Though the first day of the draft gets the most hype, it’s the last day of the draft where teams are most busy. Not only are they picking players in rounds 4-7, but they are also working on signing a slew of undrafted free agents to round out their roster. Draft prospects who didn’t get their name called still may get a call from one team — or several teams — who want their skills.
Being an undrafted free agent doesn’t mean a football player doesn’t have a career in the NFL. In fact, here are a few who are flourishing despite not being drafted:
Chris Harris, Jr.
Despite a memorable career as a defensive back at Kansas, Harris was overlooked in the draft. The Broncos signed him in 2011, and he spent nine years in their defensive backfield, making four Pro Bowl appearances. Last season in San Diego, he had 37 tackles and an interception.
There are few kickers as reliable as Tucker, even though, yes, he did miss two field goals in the Ravens’ playoff loss to Buffalo. In nine seasons in Baltimore, he has made 90.7 percent of field goals, and 98.9 percent of his extra point chances.
Undersized, and from a small school, it’s not a surprise that Harris was overlooked in the 2019 draft. But the Saints signed him, and he instantly made a name for himself as a returner. Harris led the NFL in punt returns in 2019 with 338 yards and one return for a touchdown. In 2020, he played at wide receiver, as well, catching for 138 yards and one touchdown.
Peters was recruited to Arkansas as a defensive lineman, where he was converted into a tight end. When Buffalo signed him, they put him on the offensive line, where he’s been one of the league’s most reliable blind side tackles for seventeen seasons. That flexibility and willingness to work to learn a new position has given him a career where he has been to nine Pro Bowls and has a Super Bowl ring with the Eagles.
Undrafted free agents have excelled in every position. Warren Moon, Tony Romo and Kurt Warner? All undrafted. Priest Holmes, who gave the Chiefs three incredible seasons of more than 2,000 yards rushing? Undrafted. “Night Train” Lane, who led the league in picks in his rookie season and has the best NFL nickname of all time? Undrafted. John Randle, the Vikings’ defensive tackle who spent the 90s giving nightmares to NFC quarterbacks? Undrafted.