Kyler Murray, A.J. Brown Lead NFL Draft Prospects With Baseball Ties
When the NFL Draft gets underway Thursday evening, Kyler Murray has a chance to make history.
If Murray is drafted in the first round as widely projected, he will become the first player ever drafted in the first round of both the NFL and MLB drafts. Murray was famously drafted ninth overall by the Athletics a year ago as an outfielder and agreed to sign for a $4.66 million bonus in a deal that allowed him to continue playing football his junior year at Oklahoma. Murray went on to win the Heisman Trophy as the nation's best player and, after months of speculation, he announced on Twitter in February that he would dedicate himself solely to football as a professional.
Murray is just one of many NFL Draft prospects with baseball ties. Here are some of the others.
A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi — Brown became the second player ever—after Murray—to play in the Under Armour All-America Game in both baseball and football. A center fielder with 70-grade speed and a fast bat, Brown was drafted in the 19th round by the Padres out of Starkville (Miss.) HS in 2016 and signed with the club. He spent one week in July each year working out at the Padres complex in Peoria, Ariz., but he never played a professional game. He projects to be late first or early second-round draft pick in the NFL draft.
Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State — Bradbury was a power-hitting catcher at Charlotte Christian School who had the option of playing both baseball and football at N.C. State. He chose to focus on football and won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center last season. He projects to be a first-round pick.
Darnell Savage Jr., S, Maryland — Savage played center field at Caravel (De.) HS and ranked as Perfect Game’s No. 5 prospect in the state as a high schooler. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last year at safety and projects as to be second-round pick.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa — Hockenson was a standout baseball player in high school who helped Chariton (Iowa) High reach the Iowa Class 3A state playoffs as a freshman, but he quit his sophomore year to focus on football. He won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end last year and projects to be an early first-round pick.
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Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson — Renfrow, who famously caught the game-winning touchdown in the 2016 national championship game against Alabama, was a speedy center fielder at Socastee (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) HS who had scholarship offers to play baseball in addition to football. His father, Tim Renfrow, played shortstop at Wofford and still holds the school’s single-season and career stolen base records.
Jake Browning, QB, Washington — Browning never played baseball growing up, but he prepared for the NFL draft by swinging a bat to diagnose the need to improve his hip movement and core torque. He trained under former Southern California and Dodgers minor league pitcher Adam Dedeaux, the grandson of college baseball Hall of Fame coach Rod Dedeaux.
Josh Oliver, TE, San Jose State — Oliver is a second cousin of longtime lefthanded pitcher Darren Oliver.