For the next few weeks (maybe months), the Wednesday "let's-not-take-the-season-too-seriously" feature will focus on athletes in other sports, and what they're positions, strengths, and weaknesses would be if they played football. I will not be taking into account whether or not they previously played football in college, high school, YMCA summer camp, or anything like that. I will only be using players who are still active in their sport of choice. I'll gladly welcome suggestions in the Comments section.
For our inaugural "If They Played in the NFL" feature, I'll start with the most important position on the field: Quarterback.
Tim Lincecum, Starting Pitcher, San Francisco Giants
5'11" 170 lbs
It would be easy to second guess this decision based solely on Lincecum's measurables. However, I think he has a little Drew Brees in him, as the little QB who could. He may be small, but he uses every inch of his wiry frame to propel his fastball into the mid-90s. His motion is fairly compact, his wind-up quick, which would help him avoid sacks and pressure. The biggest contributor to this selection, however, was Lincecum's control. Sure, he's got a flamethrower of a right arm, but his ball placement is extremely accurate, and his off-speed pitches are very sneaky.
Lincecum's blazing ball speed and excellent placement call to mind a little bit of John Elway at his best. He could consistently hit receivers between defenders, rocketing the ball into some very tight spots. Tim Lincecum would likely throw a very long, accurate deep ball, making big plays a huge part of his offense. That arm strength and accuracy would make him a tempting target for the Raiders, but he would likely thrive best in Arizona (with excellent deep-threat receivers) or, obviously, New Orleans.
The only real knock on the kid is his size, which would make it easy for defenders to clog his passing lanes, making it difficult for him to find open receivers. He would probably work best out of the shotgun, where he could see the field better, or on designed roll-outs or bootlegs. Despite these (pun fully intended) shortcomings, Lincecum would likely be a very effective QB in the right system.
Mariano Rivera, Closing Pitcher, New York Yankees
I see MLB pitchers making very good QBs, with the skill sets being similar. Mo has been very good for a long time, and would make an excellent veteran backup for Lincecum, who could come in and run a similar offense should Tim get injured.
Agree? Disagree? Don't know who Tim Lincecum is? Make suggestions in the Comments section. I'll try to do as many of these as I can, as I think it's kind of a fun exercise.