6’5 230 4.5 forty time 36 inch vertical 10-2 broad jump are those numbers enticing enough if you were a NFL GM looking to pick up a tight end in the draft… I’m hoping many are saying HELL yes; but what if that same athlete’s collegiate experience was more on the hardwood than the gridiron, would you still be as interested? I know there are some that will be hesitant due to the uncertainty of the talent level of the prospect, but for many NFL general managers and scouts this has become the new wave of discovering that next great talent. Kansas City and New Orleans found success in the trend when they selected uber-athletic dual sports athletes Tony Gonzales and Jimmy Graham and San Diego struck gold when they signed former Kent State University power forward Antonio Gates after not having played a down of football since his days at Detroit Central High.
Scouting for the 2013 draft has unearthed perhaps another guy that many NFL scouts hope is able duplicate the success of Gates in University of Wisconsin Milwaukee power forward Demetrius Harris who put up those impressive numbers in front of Kansas City Chiefs area scout Ryan Kessenich, and like Gates, was a two sports high school star but decided to focus on hoops in college. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel the Chiefs aren’t the only team that has expressed interest in Harris.
One of his biggest supporters in this sports transition is Coach Rob Jeter who, when asked told reporters,
“Like I told all the (NFL) coaches, if you want him to shoot free throws, that’s not your man. But if you want him to catch a football, he can do that… I think he was a football player all along and we were trying to make him a basketball player.”
While many still have him as a late round or even undrafted prospect, there will be a NFL team that sees enough potential in him to invite him to training camp and on his first touchdown and hopefully he revisits his hoop successes and celebrates with a thunderous dunk on the goalpost.