Some of the country's best athletes will take center stage this week, as all eyes will be on the NFL Draft. Many of those athletes' talents extend beyond football, some even into other sports, like baseball for example.
So we're taking a break from mock drafts and player predictions to take a look at some of the more impressive prospects of the past -- those who were drafted by teams in both the NFL and MLB.
Bo Jackson was probably the best to ever be drafted in both leagues (and star in both, too) but here are eight guys you might not have realized were drafted in both the MLB and NFL.
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Eric Decker, NFL wide receiver
Decker was a three-sport athlete at the University of Minnesota, where he played football, baseball and basketball. He was a star outfielder for the Minnesota baseball team and was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 39th round of the 2008 MLB Draft, and again in 2009, by the Minnesota Twins in the 27th round. But Decker, a two-time MVP of Minnesota’s football team, had dreams of playing in the NFL, which came true when he was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the third round (87th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Dave Winfield, MLB outfielder
Winfield was a star baseball and basketball player at the University of Minnesota, where he helped lead the Golden Gophers to their first Big Ten basketball championship in over 50 years in 1972. He earned All-American and MVP accolades as a pitcher in the College World Series during his senior year. In 1973, Winfield was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the 17th round of the NFL Draft, despite never playing collegiate football. Later that year, Winfield was selected by the San Diego Padres with the No. 4 overall pick and was promoted to the majors immediately after he signed.
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Colin Kaepernick, NFL quarterback
MLB scouts had Kaepernick on their radar since his high school playing days, where he excelled as a pitcher who threw a reported 92 mph and pitched two no-hitters in his senior year. He was highly recruited by a number of notable NCAA baseball programs but turned down multiple baseball scholarship offers to play quarterback at Nevada, the only school to offer him a football scholarship. Kaepernick was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 43rd round of the 2009 MLB Draft, but wanted to continue his college football career instead of signing with the Cubs. In 2011, he was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round (No. 36 overall) of the NFL Draft.
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Brian Jordan, MLB outfielder/NFL safety
Jordan is one of the few athletes to have successful careers in two different pro sports. A multi-sport standout at the University of Richmond, Jordan began his unique professional career after graduating college. After being selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 1988 MLB Draft, Jordan was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the ’89 NFL Draft. While he was later cut in training camp, Jordan signed with the Atlanta Falcons and started as a defensive back while simultaneously working his way through the Cardinals’ farm system. Following the 1991 NFL season, in which Jordan led the Falcons in tackles and was named a Pro Bowl alternate, Jordan signed a new deal with the Cardinals to make him a full-time baseball player and leave the NFL behind.
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Golden Tate, NFL wide receiver
Tate played football, baseball and ran track and field in high school, where he gained notoriety as one of the top sprinters in the state. He was drafted as an outfielder out of high school by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 42nd round of the 2007 MLB Draft but did not sign and opted to play baseball and football at Notre Dame instead. Tate left Notre Dame after his junior season and declared for the 2010 NFL Draft, where he was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round (60th overall). Less than two months later, Tate was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 50th round of the MLB Draft but did not sign.
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Michael Vick, NFL quarterback
Vick credits sports for keeping him “off the streets” of the crime-ridden neighborhood he grew up in. And before he became a star NFL quarterback, one of those sports Vick played as a child was baseball. While his prominent high school football career earned him a scholarship at Virginia Tech, Vick was such an impressive athlete that the Colorado Rockies drafted him as an outfielder in the 30th round of the 2000 MLB Draft — despite the fact that Vick hadn’t played organized baseball since middle school. Vick didn’t sign with the Rockies and went on to literally change the way NFL QBs play the game.
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Kirk Gibson, MLB outfielder
An All-American wide receiver at Michigan State, Gibson helped lead the Spartans to become co-champions of the Big Ten (with Michigan) in 1978. He set a number of school and conference receiving records during his accomplished college career, which eventually led to his election into the College Football Hall of Fame. Thanks to the suggestion of Spartan football coach Darryl Rogers, Gibson decided to give collegiate baseball a shot and shined in his only season as an outfielder, hitting .390 with 16 homers and 52 RBIs in 48 games. After his senior year, Gibson was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the first round (12th overall) of the 1978 MLB Draft. He was set to be a first-round pick in the 1979 NFL Draft, but committed to play for the Tigers. The St. Louis football Cardinals hoped Gibson would change his mind and picked him in the seventh round of the 1979 NFL Draft.
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Marshall Faulk, NFL running back
A high school football hero and standout track sprinter, Faulk had the kind of athleticism and speed that MLB teams dream of. So it’s no surprise that Pro Football Hall of Famer caught the eyes of pro baseball scouts and was drafted by the California Angels before the start of his NFL career. Faulk was selected as an outfielder in the 43rd round of the 1993 MLB Draft but did not sign. The following year he was drafted No. 2 overall by the Indianapolis Colts, beginning one of the most illustrious pro football careers to date.