Imagining the NFL’s Shohei Ohtani: We picked the best potential two-way players for all 32 teams

NFL

Shohei Ohtani does all of it for the Los Angeles Angels. For our NFL followers unfamiliar, Ohtani, a Japanese-born pitcher/DH, led the league in residence runs for many of the season and has remained an ace for the Angels on the mound. He is the favorite to be named AL MVP. All of this after present process Tommy John surgery in 2018.

Ohtani’s performance received NFL Nation pondering: Who within the NFL would completely crush it on each side of the ball? So, we picked 32 gamers — one from every crew — who’ve the talents, background or angle to be a possible twin risk within the NFL. A few of these gamers truly performed utterly totally different positions in highschool and school, and the others simply have many helpful ball, blocking or foot abilities.

Image this: Chase Young as a good finish, Micah Parsons as a working again, DeAndre Hopkins as a defensive again and Travis Kelce as a defensive finish (or quarterback). What a special — and very enjoyable — world the NFL could be. However it truly is effectively inside these gamers’ talent units to carry out effectively in these positions, and a few of their coaches agree.

So, let’s study extra about these dual-threat gamers, beginning with Parsons:

NFC EAST

Two-way candidate: LB Micah Parsons

Did you see what he was in a position to do as a defensive finish in opposition to the Chargers with simply two practices? Why could not he play working again? Parsons had a sack and 4 quarterback hits, and gave sort out Storm Norton so many matches that the Chargers needed to concentrate on him much more.

As a senior at Harrisburg (Pa.) Excessive Faculty, he had 1,239 dashing yards and 29 touchdowns. Penn State coach James Franklin mentioned he might have been simply nearly as good at working again as he’s at linebacker. Oh, by the way in which, he’s 248 kilos. In a pre-draft news conference, Parsons mentioned, “My true place rising up was working again, so you possibly can take a look at me like a Derrick Henry, actually.”

Given his bodily traits, capability and what he has proven up to now, why not? — Todd Archer


Two-way candidate: S Jabrill Peppers

We have already seen it. Peppers did all of it at Michigan, taking part in wildcat quarterback, working again and returner at Michigan. He finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2016. Some NFL scouts thought working again was his greatest place. His coaches with the Giants assume he might play there within the NFL, too.

“If you happen to put him again there at working again, I guess you would not discover the distinction between him taking part in offense or protection,” particular groups coordinator Thomas McGaughey mentioned.

McGaughey already makes use of Peppers as a return man, so he is not blowing smoke about Peppers’ capability to do injury with the ball in his fingers. Perhaps offensive coordinator Jason Garrett might use him as effectively? It is enjoyable to dream. — Jordan Raanan

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Wolverines’ Jabrill Peppers will get the snap and rushes for a 3-yard landing, tying the sport for Michigan in opposition to Michigan State.


Two-way candidate: OT Jordan Mailata

There isn’t any one within the NFL extra uniquely certified to play each methods. Have you ever ever watched his old rugby highlights? Not solely did the Aussie truck individuals when he had the ball for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, he doled out bone-crushing hits on protection.

When Mailata determined to offer soccer a strive just a few years again, he opted for offensive sort out partially as a result of he preferred the film “The Blind Aspect.” That labored out fairly effectively, as he simply inked a four-year, $64 million extension with the Eagles. However it’s not laborious to examine the 6-foot-8, 346-pound Mailata demolishing quarterbacks as a D-lineman as a substitute of defending them. Hey, he picked the game up in three years with no prior expertise. Who’s to say he does not grasp the opposite facet of the ball? — Tim McManus


Two-way candidate: DE Chase Young

No crew has only one man that might serve on this position, however Younger is a tremendously gifted participant. Had he needed to play tight finish in school, he might have excelled. In highschool, he performed on the basketball crew at powerhouse DeMatha (Md.). “If he needed to be a Division I basketball participant, he might have been,” Mike Jones, his coach at DeMatha, mentioned. “You could possibly see his expertise and measurement and his work ethic.”

