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Joe Bryant

Could LeBron James Have Been An NFL TE?

LeBron James as an NFL TE would be...  

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The "Could LeBron James Be A Star NFL Tight End?" stuff seems like "Could LSU beat the Cincinnati Bengals?" What do you think? Finish this sentence. LeBron James as an NFL TE would be...

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He probably made the correct choice going with basketball. I have always wondered how many dual sport athletes made the wrong choice though, where they would have been a star if they went with sport A, but they went with B and were a forgettable mediocre to below average player. 

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. . . similar to Antonio Gates? Gates only played basketball in college and things turned out pretty well. Like Gates, James played football in high school. I think that would be a good comp. 

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1 minute ago, huthut said:

He probably made the correct choice going with basketball. I have always wondered how many dual sport athletes made the wrong choice though, where they would have been a star if they went with sport A, but they went with B and were a forgettable mediocre to below average player. 

hahaha... ya think???

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LeBron could flat play in the NFL if he wanted with his athleticism and brawn. Sure. He's that exceptional of an athlete with what they ask modern tight ends to do that he could have done it. There are surely much smaller, undersized TEs compared to him. If anything, he might be too big or too tall in comparison to the NFL waterbugs that surrounded him on a daily basis. 

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He would have been phenomenal as a pass catching TE, pretty much unguardable. 

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🙄 Athletes on par with James have tried and failed. I can’t recall a 6’9 TE that’s succeeded in the NFL. Silly hypothetical and even more silly that people think it’s automatic he would be a successful NFL player. It’s a sport that mostly demands years of time to achieve perfection. Brock Lesner, Christian Wade, James Jett, Jarryd Hayne, Jeff Demps, Nate Ebner.... to just pull Antonio Gates out is preposterous. 

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Follow up... the best season from a TE>80 inches since the merger was 454 recieving yards. You guys are silly.

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I suspect votes will go along the lines of how much the voter likes him. 
Captain obvious says, no way to tell. 

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1 minute ago, Iceman03 said:

🙄 Athletes on par with James have tried and failed.

Some would say there are no athletes on par with James. Pretty special athlete in terms of his height/strength/explosiveness combo.

He always looked goofy to me in his HS football clips, but the guy is maybe the best athlete on the planet. I wouldn't bet against him.

Moot point to a large extent. Money/exposure/longevity/lifestyle are all much better in the NBA. If you have a choice between the two sports, you have to pick basketball.

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Depends how long he's been training.

Are we talking about LeBron training his whole life for the NFL, 

or LeBron trying to quickly switch sports like MJ?

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39 minutes ago, IHEARTFF said:

Too tall to catch touchdown passes

Fine... his BMI currently is 26.8 at 250lbs... the best recieving total at that size from 1990 is Evan Moore at 324 yds. If I bump him up to 265 and about 28.5 BMI the best player is Wesley Walls. How much athleticism is lost getting his body composition up to football par of a Jimmy Graham (6’7 265, 29.9BMI) or Antonio Gates (6’4 255, 31 BMI)? Unless he dedicated his career to football he stood little chance of coming over from the NBA and surviving. Even if he had, I have serious doubts he would have been anything more than an average player. 

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22 minutes ago, Iceman03 said:

Fine... his BMI currently is 26.8 at 250lbs... the best recieving total at that size from 1990 is Evan Moore at 324 yds. If I bump him up to 265 and about 28.5 BMI the best player is Wesley Walls. How much athleticism is lost getting his body composition up to football par of a Jimmy Graham (6’7 265, 29.9BMI) or Antonio Gates (6’4 255, 31 BMI)? Unless he dedicated his career to football he stood little chance of coming over from the NBA and surviving. Even if he had, I have serious doubts he would have been anything more than an average player. 

All this tells me is that not a lot of guys are  James’ height. Since there is no definition as to how or when he would become an NFL TE, I suggested him starting at college age like Gates did. James played very well as a WR in high school. If he went to college and played TE and then went to the NFL, I think he would have done fine. If it was 10 years in the NBA first, then probably not so much. 

