Tight ends with college basketball experience are all the rage in the NFL. Tony Gonzalez was the pioneer who, after last season, retired as the all-time leader in virtually every receiving category among tight ends. His legacy extends to elites such as Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas.
The latest to make the leap from the hardwood to the gridiron is former Miami (Fla.) hoopster Erik Swoope, who declared for the NFL draft earlier this month. While the Giants and Jets are both in the market for a tight end, at this point Swoope doesn't appear to be on their radar.
Just for fun, amNewYork decided to take a look at the current landscape of NBA players and ID a few who might have made great tight ends if they chose football over basketball. In the spirit of originality, LeBron James was left out -- enough people have made the case for him before.
Adrien's 6-foot-7, 245-pound frame is perfect for an athletic receiving tight end in today's NFL. On top of that, Adrien has one of the best rebounding rates in the NBA (11.5 per 36 minutes). That ability to box out and grab the basketball against defenders could turn him into an ideal red-zone threat for any NFL team.
At 6-foot-8 and 235 pounds, Melo would be one of the tallest tight ends in the NFL. His agility would be his greatest asset on the gridiron, and he would be a matchup nightmare for any linebacker or cornerback. Elite athleticism such as his often translates well from sport to sport. The issues for Melo would seem to be conditioning and whether his body could deal with football injuries.
Green, at 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, actually dipped his toes into football while he was attending Michigan State, lining up at tight end during a scrimmage three years ago. His sturdy build looks as if it would translate well to football. He could probably add weight to become even more of a physical presence.
The 6-foot-7, 230-pound Leonard played wide receiver until the beginning of high school. "I hated putting on pads," the Spurs swingman told mysanan tonio.com earlier this season. "I was good. I probably could have gone to the NFL. I just hated practice." If not for that, he could have put his outrageously large hands and impressive wingspan to use at a Pro Bowl level, for sure.