What If These NFL Players Powerlifted?

The 2017 NFL season is in full swing.  It's the time of year when you get to spend your Sunday afternoons stuck to the La-Z-Boy with your remote glued in one hand and a protein shake in the other.  It might seem like a wasted day, but it's not.  You need the recovery time after yet another heavy week of training.  Hell, you DESERVE it.

You don't have to have the trained football eye of John Madden to recognize there are some freakish athletes that play the sport of football at the highest level.  Just look at Eli Manning and Sabastian Janikowski...  But seriously, NFL players are some of the biggest, fastest, and strongest men in the world.  It kind of makes you wonder just what kind of numbers some of these guys could put up if they powerlifted competitively.  Luckily for you we dug into all the info we could find on some of the NFL's top performers in an effort to answer that question.  We used a combination of sports media sources, Instagram lifting posts, 1RM calculating, and scientific guestimating to determine the potential numbers that each gridiron star could put up on the platform if they were to compete.  Keep in mind that the weights we ended up with are what these players would have the potential to hit during their off-season training.  Most of these guys don't spend a lot of time specifically training for powerlifting.   There is no doubt that their ceiling could be significantly higher if it was their primary focus. 

Also, if these guys were powerlifters, we know for sure they would be much, much poorer than they are now.  Instead of signing multi-million dollar contracts, they could be scraping and pleading to get a "sponsorship" that might include a 15% discount on supplements that are already marked up 40%.  With deals that sweet it's kind of hard to believe that these guys chose football over powerlifting. 

JJ Watt

  • Team: Houston Texans

  • Position: Defensive End

  • Height: 6'5"

  • Weight: 290

  • Squat: 700

  • Bench: 475

  • Deadlift: 700

  • Total: 1,875

We might as well start off with the guy that everyone wants to talk about.  Justin James is arguably one of the most dominanting defensive players to ever play the game.  Tales of his crazy feats of strength are wide spread.  From squat jumping out of four foot pools of water to easily flipping 1,000 pound tires.  Many sources report his max squat at 700 pounds and his bench in the 450-500 area.  That checks out with him hitting 34 reps of 225 at the combine.  With his near seven foot wingspan and all around strength it's likely he could rip 700 from the floor pretty easily.  #jjsquat

Andrew Billings

Same number, new colors #LetsRoar #WhoDey

A photo posted by andrew billings (@andrew.billings) on

  • Team: Cincinnati Bengals

  • Position: Defensive Tackle

  • Height: 6'1"

  • Weight: 311

  • Squat: 805

  • Bench: 500

  • Deadlift: 705

  • Total: 2,010

This big man from Baylor got picked up in the fourth round of last year's NFL draft.  We don't have to do much guessing when it comes to Andrew's numbers, because he competed in high school.  And oh boy, did he ever compete.  At the ripe old age of 18 he totaled over 2,000 pounds to break a Texas High School state record.  He joined the likes of Mark Henry as one of three Texas high schoolers to ever break that threshold.  It's scary to think of where he might be if he worked on the big three lifts full time.  #recordbreaker

Connor McGovern

  • Team: Denver Broncos

  • Position: Guard

  • Height: 6'4"

  • Weight: 305

  • Squat: 785

  • Bench: 500

  • Deadlift: 655

  • Total: 1,940

Here is another guy that was selected in the 2016 draft.  There must have been something in the water this year.  Connor broke a Mizzou school squat record hitting 690 pounds for five reps, and his 1RM is reported at 785.  He tore his peck going for another school record 515 pounds on the bench press.  Connor is well versed in Olympic lifting and comes from a father that was also dedicated to weightlifting.  We asked Connor about the difference in his max strength during the football season versus the offseason.  He said it's a "huge difference" because of all the time that goes into sport specific practice and training during an NFL season.  He told us "during seasons it's about maintaining as much as you can, but you have got to stay fresh for what really matters." 

