NFL players are extremely athletic people and during their time in college they have been known to try out other sports. Often times, teams across different sports become interested in these players because of their natural athleticism, and draft them in hopes that their other careers may falter. This happens frequently between the NFL and MLB, as many NFL superstars, most often quarterbacks, were also drafted by MLB teams. Some of them choose to stay exclusively in the NFL, while in other exceptional cases they can find a way to play professionally in both sports.
This list will comprise the Top 10 NFL players who have also been drafted by MLB teams. It is not based on any particular stat, but rather on their merits in the NFL.
The young Seahawks pivot Russell Wilson has been a smashing success for Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks since being selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL Entry Draft. However, he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens before going to college but opted to get an education first. He played both football and baseball there before being drafted by the Rockies of the MLB and the Seahawks of the NFL. Wilson made a decision to pursue his NFL career and has quickly made an impact since beating out Matt Flynn for the starting job. He led the Seahawks to the playoffs in his first year and has them in the NFC Championship game in his second. He has since had his rights traded from the Rockies to the Texas Rangers who intend to use him as an example of a strong work ethic in their minor league system. Wilson made a total of $681,085 for the 2013 season and will certainly be in line for a huge pay increase after his rookie contract. This will certainly validate his decision to join the NFL over the MLB.
The young Niners quarterback beat out his young rival Wilson on this list because he has one Super Bowl appearance under his belt. Colin Kaepernick was initially a second round pick of the Niners, but was also selected in the 43rd round by the Chicago Cubs before he even entered the college ranks. He chose to pursue his football career and didn't even play baseball in college. He took longer to win the starting job than his rival Russell Wilson, only claiming the job after Smith was inured by a concussion. He took the starting job and ran with it, literally, as he became one of the top dual-threat QBs in the game. He led his team to a Super Bowl appearance in his first year and will be facing off against Wilson in the NFC Championship game for a chance to get back to the Super Bowl. He made $1,397,532 over the last year and once more, like Russell Wilson, he we likely get a huge pay increase and be content that he made the choice to be a professional football player.
The first ever case of being a dual athlete on this list was the lightening-fast Bo Jackson, who excelled for both the Los Angeles Raiders and the Kansas City Royals. He was initially drafted by the Yankees out of high school, but chose to go to Auburn to pursue both football and baseball. Jackson was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Royals out of college, but after being given an ultimatum by the Buccaneers to choose between them and baseball, he chose to play for Kansas City. He was then offered a contract by the Los Angeles Raiders to play only when the baseball season was over, which he accepted, and he had an immediate effect on the Raiders. Jackson was an impact player for the team, before injuries derailed his career in both sports. He is estimated to have a net worth of $16 million.
One of the few non-QBs to make this list, Ricky Williams is known for a lot of different reasons, but baseball is not one of them. Before going to college, he was drafted in the 8th round of the MLB draft and played minor league baseball in the summer during his four years in college. At the end of his college career, he was drafted as the 5th overall pick of the 1999 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints, where he started for three years before moving on to the Miami Dolphins. Williams became an elite runner there before deciding to retire early after being suspended four games for marijuana use. He travelled the world and smoked pot like a confused, rich teenager before deciding he wanted to play football again (when the money ran out). He played one year in the CFL before returning to Miami and then Baltimore to moderate success. Williams earned $1,750,000 for his last year in Baltimore and will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, with his incredible success being an afterthought.
Another entrant on this list who will be known for all the wrong reasons. He began as an electric college player who went on to be consensus first overall pick of the Atlanta Falcons, but it wasn't known that he was also drafted in the 30th round by the Colorado Rockies. This is regardless of the fact that he hadn't played baseball since the 8th grade. Vick was a dazzling success with the Falcons, leading them to a NFC Championship game, before his world came crashing down when dog fighting allegations forced him into 21 months in jail. It is estimated that Vick had earned $130 million, but lost it all, including future contracts and endorsements. He then signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and inevitably earned the starting job, before losing it this year to Nick Foles. He made $7,500,000 for the past year and will be a free-agent for next season.
The Two-time Super Bowl champ is a huge part of the Denver Broncos' history, but was also a huge baseball prospect in his own right. Out of high school John Elway was drafted by the Kansas City Royals, but chose to go to college and pursue both sports. He was then drafted by both the Broncos and New York Yankees, with the Yankees picking him 6 spots ahead of future hall of famer Tony Gwynn. He even played a bit for their minor league team, receiving $50,000 before deciding to completely focus on the NFL. Thank god for the Broncos that he did, as he led them to 2 Super Bowls and 5 AFC Championship games while being a 9-time Pro Bowler. He is now the Vice President of Football Operations for the Broncos and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is estimated to be worth a total of $45 million.
One of the best QBs of all time (and actor in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective), Dan Marino was also a top notch High School baseball player. He was drafted by the Royals out of college, but like the other QBs on this list, he chose to pursue his football career at the University of Pittsburgh. He was then the sixth QB taken in the 1983 NFL Entry Draft, which must make fans of the those other five teams sick. He went on to hold a variety of passing records before the emergence of Manning and Brady, though he was unable to ever win the big one with the Dolphins. Regardless of that fact, he is a 9-time Pro Bowler and was a Hall of Fame inductee in 2005. He is currently a football analyst on CBS and is estimated to be worth $35 million.
One of the most clutch players of all-time was also a top notch baseball player in high school, where he was offered a contract by the New York Mets. Troy Aikman chose to pursue his football career and went to play for the Oklahoma Sooners and UCLA Bruins. He was drafted as the first overall pick of the Dallas Cowboys where he went on to form a potent trio with Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. They went on to win three Super Bowls, with Aikman earning 6 Pro Bowl births and a trip to the Hall of Fame. He is currently a broadcaster on Fox and one of the most decorated QBs of all-time. He has a current net worth of $25 million and earns $1,000,000 per year as an announcer.
One of the most colourful characters to ever appear in the NFL, Deion Sanders was also an incredible competitor and one of the few dual-athletes in NFL history. Prime Time was all-state in football, basketball and baseball coming out of high school where he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals. He decided to go to college where he starred in baseball and football at Florida State University. He was then drafted by the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Falcons and debuted for both of those teams in 1989. Sanders then played for the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants for baseball and for the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens. He was one of the most electric cornerbacks of all-time and helped to redefine the position. Despite playing two major league sports at once, Sanders was an 8-time Pro Bowler, 2-time Super Bowl champion and a Hall of Fame inductee. He has also done a number of odd things like release a record named "Prime Time" and a reality show named "Deion & Pilar: Prime Time Love." He is currently an analyst of the NFL Network and has an estimated worth of $40 million.
One of the best quarterbacks of all-time already has an improbable story about his route to the NFL, but a little-known fact about him is that he had a chance to be a MLB player. Coming out of high school, Tom Brady was drafted as a catcher by the Montreal Expos in the 18th round. He chose to go to Michigan to pursue his football career and became a sixth round pick of the New England Patriots. This may go down as the biggest bargain in NFL history, as after taking over the starting job from Drew Bledsoe, Brady has gone to lead the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles. During his career Brady has been a 9-time Pro Bowler, 2-time NFL MVP and owned the title for touchdowns in a season before Manning broke it this season. He is currently making $14,120,000 this year and has been the cornerstone of the Patriots franchise over the last decade.