The two-star era: How the NFL would look if molded like the NBA

FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 30: Tom Brady #12 celebrates with James White #28 of the New England Patriots after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 30: Tom Brady #12 celebrates with James White #28 of the New England Patriots after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /

How would the NFL look if it were molded like the two-star model of the NBA? The recent Kawhi Leonard & Paul George pairing inspired our thinking.

I went to sleep last night without a care in the world. Today, when I woke up at 6:35 AM EST, all hell had broken loose. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarwoski decided that 1:54 AM was a good time to drop arguably the biggest set of Woj bombs the internet had ever seen. Kawhi Leonard was leaving the Toronto Raptors and joining Paul George on the Los Angeles Clippers.


Paul George? How?

The NBA, man. You either get it or you don’t.

With Kawhi and George teaming up in LA, the NBA has officially left the “superteam” era behind and entered into the Two-Star era. Whether it’s AD and LeBron, Kawhi and PG, Steph and Klay, Embiid and…Al Horford (?), or even James Harden and Chris Paul, the NBA has entered a new realm and I’m here for it.

But how would the NFL look if their best teams were built like NBA rosters in the two-star era? Let’s take a look.

New England Patriots

Star One: Tom Brady

Brady is entering his age-42 season, and he’s fresh off his sixth Super Bowl victory. Imagine being 41-years old throwing for 4,355 yards 29 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions. Brady may be more of a super villain than a superstar, but he certainly doesn’t care..the ring fits the same either way.

Star Two: James White

Anytime you have a running back that amasses 87 receptions for 751 yards and 7 touchdowns while rushing for 425 yards and 5 touchdowns, he’s a superstar. New England doesn’t traditionally believe or market the “superstar” label, but you don’t need a cape to be Superman, and White fits the mold just fine.

Los Angeles Rams

Star One: Aaron Donald

Stardom isn’t on accident, man. Aaron Donald is a monster. He’s arguably the best player on the planet in any sport pound-for-pound. Think about that for a second, a defensive tackle could be the best athlete on the entire flat earth.

Star Two: Jared Goff (?)

I wanted to put Todd Gurley here, but his knees seem to be derailing a once promising career. So naturally, the quarterback fits well here. Goff is coming off a season in which he helped lead the Rams to the Super Bowl, throwing for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns in the process. With Gurley’s future uncertain, Goff could be in line for even gaudier numbers in 2019.

Kansas City Chiefs

Star One: Patrick Mahomes

Dude, really? Was there even a thought that this would be someone else? Mahomes threw all of 35 passes in 2017 while sitting behind Alex Smith, and came out last season and set the league on fire. Mahomes’ 50 touchdowns and 5,097 yards were the most-ever for a first-year starter in the NFL.

Star Two: Chris Jones

Jones Broke out in a major way in 2018, piling on 15.5 sacks and 29 QB hits. He was the true centerpiece for a Chiefs defense that otherwise would’ve been among the worst in the league without his presence up the middle.

New Orleans Saints

Star One: Drew Brees

Duh. Brees basically holds every major passing record in NFL history, and he seems to do it with such ease. Brees’ 74,347 career passing yards leaves him alone at the top all-time, and he’s on pace to break Peyton Manning’s 539 career passing TD mark in 2019, needing just 20 touchdown passes to break.

Star Two: Alvin Kamara

The argument could be made here for Michael Thomas, but Kamara seems to the be most anemic to the seasonal timeshare that can be the Saints pass-happy offense.

See what I mean?

Dallas Cowboys

Star One: Ezekiel Elliott

You don’t become a star in the NFL on your own, and Zeke knows that. While he’s benefitted from an All-Pro offensive line early in his career, he’s certainly done his share of work to get himself to superstar status. With 4,048 yards and 28 touchdowns in his first three seasons, it’s no surprise Elliott and the Cowboys future success are so closely tied together.

Star Two: Leighton Vander Esch

Typical baller. Nothing like a 22-year old rookie who finishes with 148 total tackles, 2 interceptions and a Pro-Bowl invite. Vander Esch is the future of the Cowboys’ defense, and a player you’ll likely see dominating in blue and silver for the next decade.

Philadelphia Eagles

Star One: Zach Ertz

No matter how many injured quarterbacks how chuck on the shelf, Ertz is going to find his way to the football, and ultimately to the endzone. You can’t ignore the sheer talent of Ertz, and the Eagles know just how important he is, adding speedy receivers and talented running backs to their offense to open up the field for Ertz was a smart move.

Star Two: Fletcher Cox

Malcolm Jenkins is obviously a major consideration here, but Cox gives you more prime years at arguably a more dominant position. Cox finished 2018 with 10.5 sacks and 34 quarterback hits.

Here’s how the rest of the league shakes out, you can assess for yourself.

AFC East

New York Jets – Jamaal Adams & Leonard Williams

Miami Dolphins – Minkah Fitzpatrick & Reshad Jones

Buffalo Bills – TreDavious White & Tremaine Edmunds

AFC North

Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield & Odell Beckham, Jr.

Pittsburgh Steelers – JuJu Smith-Schuster & Ben Roethlisberger

Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson & Earl Thomas

Cincinnati Bengals – AJ Green & Geno Atkins

AFC West

Denver Broncos – Von Miller & Bradley Chubb

Oakland Raiders – Antonio Brown & Derek Carr

Los Angeles Chargers – Philip Rivers & Derwin James

NFC East

Washington Redskins – Dwayne Haskins, Jr & Landon Collins

New York Giants – Saquon Barkley & Sterling Shepard

NFC North

Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers & Davante Adams

Chicago Bears – Khalil Mack & Eddie Jackson

Minnesota Vikings – Adam Thielen & Harrison Smith

Detroit Lions – Darius Slay & Matthew Stafford

NFC South

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans & Jameis Winston

Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton & Christian McCaffery

Atlanta Falcons – Julio Jones & Matt Ryan

Next. 2019 NFL Draft grades for all 32 teams. dark

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks – Russell Wilson & Tyler Lockett

San Francisco 49ers – George Kittle & Jimmy Garoppolo

Arizona Cardinals – Kyle Murray & David Johnson