Thursday, September 4, 2008

Could NBA Players Make It In The NFL?

With the change of season, sports fans have turned their attention to football, myself included. But true to my roots, a good basketball story still will catch my eye. A recent story about Antonio Gates not only caught my attention, but inspired me to write this post..

Ask most fans who the best TE in the NFL is, and most would answer Antonio Gates. Ask those fans where Gates played college football, and few will respond. The truth is, Gates did not play football in college. Gates excelled on the hardwood leading his college team to the Elite Eight. After college, Gates used his athleticism to open doors in football.

So, without further delay, our blogger staff unveils our All-NBA Gridiron Squad.


Quarterback - Chauncey Billups (6'2, 210) - As a leader, Billups has all the traits that an NFL GM would want in a QB. Good decision making ability, team first mentality, toughness, level-head, he's got all the tools to go along with legitimate inborn gridiron talent (his cousin is NFL star LenDale White). In fact, football was actually Billups' first love. Billups dominated the high school level at Quarterback and earned all-state honors in Denver, Colorado. Billups was recruited heavily out of high school for football but opted to play basketball at the University of Colorado instead.

Running Back - Dee Brown (6'0, 185) - This was a difficult choice. Many hardwood stars demonstrated athleticism, speed, toughness and vision...however Brown brings a fearless mentality in a compact frame which is necessary to run between the tackles. If Brown had pursued football, his ideal playing weight with his frame would have been around 215 lbs, a pretty good load for a guy of his quickness. During High School in Illinois, Brown excelled in both basketball and football. Brown played quarterback for the football team and gained over 1,800 all-purpose yards with 16 touchdowns in ONLY 7 GAMES. Brown was recruited heavily
for football by many major collegiate football programs, including Florida State and Nebraska.

Wide Receiver - Allen Iverson (6'0, 165) - Iverson has been one of the quickest/fastest players in the NBA since he was drafted. He is often referred to as the toughest player in the NBA pound for pound. What many don't realize is that Iverson had a bright future in football if he had chosen that path. In High School, Iverson was named the Virginia High School Player of the Year at Quarterback and Defensive Back. Iverson's DB skills can be seen on the hardwood as he has been at the top of the league in steals for many years. He closes on the ball as well as any player in the NBA. As a junior, Iverson led his High School team to the State Championship. Iverson had his choice of anywhere in the country to play college football, and was rated higher than former NFL quarterbacks Michael Vick and Aaron Brooks. Although Iverson would have been a nice addition to our secondary, his playmaking ability and athleticism will be better utilized on offense and in kick/punt returns.

Wide Receiver - Steve Nash (6'1, 185) - Nash is another one of those quick guards in the NBA who can get anywhere on the floor. Nash is one of the only skill position player on our team with no football experience. Nash is a well-respected soccer player and spends his offseasons training with premiere players...Nash is also held in high regards by those players. Some professionals have said Nash could step into the Premiere League right now and be an elite player. For the sake of our team, we need a receiver who can go over the middle and go after balls. Nash would also be great on short screens where he can use his athleticism to make plays. Bottom line, Nash is an elite athlete on the world level, and our skill positions need that kind of boost. Also, we need a kicker.

Wide Receiver - Devin Harris (6'3, 195) - Harris is our deep threat. Known as one of the fastest players in the NBA, Harris will be needed to stretch the field and keep defenses honest. We considered throwing Kobe Bryant in this spot, but Harris brings something different to our wide receiver core. If we have to go to 4 WR sets, Kobe comes in. Besides, anytime we're inside the 20 we're throwing to our tight end anyway.

Tight End - LeBron James (6'8, 250) - James could play any position on the field and excel...however due to his rare combination of size, strength and speed, TE is the ideal position for LeBron. As a blocker James could do the job well, and I honestly believe James could not be stopped one-on-one or inside the red zone. At 250 James is already a beast. If he wanted to, he could play football at 275 and still be dominant. In high school, LeBron was a First-Team All-State wide receiver and was highly recruited by colleges nationwide. Like Iverson, James did not play football his senior year...there was a $100M contract that depended on his health.

