Top 20 Premier League Players and Their NFL Draft and Playing Positions
If the Premier League had an NFL-style draft before the 2013-14 season, who would be the No. 1 pick? Now, take that one step further and imagine those very same EPL stars were actual NFL players, what would their positions be?
Where would the predatory Player of the Year contenders Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie play? Would Gareth Bale be best used as a wide receiver or running back? Who would be the EPL's most creative and organizing players; in other words the quarterbacks? Is this where Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata slot in?
Here, Willie Gannon looks at 10 of the best players in the EPL in 2012-13 and determines where they would be in the draft and what position they would play.
What are your suggestions, and where do you think your favorite Premier League star would play?
Leave your comments, suggestions and defining players and positions in the comment section below!
How the NFL Draft Works
- Free-agent signings
- Trading their players for players from other teams
- Drafting college players who have declared themselves eligible for the NFL draft
For the uninitiated, the NFL draft in 2013 will provide three of the most exciting, analyzed and debated days in the NFL calendar.
It occurs every year during the NFL close season in April, a couple of months after the traditional last game of the season; the Super Bowl.
The basic idea of the draft is to even the league out and let the worst teams have the first choice at the best up and coming college stars who have progressed to the NFL level.
NFL teams can only develop their team rosters through three methods:
Premier League teams can use both methods one and two and obviously buy players from other clubs.
Let us imagine for a second that the Premier League is the entry section to the NFL.
Who would be the No. 1 most sought after player? And what position would he play in?
Read on to find out.
20: Wayne Rooney: Quarterback (Manchester United)
Wayne Rooney pulls all the strings at Manchester United as any quarterback should.
The England international is the most versatile front player in the Premier League and is capable of playing in a number of positions but he is best suited to the No. 10 role. There he can dictate United's frequent attacks and with him in the creative role they can beat anyone.
19: Dimitar Berbatov: Quarterback (Fulham)
Like Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov likes to drop off to receive the ball from his midfield before unleashing laser-like passes. This perhaps explains why he did not fit in at Old Trafford, but that's an argument for another day.
He is the chief creative and attacking player for Martin Jol at Fulham and causes havoc from anywhere in the final third.
The problem with Berbatov is that your defense had better be one of the best because when he is not on the ball he might as well not exist.
18: Mousa Dembele: Center (Tottenham Hotspur)
Mousa Dembele has been a revelation for Tottenham Hotspur, Belgium and, very briefly, Fulham this season.
The center-midfielder can do anything and everything one would ask of a player in his position. He can attack and destroy in equal measure and provides the foundations for all that is good about Spurs. Without him in midfield the likes of Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jan Vertonghen would be far less effective.
17: Demba Ba: Running Back (Chelsea)
Demba Ba's Premier League reputation is built upon taking the ball from deep and exposing the opposition's defense, just as any good running back would do.
The Chelsea star gives his team a variety of options because he is an incredibly adaptable striker. He can hold the ball up and bring players into the game, drop deep to expose space with penetrative runs and use his sheer strength to bully his opposite number.
16: Carlos Tevez: Running Back (Manchester City)
Carlos Tevez started off this season on fire and was terrorizing defenses for fun. Not only is he one of the strongest forwards in the league he is also one of the very best.
The little Argentinian is lethal in front of goal and has the speed to match his strength. Here he can either trick his way past a defender or just completely steamroll over him. If he were a running back he could play for any team and in any philosophy.
15: David Silva: Quarterback (Manchester City)
There can be no doubt that David Silva is the brain of Manchester City.
Silva organises and dictates the ebb and flow of every single City attack and organises the team from his position in attacking midfield. He has the vision and ability to open up any defence but needs to be protected because if he is nuetralised then so are City.
14: Patrice Evra: Defensive End (Manchester United)
In American football the defensive end plays at the end of the defensive line. One of their key functions is to stop offensive runs to the outer edges of the team's containment area.
In recent seasons there was no one better in the Premier League at this job than Patrice Evra. The French international made his reputation for being almost impossible to pass. This season his defensive contribution has been less than expected but his attacking contribution has more than filled that gap.
13: Rickie Lambert: Running Back (Southampton)
Rickie Lambert has been outstanding for Southampton on their return to the Premier League.
The 31-year-old Everyman has played his way into the Premier League after enjoying life in the lower reaches of English football since 1998.
Lambert is a very late bloomer and can do everything as a striker. He is deceptively quick and adds agility and power to his technical game. This combination makes him a very dangerous striker. If he were younger every single top EPL team would be chasing him.
12: Marouane Fellaini: Tight End (Everton)
Tight End's are hybrid players and fall somewhere between wide-receivers and offensive linemen.
Marouane Fellaini is probably the best example of a hybrid player in the Premier League as he can play equally well in midfield or as a striker. Usually he is deployed in a role where he can play both roles.
Fellaini is one of the tallest players in the Premier League at 6'5", and 7' if you count the Afro! He is lethal in the air and is the number one offensive target for his entire team.
11: Eden Hazard: Wide Receiver (Chelsea)
Eden Hazard has enjoyed a great first season at Chelsea. As a major part in the Belgian invasion of the Premier League, Hazard is best used as a wide attacking midfielder, or a wide receiver.
