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Current and Former NFL Players We Would Draft on Team Dink

by Jason Flamm on

In honor of the 89th annual NFL Draft – which kicks off Thursday – we thought it would be fun to put together a list of current and former NFL players who have shown a commitment to the sport we love so much: pickleball.

Many NFL players seem to love pickleball – even NFL Films Presents did a piece on it.

Without further ado, here are our top 10 picks for the first-ever ultimate NFL pickleball team.

Pick No. 1 - Drew Brees

No current or former NFL player is more involved in pickleball than future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. He was recently announced as the ambassador for Picklr, he’s a part owner of the LA Mad Drops of Major League Pickleball (MLP), and he can be seen all over the pickle-verse doing interviews, playing games, and just gushing about his love for pickleball. 

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Former NFL Quarterback and Super Bowl Champion becomes partial owner of Mad Drops Pickleball Club of Major League Pickleball.

His game seems pretty darn good, too.

His ambassadorship of the game alone is well worth our first overall pick. The world of pickleball is lucky to have him.

NFL Draft Selection: Second round (32nd overall) in 2001 by the San Diego Chargers

Pick No. 2 - Golden Tate

Our man, Show Time Tate, is one of our absolute faves. Earlier this year, he was among the best players on the pickleball courts in our Pickle Bowl in Las Vegas. His DUPR is 4.391 in Doubles and 4.716 in Singles. 

He most definitely has game, and we’d take him as our doubles partner any day of the week.

NFL Draft Selection: Second round (60th overall) in 2010 by the Seattle Seahawks

Pick No. 3 - Larry Fitzgerald

Few were better in the NFL at the wide receiver position (maybe just one) than Larry Fitzgerald. He finished his career second in NFL career receiving yards, second in career receptions, and sixth in receiving touchdowns.

Once eligible, he’ll be a unanimous NFL Hall of Fame selection, and we are lucky to call him a fellow pickleballer. 

While he never won the NFL championship, he did win one in pickleball earlier this year at the Las Vegas Pickle Bowl, when he played lights out alongside pro Patrick Kawka to win the inaugural event.

NFL Draft Selection: Third overall in 2004 by the Arizona Cardinals

Pick No. 4 - Danny Wuerffel

Every team needs a cornerstone player; for us – that’s Danny Wuerffel. Danny recently made headlines when he started his second pro sports career in pickleball.

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The Denver Iconics drafted him in the National Pickleball League (a pro pickleball league for the 50+ age group) in mid-April, and we look forward to watching Danny’s pro career unfold.

NFL Draft Selection: Fourth round in 1997 by the New Orleans Saints

Pick No. 5 - Nick Foles

Nick Foles is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and has been seen all over the PPA Tour courts lately, winning medal after medal. In December, he won two PPA Finals gold medals in 3.0 men’s and mixed doubles.

His DUPR is a respectable 4.245, and if his “grind it out” NFL career indicates his future pickleball success, we expect to see Nick on the podium a lot for years to come. 

NFL Draft Selection: Third round (88th overall) in 2012 by the Philadephia Eagles

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Tua Tagovailoa was mixing it up with the pickleball crowd at the Plantation courts…

Pick No.6 - Travis Kelce

While we can’t speak to T-Rav’s pickleball game, we do know that he and fellow Kansas City Chief Patrick Mahomes recently invested in a Chicken N Pickle in KC.

We also know his famous girlfriend recently showed off her latest (and we think greatest) accessory – a pickleball paddle.

Those reasons alone earn him the number six overall selection. We don’t care if he actually plays or not.

NFL Draft Selection: Third round (63rd overall) in 2013 by the Kansas City Chiefs

Pick No. 7 - Tim Tebow

Sometimes, you just need a good teammate, and if his reputation serves him correctly, there are few better than Tebow. His accomplishments with the Florida Gators are too numerous to include here, but even those statistics and awards would only scratch the surface of how much of a gamer Tebow is. 

Foot faults and all, we’d take a chance with Tebow.

NFL Draft Selection: 25th overall in 2010 by the Denver Broncos

Pick No. 8 - Rob Gronkowski

Gronk was not only a legend on the field – where he cemented his status as one of the greatest tight ends of all time – but he was also known for being outlandish and always bringing high energy to his squad. He’s done the same with his pickleball endeavors.

Gronk's energy is precisely what pickleball needs, even if witnessing him play is like watching a wheelbarrow full of boulders stumble across a cobblestone road.

NFL Draft Selection: Second round (42nd overall) in 2010 by the New England Patriots

Pick No. 9 - Tom Brady

You can’t mention the NFL and pickleball in the same sentence without talking about the GOAT. No, not current pickleball pros Ben Johns or Anna Leigh Waters. We’re talking about former NFL quarterback Tom Brady.

He’s a part owner of an MLP team and recently added a pickleball court to his Miami mega-mansion. 

Tom Brady Adds a Pickleball Court to His New Miami Mega-Mansion
Tom Brady is putting the finishing touches on a mansion in Miami, complete with a pickleball court.

Does he have a good dink game? We don’t know. But we would never count him out.

NFL Draft Selection: Sixth round (199th overall) in 2000 by the New England Patriots

Pick No. 10 - Bijan Robinson

While several current and former NFL players are worthy of this final pick, we decided to give it to a newcomer. Welcome to the team, Bijan Robinson, running back for the Atlanta Falcons. 

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He's also a part owner of MLP's Texas Ranchers.

Considering Bijan is going into his sophomore season in the NFL, it’s hard to imagine he has much time to hit the small courts, but if his athleticism is any indication of how good he could be if he had the time to dedicate to it, then sign us up.

NFL Draft Selection: Eighth overall selection in 2023 by the Atlanta Falcons

Jason Flamm

Jason Flamm

Jason is a writer from St. Louis. He’s been a coach in several sports and is currently working on his pickleball coaching certification. He loves to teach and share his passions.

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