It's time to assemble the all-MLB football team of our wildest dreams
NFL teams will descend on Chicago tonight, hoping to find their future of the franchise as the 2016 NFL Draft gets underway. It's the culmination of months of hard work and preparation -- general managers have searched high and low, looked under every rock, made their list and checked it twice. But they've been overlooking one very rich talent pool: Major League Baseball.
They've got size; they've got speed; they've got strength; and, most importantly, they've got the necessary headgear. While the national pastime has seen plenty of actual two-way stars, we're here to dream a bit bigger: If you could build a football team full of baseball's best, who would you want to see take the field? Where would you line up your favorite star? We're glad you asked. Presenting the all-MLB NFL Dream Team.
Quarterback: Mike Trout
The ideal fit for the modern NFL, Trout can do a little bit of everything (he is Mike Trout, after all). Need him to keep the defense honest with his legs? Check:
Need him to take the top off with a deep ball? Check:
Running back: Yasiel Puig
When a man is quite literally willing to run into a wall to help his team, there can be no other choice.
At 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, Puig would be one of the biggest running backs in NFL history, but he's in good company this year -- reigning Heisman winner Derrick Henry stands 6-foot-3, 238. Besides, Puig runs the bases with the abandon of a football player, and he's also got the finesse needed to play the position. Plus, he's already shown the ability to make people miss:
Wide receiver: Carlos Correa
Every team needs the prototypical No. 1 receiver on the outside, so how about a 6-foot-4, 215-pound Rookie of the Year who can literally tear a hole through your glove? Correa's got the size, speed and strength of a Dez Bryant or Julio Jones -- oh, and he'll be an absolute nightmare in the red zone.
Wide receiver: Juan Lagares
"But wait," you say, "at just 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, surely Lagares is too small to play receiver." And while we could point to smaller speedsters like T.Y. Hilton and DeSean Jackson who have found success in the NFL, we'll instead offer this more succinct counterpoint: Lagares can go 91 feet tracking a ball at 111 mph and then do this, so he'll probably be fine.
Tight end: Giancarlo Stanton
Tight end is all about creating matchup problems -- too big for defensive backs, too fast for linebackers. Speaking of matchup problems: Stanton checks in at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds with a physique most closely resembling Wolverine, has yet to meet a building he couldn't clear with a dinger and is still athletic enough to tear a hole in the Matrix.
Offensive line: Evan Gattis, CC Sabathia, David Ortiz, Jonathan Broxton, Bartolo Colon
Ah, the big fellas. The guys who do the real work that lets the skill positions shine. At 6-foot-7, 290 pounds, Sabathia is the size of an actual left tackle already, which makes the ability to pitch from an elevated mound seem pretty superfluous. At left guard, Gattis treats baseball bats like a twig that's gotten caught in his magnificent beard:
And, if he's ever asked to block on a screen pass, he's got the speed to do that, too.
The center isn't just the keystone of the offensive line. He's the leader of the offense -- the man surveying the defense and making sure everyone is in position. With that in mind, there is only one choice: Colon, a man of both stunning strength and incomparable ingenuity:
David Ortiz is, well, David Ortiz -- he goes by Big Papi, which is about the only evidence you need for a prospective right guard. If not, though, let us remind you that he already carries the endorsement of Patriots tight end/best bro for life Rob Gronkowski.
The 6-foot-4, 310-pound Broxton has been the biggest player in the big leagues for years now, and all we're going to say is that no one has ever seen him and Gregor Clegane in the same room.
Defensive line: Dellin Betances, Justin Bour, Prince Fielder
Betances might be best known for striking out literally everyone he sees this season, but he's also 6-foot-8, 265 pounds and would play a mean defensive end -- he could even become the first player in football history to record a sack through sheer wind power.
Speaking of mean defensive ends, Marlins first baseman Bour may actually be a literal mountain and will treat opposing quarterbacks with the same wanton disregard he shows to baseballs.
Fielder, meanwhile, requires no introduction -- at a solid 275 pounds, he's the ideal anchor for the middle of this defense. But don't be fooled: Sure, the frame is massive, but he's as agile, mobile and hostile as they come. Just look at his agility drills:
Linebacker: Yoenis Cespedes, Anthony Rizzo, Lorenzo Cain, Josh Donaldson
The best linebackers inspire fear in the hearts of their opponents. And while Cespedes' combination of center-field speed and moonshot power is plenty scary on its own, Yo just has a certain ... swag about him. Sure, he's 220 pounds and can send baseballs into orbit, but he also has rare ability to intimidate through nothing but a bat flip. No running back wants to see this in the hole:
Of the many reasons why Rizzo is an ideal choice, it's tough to tell which is more impressive: the strength that allowed him to hit 31 dingers last season, the reckless abandon that allows him to leap into the stands for a foul ball, or his courage under fire and/or flying baseballs.
Cain's mother famously forbade him from playing football as a kid, and while we're eternally grateful for the chance to watch him scale outfield walls in a single bound, we're hoping she'll make an exception this time. ALCS-clinching speed doesn't just grow on trees, after all.
At just 6 feet tall, Donaldson might be a bit undersized for the position, but he set a school record with 11 interceptions as a high school senior, and we'll take a reigning MVP and actual viking any day of the week. Besides, no one will go further to get a win.
Cornerback: Dee Gordon, Mookie Betts
Being covered by a man who's seemingly a constant inside-the-park home run threat? Good luck, wide receivers. Flash Jr. is only 5-foot-11, but when you've got that kind of speed, you can make up for a lot. Plus, he has excellent footwork at second base, not to mention solid ball skills:
He'll be supported on the other side of the field by Betts, a man willing ot flip over walls to deny opposing offenses:
Safety: Nolan Arenado, Jason Heyward
The role of safety can be defined by one word: range. They need to serve as the last line of defense, to ensure that nothing is going to get past them. Arenado, for example, is everywhere at once -- neither foul territory ...
... nor the actual field of play can stop him:
Speaking of range, Heyward was arguably the best defensive outfielder in baseball last year, and has the added benefit of standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 240 pounds. If you want him to play in the box, he's the size of a linebacker. If you want him to cover, well, he can do this:
Kicker: Jon Niese
Niese was an All-State soccer player back in high school, and due to the retirement of Andy Sonnanstine, that makes him the best choice for all kicking and punting duties. Even if his old Mets teammates were skeptical:
@Wheelerpro45 do you think Niese could make that?- Dillon Gee (@DillonGee35) November 29, 2014
Matt Harvey (@MattHarvey33) November 29, 2014
Is there a potential gridiron superstar we left off? Let us know in the comments.