If you had to guess how many current National Football League starting quarterbacks were drafted to play baseball, what would you answer? It has to be zero, right? No wait, you heard about Brandon Weeden‘s stint as a relief prospect for the Yankees and didn’t Russell Wilson play minor league baseball for a while? So the answer has to be two. As it turns out, that’s only a third of the answer. Six of the 32 current starting quarterbacks in the NFL were drafted into baseball and three backup quarterbacks bring the total to nine.
Why did baseball teams draft so many of these quarterbacks? You can split them into two categories when evaluating them for baseball: the smaller super-athletic quarterbacks and the bigger quarterbacks who have tremendous arm strength. The great athletes may be raw in baseball, but with refinement to their abilities they have the ability to be four or five-tool players. The bigger quarterbacks have great size and big-time arms, and you want to put them on the mound and polish them as pitchers. A common thread also unites all quarterbacks even in baseball: their leadership, work ethic, and intangibles. The character that typically comes with being a quarterback gives baseball teams confidence that even if they’re raw in baseball, they’ll do everything they can to maximize their talents and become the best players they can possibly be.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to look at these current 9 NFL quarterbacks who were drafted into baseball, specifically their history in baseball, their baseball scouting report, and how baseball has affected them in their football careers. It will be a fun excuse to talk some football here on S2S and hopefully provide insight into the thought process for drafting two-sport athletes as well as examine the relationship between the tools needed to succeed in baseball and the necessary abilities to line up under center in the NFL.