On the soccer area, Younger’s working capability was evident final season on a scoop-and-score 46-yard fumble recovery. “He seems to be like a working again,” ESPN NFL analyst Matt Hasselbeck mentioned. “If we mentioned, ‘All proper, you may have a 12 months. What different place might you go prepare your self to play?’ He might discover one other place to play. He is that particular.”

And Washington coach Ron Rivera mentioned Younger and fellow finish Montez Sweat “might in all probability play tight finish with their athletic talents.” — John Keim

 

NFC NORTH

Two-way candidate: S Eddie Jackson

Bears coach Matt Nagy has flirted with utilizing Jackson on offense for years. The previous Professional Bowl defensive again is explosive when the ball is in his fingers. He has six profession defensive touchdowns on interceptions and fumble returns. Jackson was additionally a former highschool vast receiver in Florida. As a senior, Jackson was listed because the No. 54 vast receiver prospect within the nation by ESPN, however he performed protection for Nick Saban at Alabama. — Jeff Dickerson


Two-way candidate: NT Alim McNeill

There isn’t any means {that a} 6-foot-2, 330-pound nostril sort out ought to be transferring the way in which he does. McNeill performed some short-yardage working again at Sanderson Excessive Faculty in Raleigh, North Carolina, scoring 18 career touchdowns whereas averaging 6.2 yards per carry. However he was truly a star on the baseball diamond, incomes three all-conference alternatives whereas batting .355 as a senior. He gave up the fitting area place in baseball to concentrate on soccer, turning into a second-team AP All-American at NC State, and now could be a rookie contributor to the Lions as a third-round choose.

“I did not see myself as a giant man within the outfield, actually,” McNeill mentioned after being drafted in April. “I simply see myself as an athlete on the market.”

His new teammates have personally witnessed what the hype is all about in baseball, too. “He can truly throw the [football] and catch it clean,” fellow rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown mentioned. “We had this little baseball factor we did for all of the rookies after the OTAs and he was additionally hitting Wiffle ball.” — Eric Woodyard


Two-way candidate: LB Ty Summers

No, the within linebacker hasn’t performed quarterback since he was at Reagan (TX) Excessive Faculty, however Rice College provided him a scholarship to be a quarterback. He modified his thoughts, nonetheless, when TCU provided him — as a linebacker. Nonetheless, the speedy Summers thinks he might have made it within the NFL as a dual-threat runner and passer.

“I might have performed rather well in school, and I in all probability would have had a possibility — possibly as a free-agent form of factor — as a result of I might have discovered a means to achieve success,” Summers mentioned shortly after the Packers drafted him in 2019. “I used to be a gamer.”

In some methods, he performed quarterback like he performs linebacker. “I had a fairly bodily mindset as a quarterback,” he mentioned. “In order that mentality did not change.” — Rob Demovsky


Two-way candidate: WR Justin Jefferson

We received a glimpse of Jefferson’s many skills on the soccer area exterior of catching touchdowns when he turned an finish round into an 11-yard pass to K.J. Osborn at Cincinnati. However the 22-year-old receiver’s bodily instruments prolong past soccer. Simply ask Vikings working again Dalvin Cook, who regularly invitations Jefferson over to his residence to shoot hoops.

“I used to be driving by the park a pair weeks in the past and I noticed him on the market taking part in soccer,” Cook dinner mentioned. “I used to be similar to, ‘What you doing?'” And in a really matter-of-fact method, Jefferson instructed Cook dinner that he discovered a gaggle of individuals with whom he might play a pickup sport. “He is simply so proficient,” Cook dinner mentioned. “I consider he might play any sport he needs, if he places his thoughts to it. That is simply how his physique is — he is agile, and only a good athlete, in my view.”

So how would possibly that athleticism translate to Jefferson taking part in each offense and protection? “I really feel like he might play some security or one thing,” Cook dinner mentioned. “He is robust.” — Courtney Cronin

 

NFC SOUTH

Two-way candidate: CB Avery Williams

This reply is form of simple as a result of first-year head coach Arthur Smith has already hinted at it as a chance for the rookie fifth-round choose. Williams entered the league as a nook — he confirmed promise there within the preseason, although he has solely performed three defensive snaps by means of three video games — with the expectation that he’d make a distinction as a return man. And it is his talent as a punt returner that makes him tantalizing as an offensive possibility. All of it begins on particular groups for Williams, although.

