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Green Zone League Articles

GZL 2014 All-Wish Team
By Garth Pearce
Special to gzl-football.com

I had intended to get this out at the start of the season, but work has kept me busy. The aim of this article is really to highlight those players at all positions that we all wish we had. Given the best circumstances and the ability to bring in anyone and everyone what I've listed below are the guys I like the best at each position. We each have our own view on what makes a perfect player at any position, so I've also considered years played, current skill level and number of playing years remaining at an elite level. The first players mentioned for each position are honourable mentions, the guys who almost made it for me but were pipped at the post by the top choices. Feel free to discuss your own views and ideal selections across the board.

QB – Boston Mallet, Joe Flacco, Josh Freeman
All these guys are tall and strong with great arms. They all are guys to stay in the pocket so if I wanted a true passer one of these 3 would be my pick, but...
Cameron Newton vs Robert Griffin III
I'm a sucker for a scrambler and these 2 are the top of the crop. They have enough height, good arms and the top end speed to make any scramble a worthwhile gain most of the time. Both are also pretty young and under the current progression system can hit top rating pretty soon and have the maximum number of years playing time available. My #1 choice would be Newton as he's taller and stronger than RG3.

HB – Adrian Peterson, Ryan Matthews, Doug Martin
Some strong runners here, with the likes of AP being the complete package of speed and strength and the others quite balanced. If it wasn't for AP being on te backend of his career you'd have to go with him
Mark Ingram vs Trent Richardson
Not many backs possess 90+ speed and 80+ strength with a good break tackle. Ingram has shown what he can produce whilst Richardson has been stuck in an unforgiving 49ers offense that has lost all its wheels. Attributes alone I'd have to go with Richardson because of his extra height, weight and more years up his sleeve.

FB – Mike Tolbert, Fred Munzenmaier, Jacob Hester
Marcel Reece vs Trey Millard
The unsung men of football we don't look a lot at full backs until they show themselves with stats or we see them pop up for that crucial block. Because of this I'm biased as I've seen my guy play, but I'll stick with Marcel Reece as I know he can help a back like Ingram break out those 80+ yard runs.

WR –Johnny Knox, Julio Jones, Kenny Britt, DeSean Jackson
I have 2 separate ideas for the #1 and #2 receiver spots and think different attributes fit better, one for more speed, one for more strength. We all love the height and the better the height/speed combo the more our love increases.
Percy Harvin vs Calvin Johnson
These guys are speed players, although Megatron is just everything we want in any receiver, so we can't pass him up as either #1 or #2
A.J. Green vs Demaryius Thomas
A pair of young studs with solid height, strength and speed they'll be able to match it inside and outside from the #2 spot. This is a tough call as Green is younger and smarter but Thomas has superior strength. The deciding factor goes to age and I'll choose Green to go alongside the older Johnson.

TE – Jermaine Gresham, Vernon Davis, Courtney Smith
To me tight ends are a combination of fullback and receiver. They need size strength, speed, hands and blocking skills all rolled in to one.
Greg Olsen vs Jermichael Finley
These two beat out the likes of Vernon Davis based on their height alone. I feel that those closer to 6'6" are better suited to this role, even though Davis has the pure speed.

OT – Chris Faulk, Jake Long, Trent Williams, Michael Oher
Tyron Smith vs Ryan Clady
I love my offensive lineman with great mobility hence why all these guys show great speed, agility and acceleration to go along with decent strength. Clady is just a star at the top of his game and Smith is one of the most mobile youngsters out there

OG – Logan Mankins, Chris McDonald, Bryan Bulaga, Dallas Thomas
Joseph Hernandez vs Bruce Campbell
Finding offensive guards with mobility like tackles is hard, however Campbell has the moves even if he is a shade dumb. Hernandez has a good balance between mobility and strength, even if he is a little raw

OC – Nick Mangold, Alex Mack, Khaled Holmes, Kristofer O'Dowd
Ryan Bartholomew vs Maurkice Pouncey
Again these guys have a good amount of ability and enough strength to hold against the powerful defensive tackles. Both Pouncey and Bartholomew are young yet skilled enough to perform well, however Pouncey just has the top of the range polish to take the #1 spot.

DE – Trevor Scott, Ryan Kerrigan, Da'Quan Bowers
Mario Williams vs Allen Bailey
Defensive Ends are those players we wish were versatile enough to play 4-3 and 3-4 defense, depending on our mood. Any of the above guys have the speed and strength to do just that, even if you think some might be a little under weight.. Williams and Bailey both have unreal attributes for pass rushing and manhandling offensive linemen and I'd gladly sit them on the outside of my line any day.