Left Tackle - Eric Dampier (6'11, 265) - Dampier is a physical, hard nosed player who gets major minutes for his defensive presence. He often goes unnoticed which makes him a perfect fit as an offensive lineman. Dampier has very long arms and good lateral quickness for a man his size. He's another guy that keeps his weight low to be most effective in the NBA. Given a football scenario, Dampier would be playing around 315. Dampier is also more reliable than our other tackle, which is why we put him to protect Billups' blindside.

Right Tackle - Eddy Curry (6'10, 285) - Curry has never lived up to his potential on the hardwood, and has always struggled with foul trouble. Fouls won't be a problem for Curry on the gridiron however, and Curry will be another nice tackle on the outside. The length and size of Curry will help prevent pass rushers from beating Curry to the outside and also prevent defenders from getting inside on Curry. In football, Curry would be weighing in around 335.

Left Guard - Elton Brand (6'8, 265) - Brand is a very smart player who would bring great intelligence to this offensive line. Brand is another player with long arms (wingspan exceeds 7'0) and good coordination. Brand's quickness is why he was chosen as a guard. Brand would be a very effective blocker as he could pull as a lead blocker. In football, Brand would play around 295.

Right Guard - Jason Maxiell (6'6, 265) - Cut from a similar mold as brand, Maxiell brings a mean streak to the Offensive Line. Jason is a physical player who would open up holes and punish linebackers. Maxiell is another very quick lineman who could pull effectively. With a wingspan of over 7 feet, he'll provide a nice punch off the line. We considered Maxiell for a number of positions, but we felt he would be a great guard on our O-Line. Maxiell's playing weight would be around 295.

Center - Jamal Magloire (6'10, 285) - Magloire is a journeyman NBA player who has had many roles on many teams. His vast experience has allowed him to pick up schemes quickly, and understand roles of teammates well. Magloire would be a nice tackle as well, but his vast experience is why we selected him to direct our O-Line. Magloire has stayed in the NBA as a defensive big man who protects the basket. On our team, he will have to protect our quarterback. The biggest challenge Billups may face at QB might be seeing over his offensive line. Magloire's playing weight would near 330. Magloire rounds up our offensive line with an average height of 6'9 and 315 lbs.


Defensive End - Ben Wallace (6'8, 260) -
Wallace is another guy with a strong background on the football field. When Wallace was undrafted as a basketball player, he nearly pursued his second love of football. As a Linebacker in High School, Wallace punished offensive players and gained great recognition. If Wallace hadn't developed a strong friendship with Charles Oakley through a basketball camp, Wallace likely would have never pursued basketball. Wallace would bring great strength, toughness, and length to our defense. Rather than swatting away shots, we expect Wallace would bat down a couple of balls per game. Wallace would be strong against both the run and the pass. Wallace's football playing weight would likely be around 285.

Defensive End - Carlos Boozer (6'9, 265) - Carlos is a physical specimen on the basketball floor. His weight room work ethic is well known, and he works hard to keep his body trim and lean. Despite his efforts, Boozer still carries one of the most chizeled frames in the NBA. As a football player, Boozer would bring a Julius Peppers-type mentality to the Defensive Line. He'd be stout against the run, and provide a good pass rush. We considered Carlos for the offensive line, but due to his limited lateral quickness we decided to let him loose on the Defensive Line. Boozer would likely play at a weight near 295. Dwight Howard will be used as a backup/rotational player at DE as well.

Defensive Tackle - Shaquille O'Neal (7'2, exact weight unknown) - Earlier in Shaq's career, he may have anchored our offensive line. For now, we want Shaq to stuff the run with his massive frame. Though vulnerable to a chop-block, Shaq would be a beast to throw over. Shaq would demand two blockers on every play, which would allow our linebackers to roam more freely. Shaq's great footwork would also help him as a pass rusher and in stunts. Shaq already careers quite a bit of weight, so a huge increase in his playing weight would negatively impact his production. We have Shaq playing around 330.

