Could any NBA players really make it in the NFL?

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In the most recent issue of Sports Illustrated, dated Sept. 1, Dan Patrick asked Stephen Curry about which players he would pick if he was making a team out of NBA players.

Curry listed himself as the quarterback with Nate Robinson at running back, LeBron James at tight end and Kevin Durant at wide receiver.

That's a heck of an athletic team.

Playing two sports

In reality, while there is plenty of crossover between guys who play baseball and football, like Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders or Drew Henson, there are less than you might think.

And most of the recent ones have played tight end in the NFL with the influx of more athletic and tall tight ends in the passing game.

Who has done it?

Tony Gonzalez is the obvious example. He played basketball at Cal, where he was a star. Antonio Gates is a lesser example. He played basketball at Kent State before becoming a star with the San Diego Chargers.

And Julius Peppers, one of the most freakishly athletic players in any sport, was a big man at North Carolina who became one of the NFL's best pass rushers.

Who would I pick?

Lists like this have been done in the past with obvious guys like LeBron and Durant chosen, along with the uber-athletic Blake Griffin and Matt Barnes, who was a high school All-American in football

Related links

Which NBA players could make it in NFL (year ago)?
Kevin Durant headed back to Nike for big bucks
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Many of the NBA's elite athletes are between 6-foot-6 and 6-9, so they are too tall to play wideout but would work as tight ends.

A guy like Andre Iguodala, whose 6-6 and 207 pounds and one of the NBA's elite defenders, might just be able to play a defense spot. He would have to bulk up, but might be great as an outside rusher in a 3-4 scheme. Teammate Klay Thompson, at 6-7 and 205, is similar.

Derrick Rose might be short for the NBA, but he's actually too tall to play NFL running back by a lot of standards. Adrian Peterson, at 6-1, is one of the taller guys out there. Robinson was a good pick for that spot because most running backs are more like 5-9 Doug Martin or 5-11 Marshawn Lynch, guys who weight 215 but aren't real tall and run low.

That's why athletic guys like Rose, John Wall and Russell Westbrook might be best at wide receiver or defensive back. After all, Wall did catch a TD pass from MC Hammer during the offseason. There's a reason that baseball guys are more often quarterbacks than basketball guys. The NBA guys simply don't have the arms for it. They're not built to play linebacker and most of them are too tall and way too thin to play on either line.

For the most part, it would take a body transformation for that to happen. Because, if you put a 6-11 guy out there on the line, your QB wouldn't be able to see over him anyway.

Kevin Durant
LeBron James
Golden State Warriors
Washington Wizards

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