There is no doubt that this is a quarterback league. NFL executives know the position is the most important piece of the championship puzzle, and teams are always on the hunt for talented signal-callers. But what if, in addition to finding the best quarterback, you also had to find a quarterback to play every other offensive position on the field? That is to say, what if you had to build an 11-man offense using only starting NFL quarterbacks?
I thought it would be fun to try doing exactly that. Which of the athletic quarterbacks would thrive receiving -- rather than throwing -- the football? Who would stand out on the ground? Who has what it takes to be a force on the line? Given the versatility and well-roundedness displayed by some of today's top quarterbacks, it's no shock that there are plenty of signal-callers who could make a major impact at another position -- but the results were nonetheless interesting.
Below, you'll see my 11-man all-quarterback offense, with QBs filling every spot, from No. 1 receiver to right guard. While this exercise was a bit of lark, completing it really illustrated the depth and breadth of the capabilities of the players suiting up under center. Note that my pool consisted of starting quarterbacks only -- so no, you won't find Tim Tebow here.
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Height: 6-foot-2. Weight: 225 pounds.
Rodgers almost secured a spot at wide receiver based on his athleticism and crafty running skills, but it's hard to bypass the reigning NFL MVP -- and the top quarterback in the game -- when picking someone to man the most important position on the field. Rodgers' superb accuracy, arm strength and improvisational skills make him the most difficult player to defend from the pocket, which is why he's the obvious choice here.
Running back: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Height: 5-11. Weight: 206.
Wilson's knack for finding creases as a runner makes him a natural fit at tailback. He is a patient runner adept at splitting creases between the tackles -- and he also displays the speed and burst to turn the corner. His smallish stature would spawn concerns about his durability as a potential workhorse, but it's worth noting the Seahawks' explosive dual-threat quarterback hasn't missed a snap for health reasons in his three pro seasons, despite logging 351 rushing attempts over that span. He also rarely takes big hits when he ventures outside the pocket as a runner.
Wide receiver: Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Height: 6-2. Weight: 222.
The former collegiate track star would be an ideal threat on the perimeter as a deep-ball specialist. Griffin would shine as a vertical route runner and give the offense a dangerous playmaker to use on reverses or gadget plays around the corner.
Wide receiver: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
Height: 6-4. Weight: 230.
There is always a place in the lineup for a long, rangy pass catcher with sneaky speed and quickness, and Kaepernick would certainly fit the bill as an explosive deep threat. His dynamic skills with the ball in his hands also make him a threat to score from anywhere on the field, particularly on bubble screens and quick routes.
Wide receiver: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Height: 6-4. Weight: 220.
It's possible Tannehill would've been a first-round pick as a wide receiver, based on his impressive physical attributes and production as a pass catcher at Texas A&M. Tannehill not only led the Aggies in receiving as a freshman, but he finished his college career with 112 catches for 1,596 receiving yards and 10 scores. Imagine how good he would be as a pro were he given the chance to further refine and develop his skills.
Tight end: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Height: 6-4. Weight: 240.
The ultra-athletic Luck could line up anywhere on the field, based on his unique combination of size, speed and athleticism, but a move to tight end could maximize his skills as a rugged playmaker on the perimeter. With his high football IQ, Luck would rival Jason Witten's potency as a crafty third-down weapon with exceptional route-running skills, while his big frame would allow him to challenge Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham for red-zone supremacy.
Left tackle: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Height: 6-5. Weight: 245.
The most athletic player on the line is routinely positioned at left tackle, given the importance of securing the quarterback's blind side. Newton is an athletic marvel with an extraordinary combination of size, strength and speed. Considering his competitive toughness and grit, Newton would excel at the unit's marquee position.
Left guard: Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Height: 6-5. Weight: 228.
Every O-line needs at least one player with a nasty streak, someone who can set the tone for the group -- and Rivers would fill that role nicely. The 12th-year pro is not only one of the toughest players in the NFL, but his unshakeable confidence and cocky demeanor would add some spice to the lineup.
Center: Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Height: 6-5. Weight: 230.
Outside of quarterback, the pivot is the most cerebral position on the field. So it makes sense to place a brainy communicator with exceptional instincts and awareness at center. Given Manning's experience directing some of the most explosive offenses in NFL history, masterfully orchestrating things at the line of scrimmage, the five-time league MVP is an ideal fit here.
Right guard: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Height: 6-4. Weight: 225.
Inserting Brady at right guard is truly a testament to his toughness, tenacity and intelligence. The three-time Super Bowl MVP is a gritty competitor with the feisty spirit needed to battle disruptive defenders in the trenches. Although he has some athletic limitations, Brady has remarkable self-awareness; he'd be able to employ the necessary techniques for getting it done in the clutch.
Right tackle: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Height: 6-5. Weight: 241.
The Steelers' fearless leader is the kind of rugged, big-bodied competitor every offensive-line coach covets as a book-end blocker. Roethlisberger's sneaky athleticism and agility would allow him to match speedy rushers off the edge, while his imposing size and strength would help create a push in the running game.