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5 Best Undrafted NFL Players


The draft process is one of the most highly anticipated events in the National Football League (NFL). Some players get a team allocation, while others don’t. Normally, all the headlines focus on the drafted players, forgetting the undrafted ones. However, some have turned out to be worthwhile. Who are the best undrafted NFL players?

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John Randle

John Randle explains what it means for him to make an All-Time Team. Video Credit: NFL Highlights Channel

Randle was too small for the NFL. He went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for trials after he went undrafted in 1990, but they didn’t sign him because of his weight. 

They then recommended the footballer to the Minnesota Vikings though he was underweight. However, he didn’t manage to do so, so he placed a chain underneath his clothes to raise it.

Randle played for the Vikings for 10 years (1990 to 2000). During this period, he made it into the first-team All-Pro six times and the Pro Bowl seven times. 

The defensive player was the sacks leader in 1997. In 2001, he left the Vikings for the Seattle Seahawks.

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Jessie Tuggle

5 Best Undrafted NFL Players
Former NFL Linebacker Jessie Tuggle. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-3.0

For someone considered to be too small in terms of height (5 foot 10 inches) and weight (180 pounds), Tuggle defied these metrics and became one of the best undrafted NFL players. 

Colleges overlooked him, but he made his chances count by playing for Valdosta State University. He left with a record of 340 tackles. 

Tuggle, who earned the nickname ‘The Hammer’ due to his strong tackles, joined the Atlanta Falcons by chance. The injuries to the team’s linebackers helped him to get a place on the side. 

He became a regular and played in the Super Bowl final in 1998. He made it into the Pro Bowl five times and was the league’s tackle leader four times. Falcons, the only team he played for, retired his shirt number 58 and gave him a Ring of Honor. 

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Roderick Smith

Roderick Smith was one of the best players in Missouri Southern State University. He scored the most receiving yards (3,043) and touchdowns (34). After his senior year, Smith made it into the All-America team and was a finalist to win the Harlon Hill Trophy

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Despite his success, Smith went undrafted. Nonetheless, that didn’t have a bearing on his career. The Denver Broncos signed him in 1994, and it’s the only team he has played for in his career. He won the Super Bowl twice, made it into the Pro Bowl team thrice, and received the Broncos’ Ring of Fame. 

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Priest Holmes

Holmes was a regular player for his university team but couldn’t attract any teams during the 1997 draft. The Baltimore Ravens signed him and he stayed with them between 1997 and 2000. 

Much of his success came with the Kansas City Chiefs, with whom he won the Super Bowl. Additionally, he was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2002. Priest Holmes was named to the Pro Bowl three times and twice was the NFL Rushing touchdowns leader. 

The Chiefs inducted him into the Hall of Fame and earned him a place as one of the best undrafted NFL players.

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Warren Moon

Warren Moon highlights. Video Credits: Duke Wilson 14

Moon was one of the best undrafted NFL players. Four-year colleges weren’t interested in signing him, so he attended West Los Angeles College. The former quarterback helped his college to a Pac-8 title and a Rose Bowl and was named the Most Valuable Player of the League.

Despite his success, he went undrafted and began his career with the Edmonton Eskimos. He spent five seasons before joining the Houston Oilers, where he spent most of his career. Moon also joined the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs. 

He proved to the NFL how good he was. He was twice named the NFL Passing yards leader. The quarterback was the passing touchdown leader in 1990 and was voted the NFL Offensive Player of the Year. 

These players prove that you can still be successful even if you don’t get drafted. Once you get signed, what matters is your contribution to the team. Players who get drafted are under pressure to perform, unlike undrafted players. The fact that no one is paying much attention to them is a motivation factor because they want to prove they are just as good if not better. 

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