Wallabies fullback Israel Folau would make an excellent wide receiver in the NFL.
Triple coverage is to Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson what a wall of defenders is to Wallabies fullback Israel Folau – just another opportunity to make a big play. So, are these two mega-elite athletes interchangeable? You betcha!
Matthew Stafford is a decent quarterback by NFL standards, but it’s safe to say that his production in Detroit has been underwritten by the league’s best wide receiver today, possibly ever.
Johnson is the only player in the history of the NFL to gain more than 5,000 yards receiving in a three-season stretch, and he holds the record for most receiving yards in a season (1,964 in 2012). He is almost 110kg and has a PB in the 100m of 10.23 seconds.
Earlier this year, Johnson was voted the second-most valuable player by his peers, and that’s why Stafford has spent his career clamping his eyes shut and fizzing the football at his favourite target – he knows that any 50/50 situation for a normal receiver is an 80/20 for Megatron.
On the other side of the coin we have Folau, the rugby league convert who in two seasons of rugby union has separated himself from all other fullbacks. Izzy shares Megatron’s clutch ability, and he has quickly emerged as his flyhalf’s best friend on the rugby field. Superb aerial skills to receive cross-kicks are matched by incisive pace and running angles as he joins the line, he’s nearly impossible to take down with one defender and almost always eases away an offload to a supporting runner.
In seven seasons, Megatron has broken pretty much every record in the Detroit Lions record book and, at 28, he is a future Hall of Famer who still has at least three seasons of dominant football left in him. Folau, 25, is only in his second season as a Wallaby but few would argue that he has achieved legend status in the Australian rugby fraternity, and indeed world rugby.
Whether you want Izzy towering over the world’s best cornerbacks, making Stafford look like franchise quarterback, or Megatron reeling in a touchline-bound cross-kick from Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper, it doesn’t matter – they’d get the job done in either code.
Their physical stature and mobility is unfair. To put their freakish ability into perspective you’d have to merge Juan Smith’s dimensions with a magician on rocket-skates.
Megatron’s numbers are huge – 572 receptions, 9,328 receiving yards and 66 receiving TDs in seven seasons mean Megatron will go down in history as one of the greatest ever wide receivers to play the game, a shoe-in future Hall of Famer.
Folau has notched up monster-sized production in two seasons, with 13 tries for the Wallabies jumper to go with his record 20 trips in-goal in the Waratahs’ blue over two seasons. Not to mention the countless accolades he picked up during his time in rugby league.
As you can see in our growing Job Swap team, Folau is our go-to man out wide. Which position do you want us to tackle next?
Quarterback – Frans Steyn
Fullback – Beast Mtawarira
Wide receiver – Israel Folau
Right Guard – Coenie Oosthuizen
Left defensive end – Duane Vermeulen
Strongside linebacker – Schalk Burger
Middle linebacker – Trevor Nyakane
Free safety – Bryan Habana
Kick returner – Gio Aplon