For the past couple of years we have put together an All-NFL team of Pac-12 alumni based on how players played in the season that had just finished.
Here is our 2013 edition and some interesting notes:
- Once again showing that they produced a great deal of top-level NFL talent under Jeff Tedford, Cal has the most players on the teams at 10 with USC second at eight. A great measuring stick for how well their NFL talent produces is that they alone have as many as recent powerhouses Oregon (6) and Stanford (4), combined.
- Despite their recent struggles, Utah tied with Oregon for the second-most players on the team with six.
- Washington was the only school to not get a player on the team and they didn't really have any that just missed the cut either.
- There were a few that were hard to not at least put on second team, but simply didn't make it because the competition was just too strong and it was a tough call, or they may have had injury problems that limited their seasons. Here were the hardest to cut:
- QB Aaron Rodgers Green Bay (Cal)
- WR Steve Smith Carolina (Utah)
- C Max Unger Seattle (Oregon)
- LB Lance Briggs Chicago (Arizona)
QB Andrew Luck Indianapolis (Stanford)
It was only a matter of time before Luck overtook Aaron Rodgers for this spot, but I'm kind of surprised that it happened this quickly (though primarily because of an injury to Rodgers). Still, even when Rodgers is healthy, Luck is very, very close to being on his level and is on the cusp of turning the Colts back into a perennial Super Bowl contender.
RB Marshawn Lynch Seattle (Cal)
Beast mode had another outstanding year in Seattle running through defenses and was a key part of Seattle's Super Bowl run. He arguably may have had his best overall year as a pro.
RB Reggie Bush Detroit (USC)
Bush had a huge year in his first season with the Lions as he ran for more than 1,000 yards while receiving for more than 500 and scored seven total touchdowns.
WR DeSean Jackson Philadelphia (Cal)
Just when many had written off Jackson, he had the best season of his career in Chip Kelly's high-speed offense as he had more than 80 receptions for more than 1,300 yards and 9 touchdowns while helping the Eagles get to the playoffs.
WR Keenan Allen San Diego (Cal)
Many were surprised with how good Allen was as a rookie since he was only a third round pick, but most Pac-12 fans weren't the least bit surprised based on how dangerous he was when healthy with the Bears. Allen won a few rookie of the year awards and numerous rookie of the week awards.
TE Tony Gonzalez Atlanta (Cal)
The Falcons may have had a nightmare season, but Gonzalez had yet another strong one in what is yet again supposed to be his final season. Gonzalez had 83 receptions for more than 850 yards and eight touchdowns.
T Tyron Smith Dallas (USC)
Smith had been good throughout his young career with the Cowboys, but had his best season thus far in 2013, earning second team All-Pro.
G David DeCastro Pittsburgh (Stanford)
DeCastro had an unfortunate knee injury that ended his rookie season, but he bounced back in a big way in 2013 in his first true year of play and was voted second team all-pro by Grantland.com.
C Ryan Kalil Carolina (USC)
Kalil made his fourth-straight Pro Bowl and his first All-Pro team while being a key part of one of the NFL's best teams.
G Zane Beadles Denver (Utah)
Guard is the weakest position overall for Pac-12 alumni, but Beadles is still a very good starter for an AFC Champion.
T Jordan Gross Carolina (Utah)
Gross has been a mainstay and had a great year with the Panthers, teaming with Kalil and getting back to the Pro Bowl.
DE Cameron Jordan New Orleans (Cal)
After guard, defensive end is the weakest position for Pac-12 alumni and Jordan is probably the best of the bunch, making the Pro Bowl this season and finishing with 12.5 sacks.
DT Jurrell Casey Tennessee (USC)
Casey may have edged Ngata as the best defensive tackle in the league from the Pac-12 this season as he made the Pro Bowl and earned second team All Pro. He finished the season with 55 tackles and a staggering 10.5 sacks.
DT Haloti Ngata Baltimore (Oregon)
Ngata didn't make All Pro for the first time since 2007, but he made the Pro Bowl and remained a stalwart as one of the league's best defensive tackles that can shut down an opponent's running game.
DE Everson Griffen Minnesota (USC)
Griffen had another solid year as a pass-rusher with the Vikings, finishing with 5.5 stats, but, once again, this is a very weak position for Pac-12 alumni.
LB Clay Matthews Green Bay (USC)
Matthews battled injuries this year and didn't make the Pro Bowl for the first time in four seasons, but still played well and finished with 7.5 sacks.
LB Vontaze Burfict Cincinnati (Arizona State)
Burfict continues to put the issues that held his college career behind himself and excel in the NFL as he had his best season as a Pro in 2013. He had more than 170 tackles, three sacks, an interception and knocked down eight passes in 2013.
LB Terrell Suggs Baltimore (Arizona State)
Like Ngata, Suggs didn't have his best year as the Ravens struggled, but he was still an elite player, making the Pro Bowl and finishing with 10 sacks.
CB Richard Sherman Seattle (Stanford)
The league's most vocal cornerback wasn't lying when he said he was the best in the game and was maybe the best players on a Seahawks defense that was the best in the league and took them to a Super Bowl win. He made first team All Pro, the Pro Bowl and finished with an amazing eight interceptions.
CB Alterraun Verner Tennessee (UCLA)
Verner had a breakout year in 2013, being named second team All Pro and making the Pro Bowl while finishing with five interceptions.
S Eric Weddle San Diego (Utah)
Once again one of the best safeties in the entire league, Weddle was named All Pro and to the Pro Bowl in 2013 while leading the Chargers to a turnaround and finishing with 115 tackles.
S Jairus Byrd Buffalo (Oregon)
Named to his third All Pro team and third Pro Bowl in 2013, Byrd finished with four interceptions and edged out Ward for this spot.
K Mason Crosby Green Bay (Colorado)
Crosby filled his yearly spot here as the Pac-12 alumni kicker with the best stats.
P Johnny Hekker St. Louis (Oregon State)
The former Beaver has a breakout year in 2013, making the Pro Bowl and being named All Pro.
QB Nick Foles Philadelphia (Arizona)
RB Maurice Jones-Drew Jacksonville (UCLA)
RB LeGarrette Blount New England (Oregon)
WR Doug Baldwin Seattle (Stanford)
WR Marvin Jones Cincinnati (Cal)
TE Jordan Cameron Cleveland (USC)
T Mitchell Schwartz Cleveland (Cal)
G Andy Levitre Tennessee (Oregon State)
C Alex Mack Cleveland (Cal)
G Kyle Long Chicago (Oregon)
T Nate Solder New England (Colorado)
DE Ropati Pitoitua Tennessee (Washington State)
DT Brandon Mebane Seattle (Cal)
DT Star Lotulelei Carolina (Utah)
DE Datone Jones Green Bay (UCLA)
LB Brian Cushing Houston (USC)
LB Paul Kruger Cleveland (Utah)
LB Kiko Alonso Buffalo (Oregon)
CB Keenan Lewis New Orleans (Oregon State)
CB Sean Smith Kansas City (Utah)
S T.J. Ward Cleveland (Oregon)
S Troy Polamalu Pittsburgh (USC)
K Kai Forbath Washington (UCLA)
P Bryan Anger Jacksonville (Cal)