DT – Marcell Dareus, Fletcher Cox, Jacques Bailey
Same as DE's, our defensive tackles are great if they can perform a dual role: as a nose tackle in 3-4 or as a pass rusher in 4-3.
Ndamukong Suh vs Dontari Poe
Suh is a decent sized unit with good mobility and strength, ideal for a 4-3 but considered too light for a pure nose tackle. Poe on the other hand has great size and strength for the nose tackle job whilst still having some mobility for pass rushing. Just for versatility's sake I'd take Poe to cover all my bases fully at the #1 DT spot.
Nick Fairley vs J.J. Watt
My second DT is always considered a pure pass rusher, hence why the greatest mobility trumps pure strength here. I like to have them closer to a DE's stats where possible, which means more speed for less strength if required. Fortunately a guy like Watt is a DE on the inside with strength, with Fairley coming a close second with a large 3-4 De type style.

OLB – Aaron Curry, Chris Carter, Keith Rivers, LaMarr Woodley
Two schools of thought when deciding on your outside linebackers here, so I've split the difference and taken one of each. Personally I never like weak linebackers so anyone under 70 strength is out of the equation and the split comes between those who are super fast and those with speed but great strength.
Clay Matthews vs Brian Orakpo
Guys with decent speed but high strength for their position are rare. Originally had Melvin Ingram here instead of Matthews but he's since been moved to the middle. Orakpo was almost in the same boat before moving out of Green Bay and as such is my pick for an all round great outside linebacker who's got decent awareness, some playing time left and all his important attributes in the 80's.
Barkevious Mingo vs Jarvis Jones
2 of the newest men to GZL they both have the potential to hit 90 speed and acceleration, which is quite the monster. Due to his almost 80 strength I'm going to go with Jones as he'll be better sooner even though he's a bit shorter than Mingo.

MLB – Jerod Mayo, Donald Butler, Von Miller, Luke Kuechly, Melvin Ingram, Patrick Willis
Brian Cushing vs Manti Te'o
Much like my first type of OLB, my prime MLB is 80+ speed, strength, agility and acceleration. Cushing packs all these attributes with playing smarts and a few years left to give.

CB – Jimmy Smith, Morris Claiborne, Prince Amukamara, Chimdi Chekwa
Patrick Peterson vs Dominique Cromartie
Corners make or break your team as they are required to go one-on-one more often than anyone else, which means when they get burnt its game over. So to stop this we need as much height as possible and the greatest set of feet known to man. It comes as no surprise than that for age and ability Peterson is a stud at 23, whilst Cromartie has been top of the range for a few years. I'd love these guys in tandem, especially as I've seen how both can react from the other side of the field to stop a break away score.

FS – Michael Huff, LaRon Landry, Arthur McCloud
Jairus Byrd vs Malcolm Jenkins
Now days we all want safeties that resemble our corners, fast and tall. The biggest draw back here is most of them are dumb, so it's just like having an underdeveloped corner. Byrd gives us the smartest safety packed into a speed frame with height, whilst Jenkins has a bit more youth on his side. I love smart safeties so the pick goes to Byrd for me.

SS – Taylor Mays, Kenny Phillips
Eric Berry vs Mark Barron
Same deal as the free safeties, except there are some more physical specimens here with higher speed, agility and acceleration. Berry has a few years on Barron who missed most of last year with injury, but I reckon Barron is at a good point in his career and will go strong for the long run.

K – Josh Scobee, Sebastian Janikowski, Mason Krosby
David Buehler vs Rhys Lloyd
The strongest leg possible and the best accuracy...a nice simple equation which puts Lloyd and Buehler dead equal. For age I'd take Buehler first as he'd go for another decade, that and he's some incredible physical attributes for a kicker.

P – Jon Ryan, Pat McAfee
Matt Dodge vs Andy Lee
Same as kickers here except this competition has more diverse power to accuracy and age. As such I'll take strongest leg with youngest age, going with Dodge.

KR/PR - WR Joshua Cribbs, LaMichael James, CB Morris Claiborne
HB Reggie Bush vs WR Dexter McCluster
No-one likes pumbles, it's just a pain in the rear end. My preference is also to not give this role to an important starter as it increases their injury chances The best returners are fast, can catch, can carry the ball safely and ideally bust their way out of a road block. The only guys in my mind who can achieve all this are running backs. I know speedster receivers and corners have torn it up over the years taking it to the house multiple times in a year, but I feel like the backs are more dependable all the time, so my money is for Reggie Bush.
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