Dream Team of Tomorrow: Let's unveil it
The votes have been cast; here are players you think will star in 2014-16
Ndamukong Suh is well on his way to becoming one of the NFL's elite sack-masters. He's already mastered how to make a strong first impression.
As a rookie in 2010, Suh registered 10 sacks, toyed with opposing offensive linemen on a weekly basis and firmly entrenched himself as the foundation of Detroit's young defense.
Judging by the results of our Dream Team of Tomorrow voting (which ended Friday afternoon), Suh's first-year exploits left the football masses in awe. Not only did Suh win his position battle in a landslide, he earned more votes than any other player on the ballot. (In case you missed it, we asked users to pick the players who, if placed on the same roster, would dominate from 2014 to 2016.)
Dream Team of Tomorrow: Roster
|WR||Calvin Johnson, Lions|
|WR||Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals|
|TE||Vernon Davis, 49ers|
|OT||Jake Long, Dolphins|
|OT||Joe Thomas, Browns|
|G||Jahri Evans, Saints|
|G||Mike Iupati, 49ers|
|C||Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers|
|QB||Aaron Rodgers, Packers|
|RB||Chris Johnson, Titans|
|RB||Jamaal Charles, Chiefs|
|DE||Justin Tuck, Giants|
|DE||Chris Long, Rams|
|DT||Ndamukong Suh, Lions|
|DT||Haloti Ngata, Ravens|
|LB||Clay Matthews, Packers|
|LB||Patrick Willis, 49ers|
|LB||DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys|
|CB||Darrelle Revis, Jets|
|CB||Patrick Peterson, Cardinals|
|FS||Eric Berry, Chiefs|
|SS||Brandon Meriweather, Patriots|
|P||Thomas Morstead, Saints|
|PK||Garrett Hartley, Saints|
|PR||DeSean Jackson, Eagles|
|KR||Brandon Tate, Patriots|
|Coach||Mike Tomlin, Steelers|
The Jets' Darrelle Revis was the other runaway winner on defense. Revis, already a three-time Pro Bowler at 25, received 75.3 percent of the cornerback votes, trumping Cardinals rookie Patrick Peterson (38.9 percent). Eric Berry was also a fan favorite; the second-year Chief won the free safety race by wide margin over Green Bay's Nick Collins (50.5 percent to 19.7 percent).
The other defensive positional races weren't nearly as lopsided. Clay Matthews netted 79.2 percent of the linebacker votes but was followed closely by Patrick Willis (68.9 percent). Dallas' DeMarcus Ware, who will be 32 when the window for this project starts in 2014, grabbed the third and final linebacker spot.
The most convincing winner on offense probably won't surprise anyone. The Packers' Aaron Rodgers, coming off a dream season, was chosen as our dream team quarterback by a wide margin. The Super Bowl XLV MVP earned 53.1 percent of votes. St. Louis' Sam Bradford was the runner-up at just 13 percent.
Here are some observations:
Experience valued: The ballot was dotted with notable college players and highly touted 2011 draft picks. Only Peterson really endeared himself to voters, who preferred established players across the board. Dolphins rookie Mike Pouncey was the third-ranked center, but he received a paltry 8.6 percent of the vote.
Even the esteemed Andrew Luck couldn't truly win over the voters. Luck, whom some experts believe is the most complete quarterback prospect since John Elway, received only 10.4 percent of the QB vote, good for fourth place. Another example is former Alabama stalwart and Saints first-round pick Mark Ingram. Despite having a Heisman Trophy, a national title and a 3,261-yard college rushing career to his credit, Ingram managed only an eighth-place finish among running backs (10.1 percent).
So what does all this say about the voters' mindsets? They wanted proven production, not potential. And that's exactly what they got. Former 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson won the running back vote, Vernon Davis (13 TDs in 2009) prevailed in a talented tight end group, three-time Pro Bowler Jake Long was the top offensive tackle, and Justin Tuck (40.5 career sacks) emerged as the top defensive end, despite being 28 years old.
No Cam-do: Luck didn't exactly wow the voters, but he fared a lot better than Cam Newton. This year's No. 1 overall pick received just 2.1 percent of the quarterback vote, which put him last in the eight-player group.
Again, voters seemed to feel better about proven commodities such as Rodgers, Bradford and Matt Ryan than Newton, whose small (albeit spectacular) body of work at Auburn might have been a deterrent.
Jones vs. Green: Who's the better wideout, Julio Jones or A.J. Green? It was a question tossed around by many leading up to the 2011 draft. For what it's worth -- and if you use our ballot as a gauge -- fans believe Green has more upside, but not by leaps and bounds. Green finished fourth among receivers, garnering 13.4 percent of the vote; Jones was ninth, getting 6.5 percent.
The results are interesting. On the surface, Jones, who will be featured in the Falcons' potent passing attack, appears to be in a better position to thrive early. Green, on the other hand, is being thrown into a Bengals offense that underachieved in 2010 and will probably be in flux heading into training camp.
Stay tuned. This debate isn't expected to end any time soon.
Coaching call: Did the Steelers' Super Bowl XLV loss hurt Mike Tomlin's stock? Not in the eyes of voters. Tomlin, the youngest coach on the ballot and the second-youngest in football, edged the Patriots' Bill Belichick for the No. 1. spot (26.8 percent to 22.7 percent). The Packers' Mike McCarthy finished third, earning 17.2 percent of the vote.
Although Belichick is widely considered the best in the business and McCarthy is on top right now, it's hard to argue with the voters' decision. Tomlin, 39, has yet to reach his coaching ceiling, and he's accomplished plenty in four years (two Super Bowl trips, five playoff wins).
Of course, having the star power assembled here would be a dream for any coach. Unfortunately, our Dream Team of Tomorrow will never be put to action, but at least we can imagine the sight of such prodigious talent taking the field all at once.
The first impressions would be amazing.
Scott Symmes is an NFL editor for ESPN.com.
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