St. Louis sports fans were hit with the shock of losing their football team to Los Angeles this past off-season. So, in response, I’ve decided to create a new St. Louis football squad, out of current Cardinals. Here’s what it looks like:
Quarterback: Michael Wacha
At 6’ 6” 215 lbs, you don’t have to think hard to picture this right-hander as an NFL player. Averaging a 94 mile per hour fastball, Wacha clearly has the arm strength to throw a ball deep down field, hitting receivers in stride as they streak down the side line, or over the middle of the field.
With pinpoint accuracy at a career 65.3 strike percentage, its easy to picture Wacha nailing receivers in the chest, threading the needle between defenders. At just 25, Wacha could become St Louis’s franchise quarterback for years to come, using his rocket arm to propel the offense season after season.
Running back: Kolten Wong
Every Cardinals’ fan knows Wong has speed. Great speed. In just over 400 games, Wong has swiped 45 bags, and has been the Cardinals’ biggest force on the bases in the last four years by far. His quickness at second base, as well, is well documented, as he has always been known as an above-average defender, possessing great first-step ability and footwork around the bag, much the same skill set possessed by a running back as they navigate the holes in the defense.
The only weakness Wong may possess is his size: just 5’ 9” 185. In an age of the bulldozer, tackle-breaking running back, Wong would be a little undersized. However, I do think that his quickness, and his youth, just 26, would make him a good choice for running back for the new St. Louis football team.
Wide Receiver: Randal Grichuk
Couldn’t you just see him streaking down the field on a post route, or cutting across the middle on a slant? The 6’1”, 205 lbs center-fielder who tracks down fly balls in the Cardinal out field with ease seems to me an easy parallel to a Wes Welker or a Jordy Nelson. The amazing ball skills and physicality of Grichuk would give him the ability to go up and grab those 50-50 balls. I mean, how many times have we seen him scale the wall and rob homers? And there’s no doubting Grichuk’s speed, which would get him space enough away from the secondary to be hit on a slant or crossing route, and break away for a big gain, setting St. Louis up for a score.
— CardsBlog.com (@cardsblog) November 9, 2016
Linebacker: Matt Carpenter
This powerful Cardinals’ corner infielder mashed 21 homers last year, and at 6’3” 205, would be the perfect candidate to be positioned behind the line, using his explosive first step ability which he utilizes at the hot corner to burst into the backfield and take down the ball carrier with force. As well, at the corners, Carpenter is attuned to making split second reactions, which would allow him to make lightening fast, instinctual reactions as to where to go to make the tackle.
Safety: Tommy Pham
At 6’1”, 210, this speedy outfielder would be an electric, ball-hawking safety, patrolling the Rams’ secondary. Forceful and hard-hitting, I could see Pham as a Cam Chancellor type force, making athletic plays to make plays on the ball, and using his strength and speed to break up receptions or make frightening tackles on opposing ball carriers in the secondary. And if he gets his hands on the ball, bam, he’s gone, using that quickness and agility which the Cardinals love so much in him to evade tacklers and make a big gain after the turnover.
Center: Yadier Molina
Was this even a question? Directing the offense, helping to call out plays, the Cardinals’ stout, muscular captain could easily transfer to being a center from his current role as a field director behind the plate. Yadi’s field awareness and knowledge of the game on the baseball field is nearly unprecedented, and these are the most important qualities-besides perhaps strength, which Molina also possesses-for a center, as he has to balance controlling the offense, snapping the ball, and blocking the defensive linemen coming at his face. Further, after a bad throw, or an obnoxious penalty, there’s no one better than Yadi to get his quarterback back on focus, much as he has done with his pitching staff for years.
Bonus-Tight End: Matt Holliday
Yes, I realize he is no longer to be a Cardinal next season, and he didn’t get much playing time this past year, but Matt Holliday has been an integral, motivating force in the Cardinals’ club house for years. Plus, look at this man. At a nearly gargantuan 6’4” 240, Matt Holiday was built to run people over on the football field. As a high school football player, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones marked him as a “can’t miss” prospect.
Although a quarterback in highschool, looking at Holliday, all I can picture is him blocking defensive linemen, or running short routes and running over linebackers and safeties in the secondary with his unmatched power. And we know, as a long time outfielder, Holliday has good ball skills and coordination.
In fact, I’d go so far as compare him to one Rob Gronkowski, who will probably go down as the greatest tight end of all time. We know Holliday has insane physicality and great athleticism and ball skills, and add to that the emotion that has driven him to be a leader of the Cardinals’ club house for almost 8 years, this comparison seems as viable as any. At tight end, I could see Matt Holliday leading the St. Louis football team to some massive offensive years as a powerful blocker and big-time target in the middle of the field.
Do you agree with our roster? Who would be on your revamped St. Louis football team?
Photo Credits go to Kirby Lee of USA Today