Debate: Who wins the game?
A mock college football all-star draft reveals two seemingly unbeatable teams. However, if the two squads were to meet in a game, which one would come out on top? More ...
We were curious, too, so we asked NFL.com draft analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks to conduct such a draft, picking their starting 22 from the enormous pool of all college players. We had one simple rule: The teams were to be built for one winner-take-all game, assuming all players are healthy and eligible. By the flip of a coin, Jeremiah got the first pick.
As you will see below, their strategies were very different. Jeremiah quickly loaded up on defense, Bucky on offense. In the end, they both compiled teams that were almost impossible to pick a winner (although we tried).
Here is how the draft unfolded, with comments from our two analysts:
Jeremiah: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
I have a couple different quarterbacks that I feel good about in a one-game setting. With that in mind, I can't pass on the most dominant player in college football.
Brooks: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
To consistently compete for a title, I believe a team must have a dominant presence under center. Bridgewater is the ultimate franchise quarterback with a combination of arm talent, football intelligence and competitiveness.
Jeremiah: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
Barr is the second-best defender in the country. He can play the run and rush the passer. I feel great about my two defensive building blocks.
Brooks: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
It's quite possible Matthews would've been the first tackle selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. As a polished technician with superb footwork and agility, he is ideally suited to protect the quarterback's blindside, yet his experience at right tackle makes him the perfect edge blocker to build around. Bridgewater can now sit back and do his job.
Jeremiah: Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida
Why not? I'm going to stick with my Baltimore Ravens roots and stay on the defensive side of the ball. Lynch is a long, explosive pass rusher who plays with an excellent motor. I promise I will draft an offensive player soon.
Brooks: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
And I'll keep collecting them, DJ. Great offenses typically feature a few playmakers on the perimeter capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. Lee specializes in putting the ball in the paint on deep tosses or spectacular "catch-and-run" plays.
Jeremiah: De'Anthony Thomas, WR, Oregon
Thomas is an elite playmaker. I could use him at multiple positions and he's capable of scoring from anywhere on the field.
Brooks: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
A disappointing sophomore season has made Watkins a forgotten man, but ACC opponents are well aware of his explosive potential based on an impressive freshman season. With Watkins poised to return to form after putting injuries and off-field distractions behind him, the presence of another dynamic playmaker could push my offense to another level.
Jeremiah: T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama
Yeldon is my favorite running back in the country. He's powerful and explosive. He can also help out in the passing game.
Brooks: Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
Runners with home-run ability thrive in the college game, particularly when operating as the centerpiece of a spread offense. Seastrunk has validated that point by averaging nearly eight yards a pop as the feature back in Art Briles' version of the spread. Given a talented supporting cast on the perimeter, Seastrunk should kill it against a defense scared to death of my team's explosive passing game.
I'm going back to the other side of the ball for another elite front-seven defender. Mosley is an instinctive, sideline-to-sideline linebacker that is also an outstanding blitzer.
Brooks: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Keeping the franchise quarterback upright in the pocket is critical to the success of an offensive juggernaut. Lewan is a masterful technician capable of shutting down elite pass rushers off the edge (check out his performance against Jadeveon Clowney in the Outback Bowl for proof) with a polished game deeply rooted in the fundamentals. With Lewan and Matthews as bookends, I feel good about the prospect of protecting Bridgewater against a talented front seven like the one DJ is forming.
Jeremiah: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
I'm stoked that Nix is still on the board. He can handle the run-stuffing duties while also providing some inside push as a pass rusher.
Brooks: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
Defensive football is all about finding a way to disrupt the rhythm of the quarterback. Tuitt is capable of playing as a five-technique in a 3-4 or a base end in a four-man front. He totaled 12 sacks and 13 tackles for loss in 2012, remarkable considering he battled through a sports hernia injury that required offseason surgery.
Jeremiah: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
There is plenty of depth to choose from on the offensive side of the ball and that makes it easy for me to pick yet ANOTHER defensive player. Roby is an explosive cornerback capable of matching up with the elite wide receivers on Bucky's squad.
Brooks: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
It's hard to find a more explosive playmaker at outside linebacker than Shazier, who displays a combination of speed and quickness that is unrivaled at his position in the college game. His versatility and disruptiveness as a 4-3 WILL linebacker could be problematic for the opposition.
Jeremiah: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
There aren't many safeties I'm excited about in college football. I know it's early, but I'm going to grab Clinton-Dix because of the lack of supply at the position.
Brooks: Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU
I recently tabbed KVN as the most disruptive defender in college football, so I'm ecstatic to take advantage of his talents as a dynamic edge player. His instincts, awareness and knack for playmaking could push this defense over the top.
Jeremiah: Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
Lyerla is another versatile offensive weapon. He can line up as a traditional tight end, flex out or even see some snaps in the backfield. He's outstanding after the catch because of his speed and power.
Brooks: Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford
Murphy doesn't garner headline attention, but NFL scouts view him as one of the top edge players in the 2014 class after a spectacular redshirt junior campaign that featured 10 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. As a hybrid 3-4/4-3 edge defender, Murphy gives my defense another playmaker to feature in the pass rush.
Jeremiah: Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
Roberson has the tools to match up with the bigger/stronger wideouts as well as the smaller/quicker pass catchers. I love my cornerback tandem with Roby and Roberson.