He is equally comfortable in the main creative role and in time he will progress to the central attacking midfield role. As a wide player he possesses incredible speed which can take him away from any defender. He also has great technique and is tactically intuitive.
The 22-year-old has a great future in the game if he continues to progress at this rate.
10: Juan Mata: Quarterback (Chelsea)
Eden Hazard may covet the quarterback role at Chelsea, but there can be no argument over Juan Mata's ownership of the role.
The Spanish international has been brilliant this season and is the heartbeat of the Chelsea team. If he plays then they play and with his superb vision, great technique and eye for goal the Blues have a formidable player.
One would think that Barcelona will be looking at the 24-year-old with great interest as Xavi Hernandez nears his 33rd year on the planet.
9: Leighton Baines: Offensive Tackle (Everton)
Leighton Baines makes Everton tick from his position in defense. The England international left-back has enjoyed a phenomenal season with the Toffees and provides their main attacking threat.
He is a consummate defender but can also contribute in attack where he regularly provides goals, assists and general chaos with his intelligent play.
Offensive tackles protect their creative players and are usually the most skilled defenders on the team. When you have a player who can fulfill this and the quarterback role at the same time you know you have someone special.
Baines is that special someone.
8: Steven Gerrard: Quarterback (Liverpool)
Think of the quarterback role and mention Liverpool in the same breath and the picture of Steven Gerrard will come to everyone's mind.
Now as we are coming towards the end of his career we can look back and fully appreciate what a special player we have seen. Gerrard will rightly go down as a Premier League great.
From either a deep-lying role in midfield or as an attacking midfielder, Gerrard has been Liverpool's quarterback since he made his debut in 1998.
7: Michu: Tight End (Swansea City)
Michu has been the transfer of the season. The Swansea City striker/midfielder has enjoyed a phenomenal debut season and has waded in with a superb 17 goals this term.
The Spaniard would be best used as a tight end where he could easily out-muscle defenders and use his amazing predatory instincts to great effect.
6: Christian Benteke: Running Back (Aston Villa)
Aston Villa's Christian Benteke has frightened the life out of defenders with his powerful running and deadly finishing in front of goal.
The 22-year-old Belgian international has bagged 19 goals for the Villains in his debut term in the Premier League. Once given the ball he is almost impossible to stop and takes off like a locomotive.
The youngster may just have kept Paul Lambert's team in the Premier League single handedly. He is now being talked about as a future star of the game and Villa will have to move mountains to hold onto him next season.
5: Jan Vertonghen: Offensive Tackle (Tottenham Hotspur)
Jan Vertonghen is another Belgian in another debut season.
Like his compatriots he has excelled.
Unlike his compatriots he has done all his best work at the other end of the pitch. Vertonghen is the most composed defender in the league at the moment and brings a silken touch that has benefitted Spurs greatly.
He is able to turn defense into attack at the slightest touch and protects his goal and more creative players jealously.
4: Robin Van Persie: Wide Receiver (Manchester United)
Robin van Persie is the best wide receiver in the Premier League today. The Manchester United hitman is on a barren stretch at the moment but his level of play has never wavered.
The Dutchman is superb off the ball and his intelligent movement is unmatched in EPL football. His strike rate is phenomenal with 82 goals in the last three seasons. If he is given half a chance he usually scores and if he doesn't he provides the opposition with enough headaches that room is made for his teammates elsewhere.
3: Santi Cazorla: Quarterback (Arsenal)
Santi Cazorla has been one of the most creative players in the Premier League this season. He has been the one shining beacon for Arsenal in a season that threatened to go south just a few weeks ago and is now leading their charge for a place in the top four.
The Spanish international comes from the same school of thought as David Silva and Juan Mata and these are the players he is most often compared to.
All three have phenomenal abilities but the maturity of Cazorla's play for the struggling Gunners puts him just slightly ahead of his fellow countrymen for now.
2: Luis Suarez: Quarterback (Liverpool)
Liverpool possess not just one quarterback, but two.
Luis Suarez has taken on Steven Gerrard's old role just behind the striker and has taken to it like a duck to water. The Uruguayan international has a great eye for a pass and backs this up with a great work ethic and an even greater eye for goal.
Like most modern quarterbacks, Suarez can score if he is given a gap to run through. This makes marking him and his targets an incredibly difficult job.
1: Gareth Bale: Running Back (Tottenham Hotspur)
The Premier League's most complete athlete comes in as the No. 1 Draft pick.
Gareth Bale has been unstoppable for Spurs this term and has made an almighty contribution to his teams challenge for a space in the top four. The Welshman started out life as a wide man and has now been converted inside as a central player.
Here, Andre Villas-Boas uses Bale's phenomenal power, athleticism and eye for goal to great effect. He is impossible to stop when he picks up the ball in deep positions and begins to run at defenders.
If they force him inside he is skillful enough to score from long-distance or create a chance for a teammate.
In short, Bale has enjoyed a mesmeric season.
And in truth, he could probably play any sport he is that good an athlete.