What if you constructed a football team from the best athletes from America’s other major sports? Here’s how the lineup might look.
Quarterback Roy Halladay: Halladay’s nickname “Doc” is a reference to the Wild West gunslinger “Doc” Holliday, and that is just what he would be for this team—a recklessly effective fireballer that will keep defenses honest with his strong arm. Halladay has great size — 6 feet 6-inches, 225 pounds — and the perfect mentality for the position. His penchant for winning even with a mediocre team around him shows the kind of mental stability this athletic yet raw team will need. We will just have to hope that once we get him back stateside, his time in Canada will not have turned him from a badass gunslinger to Dudley Do-Right.
Running back Ty Lawson: The blur that is Lawson led the most high-powered offense in college basketball (University of North Carolina) to a national championship, and with his 5-foot-11-inch, 195-pound frame, he will try to do the same in the NFL. Once Lawson enters the NFL, expect the Wildcat formation to go to fad offense heaven, giving way to the fast break offense spearheaded by the former point guard.
Wide receivers LeBron James, Josh Smith and Rajon Rondo: It probably won’t matter how proficient this group is at running routes because every corner in the league is going to look like they belong in Pop Warner matching up with these guys. While those two man the outside and make the fade route to the back of the end zone — the NFL’s version of the pick-and-roll — Rondo will use his monstrous hands to reel in passes over the middle.
Tight end Dwight Howard: Howard is one of the most freakish athletes in all of professional sports. He will lead the league in yards after the catch, because once he gets the ball past the defensive line, it will take about four tacklers to bring him down. If they try to go low he will just jump over them — way over them. Howard will also likely set league records for crossbar dunks and touchdown celebration penalties.
Offensive linemen Shaquille O’Neal, David Ortiz, Carlos Zambrano, Eddie Curry and Sean May: Ortiz will man the center spot for the offensive line with his balky knees and complete lack of lateral quickness while Shaq, May and Curry use their great footwork and considerable girth to protect from the outside. Zambrano will find a more receptive outlet for his boundless aggression on the football field and will thankfully not be armed with a blunt weapon four times a game.
Cornerbacks Jacoby Ellsbury and Nate Robinson: If Jacoby is one-fifth as good at picking off passes as he is at stealing bases, he should get about six picks a year as a coverage corner. He has the speed to stay with anyone and has great instincts that will help him locate the ball. Robinson, meanwhile, is a smaller corner, but his leaping ability is unmatched in the NFL. Robinson would also occupy the goalline back position as nobody on the team is more qualified to leap over the pile.
Safeties Matt Kemp and Dwayne Wade: These are a couple of intelligent, quick guys who can cover a lot of ground. It remains to be seen what kind of hands Kemp has without a baseball glove, but he is a great all-around athlete who fits the mold of the safety position. Wade is a guy who needs to be in a position to make big plays. At safety he will be free to roam and use his great hands, acceleration and agility to become the bald Troy Polamalu.
Linebackers Ron Artest, Joey Dorsey and Oguchi Onyewu: Every defense needs enforcers, and this team keeps its in the linebacking corps. While Onyewu is racking up helmet-to-helmet hits and Dorsey is literally eating opposing players, Artest will be debuting horrible hip-hop albums, starting stadium-wide brawls and “pantsing” players that come across the middle.
Defensive linemen C.C. Sabathia, Glen Davis, Ben Wallace and Blake Griffin: In lieu of actually having anyone qualified to occupy the defensive tackle spot beside Big Baby, Sabathia will instead be encouraged to stray even further from his already lax dietary commitment. Once he is properly fattened up, the former high school All-American tight end should be serviceable clogging up the middle. Once Wallace figures out a way to stuff his afro under his helmet, he and Griffin will throw down on opposing quarterbacks.
Kicker Kendrick Perkins: Just because.