“He’ll have each alternative to return there and compete, whether or not it is punt returns or a spot on protection, possibly offense,” Smith mentioned. “He is a really distinctive participant.”

Williams has performed 55 particular groups snaps up to now. He is much like former NFL two-way participant Jamal Agnew, who began as a cornerback and returner in Detroit and now could be primarily a returner for the Jaguars. — Michael Rothstein


Two-way candidate: S/LB Jeremy Chinn

The true query is: The place cannot Chinn play? He performed linebacker, nickel nook and a few security for the Panthers as a rookie in 2020. He’s taking part in security and linebacker this season. He was a star defender at Fishers (IN) Excessive Faculty, however he additionally averaged 6.9 yards per carry as a working again. Chinn defines what coach Matt Rhule likes to name a positionless participant. — David Newton


Two-way candidate: QB Taysom Hill

Hill is the plain reply, contemplating he already has 14 profession particular groups tackles, a blocked punt and a punt deflection along with his do-everything position as a QB/RB/FB/TE/WR/KR. And he has by no means met a collision he does not like when he tries to run by means of tacklers within the open area.

The one query is what place the 6-foot-2, 221-pounder would play on protection, however working again Alvin Kamara determined that security could be one of the best match. The larger shock is that Kamara did not nominate himself, contemplating he has campaigned a lot to play quarterback in recent times. Kamara mentioned he isn’t into “the tackling factor.” — Mike Triplett


Two-way candidate: DT Vita Vea

Who does not need to see the 347-pound Vea as a ball provider after he chased down running back Ronald Jones in coaching camp, and after he put collectively fairly the high school highlight reel?

“After we noticed that it was like, ‘Oh my goodness, a person that massive can run down a working again?’ It was superior to see, however it form of reminded you simply how totally different of a participant he’s,” defensive sort out Khalil Davis mentioned.

Vea averaged 12.3 yards per carry as a senior at Milpitas (CA) Excessive Faculty. He has performed 9 profession offensive snaps for the Bucs, lining up at fullback. He even caught a one-yard touchdown pass in 2019. — Jenna Laine

NFC WEST

Two-way candidate: WR DeAndre Hopkins

Hopkins was a star defensive again at D.W. Daniel (SC) Excessive Faculty, the place he had a whopping 28 interceptions. He went to Clemson as a cornerback, solely to get moved to receiver when accidents on the place required extra our bodies. Hopkins additionally had scholarship offers to play basketball from a number of schools. Now, Arizona will not ever transfer him to defensive again, however he has the expertise, information and fingers to leap in for a play or two throughout, say, a Hail Mary. — Josh Weinfuss


Two-way candidate: CB Jalen Ramsey

There have been two recurring names within the debate over the Rams’ greatest potential two-way-player: Ramsey and security Jordan Fuller. Ramsey earned the nod in a nonscientific ballot, nonetheless. “He is so athletic and he at all times messing round like he’ll play working again,” working again Darrell Henderson mentioned. “He confirmed me his highschool highlights and he is fairly good on offense.”

The 6-foot-1, 208-pound Ramsey starred as a cornerback, receiver and working again at Brentwood Academy (TN) earlier than he went on to play nook at Florida State. “His place might convert simple,” receiver Robert Woods defined. “He has the peak, size and velocity. Good fingers, too.” — Lindsey Thiry


Two-way candidate: OT Trent Williams

There are a lot of choices right here, however Williams is taken into account one of many NFL’s distinctive gamers due to his mixture of bodily traits and measurement. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk envisions the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Williams having the ability to wreck store as an inside pass-rusher in addition to he protects quarterbacks.

“You line him up at a 3-technique, I do not see why you would not have an even bigger model of like an Aaron Donald in there,” Juszczyk mentioned. “He has such a superb soccer thoughts that I really feel like you possibly can undoubtedly play him each methods and be very profitable.” — Nick Wagoner


Two-way candidate: LB/FB Nick Bellore

There isn’t any have to get hypothetical right here. The Seahawks have already got a two-way participant in Bellore. He started his profession at linebacker as an undrafted free agent with the Jets in 2011, then started his transition to fullback in 2017 with the Lions. That is the place he performed in 2019 and 2020 with Seattle, earlier than a rash of accidents to Seahawks linebackers this summer time pressured him into double obligation. That meant going forwards and backwards between assembly rooms and getting jokingly referred to as a traitor by the offense. Bellore had 11 tackles over Seattle’s last two preseason video games.

“He was actually good on protection for us in a few video games right here,” Pete Carroll mentioned. “We forgot about his linebacker play. We knew … he had performed there, however we actually did not give him an opportunity. We at all times had been taking part in him on the opposite facet of the ball. So now he is a type of all-time NFL two-way performers now.”

Truly, Bellore is a three-way participant while you depend particular groups, the place he’s Seattle’s captain. He’s a backup at linebacker and continues to be taking part in some fullback, taking part in two snaps there in Week 2. — Brady Henderson

AFC EAST

Two-way candidate: CB Tre’Davious White

Whereas White is now an All-Professional defender and one of many league’s prime cornerbacks, he originally went to LSU as a wide receiver after taking part in quarterback and cornerback at Inexperienced Oaks Magnet (LA) Excessive Faculty. Why the swap to nook? There have been two fairly good gamers forward of him at receiver — Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.

As a substitute, he switched to the defensive facet of the ball and the remaining is historical past. He additionally returned punts in school and had three return touchdowns. Together with his velocity, White may be an awesome weapon for the Payments’ offense. — Alaina Getzenberg


Two-way candidate: CB Xavien Howard

There is a purpose why Howard appears to know what quarterbacks and vast receivers are pondering on the sector — he performed each positions at Houston Wheatley (TX) Excessive Faculty. Howard mentioned he was extra of a zone-read quarterback when he performed and in contrast himself to Robert Griffin III, however his expertise as a receiver is a part of the rationale why he’s tied for probably the most interceptions within the NFL (23) since he joined the league in 2016.

“I really feel prefer it does assist me. I performed every little thing, so taking part in receiver additionally helped me, simply trying again and discovering the ball,” Howard mentioned. “I really feel like quite a lot of cornerbacks panic when the ball is within the air and that is in all probability what I do effectively is simply look again. Irrespective of if I am beat or not, I attempt to make a play on the ball.” — Marcel Louis-Jacques


Two-way candidate: WR Gunner Olszewski

In equity to Olszewski, this may be below-selling him. He’s actually a three-way participant. He performed defensive again at Bemidji State — he had three interceptions as a senior — earlier than switching to receiver with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2019. He was named an All-Professional return man in 2020. In order that’s protection, offense and particular groups, though Olszewski hasn’t but performed D in an everyday season sport. He’s an emergency possibility, much like Troy Brown and Julian Edelman in previous years. — Mike Reiss


Two-way candidate: CB Justin Hardee

Hardee might play in all three phases in the event that they let him. He makes his dwelling on particular groups, most notably as a gunner, however he’s listed as a cornerback and truly broke into the NFL as a large receiver. He was a receiver at Illinois, the place he caught 72 passes in 4 seasons.

Undrafted in 2017, Hardee signed with the Texans as a receiver however did not make the roster. He landed with the Saints, they usually made the choice to transform him to cornerback. He grew to become referred to as a tenacious follow participant and shortly carved a distinct segment on particular groups. The Jets thought a lot of Hardee that they signed him to a three-year, $5.25 million contract — not unhealthy for a specialist.

“I’ve received coronary heart and I will not again down,” he mentioned. “I am a maniac on the sector.” He’s already a crew chief, as he was voted a captain by his teammates. — Wealthy Cimini

AFC NORTH

Two-way candidate: S DeShon Elliott

Rising up in Texas, Elliott idolized Emmitt Smith and needed to play working again. However highschool coaches noticed how Elliott liked to hit and put him on protection. Ravens defensive finish Calais Campbell believes Elliott might make an influence on offense.

“I am unsure if he ever performed working again, however I do know his fashion of play as a defender,” Campbell mentioned. “He is bodily and quick, and I feel he’d be a pressure downhill. You could possibly see him eager to make linebackers and DBs pay. That is his sort of mentality.” — Jamison Hensley


Two-way candidate: DE Trey Hendrickson

Hendrickson is understood for being a stable defensive finish, however throughout his days at Apopka (FL) Excessive Faculty, he was an offensive risk, too. He had 547 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns for an Apopka crew that gained a state title his senior 12 months. He additionally blocked three kicks on particular groups. Given Hendrickson’s flexibility on the sting of the Bengals’ protection, it isn’t laborious to see him being a possible tight finish in some distinctive packages. — Ben Child


Two-way candidate: DE Myles Garrett

After dominating pickup basketball video games over the offseason (till coach Kevin Stefanski “retired” him), launching residence runs in Jarvis Landry’s superstar sport and declaring (possibly justifiably?) that he’d “beat the brakes off” Logan Paul in a boxing match, if he needed to — what would cease Garrett from additionally taking up, say, tight finish in soccer?

“He might in all probability play any place he needed,” mentioned Browns guard Joel Bitonio, who, by the way in which, famous he would “undoubtedly not” need to play each methods (“I’m not in that sort of form,” he mentioned).

Stefanski urged that Garrett might even play wideout if he so desired. Garrett already confirmed within the playoffs final season that he’s as quick as some receivers, working down Chiefs’ Mecole Hardman from behind. But whereas Hardman is 5-foot-10, 175 kilos, Garrett is 6-foot-4, 275. Garrett posted hoops movies of him posterizing hapless defenders. In the fitting conditions, he would possibly be capable to do the identical to NFL defensive backs. — Jake Trotter


Two-way candidate: P Pressley Harvin III

Hear me out. There may be higher athletes on the Steelers’ roster, however the rookie punter may very well be a three-way participant. At 6-foot, 255 kilos, he’s constructed like a linebacker, and he threw an absolute dime of a touchdown on a fake punt in school at Georgia Tech. In youth soccer, Harvin was an offensive lineman.

“I at all times get that query: ‘What do you play?'” Harvin mentioned throughout rookie minicamp. “Folks attempt to guess. It is at all times a D-lineman or fullback or halfback. Once I inform them I am a punter, they’re form of astonished.”

With the offense sputtering early on, Harvin is most precious to the Steelers for his massive leg, however he offers them choices for trick performs. — Brooke Pryor

AFC SOUTH

Two-way candidate: CB Desmond King II

Justin Reid voted for fellow defensive again King, who additionally has returned punts and kicks throughout his 4 seasons within the NFL. “With how Desmond has been returning every ball he caught for about 25-plus [yards], I say he’ll be a imply slot receiver too, in the event that they put him on the offensive facet of the ball,” Reid mentioned.

King was a working again and defensive again at East English Village Preparatory Academy (MI), the place he set a college report for profession dashing yards and ran for two,360 yards as a senior. — Sarah Barshop


Two-way candidate: TE Mo Alie-Cox

Alie-Cox was a dominant energy ahead who performed above the rim whereas serving to the VCU males’s basketball crew attain the NCAA event 4 instances. At 6-foot-5, 267 kilos, he has the scale and velocity to produce a go rush off the sting at defensive finish. It additionally does not harm that Alie-Cox has a 7-foot-2 wingspan.

He began at defensive finish and tight finish when he performed soccer in class earlier than pursuing his school basketball profession. — Mike Wells

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2H (4:43) VCU Mo Alie-Cox soars in for an additional top-notch dunk. Assisted by J. Lewis.


Two-way candidate: WR Jamal Agnew

This was a simple search since Agnew is already a two-way participant. Actually, a three-way participant since he’s an All-Professional kick returner. Agnew is now a receiver, however Detroit drafted him within the fifth spherical in 2017 as a cornerback. He made the Professional Bowl and was a first-team All-Professional as a kick returner but additionally performed some on protection — and has caught two passes. The Lions moved him to receiver in 2020 and he caught 13 passes for 89 yards. The Jaguars signed him to be a kick returner, however he has performed 19 snaps on offense by means of three video games. He additionally has a 109-yard touchdown return on a missed area purpose.

“I name myself an athlete on the market,” Agnew mentioned. “They at all times say within the league, ‘The extra you are able to do.’ So, I attempt to do every little thing. Final 12 months in Detroit, Week 1, we had two or three corners go down and I used to be like, ‘I can play nook nonetheless, in order for you me to.’ So, I imply, it is simply all about creating worth and I’m simply making an attempt to do this.” — Michael DiRocco


Two-way candidate: WR Julio Jones

Exhibit A for Jones could be again in 2015 when he caught Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander 85 yards down the sector after Alexander intercepted Matt Ryan ultimately zone. There’s truly a 3-minute-long highlight reel of Jones’ defensive highlights, which features a jarring hit to stop Cowboys defensive again Jeff Heath from intercepting a go and a textbook sort out he made on Saints CB Marshon Lattimore after an interception.

The Falcons used Jones as a deep security in forestall protection at instances on the finish of halves; he has performed 11 defensive snaps since 2011. Jones mentioned final week that he performed some defensive finish, cornerback, security and linebacker in highschool. — Turron Davenport

AFC WEST

Two-way candidate: WR Kendall Hinton

Led by Von Miller, there are many Broncos who usually say they want the prospect to place in a bit double obligation, however Hinton is probably going the one participant on the roster who might pull it off in an NFL sport. He’s greatest identified for filling in at quarterback against the Saints last season, however he has labored at cornerback throughout follow, together with common activates the scout crew protection in opposition to the Broncos beginning offense.

“We did work him there some initially, as a result of we like Kendall and needed to offer him an opportunity to indicate what he might do,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio mentioned.

Hinton, who performed each quarterback and receiver at Wake Forest, appears to have discovered a house at wideout. And when Jerry Jeudy was moved to short-term injured reserve after Week 1, it was Hinton, one among 4 receivers on the follow squad, who was promoted to the energetic roster. — Jeff Legwold


Two-way candidate: TE Travis Kelce

The Chiefs’ star pass-catcher performed quarterback at Cleveland Heights (Ohio) Excessive Faculty and commenced his collegiate profession as a signal-caller earlier than transferring to tight finish. He was additionally reportedly recruited by colleges to play defensive end. At 6-foot-5, 260 kilos, Kelce may not have basic pass-rush abilities, however he’s sufficient of an athlete to tug it off. He’s a fast research and understands the sport. Who’s to say he could not make for a serviceable rush finish? — Adam Teicher


Two-way candidate: WR Zay Jones

If common supervisor Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden have mentioned it as soon as, they’ve mentioned it one million instances: Jones is probably the most bodily match participant on the Raiders roster. No, he isn’t the quickest, neither is he the largest. However think about Las Vegas playing and taking part in him as a mirror picture of himself at exterior cornerback. He already understands route ideas and, together with his athleticism, can keep in receivers’ pockets. He might even use his core-strength elevation method to unnerve opponents from the defensive facet of the ball. Plus, with fingers higher than any defensive again, think about the picks. — Paul Gutierrez


Two-way candidate: S Derwin James Jr.

James performs nearly each place within the secondary — free security, sturdy security, nook. He even joked at some point they might put him on the D-line. All by means of coaching camp, he was battling with Keenan Allen, among the best receivers within the sport. Change roles? Derwin would maintain his personal. Stated offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, “I do know this being round Derwin a bit bit — I will put my cash on him in opposition to anybody.”

James was harm all of final season and far of the season earlier than. However this season, again wholesome and feisty, he has 12 solo tackles and a quarterback hit. Put him at vast receiver and I am guessing he’d bat these defensive backs away and get himself into the tip zone for the Chargers. He as soon as was requested the place he most popular to play and answered, “Wherever the ball is.” That would come with offense as effectively, I might guess. He is a stellar participant with hops and fingers. The Chargers want him, clearly, on protection, however he is one who might cross the aisle and be nice. — Shelley Smith

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