Monday, July 27, 2009
More AFC North hybrids
By James Walker
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
After inventing our new AFC North catchphrase "Troy Reed" last week to end the longstanding Troy Polamalu-Ed Reed debate, it has me thinking of other players I would like to combine talents within the division.
With that said, here are several other "Madden NFL 10" fantasy hybrids I will have fun creating this year:
Player: James Suggs
- Position: Linebacker/defensive end
- Why: The sack record is in serious jeopardy when you combine the talents of James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens. Both players just got huge new contracts, so "James Suggs" is a very happy (and rich) man. But that's awful news for opposing offense as this player is virtually unblockable against the run and pass. Along with "Troy Reed," you can book "James Suggs" as perennial contenders for Most Valuable Player.
- Overall rating: 110 (if possible, since "Troy Reed" is 120)
Player: Carson Roethlisberger
- Position: Quarterback
- Why: Pitting Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer of the Cincinnati Bengals into one player would give you the ideal quarterback. "Carson Roethlisberger" would be a two-time Super Bowl winner with all the natural ability you want at the position. Both players have arm strength, but Palmer's quick release is much needed to avoid sacks. Roethlisberger will bring his size, improvisation and winner's mentality to make sure his team stays in contention every year. You also don't have to worry about Palmer's age or severe elbow and knee injuries thanks to Roethlisberger.
- Overall rating: 110
Player: Haloti Hampton
- Position: Defensive lineman
- Why: Want to stop the run? "Haloti Hampton" is the answer. Nicknamed the "Gigantic Buffett," this defensive lineman cannot be moved off the line of scrimmage. With Pittsburgh's Casey Hampton, you have size and veteran experience of playing years in a 3-4 defense. Thanks to Baltimore's Haloti Ngata, you also have youth, nimble feet, surprisingly good hands and no weight issues. "Haloti Hampton" is the perfect big man to protect your linebackers.
- Overall rating: 99
Player: Hines Ochocinco
- Position: Wide receiver
- Why: Mixing Hines Ward and Chad Ochocinco can be a dangerous experiment. I'm not sure which strong personality will prevail, whether it's Ward's professional approach or Ochocinco's brash antics. (We're hoping for Ward's character traits, obviously.) But on the field, you're going to get a smart, hard-nosed receiver with a ton of natural game-breaking ability. There is nothing "Hines Ochocinco" can't do on the football field. He will be the best blocking receiver in the NFL who runs great routes, has dependable hands and can easily get behind the secondary. The only issue is age, as both players are over 30.
- Overall rating: 97
Player: Willie McClain
- Position: Running back
- Why: Using the speed of Pittsburgh's Willie Parker and the rugged strength of Baltimore's Le'Ron McClain would make an ideal AFC North tailback. "Willie McClain" would be equally adept to hitting a crease and taking it 70 yards or get those tough, goal-line touchdowns with ease. This tailback may struggle to catch out of the backfield, however.
- Overall rating: 93
Player: Keith Timmons
- Position: Linebacker
- Why: The Bengals' Keith Rivers and Lawrence Timmons of the Steelers are two of the top, young linebackers in the NFL, and both reside in the AFC North. Put the two together and you have a force to be reckoned with in "Keith Timmons." Timmons provides the explosiveness and pure athleticism while Rivers is more polished against the run in taking on fullbacks and shedding offensive linemen. Both players have the ability to play inside or outside linebacker, providing for tremendous versatility. And the fact that Timmons plays in a 3-4 and Rivers plays in a 4-3 makes "Keith Timmons" perfect for any system.
- Overall rating: 93
Player: Brady Anderson
- Position: Quarterback
- Why: If you put together the strengths of Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, the Cleveland Browns would have no problems choosing their quarterback this summer. "Brady Anderson" would be their guy. Anderson brings the rocket arm and the ability to stretch NFL defenses, while Quinn has all the intangibles such as leadership, decision making and pocket presence. With "Brady Anderson," the Browns could be a threat in the AFC North this year and perhaps rekindle their rivalry against the Steelers.
- Overall rating: 88