Building An NFL Defense With NBA Stars
Continuing from yesterday’s piece about creating an NFL offense out of NBA players, let's see what we can do on the defensive side of the ball.
Defensive Ends: Serge Ibaka and Dwight Howard -
To clarify, Ibaka would line up at right defensive end, with Howard on the left. Both players have huge wingspans that would interfere with opposing quarterbacks’ passing lanes and Ibaka’s athleticism would give quarterbacks nightmares about getting crushed on their blind side. Howard’s strength will allow him to clog up running lanes against right tackles, who are typically more mauling, run blockers. His athleticism will allow him to get some pressure on quarterbacks too.
Defensive Tackles: DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond -
Having these two up the middle would be a nightmare for opposing offensive lines. Each has exceptional strength to defend against the run and shed blocks from guards and centers. They’re also athletic enough to provide a solid pass rush. Cousins has that mean streak necessary for an interior lineman and brings some swagger to the front four.
Right Outside Linebacker: Anthony Davis - Davis provides a long and athletic pass rusher from the quarterback’s blind side. His monstrous wingspan (7’4”) would allow him to disengage from blockers and also disrupt the quarterback’s vision down the field.
Middle Linebacker: Karl-Anthony Towns -
Towns is the guy who will lead the defense into the future when all the other players have moved on. His versatile play style would allow him to do anything from pass rush, run defense, or coverage. He might not be the most explosive athlete, but Towns will get the job done in the middle of the defense.
Left Outside Linebacker: Draymond Green - The newest craze in the NFL are these hybrid safety/linebackers who excel at multiple positions on defense, and there is no one more versatile than Green. Green would do whatever was needed for the team, drop back in the defensive backfield, rush the quarterback, be physical against the run, or even man up on tight ends or running backs. Green is the do-it-all guy every defense covets in the NFL.
Cornerbacks: Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler -
Both of these players are among the best wing defenders in the NBA and routinely matchup with the best offensive the opposition has to offer. Leonard is a complete lockdown, man-to-man guy who completely eliminates his side of the field. Butler (Klay Thompson football video aside) is a big, strong, and fast corner who could make life difficult for receivers who draw his assignment. Both players also have the ability to excel in zone coverage if the offense wants to throw short, quick passes.
Free Safety: Russell Westbrook - Every team wants to have ball hawk in their secondary and Westbrook fits the mold perfectly. He plays every play at 100 MPH, and any ball thrown over the middle will be either intercepted or swatted away. His superior athleticism would allow him to be the perfect deep safety and his passion would make him the vocal leader of the secondary.
Strong Safety: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist -
While Westbrook roams the middle of the field, MKG plays more of an enforcer role. Criminally overlooked in the NBA, Kidd-Gilchrist is an excellent defender and letting him play up in the box would allow him to showcase his defensive playmaking ability by blowing up runs in the backfield and matching up with slot receivers and tight ends.
Special Teams: Kick/Punt Returner- Kyrie Irving - Irving’s speed and quickness make him the ideal candidate for returning kicks. His elusiveness and shifty moves should allow him to bring more than his fair share of kicks for six.
Kicker/Punter: Draymond Green -
for obvious reasons