The NFL draft is as much about promise as it is about past production. Somehow, players shoot up draft boards because they can jump higher at a combine than on tape and bench press more than their passing rushing ability led scouts to believe. So what about a group of NFL prospects that play another sport? What NBA players show enough promise to warrant a first round grade? And where would they go?
I mock the NFL draft by infusing some NBA talent to the first round.
Houston Texans – First overall: Lebron James
It’s too easy. He was an all-state wide receiver and was recruited to play in college. Now though, his body has filled out to 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds. While the obvious position for him is tight end, as he has great hands, incredible leaping ability and speed, the Texans will position him at outside linebacker and defensive end. He could have ability to close on the quarterback like Lawrence Taylor did while swatting balls with the likes of J.J. Watt. Heck, you could even drop him into coverage and he’d pick off a few balls too.
Prospect comparison: South Carolina defensive end JaDaveon Clowney
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Seventh overall: John Wall
Most NBA players do not have prototypical size, weight or speed for the NFL. John Wall has it. At 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, John Wall has the speed to run the court in a way reminiscent of Jason Kidd from his days in Dallas. He would use it to stretch opposing defenses. His win at the NBA Dunk competition proved to everyone just how athletic he is. And his clutch play and leadership helped the Wizards get 4-1 victory over the Bulls. He is a no-brainer.
Prospect comparison: Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans
Tennessee Titans – 11th overall: Russell Westbrook
Westbrook has the leaping ability and fluid hips that make him a great fit at corner across from Jason McCourty. He has great ball skills and an overly confident attitude required for a corner that might end up on an island. At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, he is rangy but agile in ways similar to Richard Sherman. Like Sherman, he’s not lacking in tenacity. His insane athleticism and competitiveness would help him in limiting burners and possession receivers alike.
Prospect comparison: Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert
Arizona Cardinals – 20th overall: Chris Paul
The Cardinals need a developmental quarterback to step in behind Carson Palmer. Chris Paul is a bit of a reach as he does not quite have the prototypical size or height at 6-foot, 180 pounds but he has the frame to bulk up. But this is the NFL, and everyone is desperate. His mobility in traffic in getting to the net as a penetrator will suit him well in the pocket. His strong decision making in limiting turnovers will help him transition to the NFL. And his vision as the NBA’s leader in assists per game will help him read defenses and dice up NFL backfields.
Prospect comparison: Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater
New England Patriots – 29th overall: Blake Griffin
Mel Kiper and Todd McShay would be saying, “He’s too tall, he’s too tall, he’s too tall.” But the New England Patriots would happily let him fall to pick number 29, where they will convert the 6-foot-10 power forward into the league’s most unstoppable tight end. His leaping ability and change of direction would freeze any linebacker that attempted to cover him. If any team tried to play him with a safety, it would all be over – particularly in the red zone. Pending Rob Gronkowski’s health, the Patriots would have their TE party again. And Belichick would wear a smug grin to match his sleeveless hoody at the post-draft press conference.
Prospect comparison: Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro/North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron
Photos via Wikimedia
Lebron James image (top) via Domenic Gareri/Shutterstock