Former Baltimore Ravens tight end Eric Green had an inkling that his 18-year-old son was going to have the most memorable evening of his life on Sunday. Before the 2022 Major League Baseball (MLB) amateur draft got underway, he sent his son a tweet that read: “Champ, your family and friends are extremely proud of you!!! @elijahgreen1204, today is YOUR DAY!!! Enjoy and embrace every moment of it!!! God has a plan for your young life son!!! Let him be your guide!!! Love Ya DAD.”
Hours later the Washington Nationals selected Elijah Green No. 5 overall, making the right-handed center fielder the second outfielder selected in Sunday’s MLB draft, with Druw Jones (son of five-time Atlanta Braves All-Star Andruw Jones) going No. 2 overall to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Here’s how Elijah Green’s family and friends reacted when the Nationals made their selection:
Elijah Green: A Consensus Top 5 Prospect
The fact that Green was chosen in the Top 5 of the draft was anything but a surprise. CBS Sports, for one, ranked him as the fifth-best prospect in this year’s draft class, with MLB.com rating him No. 3 overall.
But the selection made history. According to MLB.com, it’s the first time that the son of an NFL first-round pick was selected in the first round of the MLB draft, with Eric Green, now 55, having been a No. 1 pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1990, taken No. 21 overall out of Liberty University.
But Ravens fans probably prefer to remember Green playing against the Steelers. Recall the following 22-yard touchdown reception during the Steelers-Ravens game on October 5, 1997, when Green hauled in a short pass from quarterback Vinny Testaverde, then eluded outside linebacker Jason Gildon before hurdling over cornerback Donnell Woolford en route to the end zone and a 7-0 Ravens lead.
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As it turns out, Baltimore was Green’s second-to-last stop of a 10-year career that saw him play for four different teams, including the Miami Dolphins. In fact, one of his most productive seasons (1997) came with the Ravens, a year in which he caught a career high 65 passes, as per Pro Football Reference.
During the three seasons (1996-98) he played for Baltimore, Green started 30 of the 34 games in which he appeared, and caught 114 passes for 1,170 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 10.3 yards per catch.
His last NFL season came in 1999, with the New York Jets, a year in which he started seven games but caught a mere seven passes for 37 yards and two touchdowns.
He finished his career with 120 games played (101 starts), during which he caught 362 passes for 4,390 yards and 36 touchdowns. Yet his career never reached the heights that some expected, especially not after he produced seven receptions (with five touchdowns!) during his first two games in the NFL.
MLB.com: Elijah Green Has ‘The Best Ceiling’ in the Draft
As for his Eric Green’s son, well, he’s not nearly as big as his father, who was listed at 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds during all the years he wore No. 86 in the NFL.
Yet he’s notably big for a center fielder, listed at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, leading scouts to wonder if he might ultimately be better suited for a corner outfield position.
On the other hand, speed is not an issue. Perfectgame.org prefaces its scouting report by noting that Elijah Green has 6.16 speed in the 60-yard dash, writing: “Good arm strength with more to come. Can make all throws and solid one hop accuracy to the bases…. The ball explodes off the bat to all fields. Elite run and power tools and very good eye-hand coordination. Top of the scale talent….
Meanwhile, MLB.com says that “Green may have the best ceiling of any prospect in this year’s draft,” noting that during his senior year at IMG Academy in Florida he hit .462, with nine home runs, 32 RBIs and 40 runs scored in 25 games. He also stole 15 bases, as per Andrew Crane of the Tampa Bay Times, who reports that Green once ran a 5.99 in the 60-yard dash and says his coach at IMG Academy called him a “once-in-a-generation athlete.”
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