Two-sport athletes are fascinating. And, unfortunately, they’re a dying breed.
Jim Thorpe, Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan, Deion Sanders. They are forever etched in the lore of American sport as rare and incredible athletes.
And while Russell Wilson probably won’t join the aforementioned multi-sport athletes by suiting up for the Texas Rangers – who drafted him in December’s Rule 5 Draft – he will be joining them in Surprise, Ariz. for Spring Training on March 3, according to his twitter account.
So I thought, what if it was the other way around, and the Rangers joined Wilson at Seahawks camp?
Imagining a Rangers squad full of two-sport guys is interesting, right? Here’s how they might stack up on the gridiron:
Russell Wilson: With Wilson’s arrival in Surprise, the Rangers will have more Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks working out with them than the Cowboys do. While several players on the Rangers’ roster could likely sling a football pretty well, Wilson would be the clear-cut starter under center for obvious reasons.
Yu Darvish: The 6-foot-5 righty may have to shorten up his delivery a bit, but he’s certainly got the frame and arm strength to back up Wilson. He’s the Opening Day starter and the most talented arm on the team, no matter what pessimists tell you about his lacking a “clutch factor.” His main roadblock would be throwing a football that doesn’t have a late break to it…
Shin-Soo Choo: Choo’s great eye at the plate (112 walks in 2013) just might translate into a keen ability to see the field and read defenders coming at him at, well, slower speeds than a 95 mph fastball. Choo, at 5-foot-11, 205 lbs., has a good mix of speed and compact size, too. A couple NFL running backs with similar measurements are Wilson’s teammate Marshawn Lynch (5’11”, 215), and Cowboy-killer LeSean McCoy (5’11’’, 208) of the Philadelphia Eagles. While Choo starting at tailback would be revolutionary – my research found no NFL running backs of Asian descent – it wouldn’t be unprecedented. Several Asian players have found success in the NFL, including Pittsburgh Steelers great Hines Ward and former Cowboy Dat Nguyen.
Michael Choice: Several reports cite Choice’s ability to hit with two strikes. That ability to make things happen with his back against a wall at the plate would reflect well on a third down running back. With a little bit bigger body than Choo, but plenty of athleticism and strength, Choice could grind out tough yards when it counts. He’s no Mike Tolbert, but he would be an asset as a complementary back.
Alex Rios: At 6-foot-5, Rios would be on the tall end of NFL wide receivers. He is the same height as Detroit Lions superstar Calvin Johnson, and is of similar build to the likes of A.J. Green. Rios has the height, speed, and catching ability to make a quality receiver on the gridiron. As an outfielder with great range, Rios shows the signs of a solid route-runner as well.
Jim Adduci: The September 2013 call-up is another versatile outfielder with good speed and solid range. At 6-foot-2, 210 lbs., Adduci has great size for a wide receiver. And, if he rocks some sweet lettuce like he did for Texas in late 2013, he may be able to channel his inner Riley Cooper as a downfield threat (but be better behaved at Kenny Chesney concerts).
Rougned Odor: What receiving corps in this day and age is complete without that Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Wes Welker-esque slot receiver? Rougned is not a big fella at just 5-foot-10, but neither are any of the three aforementioned NFL receivers. Russell Wilson has found a use for the 5-foot-10 Golden Tate with the Seahawks. So put a few pounds on the sure-handed Roogie and let him run the short routes!
Wilmer Font: The Rangers don’t have many tight-end-sized guys, honestly. The big bodies are allocated to other positions on the field, so the 6-foot-4, 230 lb. Font gets the nod at tight end for this phantasmal football squad. Font saw two appearances on the mound in 2013 for the Rangers, both in the late innings. If he returns to a bullpen role in 2014, “holds” will be a good thing. The dreamed-up Rangers Football Club can only hope he is able to differentiate “holds” in the two sports. With sub-par skill sets in the trenches, this football team could ill afford copious amounts of penalty yards.