Steve Weatherford

  • Team: Free Agent

  • Position: Punter

  • Height: 6'2"

  • Weight: 211

  • Squat: 475

  • Bench: 400

  • Deadlift: 550

  • Total: 1,425

That's right, it says punter.  It is not a misprint.  But Steve is far from your average punter.  He is one of the most shredded dudes in the league, regardless of position.  He has got some pretty legit lifting numbers to go along with that physique.  That all seems like reason enough to sign this guy, so why in the hell is he a free agent?  #puntsanity

Vernon Davis

A few plates. #anormalday

A video posted by Vernon Davis (@vernondavis85) on

  • Team: Washington Redskins

  • Position: Tight End

  • Height: 6'3"

  • Weight: 250

  • Squat: 685

  • Bench: 480

  • Deadlift: 720

  • Total: 1,885

Vernon is a world class athlete.  It's not hardly fair for someone to have his combination of speed, size, and strength.  You would be hard pressed to find a pass catcher in the history of the league that could match his level of strength.  In his NFL combine performance he hit 33 225 reps, had a 42" vertical, and ran the 40 yard dash in 4.38 seconds. #freakofnature

Stephen Paea

150lbs x10reps after practice. Just getting ready for Buffalo.

A video posted by Stephen Paea (@nightnight90) on

  • Team: Retired

  • Position: Defensive End

  • Height: 6'1"

  • Weight: 300

  • Squat: 760

  • Bench: 550

  • Deadlift: 750

  • Total: 2,060

A lot of fans and fellow players considered Stephen to be the strongest man in the NFL.  His numbers in the gym do a pretty good job of backing up that statement.  He broke the NFL combine 225 bench press rep record with 49 in 2011.  We've got him down for the biggest bench on our list.  Maybe there are some guys out there that can go even bigger, but we couldn't find them! #stronghuman

Tim Tebow

Amazing night last night hang'in with a real inspiration! @jadenbarr15 #secnation

A photo posted by Tim Tebow (@timtebow) on

  • Team: New York Mets

  • Position: Outfielder

  • Height: 6'3"

  • Weight: 235

  • Squat: 550

  • Bench: 450

  • Deadlift: 500

  • Total: 1,500

Tebowing is still cool right??  We get it, he is a baseball player now.  He hasn't been relevant in the NFL for several years, but everyone talked about how strong he was for a player at the QB position for so long we felt like he needed to be included.  There are a lot of stories out there about his bench press number.  Some say 400+, some say 450, and some say 480.  Either way, that's pretty impressive for a quarterback/outfielder/choirboy.  #tebowing

Adrian Peterson

I'm back to defend my rushing throne! Revelation 3:7-8 #AD28#adidas.

A photo posted by Adrian L Peterson (@adrianpeterson) on

  • Team: Arizona Cardinals

  • Position: Running Back

  • Height: 6'1"

  • Weight: 215

  • Squat: 545

  • Bench: 345

  • Deadlift: 535

  • Total: 1,425

At 32 years of age (old for running back standards) AP is still one of the most powerful running backs in the league.  With the way he looks and runs it's no surprise that he could push out a respectable squat.  Another fun strength fact is that Adrian is considered by many in the know to have the strongest handshake in the league.  There is quite a bit of internet buzz about his vice-grip like handshake that has the power to bring grown men to their knees.  Just google it.  #crushedfingers

James Harrison

Stability bench press

A post shared by James Harrison (@jhharrison92) on

  • Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Position: Linebacker

  • Height: 6'

  • Weight: 275

  • Squat: 600

  • Bench: 495

  • Deadlift: 700

  • Total: 1,795

Harrison is known around the NFL as a freak in the gym.  At 39 years old he is still one of the strongest dudes in the league.  He brings a high level of intensity to his training even though he has been at it for 15 years now.  He posts quite a bit of his training on social media, so you can check him out for yourself.  #terribletowel

Eli Manning

I know we are 1-6 but is there any game you guys are excited for? #NFL #NYGiants #EliManning #OdellBeckhamJr #GiantsPride

A post shared by 🔵Eli Manning Fan Page🔴 (@elimanning__fanpage) on

Team: New York Giants
Position: Quarterback
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 220

Squat: 375
Bench: 300
Deadlift: 455
Total: 1,130
Wonderlic score: 25

We brought up big Eli at the beginning, so we figured we better analyze his numbers so we don't leave you wondering forever what he can bench.  He's got the lowest numbers of anyone on our list, but really it's not too terrible considering how low absolute strength is on his list of priorities.  So Peyton might have just got another ring, but at least Eli got to make our list!  #wonderlic

What do you think?

Did we miss some NFL guys that you think would have been interesting for us to cover?  What about other professional athletes in different sports that would make for some legit powerlifters?  Comment and let us know!

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