Tom Brady, Dan Marino Top List of NFL Players Who Were Drafted by MLB Teams

Published on February 8th, 2022 1:00 am EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Dan Marino is one of a few NFL players that were also drafted by MLB teams. If you are a top prospect to play college football, it stands to reason that you would likely be an all-around good athlete.

This is why it shouldn't surprise you to learn that some of the very best players in the history of the NFL have also been drafted by Major League Baseball teams.

Many high school athletes would play both football and baseball, as football was a fall/winter sport, while baseball would take place in the spring.


Let's take a look at the seven biggest NFL names that were also drafted by Major League Baseball teams, in no particular order:

1. Tom Brady.

The "GOAT" was a very good catcher in high school, which led to the Montreal Expos drafted him in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft.

The Expos offered Brady a contract, though he ultimately decided to play football at the University of Michigan instead, and the rest is history.

2. John Elway.

John Elway was a very, very good baseball player in high school.

In fact, Elway was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 18th round of the 1979 MLB draft. A few years later, Elway was eligible to be drafted once again, and he was taken by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 1981 draft.

Elway would end up using this Yankees draft pick as leverage to avoid being drafted by the Baltimore Colts. Elway did not want to play for the Colts and threatened to become a professional baseball player if the team drafted him. They did, indeed, draft Elway, but ultimately ended up trading him to the Denver Broncos.

3. Dan Marino.

Dan Marino and John Elway were both drafted in the 1979 MLB draft.

Marino was drafted in the 4th round by the Kansas City Royals in the MLB draft, but ultimately decided to attend the University of Pittsburgh to play football instead.

Dan Marino would end up becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer in the NFL.

4. Deion Sanders.

Deion Sanders was a two-sport athlete, as he enjoyed a long 14 year career in the NFL, as well as playing for nine years in Major League Baseball.

Sanders was one of the greatest football players of all time, as he was an eight-time Pro Bowler who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

At his peak, Sanders was one of the best cornerbacks who ever lived.

5. Bo Jackson.

Bo Jackson was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 4th round of the 1986 amateur draft.

Here is where the story gets insane for Bo Jackson - he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the first overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft, but refused to play for the team, after he alleges that they deliberately sabotaged him so that he would be ineligible to play his last season of college baseball.

Jackson would end up playing with the Royals instead, and the Bucs were left with absolutely nothing.

Eventually Jackson would play in the NFL, where an injury would cut a very promising career short.

6. Russell Wilson.

Russell Wilson is considered to be one of the very best quarterbacks in the NFL.

Wilson was not a surefire NFL prospect, so he actually started working his way through the minor league baseball system before eventually declaring that he was going to focus on the NFL.

Wilson was first drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2007 draft, though elected to attend college instead of turning pro.

In 2010, Wilson would be drafted by the Colorado Rickets, and would play 61 games for their Class A affiliate before announcing that he was done with baseball.

7. Kyler Murray.

Kyler Murray can claim something that nobody else can claim - he is the first and only person to ever be drafted in the first round of both the NFL and MLB drafts.

The Oakland Athletes took Murray 9th overall in the 2018 draft. There was some thought that Murray would prove to be too small to play in the NFL, though his Heisman Trophy winning season in 2018 changed that narrative, as he was taken first overall in the 2019 NFL draft.

Murray informed the A's that he would be playing football instead of baseball after that, and the A's still retain his baseball rights.

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