The start of the 2023 NFL season is on September 7, as 32 teams duke it out on the road to the Super Bowl. Now, we normally don’t cover football on this website. But with the NFL season set to begin, let’s take a look at five NFL players who could have — or did attempt to — become a MLB player.
- Drafted: 17th round in 2012 MLB Draft
The Pirates’ 2012 MLB Draft haul is more well-known for the prospect Pittsburgh didn’t sign in Mark Appel, who was selected eighth overall but opted to go back to Stanford. Appel didnt debut until a decade later, but the Pirates did get several MLBers that logged more MLB service in that Draft, including Adrian Sampson, Jacob Stallings, and even a current NFL tight end in Hayden Hurst.
The 6’5” 1B/P threw 0.1 IP in 2013, and played just 15 games as a hitter in 2014 before his rise as a tight end began. Hurst proceeded to roll across three seasons at South Carolina, and his skillset made the current Carolina Panther a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
- Drafted: 1st round (9th overall) in 2018 MLB Draft
Now-Cardinals QB Kyler Murray is arguably the most well-known MLB Draft pick in the National Football League — thanks to his wild career arc. The A’s selected Murray, a toolsy, yet raw outfielder, with the ninth pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, and ahead of the likes of Grayson Rodriguez, Logan Gilbert, Shane McClanahan, and Nico Hoerner.
The Athletics firmly believed that Murray — who signed with Oakland on the condition that he would play QB at Oklahoma for a year before going pro in baseball — would stick to baseball. But after a dominant 2018 NCAA season, a Heisman Trophy, and a fast rise up NFL Draft boards, Murray was as good as gone. And because Murray signed with the A’s, Oakland was ineligible to receive any compensation.
- Drafted: 3rd round in 2010 MLB Draft
Twelve years since being drafted by the Rangers in the 2010 MLB Draft, Jordan Akins posted his best statistical season as an NFL pro. With the Texans, the former 2018 NFL third-round pick set career-highs in receiving yards (495) and touchdowns (5) in what was his fifth season. But before then, Akins attempted to become a Major League player. The 31-year-old spent four years in the Rangers farm system as an outfielder, but hit just .218 and capped out in Single-A ball.
Akins is set to play 2023 with the Cleveland Browns.
- Drafted: 4th round in 2010 MLB Draft
Former Super Bowl winning QB Russell Wilson‘s been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the past decade, but his dominance in the NFL came after a brief MiLB career. Wilson was selected by the Rockies in the fourth round in 2010 and spent parts of two seasons (2010-11) in the organization. The 34-year-old hit just .229 and spent most of his time at second, but did have a career OBP of .354 and flahsed impressive speed.
However, Wilson continued his collegiate career while a member of the Rockies organization and was ultimately drafted in the third round in 2012. The rest is history.
- Drafted: 37th round in 2014 MLB Draft
Before winning two Super Bowls with the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes did have his name called at the MLB Draft. Mahomes, the son of former MLB reliever Pat Mahomes, was selected out of high school by the Detroit Tigers in the 2014 Draft.
However, Mahomes — who’s now a part-owner of the Kansas City Royals — chose to go to Texas Tech and play football. He did, however, spend a very brief period of time on the Red Raiders baseball team. As a freshman, Mahomes received two plate appearances, but did not record a hit. He also got into one game of action as a reliever, but gave up three runs without recording an out.