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Published: March 20, 2013 at 06:23 p.m.
Updated: March 20, 2013 at 10:37 p.m.

NCAA hoop stars who could play in the NFL

With March Madness finally upon us, we at NFL.com are using skill sets, size and a totally unscientific approach to speculate which college hoops stars playing in this year's tournament could make the transition from the hardwood to the gridiron.

12 Photos Total

  • Victor Oladipo, Indiana, guard 12

    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Victor Oladipo, Indiana, guard

    Possible NFL Position: Wide receiver

    He's been compared to Michael Jordan, but according to NFL Network's Akbar Gbajabiamila, the 6-foot-5 guard has the physique to match another great sports star: Calvin Johnson. With a dynamic first step and an aerodynamic agility, Oladipo could be that explosive playmaker any NFL team would love to have.

  • Kenny Boyton, Florida, guard 11

    Mary Ann Chastain/Associated Press

    Kenny Boyton, Florida, guard

    Possible NFL Position: Cornerback

    The explosive senior guard from the Florida Gators has the speed and reputation for taking the clutch shot. Listed as 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Boyton is a bit of a 'tweener' for the guard position, but move him to safety or cornerback and you have a guy who compares ideally size-wise with his fellow Gator and 2013 NFL draft prospect Matt Elam.

  • Sim Bhullar, New Mexico State, center 10

    David Becker/Associated Press

    Sim Bhullar, New Mexico State, center

    Possible NFL Position: Defensive tackle

    Standing Vince Wilfork next to New Mexico State freshman center Sim Bhullar is like standing a compact pickup truck next to ballast tractor. At 7-foot-5, 335 pounds, Bhullar is a towering force on the court who has the nimbleness in footwork that is vital to the success of a defensive tackle. Imagine the fear quarterbacks will have scrambling out of the pocket as the behemoth Bhullar chases them down the field. They'll feel like Orcs being chased by the Ents (tree giants) in the "Lord of the Rings".

  • Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss, guard 9

    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss, guard

    Possible NFL Position: Slot reciever

    Henderson is on this list more for his personality and histrionics than his body type. College basketball's iconoclastic bad boy could join the ranks of Jared Allen and Cortland Finnegan as the great trash talkers of the league. Henderson's quickness and energy would make him ideal at slot receiver. Think Wes Welker meets pubescent Justin Bieber.

  • Mason Plumlee, Duke, forward 8

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Mason Plumlee, Duke, forward

    Possible NFL Position: Tight end

    He's a favorite for player of the year. Plumlee, a senior forward from Duke, is perfectly suited as a tight end in the NFL. Yes, he needs to bulk up his frame. But like Leonard Pope, who stood at 6-foot-8, Plumlee could use his 6-foot-11 frame to his advantage to create defensive mismatches. In high school, Plumlee could leap nearly seven feet in the high jump. Add that to his ability to bang in the paint and finish with the ball, you have a nasty combination for an interesting football hybrid.

  • Peyton Siva, Louisville, point guard 7

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Peyton Siva, Louisville, point guard

    Possible NFL Position: Quarterback, kick returner

    Not only does the senior Louisville point guard have Samoan blood running through his veins, but he has a devastating quickness that makes him virtually impossible to cover in the open floor. Imagine him on a football field. He's got a cerebral knack for getting the ball to the right place and also when to just take it to the rim. He's got a Russell Wilson quality combined with a Jacoby Jones pedal. And he's named Peyton.

  • Alex Oriakhi, Missouri, forward 6

    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    Alex Oriakhi, Missouri, forward

    Possible NFL Position: Tight end

    Oriakhi transferred from Connecticut, and also transformed his body in the weight room. At 6-foot-9, 255 pounds, Oriakhi has Jimmy Graham-like size, and after dropping his weight he's able to get off the court in a hurry, meaning he'd be able to snag virtually any pass a quarterback would throw his way.

  • Adonis Thomas, Memphis, forward 5

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Adonis Thomas, Memphis, forward

    Possible NFL Position: Tight end

    Thomas is a freakish athlete averaging 11.9 points per game in his sophomore season for the Memphis Tigers. At 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, Thomas might find it easier using his athleticism to exploit the middle of a football field as a tight end as opposed to the basketball court.

  • Trey Burke, Michigan, point guard 4

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Trey Burke, Michigan, point guard

    Possible NFL Position: Quarterback

    The best point guard in college hoops, Burke, a Michigan sophomore, has that creative, lightning footwork that RG3 and Colin Kaepernick possess. His ability to thread a pass through a busy lane would be amazing to translate to football. We have a feeling he'd be a better NFL quarterback than another guy who played QB at Michigan. No, we aren't talking about you, Denard Robinson.

  • Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, guard 3

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, guard

    Possible NFL Position: Running back, safety

    Even though Smart will likely be joining the one-and-doners and heading for the NBA draft, if he were to decide basketball wasn't for him (or struggle as a pro) there could be a future for him in football. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound freshman is a physical beast, and his athleticism could easily translate to the gridiron. As a natural point guard, he's significantly quicker than most of the players on this list, without sacrificing much size. Talk about dangerous.

  • J.J. O'Brien, San Diego State, forward 2

    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    J.J. O'Brien, San Diego State, forward

    Possible NFL Position: Tight end

    The 6-foot-7 sophomore experienced a successful opening campaign with the Aztecs after redshirting last season. O'Brien is able to play even bigger than his frame, which would bode well for catching passes over the middle of a defense. If basketball doesn't work out, O'Brien could give 2013 NFL Draft prospect Gavin Escobar a call for some help getting into football.

  • Erik Swoope, Miami (Fla.), forward 1

    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Erik Swoope, Miami (Fla.), forward

    Possible NFL Position: Tight end

    More of a roleplayer for the Hurricanes, Swoope's NBA draft prospects seem relatively slim. Yet, the 6-foot-6 junior is a great athlete, and has no problem getting off the ground in a hurry (check out some of his dunks on YouTube). Plus, how much fun would color commentators have with a tight end named Swoope?

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