Welcome to the off-season. A time where lists are made, players are ranked, everyone is undefeated, and we have time to ponder things like, ‘What would an All-Big 12 NFL team look like?’
Obviously, players from former schools like Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M are off the table (because who needs ’em!), but we are including NFL players who played at West Virginia and TCU. Does that make sense? Oh well, its my idea, and come on, it’s the off-season.
Today, we’re just looking at the offensive firepower the Big 12 has loaded into the league. We’ll get to defense and special teams later in the week. Until then, heat up the comments, and let us know how we got it wrong, and whether or not this team would make it to the Super Bowl.
QB: Andy Dalton (TCU)
While Dalton has been inconsistent attempting to guide the Bengals through the post-season, his numbers are quite impressive. 124 touchdowns in a five-year career, capped off by his most recent season of 25 TD’s and only seven interceptions shows Dalton’s talent. After ripping through the 2015 season, Dalton sadly injured his thumb and the Bengals were bounced in the first round.
For a conference that likes to pass the rock around, the quarterback crop is not the best but the Red Rifle has made Horned Frog fans proud. Dalton has continued to post impressive numbers in a tough defensive division in the AFC North.
Second Team: Sam Bradford
RB: Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma)
Was there any debate? Adrian Peterson could go down as one of the best players to run the ball in NFL history. A nine-year career where he has amassed 11,675 yards rushing and 97 touchdowns – not to mention numerous rushing records and the fact that he bounced back from an ACL tear only to return and be eight yards short of breaking the single-season rushing record the following year. He has had his share of legal trouble going back two seasons ago with his child abuse charges, but Peterson again bounced back on the field and apparently off the field.
“All Day” has just continued what he started his freshman year at Oklahoma. Many thought he was NFL ready as an 18-year-old freshman. Seeing his stat line since, its hard to argue.
Second Team: Jamaal Charles & DeMarco Murray
WR 1: Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State)
Dez Bryant has lived up to wearing the legendary number 88 jersey for the Dallas Cowboys. While last season was a complete loss due to the Cowboys losing Tony Romo for most of the year, it can not be denied Bryant is an absolute freak at the position. A matchup nightmare and talent worthy of his contract, Bryant has helped guide the Cowboys back into the playoffs – and if not for an absolute joke of a rule, could have brought Dallas to the brink of a Super Bowl birth.
Though Bryant’s career at OSU was short-lived due to the NCAA suspension his final year, OSU fans remain glued to their TV sets on Sundays to watch Dez throw up the “X” after touchdowns.
WR 2: Jordy Nelson (Kansas State)
Being Aaron Rodger’s favorite target is enough of a credential to get on this list. Scoring 49 touchdowns despite missing all of last season due to injury, Nelson is the glue of the Green Bay Packer offense. Simply put, when Nelson is playing at a high level, the Packers are a Super Bowl team. When he is injured, the Packers seem to falter.
A hometown kid for Kansas State fans, Jordy Nelson has remained constant in his production going back to his Wildcat days. Let’s all hope Nelson can bounce back and give Big 12 fans something to watch and be proud of.
WR 3: Tyler Lockett (Kansas State)
What? Lockett? There’s more? That probably what Big 12 fans thought during his college career at K-State. During his rookie year last season, Lockett was electric for the Seattle Seahawks. Normally, Super Bowl caliber teams don’t get lucky and let such a talented player fall in their laps. Lockett scored six touchdowns and recorded two more in the return game. He was a perfect target for Russell Wilson.
Big 12 fans are hoping the Lockett line ends with Tyler. Kansas State fans are waiting patiently for the next great steal from Tulsa with that last name on their jersey. Until then, Wildcat fans have a ton to be proud of.
Second Team: Michael Crabtree, Kenny Stills and Danny Amendola
TE: Brandon Pettigrew (Oklahoma State)
This was a tougher choice. Between Pettigrew and former Oklahoma Sooner Jermaine Gresham, an argument can be made for either player. I’ll go with Pettigrew for consistency and a better handle on the ball. For a few seasons, Pettigrew was apart of an explosive offense with Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson and helped Detroit shatter some records.
It’s scary to think that at one time OSU quarterbacks were able to choose between Pettigrew or Dez Bryant to throw too. Pistols are still firing for the former Cowboy tight end.
Second Team: Jermaine Gresham
LT: Trent Williams (Oklahoma)
A day-one starter for Washington, Trent Williams has been a Pro-Bowl caliber left tackle since leaving Oklahoma. After last season, Williams signed an extension with Washington that made him the highest paid left tackle in the game. For a position with little statistics but heavy importance, Williams finds himself in a Top-10 NFL players discussion.
Williams anchored the offensive line for prolific Sooner running back DeMarco Murray. He was very versatile as a player, having played center during the 2009 Sun Bowl for the Sooners due to injury. The guy is a football player, plain and simple.
Second Team: Russell Okung
LG: Chris Chester (Oklahoma)
Another Sooner? No wonder Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray and Semaje Perine signed their LOI to Norman, OK. Chris Chester is a complete success story. Not highly touted at any level, he continued to work and became a main-stay on the Baltimore Ravens line for many years. In his 11th year, Chester continues to start for the Atlanta Falcons. Out of his 157 NFL games, he has started and played 127 of them.
Of course, Sooner fans will remember Chester for catching the fake field goal against the upset minded Missouri Tigers for a touchdown in 2002.
Second Team: Mark Glowinski
C: Lyle Sendlein (Texas)
Congratulations Lyle, you are the Big 12’s lone starting NFL center, and a great one too. Since his second season in 2008, Sendlein has started every game for the Arizona Cardinals and helped the franchise have some prolific offenses. A true captain of the offensive line, Sendlein brings physicality to the Cardinals attack.
Sendlein started for the magical 2005 Texas national championship team. Any time you have “I blocked for Vince Young and Jamaal Charles” on your resume, you’re doing something right.
RG: Louis Vasquez (Texas Tech)
The first Red Raider on the list! Since being drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2009, Vasquez has started all but one game to date. He now helps pave the way for the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. Considering Peyton Manning was a walking miracle of modern medicine this past season, the offensive line, chiefly Vasquez, played a huge role in guiding the Broncos to the NFL promise land.
Vasquez helped pave the way for some of Texas Tech’s greatest teams in recent memory. In 2007 and 2008 Vasquez earned All-Big 12 honors and some All-American pub. In this position, you need consistency and Vasquez provides that.
Second Team: Quinton Spain
RT: Lane Johnson (Oklahoma)
Lane Johnson anchored the right side of the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line during the Chip Kelly spread scheme and now into the new era. He was signed to a six-year extension and looks to be the captain in the trenches over that span. Johnson is athletic and quick for his size, routinely keeping up with some the NFL’s best pass rushers.
A former high school quarterback, Lane Johnson has continued the Oklahoma Sooner legacy of great professional linemen. Not to mention he protects former Sooner QB Sam Bradford, you can bet Eagles’ games are heavily viewed in Oklahoma.
Second Team: Donald Stephenson