Julian Edelman and 10 NFL Players Who Can Line Up Anywhere
Chuck Bednarik is considered the last of a breed—the "Sixty Minute Men." Bednarik played both center and linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The NFL has evolved considerably since Bednarik's time, becoming highly specialized. With both offensive and defensive minds developing complex schemes, it is nearly impossible for one player to be able to do it all.
That being said, however, there are players in the NFL who possess the athleticism and the football acumen to be able to line up on either side of the ball and make a significant impact.
Over the last few weeks, Julian Edelman has developed into one of those players, adding defense to his already diverse repertoire, which includes wide receiver and punt returner.
Although it is highly unlikely that Edelman's play will spark a league-wide trend to put a player on both sides of the ball, the thought of seeing various NFL stars lining up at different positions is intriguing.
Without a doubt, Troy Polamalu could line up anywhere on both sides of the ball and have an impact.
On defense, Polamalu can be found everywhere, whether it be covering a receiver in the slot or exploding through the middle of the line to disrupt a play.
His explosiveness would easily translate to offense, where, as a running back, he could hit a hole instantaneously or annihilate a blitzing linebacker.
At the NFL Combine in 2002, Dwight Freeney ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds. This is considered respectable for a defensive back. For a defensive lineman, it's unheard of.
Seeing Freeney cover Rob Gronkowski or, better yet, Wes Welker would not only be entertaining, but would also provide us with an idea of how Freeney's quickness would fare in the open field.
With the Indianapolis Colts suffering on offense, having Freeney line up as a slot receiver might be something for the Colts to consider. At this point, it couldn't hurt.
We know that Tim Tebow can play running back; we're just waiting to see if he can play quarterback, too.
Regardless of what you think about the guy, Tebow has heart. His size (6'3", 235 lbs) and toughness would translate well as a linebacker or strong safety.
I love Larry Fitzgerald. He is one of the good guys in the NFL.
His size (6'3", 225 lbs), great body control and strong work ethic means that he could play various positions in the NFL, most likely outside linebacker or strong safety.
Anquan Boldin—Fitzgerald's former teammate—is another player who could play anywhere on the field.
Boldin is tough. He continued playing in 2008 after suffering multiple fractures to his face that required seven plates and 40 titanium screws.
That type of toughness means that Boldin could convert to strong safety, where he could dish out the punishment instead of absorbing it.
Calling DeMarcus Ware an amazing athlete is a bit of understatement, like describing Mount Kilimanjaro as a large hill in Tanzania.
Ware can do it all and has done it all throughout his life, competing in basketball, baseball and track as well as football.
As a tight end, his sub-4.6 40 time and size (6'4", 260 lbs.) would make him a nightmare for a linebacker or safety to cover.
If Ndamukong Suh can keep his temper under control, he has the potential to be one of the greatest defensive linemen in NFL history.
His quickness and strength would make him an excellent offensive lineman.
And as a 307-pound running back with a 35-inch vertical leap, Suh would cause grown men to soil themselves as he dove over a goal-line pile.
Sure, this one is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but at 250 pounds, Janikowski is a couple of meat lover's pizzas away from making weight as a nose tackle.
Matt Forte has shown that he can do it all on the offensive side of the ball, but he would be a superb player on the defensive side, too.
Forte has the ideal size (6'2", 218 lbs) to play safety. Although he doesn't have exceptional speed, he is quick and has great body strength.
This would serve him well playing bump-and-run coverage on a slot receiver or tight end as well as benefiting him in run support.
Guys like Jimmy Graham amaze me. He is huge (6'6", 260 lbs), yet is as quick and athletic as a cat.
With his explosiveness and height, Graham would make an intimidating pass-rushing defensive end.