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The NFL’s 2017 All-Injured Reserve Team

With so many of the league’s brightest stars out for the season, let’s imagine a could-be starting line-up of players on the IR.

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Arizona Cardinals v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Like any other person who writes for this or any other NFL SB Nation blog, I love football. Growing up on Halloween, I was a Texas Longhorns football player. Birthdays were spent at football games. I think I bought a new helmet on my 14th birthday. My high school girlfriend, who went to a different school than me, was introduced to the semi-intimidating squad of friends at the Friday high-school football stadium. Despite my love affair with this sport, I know somewhere, deep down, there is something innately wrong with the the game of football.

The athletes have become too big. The collisions have become too fast. The consequences have become too apparent. After watching almost all of the Texans game last week (ed. note: after Tom Savage’s game-losing interception, I slammed my Texans hat down and sat outside my apartment until the end of the game), I winded up watching the movie Concussion.

After playing nine years of football, I told myself that there was no reason to watch the film, as it would only corrode at some of my favorite memories growing up. That movie was partially the motivation for this piece.

When I first looked up the full current NFL Injured Reserve list, I found myself shocked at the number of remarkable athletes that lined the list. Maybe it was the inescapable aspect of it. Every team has their victims; no team is left unburdened. Maybe it was the lost potential of all those amazing athletes. So many “what could have beens” went through my mind. I know that many Texans fans would love to see what this defense would look like if we had J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and Christian Covington all healthy.

Nevertheless, we move on while Commissioner Roger Goodell sits in a castle making demands about how the NFL should compensate him in the future.

A few quick notes before you set me and the comment section on fire: I did not pick a specific defense. If I had to make a choice, I chose success in the current season and recent success over an old, washed out name with no recent major impacts. Players such as Aaron Rodgers and Greg Olsen who come back or were not on IR for the season were not considered. I did not go too deep into a scheme fit; I mainly went for the best team or athletes who are not playing this season.


Quarterback: Deshaun Watson (Houston)

Running Back: David Johnson (Arizona)

Flex: Chris Thompson (Washington)

Wide Receivers: Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG), Julian Edelman (New England)

Tight End: Martellus Bennett (New England)

Left Tackle: Joe Thomas (Cleveland) - I will mention Jason Peters of the Eagles because he’s an amazing player in his own right.

Left Guard: Mike Iupati (Arizona)

Center: Weston Richburg (NYG)

Right Guard: Marshal Yanda (Baltimore)

Right Tackle: Zach Strief (New Orleans)


Defensive Ends: J.J. Watt (Houston), Cliff Avril (Seattle)

Interior Linemen: Haloti Ngata (Detroit), Phil Taylor (Washington)

Linebackers: D’Onta Hightower (New England), Whitney Mercilus (Houston), Jamie Collins (Cleveland)

Cornerbacks: Richard Sherman (Seattle), Jason Verrett (LAC)

Safeties: Eric Berry (Kansas City), Malik Hooker (Indianapolis)


Long Snapper: Matt Overton (Jacksonville)

Punter: Jake Schum (Green Bay)

Kicker: Sebastian Janikowski (Oakland)

Any changes you’d make to that All-IR roster?