Prince Fielder: The Texas Rangers Football Club would be severely under-manned on the offensive and defensive lines. Prince Fielder is about the only player on the roster whose build would allow him to be competitive amongst NFL hogmollies. At 5-foot-11, Fielder gets a lot of heat for his weight – but the dude can move. I watch Fielder round first base, and while I don’t see a graceful slide, I do envision one heck of a pass rush coming around the end. Fielder’s NFL equivalent could be Elvis Dumervil, an “undersized” defensive end standing under six feet tall.
The offensive and defensive lines would be the toughest positions to fill off of a baseball roster. Honorable mention linemen would have to be the catchers – Geovany Soto, J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos – who make a living protecting and stopping things. And heck, who can’t see Robbie Ross as TRFC’s Rudy Reuttiger?
Adrian Beltre: What the all-star third baseman lacks in flat-out speed, he makes up for in tenacity and love of the game. And while he stands under six feet tall, he’s also built like a brick house. If you can’t see Beltre as a run-stopping linebacker, you may have to think back to his scare tactics in the ALCS, when he stopped Miguel Cabrera dead in his tracks.
Mitch Moreland: Moreland would probably fill the middle linebacker slot and captain the defense. Moreland has the size (6’2″, 240 lbs.) to play linebacker, and was a two-year letterman on his high school football team. This experience – and being the captain of his high school soccer team – would make him a leader on the defensive front.
Neftali Feliz: A pitcher playing linebacker seems like an odd choice, I know. But Feliz is one of the biggest bodies on the active roster. If you haven’t seen the man in person, you’ll have to trust me… the dude is thick. I would love to see Neftali put on some pads and hit somebody.
Of course, there is the possibility that this fictitious team runs a 4-2-5 defense and doesn’t need a third linebacker.
Luis Sardinas: Sardinas has been heralded by scouts – including WFAA’s own minor league beat writer Kate Morrison – for his defense. He’s an above-average hitter that plays stout defense, and that has “cornerback” written all over it. Cornerback is one of the toughest positions on the football field, and it takes a strong focus on lock-down defense to be successful. Sardinas has the defensive mentality and the speed to be a strong cover corner, and at 6-foot-1 he would not fall victim to severe height mismatches.
Elvis Andrus: Elvis would be the DeAngelo Hall to Sardinas’s Darrelle Revis, even though Andrus’s new beard more closely resembles the facial hair Revis sported last season. Andrus is the better hitter of the two. And, since it’s all I can do to equate hitting and hitting, Elvis has more of the make-up of a tackling cornerback. Andrus is fully equipped with the tangibles of the position – speed and defensive prowess – as well.
Leonys Martin: The third year Ranger has all the makings of a ball-hawking safety. Rarely does he mistime a ball in center field, and he has the anticipation to take the right angle on most plays. Martin, with his great speed and ball skills, would be a fantastic cover-2 safety for the Texas Rangers Football Club.
Engel Beltre: TRFC would have a strong secondary. Engel Beltre has a lot of the same qualities that Martin has in the outfield – excellent speed and good size (each stand at 6-foot-2) to compete for jump balls against bigger receivers. Beltre’s throwing arm is inferior to the cannon that Martin has, but luckily we’re talking about an imaginary football scouting report, and arm strength is trivial when it comes to a good safety.
Jurickson Profar: The former no. 1 overall prospect in all of baseball has gone on record saying that he may be better at soccer than he is at baseball. Profar was apparently somewhat of a wunderkind on the soccer pitch in his native Curacao. His soccer prowess could make him a great kicker in a league where the soccer-style kick has become the most prominent approach. Profar is also a great athlete, which would give this hypothetical football team a vast arsenal of trick plays run for the kicker. Maybe he could recover his own onside kicks…
So there are certainly – to put it nicely, “areas of need” for the Texas Rangers Football Club. I’m not sure how much Ron Washington knows about football, but he would have his hands full drawing up a scheme.
Hey, the Cowboys have about five surplus coordinators they could send across the parking lot to help out! (Ba-dum, chhhh)
Anyway, the TRFC probably wouldn’t be celebrating any Super Bowls any time soon… But that’s a moot point, because the Rangers are probably more focused on winning a ring in the sport they actually play.