Greatest Undrafted Players In NFL History
If you know anything about the NFL draft, you will know it is most definitely not perfect. Some of the best stars in the NFL do not get drafted, and some of those who get drafted end up being a bit better on the wrapping.
It is hard to know which players will be the ones to change things for a team, you could be a franchise manager, or you could be an avid bettor at Fanduel.com, it doesn’t matter which, attempting to anticipate which players are going to be the best is never going to be an easy feat.
In fact, many of the NFL’s undrafted players do end up being legends. The chances of a franchise making a good choice off the bat during the draft is slim, not every 1st pick will be a 1st rate player.
So, we want to take some time to appreciate the players who got left behind as the draft left them unpicked, but they slayed anyway!
Even if you are not an avid football fan, the chances are, you know who Kurt Warner is. His story is so incredible, there was a whole movie made about his story. This is part of why he is considered the best player who ever ended up undrafted.
He did not only go undrafted, but he also needed to play in NFL and AFL Europe before he even got an actual chance. He did make the most of the opportunities he got in his 2nd season when he played with the Rams.
He was anointed to be the starter after Green tore his ACL. All he did from that moment on was lead the team to the Super Bowl, and then on to win it will. He spent 2 years crafting the most legendary offensive team the NFL ever saw.
Then, when these 3 years were up, he had 2 MVP awards, and his remainder of his career was just the cherry on top of all he already achieved. He made his way into the Hall of Fame, and also became the focus of Hollywood as well.
He was truly a legend, and it just goes to show, just because they go undrafted, does not mean that they are not legendary. Warner himself proved that.
Then there was Richard Lane, he was one of the most overlooked people in pro sports, but also one of the most awesome. He played only a single season of college football, and he spent the same amount of time playing baseball too.
Lane was in the Army for 4 years, and after his discharge he asked the Rams to try out. The rest of his story went down in history as it turned out he was actually one of the most epic NFL players to go undrafted.
He played as a cornerback, and made 68 interceptions in just 157 games, as well as 6 which went for touchdowns.
He led the league two times in interceptions, and he was a 7 time Pro Bowler, and a 10-time All-Pro. In the end, he went into the Hall of Fame. To this day he holds the NFL record for the most interceptions in one season!
Warren has to wait ages to really get noticed as one of the most awesome NFL players to go undrafted. He spent an entire 6 seasons playing in the CFL, he won the Grey Cup 5 times over, and eventually the Oilers gave him a go.
In spite of how late he started, he ended up playing a total of 17 seasons with the NFL, and he ended up leading the NFL in passing yards on 2 occasions, and he went to the Pro Bowl 9 times!
Eventually he also won the Offensive Player of the Year award in ‘90.
To this very day, he actually remains to be the only player to ever be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame alike!
Not many people know about Emlen Tunnell and his story, although everyone should. He ended up being the first African-American NFL player to end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Emlen also served in the Coast Guard before he finished college.
He went undrafted, but he ended up being a total success with the Giants straight away! He went to the Pro Bowl 9 times over, and ended up being a First-Team All-Pro 6 times over!
Then as a safety he became a part of the championship team with the Giants in ‘56, and then when he played with the Packers in ‘1961.
1961 was also the end of his Hall of Fame career, but it was all impressive nonetheless.
If you were ever lucky enough to see John Randle in action, you would probably be surprised to learn that he went undrafted. Sure, he is a little bit short for a defensive lineman, but he made up for it, always playing above his size.
He rewarded the Vikings for taking a chance when they took him on.
From ‘93 to ‘98, Randle was a First-Team All-Pro every year, he made himself into the prime defensive lineman in the entire NFL while he was in it.
He also managed to lead the NFL in sacks, with 137.5 sacks as his career total, meaning he got a good 10 sacks in each of his 8 seasons at the very prime of his game.
Finally, Antonio Gates, he is obviously one of the best. He didn’t even play college football for a start. Gates was wanted by Saban, he forced him to transfer when he only played basketball.
So, Gates went undrafted, and was very overlooked before he became a tight end to be remembered. He went to 8 Pro Bowls consecutively, and even now Gates holds the record for touchdowns made by a tight end.