The All-Time Utah NFL Team

Larry Wilson, Eric Weddle and more

Utah is the home of the Runnin’ Utes.

But some of the best Utes have been the slowest runners – the defensive tackles.

Utah has produced Pro Football Hall of Famers at both receiver (Mac Speedie) and safety (Larry Wilson) and another player with four Super Bowl rings (tight end Marv Fleming). But the Running’ Utes have sent the NFL both quantity and quality at defensive tackle. Three such tackles became Pro Bowlers, another wears two Super Bowl rings and yet another was the 14th overall pick of an NFL draft.

Let’s start with the Pro Bowlers. Dave Costa went to four Pro Bowls during the AFL era, three with the Denver Broncos and one with the Oakland Raiders. He played 12 seasons and collected 65 ½ sacks. Luther Ellis was a first-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions who played 10 seasons, went to two Pro Bowls and sacked 29 quarterbacks. Paul Solai played 10 seasons, went to a Pro Bowl with the Miami Dolphins in 2011 and made 221 career tackles.

Manny Fernandez didn’t go to any Pro Bowls. But he was a key figure in the middle of Miami’s No-Name Defense that helped power the Dolphins to a perfect season in 1972 and back-to-back Super Bowl championships in 1972-73. He started 94 games and collected 35 sacks. Star Lotulelei was the 14th overall pick of the Carolina Panthers in the 2014 draft who went on to play eight seasons, start 115 games and collect 16 ½ sacks.

Ma’ake Kemoeatu made the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2002 and played nine seasons, starting 86 games and making 287 career tackles. Sione Pouha was a third-round draft pick of the New York Jets in 2005 who played seven seasons, started 55 games and made 263 tackles.

Defensive tackle would provide the backbone of the all-time Utah NFL team.

And here is that team:

QB—Alex Smith, 3 Pro Bowls, 14 seasons, 99-67-1 record, 199 TD passes

HB—Jamal Anderson, Pro Bowl, 8 seasons, 4 1,000-yard seasons, 41 TDs

FB—Mike Anderson, 7 seasons, 2 1,000-yard seasons, 42 touchdowns

WR—Mac Speedie, Hall of Fame

WR—Steve Smith, 5 Pro Bowls, 1,031 career receptions, 12th in NFL history

TE—Bob Trumpy, 4 Pro Bowls, 11 seasons, 298 receptions, 35 touchdowns

T— Jordan Gross, 3 Pro Bowls, 11 seasons, 167 starts

 T— Zane Beadles, Pro Bowl, 9 seasons, 120 starts

G—Barry Sims, 12 seasons, 141 starts

G—Chris Kemoeatu, 6 seasons, 53 starts, 2 Super Bowl rings

C—Lance Scott, 4 seasons, 27 starts

DE—Derrick Shelby, 7 seasons, 31 starts, 10 sacks

DT—Dave Costa, 4 Pro Bowls, 12 seasons, 65 ½ sacks

DT—Luther Ellis, 2 Pro Bowls, 10 seasons, 29 sacks

Manny Fernandez photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

DT—Manny Fernandez, 8 seasons, 35 sacks, 2 Super Bowl rings

OLB—Anthony Davis, 8 seasons, 50 starts, 12 ½ sacks

MLB—Koa Misi, 7 seasons, 358 tackles

OLB—Paul Kruger, 8 seasons, 11 sacks in 2014, Super Bowl ring

CB—Norm Thompson, 9 seasons, 33 interceptions

CB—Sean Smith, 9 seasons, 14 interceptions

S—Larry Wilson, Hall of Fame

S—Eric Weddle, 6 Pro Bowls, 14 seasons, 29 interceptions, Super Bowl ring

*-K—Matt Gay, Pro Bowl, 4 seasons, 84 field goals, 373 points, Super Bowl ring

*-P—Mitch Wishnowsky, 4 seasons, 202 punts, 45.5-yard average

KR—Steve Smith, Pro Bowl WR with 6 kick & punt returns for touchdowns

ST—Chris Fuamatu-Ma’Afala, 7 seasons, 18 special-teams tackles

*-Still active

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