Though college football has been in action nearly three full weeks already, the folks over on the professional side of the sport finally got around to kicking off their season on Thursday night when the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears in a game that was decidedly Big Ten-esque the way things unfolded.
This is a big year for the league, which is celebrating their centennial season in the run up to the Super Bowl. While some fans might have a rooting interest in various NFL franchises across the country making it to the big game, even more folks from the college game have a stake in seeing alumni from their favorite school do well on Sundays.
To that end, it was interesting to take a look at the number of players from each program on NFL active rosters entering Week 1 of the 2019 campaign. Not surprisingly, Alabama led the way with 56 players cashing checks from pro teams, followed by Ohio State with 44, Florida (35), Miami (34), LSU/Florida State (32) and Oklahoma (31) among others.
There are actually two colleges — the Buckeyes and the Crimson Tide — who could produce a full starting 22 in the league and we decided to figure out who would slot where. Several others came ever so close but were short at a position or two and had to be bumped off the list for now.
So who has the best All-22 in the NFL? We picked the best players for Alabama and Ohio State that were active and slotted them in. Take a look below and vote in the poll at the bottom of the post to let your opinion be known.
QB: A.J. McCarron (Houston Texans)
RB: Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans)
TE: O.J. Howard (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
OL: Andre Smith (Cincinnati Bengals), Cam Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars), D.J. Fluker (Seattle Seahawks), James Carpenter (Atlanta Falcons), Ryan Kelly (Indianapolis Colts)
DL: Da’Shawn Hand (Detroit Lions, Marcell Dareus (Jacksonville Jaguars), Quinnen Williams (New York Jets), Jonathan Allen (Washington Redskins)
LBs: Dont’a Hightower (New England Patriots), C.J. Mosley (New York Jets), Rashaan Evans (Tennessee Titans)
DBs: Landon Collins (Washington Redskins), Eddie Jackson (Chicago Bears), Dre Kirkpatrick (Cincinnati Bengals), Marlon Humphrey (Baltimore Ravens)
QB: Dwayne Haskins (Washington Redskins)
RB: Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys)
WRs: Michael Thomas (New Orleans Saints) and Curtis Samuel (Carolina Panthers)
TE: Jeff Heuerman (Denver Broncos)
OL: Taylor Decker (Detroit Lions), Isaiah Prince (Miami Dolphins), Pat Elflein (Minnesota Vikings), Andrew Norwell (Jacksonville Jaguars), Corey Linsley (Green Bay Packers)
DL: Joey Bosa (Los Angeles Chargers), Nick Bosa (San Francisco 49ers), Cameron Heyward (Pittsburgh Steelers), Johnathan Hankins (Oakland Raiders)
LBs: Jerome Baker (Miami Dolphins), Darron Lee (Kansas City Chiefs), Raekwon McMillan (Miami Dolphins)
DBs: Denzel Ward (Cleveland Browns), Marshon Lattimore (New Orleans Saints), Malik Hooker (Indianapolis Colts), Malcolm Jenkins (Philadelphia Eagles)
- Florida (Jeff Driskel is on IR), Miami and LSU (Danny Etling is on a practice squad) needed a quarterback on the active roster.
- Florida State needed another offensive guard.
- Oklahoma is missing a center and fourth defensive back.
- Georgia and Tennessee came close too, needing another offensive and defensive lineman.
- Texas A&M was missing a linebacker.
- Clemson was short a pair of offensive linemen.
- Auburn needed another active wideout.
- Andrew Luck’s retirement prevented Stanford from the full 22.
- Fellow Pac-12 programs Washington and UCLA nearly hit position bingo but came up just short.
- A linebacker was all that prevented Notre Dame from joining the above list.
- Iowa was a running back and wideout away.
- A number of other schools were three or four players short.