Since it’s the NFL offseason, Eagles talk has slowed down a bit, so we thought it would be fun to create an interesting, yet totally hypothetical/tongue-in-cheek opinion piece that fans can debate until the Eagles start training camp.
One conversation that pops up every now and then is how top athletes from one sport, would fare in another. What about when it comes to just the Philadelphia sports teams? There are few athletes in Philadelphia who have that “it factor.” Over the years we’ve seen their coaches and teammates sing their praises for dedication, leadership, and teamwork.
With their work ethic, determination, and commitment to their respective sports, it is believed (although rarely) that certain athletes could thrive in other sports besides their own. In reality, we know this list is a bit of a stretch, but for the sake of some fun Philly sports debate, humor me!
Let’s look at 6 Philadelphia athletes who could thrive in Eagles green, given the opportunity.
Chase Utley: Quarterback
Chase Utley would make a perfect Eagles signal-caller. During his prime, the six-time all-star and World Series champion measured 6’1″ and weighed around 200 pounds.
Although this is slightly below the average size for an NFL quarterback, Utley would be capable to take on the task of being an Eagles Quarterback with his speed and accuracy. He would be able to shed tackles and show incredible vision downfield, and his studious nature of the game would aid him in reading defenses.
His gold glove defense would translate amazingly to the protection of the football, and would also aid with a quick release on his passes. Most importantly, Utley’s stoic and cool demeanor would be impossible for defenders to read under center.
He’d be the perfect type to shake off an interception and bounce back in the following series. His love for fitness, natural leadership, and constant desire to improve are wonderful qualities for a quarterback to have, at any level.
He’s “the man” he can do anything!
Joel Embiid: Linebacker
Yes, Joel Embiid is 7 feet tall and weighs 280 pounds. Weight-wise, he has the linebacker build down. The three-time member of the all-defensive team in the NBA would fit perfectly in a “mike” linebacker role in a 3-4 defense, calling out the plays.
In this situation his height would be an asset, allowing him to survey the field. His long arms would make for great reach and high tackling numbers. With the size advantage, he’d wreak havoc on any ball carrier and be a dominant force in the gaps.
Embiid’s soccer background displayed his ability to defend and to move quickly and laterally. Lateral movement is a valued skill of the best Eagles linebackers all-time, to defend the sideline to sideline. The Mike linebacker has fire, is a leader, has passion, and shows no mercy on opposing ball carriers.
These things describe Joel Embiid to a tee. I’d be willing to bet he’d enjoy tackling as much as dunking on players.
Allen Iverson: Running Back & Special Teams
Did you know Allen Iverson played running back in high school? Football was his first love. He returned kickoffs and punts too and acknowledges he would have been a great football player had he not switched sports.
At 6 feet tall, he falls at a standard height for an NFL running back. He’d be a bit undersized weight-wise at 165 pounds, but he’d make up for it in speed. Based on his skill set, he’d make a great running back and special teams threat with his ability to shed off defenders.
Speed combined with the famous Allen Iverson crossover would aid well in running through gaps and breaking away for big gains as an Eagles Running Back. One could argue his smaller weight would be an asset, as defenders would have a harder time taking him down.
Close your eyes, and imagine AI breaking a big run for a touchdown, then gesturing towards the crowd with his hand by his ear. Magic.
Bobby Clarke: Wide Receiver
Flyers center Bobby Clarke is a legend and Philadelphia sports personified. The Stanley Cup champion, all-star, and collector of multiple trophies was known for his toughness and stern leadership approach.
With 1,210 points in 1,144 career games and three MVP awards, Clarke could have been described as an offensive powerhouse. With his vision and play-making skills, he’d make a great Eagles wide receiver. He’d be able to see the field as well as he did the ice.
With defensive skills and competitive nature, he’d be the wide receiver jawing with cornerbacks, and even defending poorly thrown passes by his quarterback from said cornerbacks. He’d be the wide receiver taunting defensive backs after big gains and touchdowns, probably costing the Eagles a penalty or two, but it would be worth it.
Other teams would hate him, but he’d be respected.
Ryan Howard: Defensive End
At 6’4″ and 250 lbs, the big piece would make a great Eagles defensive end. Weight-wise he’d be on the smaller side, but this would aid in his pass-rushing ability.
The former national league’s most valuable player and 3-time all-star always displayed incredible power at the plate and showed athleticism defending the first base. Howard would be fresh in rotations and shed blockers to get to the quarterback with ease with said power.
Remember when we witnessed Ryan Howard tackling Brad Lidge and Carlos Ruiz in the 2008 World Series? What quarterback or running back would want that?
Chris Pronger: Strong Safety
Taking a hit from Chris Pronger would be absolutely terrifying. He was known for his dominance and intimidating nature, and at 6’6″ and 220 pounds, he’d make a wonderful strong safety on the Eagles.
The well-decorated all-star had size, and speed, and made offensive and defensive plays all over the ice. With his athleticism, he’d be able to defend the run, cover receivers, and make plays on the ball.
With the hits Pronger has laid on many NHL players, he’d be able to deliver hits and tackles in the trenches. He’d be the tallest defensive back on the field and would be close to the line as a strong safety, thus seeing and plugging the gaps.
He’d be able to wrap up and pull down running backs with minimal effort with his power. Chris Pronger would instill fear in opposing offenses.
- Do you AGREE or DISAGREE with my list & who would you have on your list?
Tell us which Philadelphia athletes YOU think would make great Eagles players right now on in the comment section of this Twitter post: