What has 19 national championships, ten Heisman trophy winners, 80 Big Ten titles, bitter hatred yet mutual respect, and 1,841 total wins? That, my friend, is the Ohio State-Michigan college football rivalry, which has produced a ton of NFL talent. In fact, as of the 2017-2018 season, 33 former Michigan Wolverines players and 42 former Ohio State players were on NFL rosters. Well, what would happen if all 75 of those players joined forces and created their own NFL team? Let’s find out, shall we? Without further ado, below I have constructed the best two-deep roster possible for former participants in ‘The Game’
Quarterback: Tom Brady, Cardale Jones
The Game features Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback of all time under center. Brady is widely recognized as being one of the most clutch quarterbacks of all time and has a ton of accolades to back that up, being a five-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Super Bowl MVP, three-time NFL Most Valuable Player, and thirteen-time Pro Bowler etc.
Behind him is Cardale Jones who has proven throughout his career that he is a reliable backup.
Running back: Ezekiel Elliott, Carlos Hyde
At running back, The Game features two former Ohio State stars in Ezekiel Elliott and Carlos Hyde. Despite the fact that Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for the first six games of the year, he and Hyde rushed for a combined 157.1 rushing yards per game in 2017. To put that in perspective, the Jacksonville Jaguars led the NFL in 2017 with 140.2 rushing yards per game as an entire TEAM!
Wide Receiver: Michael Thomas, Devin Funchess, Ted Ginn Jr, Jalin Marshall, and Braxton Miller
In Michael Thomas, The Game has arguably the NFL’s best possession receiver who was sixth in the league with 1,245 receiving yards. It also has big-bodied Devin Funchess (840 receiving yards) and speedster Tedd Ginn Jr. (787 receiving yards) – both of which present big problems for secondaries.
Tight End: Nick Vannett, Jeff Heuerman
Although Nick Vannett and Jeff Heuerman provide solid blocking and are legit receiving threats, their 21 combined receptions for 266 yards and three touchdowns last season weren’t all that impressive. However, you better believe that those numbers would increase with Tom Brady under center.
Offensive Tackle: Taylor Lewan, Taylor Decker, Darryl Baldwin, Chase Farris, Erik Magnuson
Led by rookie Pro-Bowl Selection Taylor Lewan, The Game has a respectable set of offensive tackles. Taylor Decker started in all 16 games as a rookie in 2016, but due to him undergoing shoulder surgery had to sit out for 2017. Nevertheless, the talent’s still there.
Offensive Guard: Andrew Norwell, Kyle Kalis, Patrick Omameh, Ben Braden
Anchored by All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell and an ultra-reliable Patrick Omameh, who started in all 13 games he saw action in last year, The Games guards aren’t so shabby. Kyle Kalis would make a solid option, too.
Center: Pat Elflein, Corey Linsley,
Pat Elflein started in every game of his rookie season for the Vikings, making the 2017 PFWA All-Rookie Team. Ironically, three years earlier, Corey Linsley made the PFWA All-Rookie Team as well and is the proven leader for the Packers up front.
Defensive End: Joey Bosa, Cameron Heyward, Brandon Graham, Frank Clark
I don’t know if there’s a rivalry in all of college football that has produced a better collection of defensive ends than ‘The Game’. Highlighted by pro-bowlers Joey Bosa and Cameron Heyward, the combination of those two and Michigan alumn Brandon Graham and Frank Clark recorded a combined total of 194 tackles and 44 sacks last year.
To put that in perspective, only four out of the 32 NFL TEAMS AS A WHOLE produced more sacks in the 2017-2018 season!
Defensive Tackle: Adolphus Washington, Michael Bennett, Ryan Glasgow, Willie Henry
Defensive tackle is by far the weakest of all positions for The Game. Adolphus Washington, Michael Bennett, Ryan Glasgow, and Willie Henry started in just 15 games combined in the 2017-2018 season.
But you better believe that with four stud defensive ends, the two that weren’t starting at their normal position could fill that void.
Linebacker: Ryan Shazier, Darron Lee, John Simon, Joshua Perry, Raekwon McMillan, Curtis Grant
Despite Ryan Shazier’s late-season injury, he is included on this list because he played throughout the entire regular season, having a solid, 89-tackle season, and putting up similar numbers to fellow Ohio State alumn Darren Lee. John Simon and Raekwon McMillan would also provide respectable skillsets at that position.
Safety: Malcolm Jenkins, Malik Hooker, Vonn Bell, Kurt Coleman
With veterans, Malcolm Jenkins and Kurt Coleman coupled with younger rising stars like Malik Hooker and Vonn Bell, The Game has a pretty good group of safeties. Ohio State has become defensive back-U over the last decade or so.
Cornerback: Marshon Lattimore, Bradley Roby, Doran Grant, Gareon Conley, Eli Apple, Channing Stribling, Jourdan Lewis, Jeremy Clark
Having two cornerbacks like Marshon Lattimore and Bradley Roby on your roster would be an NFL coach’s dream come true. Veteran Bradley Roby could teach a younger and arguably more talented Lattimore a lot, and Lattimore – who led all rookies in interceptions – could put some wide receivers in check.
I imagine that with Tom Brady, Ezekiel Elliott and Carlos Hyde, the stable of wide receivers, the dominance on the defensive line, and all of the play-makers in the secondary, not only would The Game win in dominant fashion versus most teams in the NFL, it would produce a team that could easily win the Super Bowl.
The NFL talent produced by The Game is by far the best of any and every other rivalry, which further iterates the fact that there’s no better rivalry in college football.<!– 1522939403556 –>