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Which athletes in D.C. would be stars in a different sport?

Which athletes in D.C. would be stars in a different sport?

John Wall sat down with our own Chris Miller and talked about his favorite hobby: bowling. Wall mentioned that if he tried, he could easily turn professional and join the PBA (as of now he'd be No. 435 on the tour, but give him time).

Excluding Wall, what other athletes in the city could star in another sport?

Redskins CB Josh Norman

The Redskins star cornerback is obsessed with soccer and when he isn't on the gridiron, he's on the pitch. Last year, he visited French giant Paris Saint-Germain to meet then-striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and hang out with the club. He even participated in a training session with PSG.

The 6-foot, 190-pound corner has quick feet and the ability to recover if his man gets by him. Norman would bring his defensive prowess onto the pitch and make a solid fullback immediately. Instead of locking down Odell Beckham Jr. twice a season, I could see him locking down Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo twice a season. 

Nationals OF Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper runs around like a crazy person in the outfield and on the base paths. He's also one of the more jacked athletes right now. Just google "Bryce Harper jacked," I'll wait.

Now imagine that guy as an outside linebacker coming off the edge in the Redskins 3-4 defense going after Eli Manning. Okay, he'd probably prefer to take Manning down for the Cowboys, but I don't want to ruin this for you.

Bryce could bring his impressive height-weight-speed-crazy combo and be an elite pass-rusher in the NFL immediately, I have no doubt about it. I just hope it wouldn't be for Dallas.


Redskins WR Terrelle Pryor

Redskins fans are just getting to know Terrelle Pryor, so you may not remember his high school career athletic career, but believe me... it was impressive. He was the No. 1 football recruit and the No. 39 basketball recruit when he came out of Jeannete High School (Pa.) in 2008. Basically, this is cheating since he was so impressive in both, but it would be impossible to leave him off.

Pryor was one spot ahead of former Maryland guard Sean Mosley and also ahead of the following NBA Players in ESPN's Top 100: Jeff Withey (No. 43), Miles Plumee (No. 47), Klay Thompson (No. 53) and Reggie Jackson (No. 94).

With that type of pedigree, it should be easy to imagine him on the perimeter for a NBA franchise. 

D.C. United/USMNT D Steve Birnbaum 

This one may be a little off the beaten path for most, but he's one of the up-and-coming defenders for the U.S. men's national team and should be seeing more action this summer for the red, white and blue. He's a 6-2 defender who has the responsibility of shutting down opposing offensive players and then out-jumping them on corner kicks on both ends and beat his man to the ball. With his combination of athleticism and defensive prowess in the air, that sounds like a prototypical safety to me. 

His size would also be an asset as a safety in the NFL. He would have to adjust from slide tackles to wrapping and tackling, but he's built solid and already has solid defensive instincts and aerial ability.

Redskins DL A.J. Francis 

This guy was born to be a professional wrestler. I mean, yeah, Francis was also born to play football, but whenever he hangs up his cleats he's going to pick up a singlet and a microphone.

He has the athleticism/charisma combo Vince McMahon would drool over. He already has the added benefit of having a familiar tag-team partner in his former Maryland teammate, Mojo Rawley. Well, if he isn't too busy getting Rob Gronkowski to work with him at Wrestlemania.

Just imagine A.J. Francis at the Showcase of the Immortals holding a championship belt or... just having his face painted like another wrestler. You're welcome.

Who else in the D.C. sports landscape would be a star in another sport?



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The Redskins are going to draft the best available player, unless they aren't

The Redskins are going to draft the best available player, unless they aren't

When their turn comes up in this draft, the Redskins are going to pick the best available player on the board. Unless they’re not. 

That is the mixed message delivered on Tuesday by Doug Williams, the team’s senior vice president for player personnel during his pre-draft press conference on Tuesday. 

Williams was asked what nearly every NFL personnel executive has been asked during this round of draft press conferences: Will the Redskins take the best player on the board or would they draft for need?

And Williams gave an answer similar to the ones that all of the other personnel guys gave. 

“You hear this cliché all the time, it’s always going to be the best player available, because at the same time if you’re looking for a need, the player you’re looking for a need might not be graded as high as the guy that’s on that board,” he said. 

That makes some fans crazy as they believe that you must fill needs in the draft. But reaching to fill needs is a good way to have a mediocre, disjointed draft. 

But there are times when the best available player is not the player the Redskins will pick. The topic of injuries came up and Williams talked about the situation at offensive tackle. Morgan Moses and Trent Williams currently are rehabbing from injuries and they won’t take the field during OTAs and minicamp. 

