Last week, TRO fielded a starting defense using only offensive players. This week, TRO will be doing the opposite: building an offense using only defensive players. Check out TRO's starting offensive-defensive lineup:
via Getty Images
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
If you missed out last week's article laying out our defensive-offensive unit, check it out here:
THE OFFENSIVE POSITIONS:
TRO will cover enough offensive positions to fulfill a variety of formations. This article will address five down linemen (two tackles, two guards, and a center), two tight ends, three wide receivers (two outside receivers and one slot receiver), one fullback, one running back, and last, but not least, one quarterback. There's tons of different formations that can be run by mixing in and out these positions, here's just a few for visual purposes:
via Jason R Remy
OFFENSIVE TACKLE - CAMERON HEYWARD
via Karl Roser / USA Today
Every good offensive line is anchored by quality and consistent tackle play. Cameron Heyward has been a model of consistency on the Steelers' defensive line for the last decade. Despite his age, he's still one of the top defensive linemen in the game. He's a technician, and his sound fundamentals would make him a prime candidate to switch positions to play on the other side of the ball. At 6'5'' 288lbs, Heyward has more of an athletic frame for a big man, which is well-suited to play tackle where he could maximize his lateral quickness.
OFFENSIVE GUARD - FLETCHER COX
via Getty Images
While offensive tackles rely on athleticism, lateral quickness, and agility to gain an advantage to keep defenders away, offensive guards typically rely on brute strength and power, which is why they are found on the interior of the line. At 6'4'' 310lbs, Fletcher Cox has that size and strength combination that is often found in offensive guards. As one of the league's most recognizable interior defensive linemen, Cox plays with the tenacity that could be utilized on the offensive side of the ball.
CENTER - VITA VEA
via BucsWire / USA Today
The best defensive candidate to play center would be a larger interior defensive tackle used to stuffing runs and going facemask to facemask against opposing centers. Not only is this Vita Vea's exact job description, but he is essentially an immovable force at 6'4'' 346lbs. Somehow, he has the inhuman ability to push that massive frame beyond its bounds. Despite being one of the biggest players on the field, Vita Vea played a great deal of RUNNING BACK in high school. The film is absolutely remarkable. Take a look for yourself:
A young man that big, should not be able to make cuts that smoothly. This kind of versatility means that he likely has a solid understanding of offensive schemes, which puts him at the top of the list as someone who could play both sides of the ball and anchor down the middle of the offensive line.
OFFENSIVE GUARD - AKIEM HICKS
via Jeff Haynes / Associate Press
Similar to Fletcher Cox, Akiem Hicks is one of those relentless big boys in the middle that gives offensive line coaches and offensive coordinators nightmares. At 6'5'' 324lbs, Hicks actually is larger than Cox and is one of those guys that will get down in the trenches and hit you in the mouth, all while giggling with a huge smile on his face. His style of play and commitment to handling all of the dirty work makes him one of the easiest selections for offensive guard.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE - STEPHON TUITT
The final piece to this offensive line will be anchored by Pittsburgh's Stephon Tuitt. Standing at 6'6'' 302lbs, Tuitt has that tall, athletic frame to fulfill the tackle position. He has the long arms and strength to fend off defenders and prevent them from turning the corner.
TIGHT END 1 - MYLES GARRETT
via David Dermer / Associated Press
Moving on to the skill players, and starting with tight ends, look no further than Cleveland Browns superstar defensive end, Myles Garrett. Not only does Myles Garrett look like he was built in a lab, he is just a natural born athlete. Take a brief look at what he can do on a basketball court:
There's some pretty rich history of talented basketball players having very successful careers as NFL tight ends. There's no doubt he could run routes, box out defenders, and rip footballs out of the sky. Couple Garrett's size with his athletic abilities, and sprinkle in his impressive speed, he certainly possesses all the tools to play some tight end. At the combine he ran a 4.64 40, at his pro day he reportedly clocked in at 4.57, and by his own account, Garrett claims that he has clocked in as low as 4.48. For reference, George Kittle ran a 4.52 and Travis Kelce a 4.61. Garrett's strength and experience on the defensive line, should also lead him to have no trouble helping out as a blocker, as tight ends often have to do.
