In the spirit of last night's awful Super Bowl between the victorious Seattle Seahawks and the impressively bad Denver Broncos, here are some Pittsburgh Pirates who could transition seamlessly to the pro ranks of the NFL.
Andrew McCutchen, WR
First, we've got last year's NL MVP in McCutchen, who likely could star in any sport. Had he decided to stick with football instead of baseball during his high school days, there's no reason why he couldn't have developed into a top of the line slot receiver. McCutchen's speed would be his biggest weapon on the outside, and his ability to track down balls in center field would translate to his ability to pull in the deep ball. Standing at 5'10, 190, McCutchen measures up similarly to many of the defensive backs he would be lining up against. Lets be real, who couldn't envision Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger chucking passes 40 yards for Cutch to track down?
Starling Marte, WR
Similarly to McCutchen, Marte would make a great receiver if he were to transition to the NFL. Marte possesses the same great speed and ball-tracking abilities as McCutchen while standing three inches taller at 6'1. However, weighing in at 185, Marte would be subject to some brutal hits from safeties over the middle on his rather skinny body. Marte would be a good red-zone weapon, as his height and leaping ability could help numerous teams in the end zone.
Russell Martin, RB
The Canadian catcher, standing at 5'10 and 215, is built like a change of pace or specialist running back. Martin has very good legs for a catcher, as evident by his 89 career stolen bases, and he is always running downhill on the bases. Constantly used to being in the crouched position, Martin would be a natural at winning the battle of the center of gravity with defenders, and would be very capable of pushing the pile forward. He would also be a valuable weapon in the screen passing game, as he is already accustomed to receiving passes from a short distance away — the pitching mound.
Pedro Alvarez, OLB
"El Toro" just sounds as if it would be an epic nickname on the gridiron. Standing at 6'3 and 235, Alvarez could transition his power hitting game into, well, a power-hitting game at the NFL level. One could imagine the bull charging towards an opponents backfield from the outside linebacker position in a 3-4 defense, much like the Steelers run. Whether or not he could hang with some of the better offensive lineman in the game is a question that we will never know the answer to, but the idea of Alvarez laying out a quarterback or running back in the open is entertaining to say the least.
Neil Walker, TE
The former standout football and baseball player from Pine-Richland High School outside of Pittsburgh, the 6'3, 210 pound Walker would be undersized as a tight end in the NFL, but has the frame to add on the additional weight necessary for the NFL. As a pass-catching specialist at the position, Walker could see his skills utilized in the red zone and other short yardage situations where a tall receiver is needed.
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