Doug Williams said that both players should be ready for training camp. He didn’t mention it but Trent Williams and Moses are signed for the next three and five years, respectively. That means that there is no need for a tackle in at least the first two rounds, and Williams agrees. 

“We can’t go into the draft drafting tackles, you know,” he said. 

So if, say, offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame has the highest grade on the Redskins’ board when pick 13 comes up, they will not be taking the player with the best grade. They will “reach”, perhaps only slightly, to take a player at another position. 

The Redskins have a similar situation at quarterback. They are committed to Alex Smith for at least three seasons and it would be foolish to spend a high pick on a quarterback. Williams said that the Redskins are not in the quarterback business this year. If there is a top QB still on the board at pick 13, it’s likely that Williams and Bruce Allen would be looking for phone calls from teams that want to trade up and get their signal caller. 

The true test of how the team chooses needs vs. best available could well come this year. Let’s say that Da’Ron Payne, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Tremaine Edmunds are all on the board when the Redskins’ pick comes up. While each team has its own grades, you probably won’t find many that don’t have Fitzpatrick and Edmunds a clear cut above Payne. The Redskins have needs on the defensive line, not so much at inside linebacker or in the secondary. Picking Payne at that point could be interpreted as reaching to fill a need while leaving more talented and more versatile players on the board. Going best available would almost surely mean choosing between Fitzpatrick and Edmunds. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Need to Know: Final Redskins seven-round mock draft

Need to Know: Final Redskins seven-round mock draft

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 25, one day before the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.  

Final seven-round Redskins mock draft

Here we go. No trades. If you like big guys you’ll like the first four picks. 

Round 1, DL Da’Ron Payne, Alabama—I think that Vita Vea will be off the board; it’s looking more and more like he will go the Raiders at 10 or Miami at 11. Payne might be the better player anyway, assuming that Jim Tomsula can coach some pass rush out of him. If Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James is on the board the Redskins may have to adjust their thinking. 

Round 2, OL Billy Price, Ohio State—I had a running back in mind here but the run at the position came earlier than expected. Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones, Sony Michel, and Nick Chubb were all off the board. The decision was to get a guy to insert at left guard and complete a home-grown O-line that can hopefully create running room for whatever back takes the handoff. 

Round 4, RB Kalen Ballage, Arizona State—I’m going with the best available running back here. The analytics types really like his combination of size (6-1, 228) and speed (4.46 in the 40 at the combine). Also, he shared carries with the Sun Devils so is a relatively low-mileage back (450 carries in four years). Ballage scored eight touchdowns in a game as a junior so he could be what the team needs in the red zone. 

Round 5, DL R.J. McIntosh, Miami—The Redskins have spent so little draft capital on the defensive line over the past two decades that it’s easy to justify doubling up there in one draft. McIntosh is a project, but he has high-level athleticism and quickness and those are traits you can’t teach. It might take him all of this year and next offseason in the weight room to build up his core strength and to add some weight onto his 286-lb. frame. 

Round 5, CB Nick Nelson, Wisconsin—While working out for the Lions last week, Nelson suffered a torn meniscus. That dropped his draft stock from perhaps being a Day 2 pick to one who should still be on the board on Saturday afternoon. The rehab for the 2017 All-Big Ten selection has been estimated at three to four months, meaning that he could be ready for the start of training camp. One more note: he was the Badgers’ punt returner last year and he averaged 8.6 yards per return with one touchdown. 

Round 6, TE David Wells, San Diego St.—While Jay Gruden and Doug Williams both seem to be confident that Jordan Reed will be healthy and ready to go by the time the regular season starts the truth will emerge in the draft. If they take a tight end early, they are very concerned about Reed. If they wait until this point in the draft and take a project like Wells, they are only moderately worried. 

Round 7, WR Auden Tate, Florida State—He’s coming off of a separated shoulder and that might push the 6-4 Tate down the board. Tate would be a project; he only caught 65 passes in 22 game at Florida State. He doesn’t have blazing speed (4.68 in the 40) but he competes for the ball and he could be a good red zone asset. 

Round 7, CB Greg Stroman, Virginia Tech—You can’t have too many corners or edge rushers and since there aren’t enough of the latter to go around in this draft I took a corner here. Stroman doesn’t have ideal size at 5-11, 182 but he paid attention during his four years with the Hokies and he plays with good technique. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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In response to a suggestion that former kick returner Devin Hester should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer:


Days until:

—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 16
—OTAs start (5/22) 27
—Training camp starts (7/26) 92

The Redskins last played a game 115 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 137 days. 

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