Defensive Tackle - Glen "Big Baby" Davis (6'9, 300) - Big Baby was a dominating high school performer on the gridiron. At the time, Davis tipped the scale near 330 lbs at only 6'6. He's grown 3 inches since then, and dropped some pounds as well. In High School, Davis showed freakish agility and footwork for a man his size. Davis filled a role similar to William "the refrigerator" Parry. Davis played Fullback, Tight End, and Defensive End. We also would bring Davis in to open up holes from the fullback position, but his presence on the D-Line is too tempting to pass on. During his high school career, Davis rushed for 976 yards and 14 touchdowns on 141 carries. He also had 13 catches for 257 yards and a touchdown. Despite sitting out football in college, many NFL teams took a long hard look at Davis as a creative pick late in the NFL draft. Davis opted for basketball once again, but the thought of what he could have achieved on the gridiron is still fun to think about. Davis would likely play near his high school weight of 330. Davis rounds up our defensive line with average height of 6'10 and 315 lbs.

Linebacker - Matt Harpring (6'7, 230) - Let's face it, Matt has always had a football mentality and has been demonstrating many of those characteristics on the hardwood. Harpring did have a VERY successful high school career at QB. Harpring was a 6'7 QB from a football family, and was trying to decide between playing football at Wisconsin or Northwestern (both national powers at the time). He went on a mid-winter recruiting visit to Northwestern and attended a basketball game while there. He decided at that time to that he wanted to play basketball at the next level, and could excel doing so. He made a good choice financially, but Matt's limits in football were the sky. Despite his background as a QB, we've moved Harpring to LB where he can use his physicality and toughness. Harpring would likely play around 255.

Linebacker - Ron Artest (6'8, 235) - Artest is another guy who loves physicality. Artest brings more athleticism than Harpring however, and could be an every down linebacker. If Artest were in the NFL, he'd likely be playing for the Cincinatti Bengals, and would likely have a standing appointment in Commissioner Goodell's office. On our team however, he's got a clean record. Artest would likely play around 245.

Linebacker - Corey Maggette (6'7, 230) - We wanted to bring a guy in that was athletic enough to defend better Tight Ends, while strong enough to meet a linemen head on. Maggette has a chizzled frame, and uses his athleticism well. Maggette would be our 3rd down LB. Maggette would play near 235.

Linebacker - Eduardo Najera (6'8, 235) - Najera is a guy in the NBA that can defend 3 positions. He's very versatile as an asset to any coach, and plays 100% every minute he is on the floor. Najera is a very physical player who would fit in well as a blitzing LB or a reliable coverage man. Najera would likely play near 255.

Cornerback -Nate Robinson (5'9, 185) - Robinson is another guy that could have chosen which sport to play professionally. Robinson played both basketball and football at the University of Washington. Scouts called Robinson a lock to be drafted. On the hardwood, Robinson regularly displays his athletic ability by going up high to dunk on opponents. Despite being somewhat undersized in the NFL, Robinson would be able to meet the ball at its highest point without being taken advantage of by bigger receivers. Another thing to remember is that no matter how undersized he is in the NFL, he is much more undersized in the NBA. Interesting fact about Robinson, he started his college career as a football-scholarshipped athlete, not basketball.

Cornerback - Leandro Barbosa (6'1, 175) - This is the other spot where we strongly considered Allen Iverson. Barbosa however possesses just as much quickness, speed, and athleticism as Iverson, but with a little more size. Barbosa doesn't have any football experience, but his diverse sporting background in Brazil may allow him to adapt quickly. If this experiment doesn't work out, we'll move Iverson back to this side of the ball and sure up this position.

Free Safety - Dwayne Wade (6'4, 210) - Wade flies around the basketball court like very few I've ever seen. In the Olympics, Wade jumped passing lanes on a regular basis and excelled on the defensive end of the floor. Wade is fearless when attacking, and would be perfect to fly around our defensive backfield. Wade is another one of the fastest players in the NBA and would certainly fit right in the speed and quickness category. Injuries may be a concern, but his upside would be unreal.

Strong Safety - Marcus Banks (6'0, 215) - Banks brings more gridiron experience to our defense. Looking at Banks, you immediately recognize his shoulders and overall football build. In High School, Banks was another highly recruited two-sport athlete. Banks was a standout in the defensive backfield but ultimately chose basketball after failing to qualify academically. Banks brings exceptional quickness to our defensive backfield, with good strength and excellent instincts. Finally Banks has found a role where he doesn't have to worry about shooting from the outside. If shooting wasn't a part of the NBA game, Banks would be a premiere PG (he already is defensively).

