With the most important week in the NFL preseason just getting started, my 2016 NFL predictions will have to wait until next week. For now, I wanted to do one last fun article before hardcore football season arrives. With the Olympics still fresh in the minds of most American sports fans, I started thinking about athletes from other sports who possibly could have made it in the NFL. I am sure there are more than a few, but two immediately jumped into my mind. This is purely hypothetical and just for fun.
LeBron James- Quite frankly, Ohio’s favorite son probably would have been successful in almost any sport. However, I have wondered about him in the NFL since he was a rookie in the NBA. I know it will never happen, but just take the journey with me for a moment. At 6-foot-8 245 pounds, he is capable of doing everything the game of basketball requires a world-class level. Most guys his height cannot shoot outside the paint to save their life or are a defensive liability. Obviously, neither is true of LeBron. Even at 31, he is still the fastest guy on the court most of the time. He is just a genetic freak, and I mean that in the most flattering way possible. I think he would be an amazing tight end in the NFL right now. Many have speculated on this before, but few have ever really taken a look at the possibility, until now. With the success of former basketball players like Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez and Julius Thomas have had in the NFL. If in some alternate universe LeBron ever decided he wanted to give the NFL a try, he would certainly have a long line of suitors. Given his height, weight and speed, I feel like he could out jump most defenders for any ball thrown his way. When that did not work, his positioning would. How many catches have we seen tight ends get from “boxing out” defenders like a basketball rebounder over the last few years? Again, it will never happen, but it sure would be fun.
Usain Bolt- This is more of a reach on my part, but anyone who is literally “The World’s Fastest Man” and a nine time Olympic gold medalist is an intriguing prospect for just about any sport. When it comes to football, Bolt’s potential is vast, but also limited. The only thing he really has ever done is run freakishly fast in a straight line. Granted, he has done it better than anyone who has ever lived. I think he would be a disaster at wide receiver or tight end. I doubt he could run a route or catch a pass to save his life. The kick and punt return game is where I could see him being dynamite. That part of the game is the closest the NFL gets a pure chaos. In order to tackle someone a defender has to see his target first and assume he is going to be in roughly the same spot a split second later. It Bolt is back there, I cannot imagine defenders grabbing anything but air. Several track stars have tried and failed in the NFL, but I would still like to see Bolt give it a go.
I hope you have enjoyed this look at maybe the two best cross over candidates in all of sports. Are there any other non-football athletes past or present that you think could succeed in the NFL?