With the NFL Draft still in the minds of Oregon Fans and NFL fans Ducks Attack decided to come up with a team of Ex-Ducks that would be the best at their position with Head Coach Mike Bellotti coaching the Ducks.
The players don't have to be drafted to make the team but you will notice most were drafted or made the NFL as an undrafted free agent.
DE- Devon Long
Long was considered the best pass rushing defensive end under Mike Bellotti before current Senior Nick Reed has replaced him. Long was the answer to an on going problem with the Oregon defense's lack of a pass rush as soon as he was inserted into the starting line up. Long's senior season produced 40 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks.
DT- Haloti Ngata
Ngata came to Oregon as the highest ranked recruit in Oregon history before him. He stepped on the field ready to contribute and was a force to be reckoned with whenever on the field. Ngata was key to clogging the middle with his sheer size that checked in over 330 pounds and yet Ngata was able to bull rush through his blocker and run down an opposing ball carrier. Ngata left school early as a Junior and entered the NFL draft and was selected 12th overall in the draft. Ngata's last two years had him placed on All American teams.
DT- Igor Olshansky
Olshanksy came to Oregon as a diamond in the ruff type freshman who wasn't expected to play much as he was new to football but was a physical freak. He left Oregon as one of the most dominate tackles ever in Oregon history. Known for his block against Wisconsin as a freshman, his stout play against Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl, and his tag team seasons with Ngata.
DE- Nick Reed
Reed came to Oregon as a speed rusher who with a year under Devon Long's guidance would become a star at Oregon. Reed, still with Oregon enters his senior season being named to the Lott Trophy Award watch list as well as a chance to etch himself into Oregon glory and record books with a good final seaosn.
LB- Wesly Mallard
Mallard came to Oregon as a walk-on with a great last name for a Duck football player and left Oregon as one of the best players to ever play football at Oregon. Mallard known for his hard hitting and his athleticism was the leading tackler his Senior year in 2001. Mallard allowed the Ducks to bring in the defense closer to the line of scrimmage to stop the run due to his ability to cover a running back or tight end.
LB- Peter Sirmon
Sirmon was one of a few linebackers at Oregon who were a man playing against boys. Sirmon was a stud at the inside linebacker position for the Ducks as the defensive team leader in the late 90s and in 2000. A sure fire tackler that allowed the defense to have one of the best run defenses in the Pac-10. Sirmon took his game to the Tennessee Titans as he was drafted in the 2000 draft in the 4th round.
LB- Kevin Mitchell
Mitchell was the ultimate warrior on the field. There are a few players who played at Oregon that were more talented than Mitchell but few players regardless of position had the heart and desire to make the play that was needed as Mitchell had. Don't forget he was under six feet tall and when soaking wet was 230 pounds. Mitchell hit like a truck and was one of the smartest players to ever play the Linebacker position in Oregon history.
DB- Rashad Bauman
Bauman was one of Oregons biggest trash talkers ever at Oregon. No matter how big his mouth got Bauman was able to back it up with his play on the field. A true lock down corner that coudl live on an island in the Oregon defense. With his small size on the field Bauman made up for it with his instinct and physical nature on the field.
DB- Alex Molden
Part of the Gang Green Defense Molden was a key piece of the Oregon defense in the early stages of the rise of Oregon football. Molden like Bauman could cover anyone and be placed out on an island by himself. Molden went on to play in the NFL and will always be remembered as one of the first players to bring the nastyness to the defensive side of the field for the Ducks.
DB- Justin Wilcox
Another big hitter that played in the early stages of Oregon football's rise in success. Wilcox came to Oregon in replace of older brother Josh but on defense and brought the same blue chip lunch pail attitude on defense. A great safety his first three years and then moved over to corner for his final year where he was All 2nd team in the Pac-10. Wilcox was a starter throughout his entire four year career at Oregon.
DB- Kenny Wheaton
"The Pick". Speaks for itself. The player who is the most popular of all Ducks. The talented freshman made the play of the ages for the Ducks to seal the win against the "Mighty" dawgs to the north and than went on to become of the Ducks best lock down corners before taking his game to the NFL after his junior season.
When I was thinking about what players would make the list and I was jotting down players at each position I started noticing a common theme. Most of the players I was listing on my paper were players that played right around the 1994 Rose Bowl team or a player that came into the program right after that season a year after or a two years after.
Now, I'm just thinking out loud here but I think we see that for a few reasons. These players were clearly not the most talented players at their positions but they brought that underdog attitude and didn't want to be told they couldn't stop this team or that team. They brought that extra physicalness to the field Oregon defenses lacked at times over the past few years.
Now this years Defense really reminds me of the mid 90s defenses where the players are talented no doubt but are also dubbed as guys who are overachieving. Chung, Thurmond, Byrd, and Ward were all players that alot of bigger schools didn't recruit or even offer. These players are in my eyes throwback players who have overachieved or used the drive and dedication to get better to become top players at their respected positions.