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2 hours ago, Joe Bryant said:

The "Could LeBron James Be A Star NFL Tight End?" stuff seems like "Could LSU beat the Cincinnati Bengals?" What do you think? Finish this sentence. LeBron James as an NFL TE would be...

...about like Rob Gronkowski trying to play in the NBA.

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3 minutes ago, Anarchy99 said:

All this tells me is that not a lot of guys are  James’ height. Since there is no definition as to how or when he would become an NFL TE, I suggested him starting at college age like Gates did. James played very well as a WR in high school. If he went to college and played TE and then went to the NFL, I think he would have done fine. If it was 10 years in the NBA first, then probably not so much. 

You and all the people advocating his eliteness completely ignore the size issue. It is a deal. I think, the very, very best comp he could get if his athleticism was all world, would be Mike Gesicki who I’ve had respectable people tell me flat out sucks. 

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He would have had a much better chance of success at WR imo......

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James is an elite athlete.  He has tremendous hands, agility, size, vision, and work ethic.  If he decided to go football over basketball he would be an unstoppable pass catching TE.  

 

Basketball has never seen anyone like him and neither has the NFL.  Trying to say he wouldn't be able to excel in the NFL because other players of similar size weren't exceptional is flawed.  He is one of a kind.  There is nobody to compare him with.

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Posted (edited)

If you are an elite athlete at 6'8" or taller, there's a pretty good chance that you can make more money and have a longer career playing basketball than you could playing football. People like Tony Gonzalez, Julius Peppers, Jimmy Graham, and Antonio Gates had to choose football because they were not good enough to play in the NBA at their relatively low height. Then consider some of the actual elite 6'7"-6'8" athletes that ARE good enough to play basketball in the NBA like David West, Serge Ibaka, Aaron Gordon, Blake Griffin, etc. I have to believe some of those guys could have been really good football players if the incentive were there for them, but it isn't. Why destroy your body playing football for a few years when you can play 10+ years of hoops in the NBA and make a lot more money?

This is where the "there's never been an elite TE over X height" argument falls apart for me. All the guys who have the potential to do it are probably in the NBA. The only reason we ever got Jimmy Graham, Gates, Gonzo, etc. is because they weren't good enough basketball prospects to make it in that sport.

Edited by EBF
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2 minutes ago, Iceman03 said:

You and all the people advocating his eliteness completely ignore the size issue. It is a deal. I think, the very, very best comp he could get if his athleticism was all world, would be Mike Gesicki who I’ve had respectable people tell me flat out sucks. 

there is no "if".  James has "all world" athleticism.  I don't believe that is debatable.  

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7 minutes ago, Gally said:

there is no "if".  James has "all world" athleticism.  I don't believe that is debatable.  

Does he at 265 - 270lbs? 

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Yes a superstar TE, WR and quite possibly could have easily been a fearsome 4-3 end.

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Just now, Iceman03 said:

Does he at 265 - 270lbs? 

Yes

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1 minute ago, menobrown said:

Yes a superstar TE, WR and quite possibly could have easily been a fearsome 4-3 end.

To make sure I understand - you’re saying Lebron James would have been a superstar TE and good defensive end?

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Brock Lesnar won a D1 national championship and transitioned to dominating MMA at 30 years old but couldn’t crack an NFL practice squad. Ya... anyone who is a superstar can just do it. 🙄🙄🙄 I’m out of here. The people arguing his superiority in hypothetical land have nothing to back it up. He’s not similar physically to Jimmy Graham or Antonio Gates... he is a complete physical outlier and would have to completely change his body composition to play in the NFL. 

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Just now, Iceman03 said:

Brock Lesnar won a D1 national championship and transitioned to dominating MMA at 30 years old but couldn’t crack an NFL practice squad. Ya... anyone who is a superstar can just do it. 🙄🙄🙄 I’m out of here. The people arguing his superiority in hypothetical land have nothing to back it up. He’s not similar physically to Jimmy Graham or Antonio Gates... he is a complete physical outlier and would have to completely change his body composition to play in the NFL. 

You can discuss it and have an opinion without having to be “out of here“.