TIGHT END 2 - AARON DONALD
via Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images
From one seemingly outer-worldly human to another, Aaron Donald would fit right in at tight end. We would be remiss to not include arguably the best all-around football player in the entire NFL on our team. While a 4.68 40 time is slower than Garrett's, it is the fastest 40 time posted by a defensive tackle in NFL history. Donald would likely serve as the second tight end, meaning he would primarily be a blocker and short yardage receiver. Every week, we see highlights of Donald throwing 300+lbs offensive linemen with the flick of just one of his wrists. He would likely have no problem doing the same to defensive players. Match that with his stout 6'1'' 284lbs frame, Donald would likely be a viable threat as a non-primary target in the passing game as well, especially in the redzone. Not to mention, the dude literally trains with real life knives:
WIDE RECEIVER 1 - XAVIEN HOWARD
via Doug Murray / AP
Time to dive into the most explosive playmaking group on the team, wide receiver. Xavien Howard will be this team's WR1. Howard has 22 interceptions across just 55 games started, and he's coming off of a career-best 10 interceptions last season. There's no doubt this guy can catch the football. He's got a number of pretty spectacular catches under his belt, he ran a 4.58 40 at the combine, and at 6'1'' 201lbs, he has a solid receiver-like build.
WIDE RECEIVER 2 - STEPHON GILMORE
via Charles Krupa / AP
Coming in at WR2 will be Stephon Gilmore. The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year would make a fine second outside receiving option as he is a very technical player. He's been a shutdown corner for the past few years because he basically runs routes for wide receivers, and making it difficult for quarterbacks to even look his way. While he's not the most explosive player with his spectacular catch ability, he's a technician who has impeccable footwork and a great understanding of the full route tree.
WIDE RECEIVER 3 (SLOT) - DONTE JACKSON
via PanthersWire / USA Today
The team's third wide receiver, holding down the slot position, is Donte Jackson. Slot receivers line up in open space, attack the middle of the field, and often have explosive speed to make quick bursts to separate from defenders. As a result, they are often smaller than outside wide receivers. Jackson is the fastest cornerback in the NFL, and one of the fastest players in all of the league. He ran a 4.32 at the combine and came in second place in Chad Johnson's 40 yard dash race set to attempt to determine the fastest man in the NFL. He's shown great leaping ability and run after the catch capabilities on a number of the interceptions that he has made in his young career. It would be a nightmare to keep him covered if he were lined up as a slot receiver.
FULLBACK - DEVIN WHITE
We've finally made our way into the backfield. Coming in at fullback will be Devin White. The fullback is larger than most all running backs, does a great deal of blocking, and will occasionally be utilized in short yardage situations as a ball carrier or a pass catcher out in the flats. White is a stout linebacker who is a budding young star in this league. He's a versatile player showing his ability to lay big hits without sacrificing his ability to drop back and pick off passes. The way he plays defense would have him well-equipped to fulfill this Swiss Army Knife type of role on offense.
RUNNINGBACK - BUDDA BAKER
via Christian Peterson / Getty Images
This team's leading tailback would be Budda Baker. Not only is Baker one of the most electric safeties in the entire league, he has some experience at the running back position dating back to his high school years. At Bellevue High School in Washington state, Baker was not only one of the nation's top safeties, but he was also a star running back, and a track standout. He was a true two-way player, and he has the speed and vision to play the position, make cuts, and carry the rock. It's also worth showcasing that he's the kip-up king. Keep an eye out for it the next time you're watching a Cardinals game:
QUARTERBACK - MICAH HYDE
via BillsWire / USA Today
Finally, we have reached the sport's most important position, the quarterback. Micah Hyde would be the fearless leader of this offense for a number of reasons. First and foremost, Hyde is quietly one of the most well-rounded athletes in the league. In high school, Hyde earned all-Ohio honors as a quarterback, defensive back, and a place kicker -- the rare three way player! He also played baseball and basketball. In 2018, Bills head coach Sean McDermott said Hyde was the team's emergency quarterback in the event all of the rostered, active quarterbacks were to go down in a game. Hyde was actually recruited from high school as a quarterback who received multiple offers to serve as a division one dual-threat quarterback. Hyde actually did not fully switch to the defensive side of the ball until after he enrolled at Iowa. Under the exterior of the pro-bowl, second team all-pro defensive back, is an electric quarterback looking to lead an offense each and every week.
Let's Take a Final Look at That Offense!
(NOTE: Position overlap, so more than 11 will be on this image to include everyone)