So instead of painfully refreshing my Twitter feed every five minutes hoping for a blockbuster trade or a big free agent signing, I have decided to have a little fun.
With the NFL playoffs in full swing after a Wild Card Weekend filled with excitement — unless you only watched the Bills and Jaguars game or do not care about football — there is no better way to pass the time than to construct the perfect team of NFL players who were drafted by an MLB team.
But before you dive any deeper, you should know how these players were selected. The following criteria was used:
- The player was drafted by an MLB organization at least once.
- The player never actually played in the majors.
- Active and retired NFL players are both eligible.
There have been plenty of multi-sport athletes who played at the highest level in baseball and football. But for the purposes of this list, those players were not included.
The team consists of:
- One player at each infield position
- One player at each outfield spot
- One starter
- One reliever
Feel free to disagree with my selections. Let me know who you would have selected in the comments section below.
Now that everybody is on the same page, here is what I came up with.
C: Tom Brady
Tom Brady almost never became one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
Brady was star a power-hitting left-handed catcher in high school. He hit eight home runs with 44 RBIs in 61 high school games. But he also hit .311 and his strong-arm behind the plate could have made him a star at the major league level.
Brady’s accuracy and arm strength could have translated rather nicely at the plate. We will never really know, though. The Montreal Expos drafted Brady in 1995, but he decided to play football at the University of Michigan and the rest is history.
Brady will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. He has compiled 488 touchdowns during his Hall of Fame career and has led the New England Patriots to five Super Bowl titles.
1B: Matt Cassel
This was one of the hardest positions to fill because there was not a clear choice. Most of the NFL players who have been drafted were outfielders or pitchers.
I thought about going with Michael Vick because he probably could have played the position, but for fun, I settled on Matt Cassel. Cassel played first base for Northridge, a team in California, that made the finals of the Little League World Series. Cassel pitched for USC in 2004 and was drafted by the Oakland A’s that same year.
2B: Russell Wilson
Of all the players included on this team, Russell Wilson might have had one of the best shots to play in the majors. After all, Wilson was drafted two times and played as high as Single-A for the Colorado Rockies. Heck, the Texas Rangers even invited him to spring training in 2013.
Wilson had a great arm and could have easily been my choice at shortstop. However, it is clear he ended up making the right choice. Wilson has led the Seattle Seahawks to two Super Bowl appearances and one title.
This season, the Seahawks fell short of making the playoffs, but Wilson led the league in touchdown passes while accounting for most of the Seattle’s offense.
SS: Steve McNair
Steve McNair never played a game for the Seattle Mariners, but he could have dramatically altered the MLB in the 1990s.
McNair was drafted by Seattle in 1991. But the right-handed hitting shortstop decided to not sign and the Houston Oilers took him in the 1995 NFL Draft with the third pick and he went on to be one of the best quarterbacks of the 90s.
If McNair decided to sign with the Mariners, Seattle might never have drafted Alex Rodriguez and baseball likely would have looked very different.
3B: Drew Henson
The former Michigan Wolverines quarterback signed a hefty contract with the New York Yankees, but both his professional baseball and football aspirations never truly panned out.
Henson signed a six-year, $17 million dollar contract to play only for the Yankees. Between his time in the Pinstripes and the Cincinnati Reds organization, he made it all the way up to Triple-A. But Henson struggled once he got there and that is when his baseball career ended.
While Henson did play eight games in the majors, I made an exception because he did not have the impact that Jackson or Sanders did.
Henson played a total of nine games in the NFL but only made one start for the Dallas Cowboys in 2004.
LF: Erick Decker
Decker ended up choosing football and became a mainstay for a Denver Broncos team that won the Super Bowl in 2013. But Decker could have probably been a successful minor league player with a chance to succeed at the major league level. His speed could have played at the top of the lineup and the left-handed bat hit .324 in 110 college games for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
He was drafted by three teams but decided to pursue a football career instead.
CF: Marshall Faulk
Faulk was a track star in high school and his speed caught the attention of the California Angels, who drafted him as an outfielder in 1993.
But he did not sign and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts with the second pick a year later. The Pro Football Hall of Famer ended up becoming one of the greatest running backs and pass catching backs in NFL history.
RF: John Elway
Elway was first drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1979. But after being drafted by the Yankees in 1981, he became one of the organization’s top prospects. He could have been a dangerous power hitter in the majors.
Elway did not want to play for the Baltimore Colts, who wanted to draft him in 1984. So Elway decided to play baseball and essentially forced a trade to the Denver Broncos. He would go on to lead the Broncos to five Super Bowls and currently sits seventh all-time in passing yards (51,475).
SP: Colin Kaepernick
Kaepernick was an ace in his junior year and senior year of high school. Scouts were intrigued by his 92-mph fastball. As a senior, he threw nine complete games and two no-hitters.
Kaepernick chose football. He did play in the Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers in the 2012 season. But after starting 11 games in 2016, Kaepernick did not play last season. After kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, many people thought he was not signed because of his choice to protest. This sparked a national debate that dominated the headlines.
RP: Jameis Winston
Winston was a superstar closer for a really good Florida State Seminoles baseball team. After a good freshman season, Winston pitched to a 1.08 ERA and struck out 31 in 33.1 innings pitched as a sophomore in 2014. He certainly had the stuff to make batters whiff at the minor league level and the potential to be an impact major league pitcher.
But Winston was drafted first overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015 and has played three so-so seasons in the NFL. On top of that, he has been involved in numerous controversies off the field.