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Building An NFL Team From Scratch: Which 10 Would You Pick?

You get to play the role of GM, and build an NFL team from scratch. Which ten players in the NFL would you select as your core to build the team around?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Rams are in the third year of a complete roster rebuild under Jeff Fisher and Les Snead. In that time, the roster has undergone an 81% turnover. There are only 11 players remaining on the roster who weren't acquired by the current regime. The Rams retained a core group of players, and built the rest of the roster essentially from scratch.

If you could be the Rams' GM for a day, which ten players would you pick - from the entire pool of NFL players - to build a team around?

My Selections

CB - Richard Sherman (26) - Seattle Seahawks

Sherman is considered the consensus best cornerback in the NFL today. He's the new prototype for the position: Tall, long, physical, and strong, with instinctive ball skills [8 interceptions in 2013]. Sherman is a one-time Pro Bowler, and a two-time First-Team All-Pro selection.

CB - Patrick Peterson (25) - Arizona Cardinals

The combination of Peterson and Sherman would give my team the best pair of cornerbacks in the NFL. Many rank Peterson as the best cornerback in the league, ahead of Richard Sherman. The fifth overall pick in 2011, Peterson is already a three-time Pro Bowler, and a two-time All-Pro. He has 12 career interceptions, and set an NFL record in his rookie season, with four touchdowns as a punt returner.

DE - J.J. Watt (25) - Houston Texans

With Watt, Robert Quinn, and Gerald McCoy manning the defensive trenches, my team would not only have the best pass-rush in the NFL, but the best defensive line as well. Watt is now in his 4'th year in the league. In his first three seasons, Watt produced 36.5 sacks and 8 forced fumbles. Watt made First-Team All-Pro - and the Pro Bowl - in both 2012 and 2013.

DE - Robert Quinn (24) - St. Louis Rams

In 2013, Quinn was awarded Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors for the first time in his young career. Quinn had 19 sacks and 7 forced fumbles in 2013, and is now regarded as the best pass-rushing defensive end in the league.

DT - Gerald McCoy (26) - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

McCoy has established himself as one of the best interior defensive linemen in the league. McCoy - a two-time Pro Bowler - earned First-Team All-Pro honors in 2013. Equally adept at stopping the run and rushing the passer, McCoy is an extremely disruptive force in the middle of the line, registering 9.5 sacks and 50 tackles last season.

QB - Andrew Luck (24) - Indianapolis Colts

Every team needs a franchise quarterback. Luck is the best young quarterback in the NFL. Already a 2-time Pro Bowler, he's well on his way to becoming elite, and will be among the best in the league for the next ten-plus years.

WR - Cordarrelle Patterson (23) - Minnesota Vikings

Patterson is a dynamic, versatile, and electrifying player, with a bright future ahead of him. At 6'2" - 220 lbs., Patterson has prototypical size for the WR position, and exhibits a rare combination of size and speed. An All-Pro kick returner in his rookie season, Patterson is versatile, and can line up anywhere on the field. He's a threat out of the backfield, in the slot, and as a wide-out. Patterson will be among the league leaders in all-purpose yards for many years to come. Combined with Patrick Peterson, my team would have the best punt/kick return tandem in the league.

WR - A.J. Green (26) - Cincinnati Bengals

Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh best summed up A. J. Green's abilities:

"Maybe the best receiver in football. Incredible athleticism. If you throw a ball anywhere near him ... he finds a way to go grab it. He's got an amazing catch radius. He's big, tall, long and can get behind a defense very quickly."

LT - Tyron Smith (23) - Dallas Cowboys

At 6'5" - 320 lbs., Smith may be the most athletic offensive tackle in the NFL. Quick and powerful, Smith earned Pro Bowl honors in 2013, his third season in the league. He's the best young tackle in the NFL, and at 23 years of age, will be giving pass-rushers fits for many years to come.

OG - Larry Warford (23) - Detroit Lions

Warford is perhaps the least-known player on this list. A third round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, Warford became an immediate starter in his rookie season. He displayed future All-Pro capabilities, and played like an early first round pick. Warford was a mauler in the run game, and didn't allow a sack the entire season. In today's NFL, the interior offensive line is becoming increasingly important to the passing game, as many teams are now featuring dynamic interior pass-rushers.

Rationale And Considerations

  • Age - Age was an important consideration in the selections. I ensured each player had a minimum of 5 prime years left in their career. The average age of the selections: 24.5 years.
  • Emphasis on linemen - Quality teams are built from the inside out. Half of the selections are linemen.
  • Premium positions - The majority of the player selections are at the most important positions on a football team.
  • Passing league - The QB, WR, and CB selections reflect the dominance and importance of the passing game in today's NFL.
  • Post-season honors - All players selected - except for Larry Warford - have earned post-season honors (Pro Bowl - All-Pro). These players are considered among the best at their positions, and have achieved recognition for their excellence early in their careers.
  • Experience - Each player selected had to have at least one year of experience in the NFL.

Please share your own top-ten lists and rationale in the comments section. I'll compile the results, and publish them next week. In addition, I'll compare the 10 players with the highest votes, my selections, and the TST staff's picks, to the top 10 players currently on the Rams' roster.