Sep 9, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers offensive tackle D.J. Fluker (76) on the sidelines after a touchdown during the first half against the Houston Texans at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik created a list of the ultimate 53-man NFL roster and handpicked players at their current salary.
“I thought this would be an interesting project; I didn’t realize just how difficult it actually would be. I’d initially envisioned my super team featuring Peyton Manning handing off to Adrian Peterson and throwing to Calvin Johnson, while Joe Thomas protected his blind side. But then I realized those four players alone would have made up a whopping $57 million — more than 40 percent — of my $133 million budget.” – Dominik
His qualifications: a “balanced offense, a 4-3 defense and a roster that could hold up on special teams.” Also, players from the 2014 draft were not involved.
With that being said, guess how many San Diego Chargers made it on his list?
Are you still guessing? Well let me spoil it for you. The answer is..zero.
There was at least one player selected from 27 NFL teams. The five teams a player was not recruited from included the Bills, Steelers, Giants, Falcons and of course the Chargers.
To stick to just the AFC West, Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas made the cut, as well as Oakland Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski and Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Justin Houston.
More than half of the players chosen were on rookie deals, which freed up a lot of cap space to get the players Dominik wanted. The final cost of his roster came to $132,971,300.
I get it. You want a proven winner to lead your team and that is why you choose Tom Brady as your No. 1 quarterback. You need a jack-of-all-trades, dynamic running back and that is why you take LeSean McCoy.
But I believe there are three positions where a Charger player should have been taken (and this is taking into account his value and salary).
As I look at the receivers on this list, I see all the star-power in the world. A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Byrant..that’s a pretty scary group. The other two that made the list were T.Y Hilton and Alshon Jeffery.
I understand why you’d want Jeffery. He’s a physical receiver with great hands who can catch the deep ball as well as go over the middle in traffic. But Hilton, come on. Dominik mainly took Hilton because he possesses “the 4.3 speed you want on your roster.” Green is a combination of size and speed and he’s already your No. 1 receiver.
I don’t get why you wouldn’t take Keenan Allen as one of the five receivers. He had one of the best rookie campaigns a receiver could have. Haven’t you heard? Allen has added speed to his game, too. Not only that but he has the tools to be an elite No. 1 receiver in the NFL and his salary for 2014 is $658,450. Dominik was all about bargains, and he could have had Allen for $48,400 less than what he got for Hilton.
There are some studs on here I can’t argue with. Having Vikings’ Matt Kalil and 49ers’ Joe Staley is as good as it gets in protecting the blindside. As I scroll down I see a few other cheap guards and tackles, but what stood out to me the most is that Dominik took all starting left tackles: Kalil, Staley, Eugene Monroe and David Bakhtiari.
His starting right tackle is Buccaneers’ Demar Dotson. Hmm, well that’s funny. You chose a guy you formerly drafted…D.J. FLUKER USE BODY SLAM! He chose Dotson ($2,000,000) because he has the “feet movement and length you love at the tackle position.” The last time I checked Fluker was listed at 6-foot-5. His salary is $2,591,477, but the 2013 first-round pick has the tenacity you want in a lineman. His strength is run blocking, but don’t take any points off for his pass blocking skills either. Fluker has rare versatility for a lineman, and it was shown last season when he was shifted from right tackle to left tackle to right guard. How can you pass that up?
The two starting safeties for the New Orleans Saints, Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro, were the two starting safeties for Dominik’s team.
He also had Jaguars’ Johnathan Cyprien and Packers’ Micah Hyde as reserves–mainly for their tackling and special teams abilities (and price).
If you’re going to have one of smartest quarterbacks in the league with great leadership in Brady, then you must have one of the smartest, best all-around safeties in Eric Weddle on the defensive side.
Dominik originally said he was picking players based off a 4-3 defense, but Byrd and Vaccaro play under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s 3-4 scheme. What hurts Weddle in this scenario is his salary. His 2014 cap number is $10,100,000, second-highest on the team. But sometimes if you want the best, you have to be willing to put your money on the table. He can even make game-changing plays on special teams (see Chiefs vs. Chargers, Week 17). With all these cheap rookie deals you would think he’d make room for an All-Pro safety like Weddle.