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Ranking The Best Active NFL Players Who Were Also Selected in the MLB Draft

By Pride

Earlier this week, the least hyped draft of all the 4 major American sports took place. Yes, it was once again time for the MLB draft, the time of year where MLB front offices curb their attention away from the field, midseason, to select players to fill-up the rosters for their farm teams and maybe get luck and get a couple MLB stars. This year the Oakland Athletics selected Logan Davidson, a shortstop out of Clemson, who is not on their football team. I think it’s been nailed into everyone’s heads enough that Kyler Murray was the A’s first round pick last year only to have him leave for the NFL after a Heisman-winning football season at Oklahoma.

The MLB and NFL have had quite a few players tangled in between the two, like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders playing in both leagues at once or like Brandon Weeden who spent some years in the minors before going to college at Oklahoma State and getting drafted by the Browns. Even as of recently with Tim Tebow’s minor league saga and other players like Tyler Gaffney and Bradley Marquez switching to the diamond after their pro football careers came to a halt. Simply put, there are many athletes who garner attention from both leagues and most who are drafted by both usually go with the NFL, most likely because there is just more money to be made there. Yet MLB teams will still select some in the draft, sometimes just for attention like the Padres when they drafted Johnny Football.

As of now, I found a total of 7 players currently on NFL rosters that have been selected in the MLB draft.

Name Position NFL Team MLB Team(s) drafted to
Tom Brady QB New England Patriots Montreal Expos
Kyle Long OG Chicago Bears Chicago White Sox
Kyler Murray QB Arizona Cardinals Oakland Athletics
Golden Tate WR New York Giants Arizona Diamondbacks & San Francisco Giants
Shaq Thompson LB Carolina Panthers Boston Red Sox
Russell Wilson QB Seattle Seahawks Baltimore Orioles & Colorado Rockies
Jameis Winston QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers Texas Rangers

It actually did kind of surprise how they were all starters. Some are still more of starters than others, but they all do a decent amount of work out there. Now this is still a fantasy football website so I should do my part and rank them depending on who the best player this season will be, at least fantasy-wise

7. Kyle Long

Not much to say here. He’s an offensive guard so unless Matt Nagy gets inventive this season and has Long lineup at TE for a snap Kyle is not going to score any points or probably be even available to pick up in the free agent pool. Unless you’re playing in a league with offensive linemen… who get points for things like pancakes and not allowing sacks. Hmm, that could actually be pretty interesting.

6. Shaq Thompson

Another one without much need for justification. He’s a defensive player so he’ll account for more fantasy points than Long and you can even have him on your team if you play in a league that uses individual defensive players. He’ll probably have a decent year too, he’s increased his tackle total every year and had a big increase last year. He also forced a fumble once each of the past two seasons. He is also one of the few players who actually played in the minor leagues. He was a centerfielder for Boston’s rookie ball team, but he made the right choice with football as his stats were abysmal, not even getting a hit.

5. Kyler Murray

Call me a hater for Murray choosing football over baseball or say that I just want to stir up controversy, but I feel like Murray won’t be as valuable to your fantasy team as Golden Tate. I’ve talked about him on the podcast a bit and I’m sticking to it. The Cardinals done anything to improve their offensive line which was widely ranked as the worst o-line last season. Also, being a rookie he is going to have some growing pains, especially with the Cardinals also getting a new coaching staff. The whole Cardinals team is not really in good shape and also with David Johnson in the backfield, Murray probably won’t light up the scoreboard at least in his rookie year.

4. Golden Tate

Tate has had a solid NFL career so far with many ups, downs, and a controversial hail mary catch. He’s with the Giants now and despite Barkley, Engram, and Shepherd garnering attention, Tate will still see plenty of targets and may even beat out Shepherd for the No.1 wideout for NY. No, he won’t have some kind of breakout year, but he’ll probably get close to 1000 yards again and get around 4 or 5 touchdowns.

3. Jameis Winston

Winston’s baseball prowess was talked about a lot during his time in college like Kyler Murray. However, he was not nearly as hyped a prospect baseball-wise as Murray only being taken in the 15th round. He also hasn’t proven he is a starting-caliber quarterback last year as he spent some games on the bench behind the legendary Ryan “Fitzmagic” Fitzpatrick. Though he might turn it around this year with the Buccaneers talking Bruce Arians out of retirement and still have some great receiving threats in Mike Evans and O.J. Howard. Arians was able to make Carson Palmer do well in Arizona and will probably do well unlocking at least a bit of Winston’s untapped potential.

2. Tom Brady

He’s still here. Tom Brady will do Tom Brady things this year and somehow get a first round bye again, unless the AFC east can get it together and finally dethrone the evil empire. He still has Julian Edelman, is getting N’Keal Harry, and you know the PLL played its first week at Gillette last week so I wouldn’t be surprised if Bill Belichik signed a couple of those lacrosse players to become Chris Hogan 2.0. No matter how much I hope for Tom Brady to start playing like 41 year-old, but my head says that he’ll do okay again. You probably have heard he was selected in the MLB draft from it being talked about on sports talk shows or on football broadcasts as it is one of the most interesting facts about him since it causes non-Patriot fans to lament that he didn’t sign with the Expos instead of ruin the NFL with a two-winded dynasty.

1. Russell Wilson

This was an easy choice to make. Despite Wilson not throwing as many yards in the past two seasons as Brady he has thrown more touchdowns both years and has a much higher rushing floor than old man Brady. He has also had the more fantasy points than Brady in 5 out of 7 seasons since Wilson entered the league. Only having less points in his rookie season and coming in third right behind Brady in 2015. Wilson also scored the most points out of any quarterback in 2017. Wilson is also number one on this list in terms of times drafted, as while both him and Tate were selected in two different MLB First-Year Player Drafts, Wilson also had his rights drafted by the Texas Rangers in the Rule 5 Draft

Wilson also joins Thompson as one of the two players on this list to actually play minor league baseball as he played in 2010 and 11 before getting drafted by the Seahawks in 2012. He only made it as high as A-ball in the Colorado Rockies minor league system, but did go to spring training with the Yankees for the past two springs just for fun and even got an at-bat during last season’s spring. Even though he did better than Thompson in the minors he only had around a .230 batting average in A-ball which wouldn’t really warrant an MLB contract though BA isn’t the end all be all for success, his OPS was .710. So, I think it made the right choice choosing winning a super bowl over riding the bus.

Finally, just for some fun a made a batting lineup out of the active and free agent players. It was actually interesting as they all filled in different positions because Matt Cassel is the only one who has to play out-of-position, however he did play some 3B at the 2012 MLB All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game.

Batting Order Number Player Position Secondary Position
1 7 Kyler Murray LF CF,RF
2 32 Golden Tate RF LF,CF
3 24 Kyle Long 1B P
4 73 Russell Wilson 2B
5 21 Shaq Thompson CF
6 12 Tom Brady C
7 44 Jameis Winston P OF
8 8 Matt Moore SS 3B
9 18 Matt Cassel 3B 1B

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Host/founder of the Time Skew podcast. I am dedicated to helping you get better at fantasy football and dominate your league!

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