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How did the four remaining NFL playoff QBs stack up as baseball prospects?

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If you watch the NFL playoffs this weekend, you'll also be watching a few of the greatest "what if's" in recent baseball history.

To explain: Three of the four starting quarterbacks playing in the Conference Championship round were drafted by MLB teams -- Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady. We'll get to Peyton Manning's MLB connections in a second, but first a peek at the baseball talents of those three signal callers…

Colin Kaepernick -- Selected by the Cubs in the 43rd Round of the 2009 First-Year Draft


Kaepernick played football, basketball and baseball while in high school and was named all-state in each sport by senior year. His pitching stats from that season were fantastic -- an 11-2 record with a 1.27 ERA in 13 starts. He tallied 97 strikeouts and 39 walks -- and even threw two no-hitters.

Scouts say he threw around 89-92 mph, but most were impressed by his control:

"Somebody asked, 'How fast did he throw in high school?' And you know, that's not the important part," [Mick] Tate [Kaepernick's high school coach] said. "It's nice to be able to throw it fast, but he could throw it where he wanted as well. That makes a big difference."

Watch for yourself:



Russell Wilson -- Selected by the Rockies in the 4th Round of the 2010 First-Year Draft


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Unlike Kaepernick, Wilson spent two summers in the Minors in 2010 and 2011 between football seasons at NC State and later Wisconsin.

He played Class A ball for two different teams in the Rockies organization, finishing with a career line of .229/.354/.356 with 5 home runs and 19 stolen bases in 379 plate appearances. After finishing his second season in the Minors, he led the Badgers to the 2012 Rose Bowl.

Wilson's raw athleticism, now apparent in the NFL, was one of his greatest assets as a baseball player. According to's Jim Callis:

While [Jake] Locker and [Jameis] Winston were possible five-tool outfielders, Wilson was a different type of player. He was a speedy second baseman who could have been a better hitter for average but didn't have nearly the same power ceiling.

Wilson, who served as a platoon player at NC State, spent his time in the Minors at second base and made only eight errors in his two seasons.

The Rangers selected him in December's Rule 5 Draft, but he's expected to serve as a team ambassador rather than a force on the diamond - despite this basepath speed:


And a decent breaking ball:


Which NFC QB would you rather have on the mound?



Tom Brady -- Selected by the Montreal Expos in the 18th Round of the 1995 First-Year Draft


While Touchdown Tom is an accomplished passer in the NFL, he was first drafted as a catcher out of high school. Brady was a tall, left-handed power hitter who hit for a .311 average with eight homers in 61 games across two varsity seasons. Scouts were left salivating:

"He wasn't as filled out as he is now, but he had a very smooth, nice swing and great athleticism," said [Dave] Littlefield, now a scout for the Chicago Cubs. "We would have loved to have him in professional baseball."

Brady's high school coach was Pete Jensen -- a man whose coaching career included guiding such players as Gregg Jefferies and Barry Bonds. Jensen was as high on Brady as anyone:

"I thought Tommy was a sure thing as a baseball player," said Jensen, who retired from coaching in 2009, after 24 years, but still teaches architectural design at Serra High. "Even more a sure thing than Gregg or Barry, believe it or not. As good a football player as he was, I thought he was a better baseball player in high school."

Ironically, Brady wasn't highly regarded as an NFL-caliber talent coming out of high school or college. In fact, he was famously selected 199th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft.

We all know how that turned out.


Peyton Manning -- Basically baseball's adopted son


No, the honorary-Nebraskan was never an MLB prospect, but that doesn't mean he's not in the baseball family.

His father, Archie Manning, was selected four separate times in MLB's First-Year Draft -- once by the Braves, twice by the White Sox and finally by the Royals. Of course, Pa Manning was the second overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints and went on to have a Pro Bowl career as a quarterback.

Peyton's dad wasn't his only connection to MLB, however. In college, Manning was close with former Tennessee Volunteers Todd Helton and R.A. Dickey. Helton was Manning's predecessor as the Volunteers' starting QB, and the two remain friends to this day -- with Manning even attending Helton's final MLB game in Denver.

But how was Manning as a player? For that, we have to look back to his high school days:

"I played shortstop. I wasn't good enough to stick with it. I love playing. I probably outgrew the position about my senior year. But I love the bus rides. I love the camaraderie. All my receivers played baseball with me. In the summer, we'd go out and play baseball in a summer league, we come back from a game and keep our spikes on and go out and throw. I always kept a football in my bag."