That rounds up our All-NBA Gridiron Squad. If you can think of any that we're missing, leave a comment to let us know.


Anonymous said...

Good list, lots of interesting picks - I would expect some of your guys to play a little heavier if they were meant to last in the NFL, but overall nice read. Here are a couple of other guys for bench depth:

Paul Millsap
Baron Davis
Kevin Garnett
Zach Randolf
Rajon Rondo

And everyone knows Steve Nash should be playing quarterback (He is 6'3").

Lay-UN Smith's said...

Great article, I would love to see some of these guys strap-it-up and go to work.

Here is one guy that would be unstoppable in a 3-4 defense as the hybrid outside backer/rush end, Dwight Howard. Howard is 6'11 265 (could easily put on 20 lbs and not loose a step) and has the perfect frame to be a football player. Can you imagine that guy rushing the QB as an outside backer?

Also, Deron Williams at 6'3 205 would be a dominate QB, but with his attitude, I could also see him being a phenomenal strong safety. He would be a ferocious hitter and would be in on every play.

Now which football player would be the best basketball players?


Anonymous said...

You have some pretty short WR's. Taller players are more effective in the NFL now.

Jane Doe said...

Nash is closer to 6'2 in real life.

In response to the statement about the size of WRs in the NFL, this wide receiver group would be big by most NFL standards.
Iverson = 6'0
Nash = 6'2
Harris = 6'3
Here are some teams to compare for size purposes:
Patriots (Moss 6'4, 5'9, 6'1)
Colts (Harrison 6'0, Wayne 6'0, Gonzalez 6'0)
Cardinals (fitzgerald 6'3, Boldin 6'1, Breaston 6'0)
Cowboys (Owens 6'3, Crayton 6'0, Hurd 6'2)
Should I keep going?

I think this shows the WR core would actually be considered one of the bigger in the NFL.

Ted Nugent said...

One BIG player left off this teams is Craig Smith from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Smith is 6'7, 285 lbs already of pure muscle. He may be the strongest player in the NFL.

Smith could step in immediately and fill a role like Steve Foley once did, or he could be a beast as a FB, Offensive Lineman or Defensive Lineman.

Ted Nugent said...

Another thing I wanted to say was that Julius Peppers was once an all conference performer at UNC before going early in the first round of the NFL draft.

Peppers is very similar to many of these players at 6'7, 283, and could be a mold for some of these defensive players like Boozer, Ben Wallace, and even Dwight Howard.

Dave said...

I am going to have to agree with Lay-Un. Dwight Howard would have to be a starter. Plus - you gotta figure that in football he would have played more college ball and put on more weight before hitting the league. The guy is a bit nuts too. Plus I'm not sure any team would ever get a field goal attempt off with Howard jumping up through the middle to block the kick. I'd put him in for Boozer. Boozer just isn't crazy enough. Those d-ends gotta be 100% committed. Karl Malone may have been a phenominal NFL player as well. But tight end or D-end? Maybe you'd put Labron at the slot and Karl at TE. man that would absolutel unreal.

I would also add the John Stockton could have been a great QB - although undersized. Huge hands - quick feet and unreal decision making mind.

I would also like to nominate another oldie -- Dennis Rodman as the all purpose special teams player. Dude is absolute crazy - certifiable. I'd pay the price of admission just to see him run down on the kick off team.

Dave said...

One more thing -- If Nash is on the team then the field needs to be 110 yards long and wider. This is the NFL right - not the CFL?

Nash is out. Or he is a kicker - International players are kickers only.

Punter is Andrew Bogut for his prowess as a youth in Australian Rules Football.

Also at Wide out I'd have to go with Vince Carter or Richard Jefferson. They can be the fade/jump ball threats along with Labron.

Also D. Will is a SS.

Dave said...

One more oldie

Dinner Bell Mel Turpin -- O-line.

Enough said.