Whatever you achieve with lesser lenses through the cropping done by most DSLR's, you could also do by cropping the same amount when you print from 35mm film, so you should expect similar trade-offs: less problems at the edges, but less sharpness overall due to greater enlargement of the part of the image used.
I have not heard of anyone consistently cropping all film images in order to improve image quality from lesser lenses, so I doubt it is an optimal approach with digital either, now that the pixels are small enough to reveal the resolution limits of even quite good 35mm format lenses.
So I would expect that getting the best out of DSLR sensors smaller than 35mm format requires very sharp lenses, even more so that with most 35mm film: either top quality 35mm format lenses, or lenses specifically designed to give more sharpness over the smaller image circle involved. Perhaps Nikon DX or Olympus E-series lenses will achieve this, but I have seen no solid evidence yet.
That is not to say that "advanced amateur" lenses like the Canon 24-85 often paired with the 10D are hopeless; they just sacrifice a fraction of the sensors' full potential in most tests I know about.
About larger maximum apertures, the industry trend is exactly the opposite: new pro zoom lenses at f/4 rather than the traditional f/2.8, perhaps taking advantage of the higher ISO's now usable both with pro transparency film and DSLR's to reduce cost, bulk and the abberation problems at larger apertures.