In the spirit of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, we're projecting which NFL players would be best suited to participate in 10 popular events.
The NFL is full of players with impressive wrestling backgrounds. When I was working as a scout, it was always a big plus to discover the prospect I was evaluating had a strong wrestling résumé. Those prospects tend to be very physically and mentally tough. There were dozens of candidates for this category, but I settled on these three players:
Ray Lewis, LB, Baltimore Ravens:Lewis would be the captain of the NFL wrestling team. Lewis captured two high school state wrestling titles in Florida, and his skills are still on display every Sunday when he gets his hands on opposing running backs. He consistently drives his hips, wrapping up the runner and quickly getting him to the ground. I'm not quite sure his pregame dance would have the same effect were he to perform it in a singlet rather than pads, but it would be very entertaining.
Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons: White was an excellent high school wrestler, claiming two state championships in South Carolina before moving on to play football at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The strength that he uses to defeat press coverage on the field can largely be attributed to his impressive wrestling background.
Riley Reiff, OT, Detroit Lions:The Lions' first-round pick in 2012 was once a dominant high school wrestler, collecting three state titles in South Dakota. While studying him last spring, I noticed that he has incredibly strong hands and a keen understanding of leverage, attributes that were likely honed on the wrestling mat.