What if the stars of the New England Patriots’ prolific offense were playing...on defense?
What position would Rob Gronkowski play? Tom Brady?
Strange thought, I know.
The Patriots' OTAs are still a week away, so while we’ve survived the bulk of the slowest part of the NFL offseason (if there is such a thing), we still need to think of creative ways to satisfy our football-hungry minds.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at this fantasy scenario.
At 6’6’’, 265 lbs, Rob Gronkowski has the length and size of a prototypical defensive end.
Gronk is quick, powerful and has long arms (34 ¼ inch per NFL.com), so while it’s hard to imagine Gronk sticking his hand in the dirt and rushing the passer, that is exactly what he’d do if he were on the other side of the ball.
His physique actually closely resembles that of fellow Patriot Chandler Jones (6’5’’, 260 lbs), who is a promising talent at defensive end.
Ideal Defensive Position: 4-3 Defensive End
Next Best: 3-4 Outside Linebacker
Aaron Hernandez has the ideal height for a defensive back at 6’1’’, but at 245 lbs, it seems strong safety would be the best fit, since he could utilize his size as more of an in-the-box defender.
He shiftiness would also lend to his ability to fight through traffic to make tackles.
He doesn’t have elite speed, so free safety might be too much to ask of him.
Ideal Defensive Position: Strong Safety
Next Best: Inside Linebacker
This trench warrior on offense would remain a trench warrior on defense.
Given his size (6’4’’, 310 lbs), I don’t think there is any question that Mankins would have to be an interior lineman on defense. Whether that is a defensive tackle in a 4-3 or a defensive end in a 3-4 is up for debate.
Given his “farmer strength” as Haloti Ngata likes to call it (per NFL.com), it seems that Mankins would be able to push the pocket and clog up running lanes.
Essentially, he'd be asked to play the role of the guys that he has been blocking his entire career.
Ideal Defensive Position: 4-3 Defensive tackle
Next Best: 3-4 Defensive End
Let’s face it, the only athletic part on No. 12 body is his right arm.
Even though this article is as fantasy as it gets, I’m not going to try to sell the idea that Tom Brady could ever play on an NFL defense (sorry, Tom).
That being said, this connoisseur of NFL defenses would make one heck of a defensive coordinator.
Who better to call the defensive plays than the guy who has been dissecting and conquering NFL defenses for over a decade?
If there’s anyone who knows what makes an NFL defense a good NFL defense, it’s Brady.
Ideal Defensive Position: Defensive Coordinator
Next Best: That’s all I got!