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5 NFL players who could be 60-minute men

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April 7th, 2020

The days of the “60-minute Man” in football are long behind us. 

Chuck Bednarik is considered the last player of that generation. He played both center and linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1949 to 1962. 

In the modern age of football, playing every snap is too much of a demand, with more speed, increasingly violent collisions, and players paid huge salaries within their designed role. 

Let’s take a look at five current NFL players who have played both ways, or who we believe have the ability to do so.

Patrick Ricard (Baltimore Ravens)

The Ravens found an expanded role for Ricard on offense, defense, and special teams last season. 

In his third season, Ricard took 31% of offensive snaps as a fullback, 14% of defensive snaps as a defensive lineman, and 23% of snaps on special teams, according to Pro Football Reference

His role in the offense won’t garner headlines. At 305 pounds, Ricard can be a force blocking in Baltimore’s vaunted run game. He has also contributed with three receiving touchdowns in his career and had a career-best eight catches on 11 targets in 2019. 

An undrafted free agent signing, Ricard has also found a home on the defensive line, with a forced fumble, pass knockdown, sack, and two hits on the quarterback last season. 

His efforts didn’t go unnoticed, and he earned a Pro Bowl selection. 

Julian Edelman (New England Patriots)

It’s been a while since Edelman played on defense. He’s known more as one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets in the New England Patriots offense.

A seventh-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Edelman has shown he can do it all. He has been used as a kick returner, on special teams, and — particularly during the 2011 season — has been asked to chip in on defense.

In 2011 he recorded two fumble recoveries, 18 total tackles, and two quarterback hits. 

Edelman has since blossomed into a productive, hard-nosed receiver and posted a career-best 1,117 yards receiving in 2019.

George Kittle (San Francisco 49ers)

Kittle is the best receiver in the San Francisco 49ers offense, so we acknowledge this is a reach. 

The 26-year-old tight end is also a complete beast as a blocker in San Francisco’s run game. Not only is he physical and aggressive, but he has sound technique with his hands and no problem engaging defenders. 

If he were to gain, say, 10 to 15 pounds, would anyone else have the temptation to see what Kittle could do with a few snaps as an edge rusher? Kittle is listed at 6-foot-4 — the same height as teammate and defensive end Nick Bosa. Kittle is only about 16 pounds lighter. 

It’s unlikely this would ever happen, but you’d have to think, if the 49ers were ever in a pinch, they could turn to Kittle, and he wouldn’t have much of an issue taking a few snaps on defense. 

Dontari Poe (Dallas Cowboys)

The Cowboys beefed up their defensive line by signing Dontari Poe. 

The interior of the defensive line is where Poe has made his mark in the NFL, but he has also been a touchdown machine on offense. 

Standing an imposing 6-foot-3 and 345 pounds, Poe has taken 17 snaps on offense in his career, per Pro Football Focus. 

He has two rushing touchdowns from his time with the Kansas City Chiefs, and a passing touchdown in a blowout victory over the Denver Broncos in 2016. 

Good luck trying to stop this at the 1-yard line.

The Cowboys should have a good offense. They have their star running back. They have a mobile quarterback. 

Raise your hand if you wouldn’t mind seeing that offense go completely out of the box, and bring in Poe to rumble in for a short-yardage score? 

Adoree Jackson (Tennessee Titans)

Jackson showed in college that he can bring excitement to the game on offense, defense, and special teams. 

Selected 18th overall in the 2017 Draft, Jackson is a starting cornerback for the Tennessee Titans, with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. 

The Titans have also used him as a returner on special teams, but he has been unable to bring the same edge-of-your-seat exhilaration he did in college at USC, where he scored eight kick and punt-return touchdowns over three years. 

In his rookie season, the Titans gave him some looks on offense, too, with five rushes for 55 yards. 

Jackson’s time on special teams and offense has dried up over the last two years, but he’s shown glimpses in the past that he can keep an opposing defense on its toes. You wonder if the Titans may go deeper into their playbook next year with a few snaps for Jackson.  

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