I have paired up 12 groups of former college or pro teammates to decide who will have a better season this year. Leave your predictions in the comments section and at the end of the season we can go back and check to see who did the best.
- Former Alabama backfield mates Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, most rushing yards.
Student becomes the master here as I think Trent Richardson wins this one, I just do not trust anything in New Orleans right now. Trent Richardson by 250 yards.
- Former Arizona Wildcats, Brooks Reed’s sack total or Rob Gronkowski’s number of touchdown receptions.
With Mario Williams gone and Connor Barwin more likely to get the extra attention, I’m going to take Reed in an upset though it will be close. Brooks Reed by 1.
- Former Arkansas backfield mates (what a heck of a 1-2-3 punch this was), Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis. Who misses the least number of games due to injury.
This one is tough as they missed 9, 4 and 6 games respectively last season. I’m going with Peyton Hillis to stay healthy have somewhat of a rebound season in Kansas City. It won’t be another 2010 for him, but it will be better than last year. Hillis plays all 16 and the others miss at least 2 each.
- Former Eastern Illinois Quarterbacks, Tony Romo’s playoff wins vs Sean Payton’s games coached.
This one is cheating a little bit as they never played together, but they share an Alma Mater and Payton was Romo’s position coach in Dallas for a few years. We all know that Payton is suspended for the entire year. I still take Payton over Romo though, because Tony Romo isn’t going to win a playoff game. Payton might at least coach a pee-wee game somewhere. Sean Payton because anything is greater than 0.
- Former Georgia Tech Wide outs, Calvin Johnson’s total yards vs Demaryius Thomas and Stephen Hill’s combined total yards.
Mostly I want to comment on the size and athletic ability at the wide receiver position that a triple option school is able to recruit. While Demaryius certainly looks like a breakout candidate after a strong postseason and the addition of one Peyton Manning, Megatron is the best in the game right now. Calvin by 150 yards.
- Former LSU cornerbacks, Morris Claiborne vs Patrick Peterson, total interception.
Don’t be fooled by the great year Peterson had returning punts because he wasn’t nearly as strong on defense and only netted 2 interception and 13 pass deflections (according to pro football reference). I think Claiborne will be tested this year and teams will learn the hard way that he is for real. Claiborne by 3.
- Former Michigan Wolverines, Mario Manningham’s receiving touchdowns vs Chad Henne’s number of starts.
Manningham got a good sized contract to be the #3 wide receiver on a run first 49ers team largely based on 1 Super Bowl catch. I think Blaine Gabbert will do little enough for Henne to earn at least 5 starts this year. Chad Henne by 2.
- Former Penn State aka Linebacker U guys. 2 point question. Navorro Bowman vs Sean Lee in total tackles and pass rushers Cameron Wake vs Tamba Hali in total sacks.
Lee and Bowman both had breakout seasons last year as inside linebackers in the 3-4 while Wake and Hali have become dangerous pass rushes as outside linebackers in their team’s 3-4 schemes. I would love to have all 4 guys on the same team. Lee plays more in space and gets more interceptions than Bowman but Navorro will get more tackles. Hali has been more consistent and done it for a longer time than Wake. Bowman by a decent number of tackles and Hali by 2 sacks.
- Former USC Quarterback Mark Sanchez vs Current USC Quarterback Matt Barkley, total wins as a starting quarterback.
USC plays 12 games, the Jets play 16. I’m still taking Barkley by 3.
- Former Notre Damn super connection, Brady Quinn’s career passing touchdown total after this season vs Jeff Samardzija’s total MLB wins this season.
Jeff has already started 16 games this year with a 6-7 record for the Cubs, putting him on pace for 12 or 13 wins. Brady starts the season with only 10 career touchdown passes, hasn’t thrown a regular season pass since 2009 and is the backup to Matt Cassel. (Cassel is another USC quarterback who will have less wins than Barkley and will miss or be benched for at least 1 game by the end of the year.) Samardzija may face an innings cap late in the season and Quinn will get a 2 game chance and throw at least 4 touchdowns. Quinn by 1.
- Recent UNC defenders selected in one of the first 2 rounds of the draft to have a breakout season or good rookie debut. Robert Quinn vs Bruce Carter vs Marvin Austin vs Quinton Couples vs Zach Brown.
What a group of highly talented underachieving defenders. I don’t think that either of the rookies will be strong right away as they both need to adjust to the NFL game. Marvin Austin and Bruce Carter are both in great positions to take advantage of playing time on their respective teams at positions that aren’t very deep. Quinn was the best right away and could produce the best stats on a Rams defense that will be on the field an awful lot again this year. Robert Quinn to have 10 sacks and be the only true starter in the group.
- Former Cincinnati Bengal Pro Bowlers Carson Palmer’s total interceptions vs Chad Ochocinco’s yards per catch.
Carson gave the ball away 16 times in 10 games last season and their only option as a backup is Matt Leinart (2 more USC quarterbacks who will also win less games than Matt Barkley this season). Chad’s career average yards per catch is 14.4 and a renaissance season with a lot of short to intermediate catches will lead to a lower number. I’m taking Carson to throw more than 14 interceptions and Chad’s average to be under 15. Carson by 1.
Other teammate groups considered: Utah pass rushers Paul Kruger and Koa Misi, USC linebackers Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews, troubled Oklahoma state wide receivers Justin Blackmon and Dez Bryant, former LA Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns cornerback tandem Charles Tillman and Ike Taylor, and former Stanford 1-2 punch Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck.
Let me know your thoughts and predictions.