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1 hour ago, Iceman03 said:

🙄 Athletes on par with James have tried and failed. I can’t recall a 6’9 TE that’s succeeded in the NFL. Silly hypothetical and even more silly that people think it’s automatic he would be a successful NFL player. It’s a sport that mostly demands years of time to achieve perfection. Brock Lesner, Christian Wade, James Jett, Jarryd Hayne, Jeff Demps, Nate Ebner.... to just pull Antonio Gates out is preposterous. 

I don’t think James could’ve made it either. But the Antonio Gates comparison is completely fair. The elite athlete who never played in college and was not just good but Hall of Fame in the NFL is absolutely something to consider.

I personally just don’t think James has the mental make up to succeed in football. It takes a special mentality to be able to deal with the physicality.

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2 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

You can discuss it and have an opinion without having to be “out of here“.

ok

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5 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

To make sure I understand - you’re saying Lebron James would have been a superstar TE and good defensive end?

Well I phrase it was superstar TE OR superstar defensive end, not both.

But yes I believe he could have one of those things if he was inclined.

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2 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

I don’t think James could’ve made it either. But the Antonio Gates comparison is completely fair. The elite athlete who never played in college and was not just good but Hall of Fame in the NFL is absolutely something to consider.

I personally just don’t think James has the mental make up to succeed in football. It takes a special mentality to be able to deal with the physicality.

I just think it’s ludicrous to give him a hall pass to NFL greatness. The list of players I mentioned earlier were some at the top of their sport in wrestling, sprinting and rugby. Just because they don’t get the press that the NBA does doesn’t subtract from their athletic legitimacy and dominance in their own respective sport. No way does anyone, including Lebron James, show up to an NFL team undersized and with limited experience and excel automatically. Especially the suggestion of HOF. 

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1 minute ago, Iceman03 said:

I just think it’s ludicrous to give him a hall pass to NFL greatness. The list of players I mentioned earlier were some at the top of their sport in wrestling, sprinting and rugby. Just because they don’t get the press that the NBA does doesn’t subtract from their athletic legitimacy and dominance in their own respective sport. No way does anyone, including Lebron James, show up to an NFL team undersized and with limited experience and excel automatically. Especially the suggestion of HOF. 

I’m talking about Antonio Gates for the Hall of Fame.

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, EBF said:

If you are an elite athlete at 6'8" or taller, there's a pretty good chance that you can make more money and have a longer career playing basketball than you could playing football. People like Tony Gonzalez, Julius Peppers, Jimmy Graham, and Antonio Gates had to choose football because they were not good enough to play in the NBA at their relatively low height. Then consider some of the actual elite 6'7"-6'8" athletes that ARE good enough to play basketball in the NBA like David West, Serge Ibaka, Aaron Gordon, Blake Griffin, etc. I have to believe some of those guys could have been really good football players if the incentive were there for them, but it isn't. Why destroy your body playing football for a few years when you can play 10+ years of hoops in the NBA and make a lot more money?

This is where the "there's never been an elite TE over X height" argument falls apart for me. All the guys who have the potential to do it are probably in the NBA. The only reason we ever got Jimmy Graham, Gates, Gonzo, etc. is because they weren't good enough basketball prospects to make it in that sport.

I think it's silly to believe that 16 year olds choose basketball over football or vice versa because they think it's a better business decision and better on their body.

Those guys chose basketball because they were better at it and/or they liked it more.

We've seen multiple guys that were good enough at both football and baseball to make millions playing either and both of them (Murray and Bo) chose to play football in some capacity (and Bo at the most dangerous position, to boot) over a far less dangerous sport than even basketball.  And these guys were 21+ when making the decision with the money from the other option actually staring them in the face.  To think 16 year olds who may or may not ever make it in one of the sports are taking the other off the table to protect their body is a pretty massive leap imo.

Edited by FreeBaGeL

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Posted (edited)

...a great NFL TE.
 

Easily. Powerful, clearly has the stamina. 

His prowess in flopping wouldn’t really come in handy, but otherwise yeah, I could see Bron as a TE in the NFL. 

