How does an undrafted player develop into an NFL star?
"A lot of hard work," says Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster, who was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Houston Texans in 2009. "In life, sometimes things don't go your way. You can take two roads: you can fold, you can quit, or you can follow your heart and do what you know how to do. That's what I did."
In 2012, Foster led the NFL in total touchdowns (17) for the second time in his career (18 in 2010). Since the advent of the common draft in 1967, Foster and PRIEST HOLMES are the only undrafted players to lead the NFL in TDs multiple times. Foster has totaled 44 career rushing touchdowns, the most for any undrafted player through his first four seasons in NFL history.
Washington Redskins All-Star linebacker London Fletcher (pictured) was signed as an undrafted free agent by the St. Louis Rams in 1998. Fletcher, who is entering his 16th NFL season, has played in 240 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL (previously tied with former Tampa Bay defensive back RONDÉ BARBER, who retired in the offseason).
"My expectations were just to make the team," says Fletcher on entering the NFL out of John Carroll University. "I was just hoping I made the practice squad, to tell the truth. But from there, once I got the opportunity, I felt I could play. It was just a matter of taking advantage of it."
Foster and Fletcher are two of the 13 undrafted players who were named to the Pro Bowl last season.
|ST||Lorenzo Alexander||Washington Redskins|
|FB||Vonta Leach||Baltimore Ravens|
|KR||Joshua Cribbs||Cleveland Browns|
|LS||Don Muhlbach||Detroit Lions|
|WR||Victor Cruz||New York Giants|
|FB||Marcel Reece||Oakland Raiders|
|K||Phil Dawson||Cleveland Browns|
|C||Jeff Saturday||Green Bay Packers|
|LS||John Denney||Miami Dolphins|
|DE||Cameron Wake||Miami Dolphins|
|LB||London Fletcher||Washington Redskins|
|WR||Wes Welker||New England Patriots|
|RB||Arian Foster||Houston Texans|
Undrafted players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Defensive tackle JOHN RANDLE is one of 15 Pro Football Hall of Famers who was not drafted. The former Texas A&I product was signed by the Minnesota Vikings in 1990 and recorded 137.5 career sacks, which is tied for the seventh-most in NFL history.
"If I didn't give it a try to come into the NFL, I would regret it for the rest of my life," says Randle. "It's an unbelievable feeling because of where I came from and what it took to just make it in the NFL."
The undrafted players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame:
|1946||Frank Gatski||Cleveland Browns|
|1946||Lou Groza||Cleveland Browns|
|1946||Marion Motley||Cleveland Browns|
|1946||Bill Willis||Cleveland Browns|
|1948||Joe Perry||San Francisco 49ers|
|1948||Emlen Tunnell||New York Giants|
|1951||Jack Butler||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1952||Dick "Night Train" Lane||Los Angeles Rams|
|1960||Willie Wood||Green Bay Packers|
|1963||Willie Brown||Houston Oilers|
|1966||Emmitt Thomas||Kansas City Chiefs|
|1967||Larry Little||San Diego Chargers|
|1970||Jim Langer||Cleveland Browns|
|1984||Warren Moon||Houston Oilers|
|1990||John Randle||Minnesota Vikings|