Brooks: Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
NFL scouts might question the size, but there is no denying his ability to harass the quarterback (he had 13 sacks last season). Sutton's combination of speed, quickness and relentlessness is overwhelming on the interior, which is why I would want him as a pass-rushing nose tackle in an ultra-aggressive scheme.
Jeremiah: Leonard Williams, DT, USC
Williams is the final piece to my front four. He is extremely long and athletic. Are you kidding me with this group? Clowney, Lynch, Nix and Williams ... good luck blocking those guys, Bucky.
Brooks: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Every quarterback needs a big-bodied tight end with outstanding hands and ball skills between the hashes. ASJ is a dominant pass catcher built in the mold of Rob Gronkowski. With the speed of Lee and Watkins likely forcing double coverage on the perimeter, I like the prospect of Bridgewater finding the Husky early and often over the middle of the field.
Jeremiah: Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
Mack is one of my favorite players in the country. He can play on the line of scrimmage or be stacked in the box. He has excellent speed, instincts and toughness.
Brooks: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
The advent of the spread offense and the quick-rhythm passing game is making it imperative for defenses to utilize more bump-and-run tactics on the perimeter. Ekpre-Olomu is a gritty competitor with fantastic instincts and ball skills.
Jeremiah: Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
Reynolds is a nice complement to Clinton-Dix in the back end of my defense. He has good size and outstanding instincts. Both of my safeties are ball hawks, as evidenced by their combined 11 interceptions last season.
Brooks: Craig Loston, S, LSU
Despite the rule changes against targeting and big hits, it is still necessary for a defense to feature a menacing presence in the middle of the field. Loston certainly fits the bill as a hard-hitter, but also brings the ball skills and awareness as instinctive playmaker between the hashes.
Jeremiah: Xavier Su'a-Filo, Interior OL, UCLA
Since Bucky has secured his two offensive tackles, I can focus on my interior guys at this point of the draft. Su'a-Filo showed no signs of rust last season, despite missing two years of football to serve a church mission. He is nasty, athletic and smart.
Brooks: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The ultra-athletic Hageman has started to display the kind of disruptive skills defensive coordinators covet in a versatile defensive tackle. He is capable of harassing the passer as a rusher, while also displaying the size, strength and toughness to hold the point as a run-stopper in the middle. Given Hageman's versatility and athleticism, he gives a defensive coordinator the freedom to use a variety of fronts and movement tactics at the line of scrimmage.
Jeremiah: Gabe Jackson, Interior OL, Mississippi State
Jackson is a rock-solid player. He has the size to handle powerful interior pass rushers and he'll provide plenty of room for my quarterback to operate.
Brooks: Carl Bradford, LB, Arizona State
Versatility is always coveted on the defensive side of the ball, which is why Bradford is the perfect selection for this team based on his ability to play anywhere from defensive end/rush linebacker to middle linebacker. Last season, he totaled 11.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss playing in a hybrid role.
Jeremiah: Cyril Richardson, Interior OL, Baylor
Richardson is a people mover in the running game. He will work with Jackson and Sua-Filo to create space for Yeldon and company.
Brooks: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
It's hard to find corners with the ball skills and awareness to consistently generate takeaways, but Verrett appears to have a sixth sense in coverage. He nabbed six interceptions and 16 pass breakups in 2012, and was the only defender in the nation to rank in the top 10 in both categories. Verrett displays a versatile game that allows him to thrive in a scheme that features press and off-man tactics.
Jeremiah: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Now I can start locking down my offensive tackles. Kouandjio is a powerful run-blocker who is also capable of matching up with elite pass rushers on the left side.
Brooks: Lamarcus Joyner, S, Florida State
Joyner's size might be an issue in the pro game, but his toughness, intensity and ball skills are welcome on my defense. He brings corner-like skills to the position, which makes him a legitimate option to play over the slot against spread formations.
Jeremiah: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
Richardson is a perfect fit to play right tackle on my squad. He is raw but he has a huge frame and plenty of athleticism.
Brooks: David Yankey, G, Stanford
My team is built to throw the ball around the yard, but I still would like a hulking presence in the middle to protect the quarterback in the passing game, while providing push at the point of attack on inside runs. Yankey excels in both aspects, and gives the unit a little nastiness up front.
Jeremiah: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Cooper is an electric playmaker. Putting him in the same offense with De'Anthony Thomas is scary!
Brooks: Zach Martin, G, Notre Dame
Gritty competitors are required in the trenches, particularly against big, physical defensive fronts. While Martin would need to adjust to playing on the interior after playing at left tackle for the Irish, his feistiness would help him shine as a guard in a wide-open offense.
Hot 100 seniors
Jeremiah: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
I didn't expect Gurley to last this long. He's a beast as an inside runner and he has surprising long speed as well.
Brooks: Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Adding the nation's leading rusher to my offense is a major coup, especially when putting him in a lineup that features a host of explosive weapons on the perimeter. Carey's rugged running style would add an element of toughness to the unit, while his soft hands and underrated receiving skills would add another dimension to the passing game.
Jeremiah: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Once Bucky took Bridgewater, I knew I could wait until the very end to snatch up my QB. For a one-game battle, I can't pass up the Heisman Trophy winner. Even though I used the majority of my early picks for the defensive side of the ball, I love the talent I've accumulated on offense.
Brooks: Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
As college football continues to shift toward a wide-open game, the need for athletic blockers is a necessity for high-octane offense. Swanson is arguably the most athletic offensive lineman in football, with a game that matches his impressive physical gifts.