Bonus, he’s got the whole “complaining to the refs” thing down, and he’d never get called for traveling (oh, wait. He doesn’t now https://youtu.be/o6AcGoc1E4w )

Edited by Hot Sauce Guy

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How in the heck is LeBron undersized? You can't go strictly by BMI of his listed height and weight, as if it were the be-all end-all of athletic success variables. He's at least 250. That's listed. Take a look at him. He looks more like two-eighty. He's huge.

 

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13 minutes ago, menobrown said:

Well I phrase it was superstar TE OR superstar defensive end, not both.

But yes I believe he could have one of those things if he was inclined.

I agree 100%

especially when you consider what makes a pro athlete great in almost any sport:

• physical ability (check)

• drive / passion to achieve their dreams (check)

LeBron checks both of those boxes. If he put his mind to it & wanted to play in the NFL as either a TE or LB/DL, I think he’d excel at either. Likely a better TE. 

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We don't even know how his body would be taking hits.  He's so tall that guys could hit him mid hair when he goes to catch a pass and who knows how he would take that.  He would be the 3rd tallest player in NFL history at ANY position.  I think there's a reason super tall guys like this aren't in the league. 

I voted average to good but the more I think of it, I think he would make it but not be dominant at all.. maybe just average.

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Just now, rockaction said:

How in the heck is LeBron undersized? You can't go strictly by BMI of his listed height and weight, as if it were the be-all end-all of athletic success variables. He's at least 250. That's listed. Take a look at him. He looks more like two-eighty. He's huge.

 

Also stands to reason if he were an NFL player he’d bulk up differently.

people so often underestimate NBA endurance. These guys are running (average) like 2 miles a game. A player like James who’s on the court for so many minutes closer to 3+

gotta assume that keeps some weight off. 

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Just now, Deamon said:

We don't even know how his body would be taking hits.  He's so tall that guys could hit him mid hair when he goes to catch a pass and who knows how he would take that.  He would be the 3rd tallest player in NFL history at ANY position.  I think there's a reason super tall guys like this aren't in the league. 

I voted average to good but the more I think of it, I think he would make it but not be dominant at all.. maybe just average.

I was concerned he'd be like Ed "Too Tall" Jones, too, but I'm willing to overlook a bit in favor of the fact that he's an athletic freak that can run point at 6'9" in the NBA if he wants to. 

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, Hot Sauce Guy said:

Also stands to reason if he were an NFL player he’d bulk up differently.

people so often underestimate NBA endurance. These guys are running (average) like 2 miles a game. A player like James who’s on the court for so many minutes closer to 3+

gotta assume that keeps some weight off. 

My argument is a bit out there. I think that if he had trained for a full calendar year, he could play. Maybe not anymore. But in his prime he could have. 

Edited by rockaction
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4 minutes ago, rockaction said:

How in the heck is LeBron undersized? You can't go strictly by BMI of his listed height and weight, as if it were the be-all end-all of athletic success variables. He's at least 250. That's listed. Take a look at him. He looks more like two-eighty. He's huge.

 

He is far from huge, especially talking about NFL TE. It’s one of, if not, the most brutal position on the field. His body composition is closest, as stated previously, to Mike Gesicki. Who people have explicitly called small for a TE and someone who does not play inline. What you are doing is the hall pass argument I’m talking about. 

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1 minute ago, rockaction said:

I was concerned he'd be like Ed "Too Tall" Jones, too, but I'm willing to overlook a bit in favor of the fact that he's an athletic freak that can run point at 6'9" in the NBA if he wants to. 

Ya I do still think he would make it.  But again, we don't know how he'd be if he took hits.  Maybe he'd be one of those guys who got knocked around pretty easily, or took a bone crushing hit and didn't get up from it.  We have NO idea how 'tough' Lebron's body is.  Basketball tough an Football tough are very different things.  I think there's close to a 50% chance that his body/pain tolerance/personal feelings on getting hit so much/etc would not withstand an NFL season.

