland
TEAM ANWAR: G Jahri Evans, New Orleans
TEAM ERIC: WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay
Schwab's analysis: Anwar is rallying on the offensive line. He waited but getting Thomas in the 19th round is a fantastic value pick, and Evans in the 20th isn't bad either. I have nothing against Nelson, but sorry Eric, I'm not picking him over Dez or Demaryius.
TEAM ERIC: RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota
TEAM ANWAR: G Ben Grubbs, New Orleans
TEAM ANWAR: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans
TEAM ERIC: TE Vernon Davis, San Francisco
Schwab's analysis: Anwar pulled a veteran fantasy move and knowing that Eric couldn't draft a second quarterback, waited until the end for Brees. Not a bad fallback option. Same can be said for Eric waiting on the great Peterson, and Davis as his tight end. Yet, there were some regrets. "I was dumb to not draft Jimmy Graham with my second pick," Eric said. "The difference between him and the other tight ends is night and day. Good pick, Anwar!"
So who got the better squad?
WR: C. Johnson
RT: T. Smith
DT: K. Williams
DE: M. Williams
Schwab's analysis: Hard to go wrong with either team, of course. Eric invested a little more in his defense and it shows. "It's funny: Even with a Manning-Peterson-Johnson offense that would be unstoppable in a fictional NFL, I love my defense," Eric said. "That secondary, that pass rush, and some great playmakers at linebacker. I just wish I could see that group roam around and demolish people."
But it's hard to argue with the offensive weapons Anwar has. "My team is healthy, athletic, talented, and we can beat Eric’s team without kicking extra points," Anwar said.
I'm giving a slight edge to Eric because of the defense and the Manning-Peterson-Megatron trio leading the offense, but it's close. What side do you think got the better of it?