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1 minute ago, Deamon said:

We don't even know how his body would be taking hits. 
 

not like basketball isn’t a contact sport. And hitting the hardwood is less forgiving than hitting a person, but it’s true. He’s not getting tackled. 

1 minute ago, Deamon said:

He's so tall that guys could hit him mid hair 

I mean, his hairline is receding quite a bit, but 

:lol: 

1 minute ago, Deamon said:

when he goes to catch a pass and who knows how he would take that.  He would be the 3rd tallest player in NFL history at ANY position.  I think there's a reason super tall guys like this aren't in the league. 

I voted average to good but the more I think of it, I think he would make it but not be dominant at all.. maybe just average.

I think some of that is more “tall guys play basketball”, but of course you could be right. Didn’t seem to hurt Gates too much. 

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1 minute ago, Iceman03 said:

He is far from huge, especially talking about NFL TE. It’s one of, if not, the most brutal position on the field. His body composition is closest, as stated previously, to Mike Gesicki. Who people have explicitly called small for a TE and someone who does not play inline. What you are doing is the hall pass argument I’m talking about. 

We're talking about a sporting position that people have walked right off the basketball court and on to. Numerous times. It's hardly a novel hall pass or speculation to give as random chance. Dude is beyond a world, world-class athlete. He might be the best athlete America has produced in twenty years. It's not like stepping off the football field and on to the track, it's a transition that takes slight bulk and a little mental acuity to pull off. 

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3 minutes ago, Deamon said:

We don't even know how his body would be taking hits.  He's so tall that guys could hit him mid hair when he goes to catch a pass and who knows how he would take that. 

Sure we don't know but I'm willing to give him benefit of the doubt because he's like a cyborg. We all know the NBA is not as physical as NFL and not as physical as the NBA used to be I'm a 76'ers fan and can tell you players miss a ton of games. Lebron in 17 years has had one injury I believe that has kept him out longer then a few games and it was a groin. I'm willing to give him a lot of benefit of doubt with regards to durability myself.

 

 

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Antonio Gates was listed as 6’4, 255 and obviously finished his career a shade under Jabba the Hut

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Just now, Hot Sauce Guy said:

not like basketball isn’t a contact sport. And hitting the hardwood is less forgiving than hitting a person, but it’s true. He’s not getting tackled. 

I mean, his hairline is receding quite a bit, but 

:lol: 

I think some of that is more “tall guys play basketball”, but of course you could be right. Didn’t seem to hurt Gates too much. 

This is probably true, given he was so tall as a kid, basketball would have made a lot more sense.

In terms of contact, football is way different.  Being jammed at the line and taking hits would be a lot different than hitting the hardwood.  How do we even know how much  contact Lebron would be comfortable with?  

His body would have to change a bit I think.  I have no idea what I'm talking about here, but he just seems totally lean and ripped and might have to put on a tiny bit more 'bulk' to absorb hits.  MJ mentioned how different a baseball body and basketball body are, so I'm assuming there's some differences in basketball and football bodies.  Not saying he couldn't do it, but I don't think he could just walk into the NFL without doing some work on his shape.

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1 minute ago, rockaction said:

We're talking about a sporting position that people have walked right off the basketball court and on to. Numerous times. It's hardly a novel hall pass or speculation to give as random chance. Dude is beyond a world, world-class athlete. He might be the best athlete America has produced in twenty years. It's not like stepping off the football field and on to the track, it's a transition that takes slight bulk and a little mental acuity to pull off. 

Hmm... agree to disagree on that one. Definitely not arguing against Lebron’a greatness as an athlete or basketball player. I just don’t think it’s anywhere near just an adjustment. While difficult to quantify I’d say his chances of success in the NFL would probably be sub 50% by a large margin. Would we be giving this leniency to Usain Bolt? 

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James is about two inches taller than Gronk. It’s not like LBJ is a foot taller than establishes TEs. No one is suggesting he would trade in his high tops and waltz into the NFL HOF.  James is about 4 inches taller than Gates . . . Yet Gates turned into a great TE and was a lot less established as an athlete before going to football. Obvious we are all just guessing what would have happened to James. 

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