The NFL's Undrafted Stars

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.

Pos. Player Team
Source: NFL
STLorenzo AlexanderWashington Redskins
FBVonta LeachBaltimore Ravens
KRJoshua CribbsCleveland Browns
LSDon MuhlbachDetroit Lions
WRVictor CruzNew York Giants
FBMarcel ReeceOakland Raiders
KPhil DawsonCleveland Browns
CJeff SaturdayGreen Bay Packers
LSJohn DenneyMiami Dolphins
DECameron WakeMiami Dolphins
LBLondon FletcherWashington Redskins
WRWes WelkerNew England Patriots
RBArian FosterHouston 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:

Year Player Signed By
Source: NFL
1946Frank GatskiCleveland Browns
1946Lou GrozaCleveland Browns
1946Marion MotleyCleveland Browns
1946Bill WillisCleveland Browns
1948Joe PerrySan Francisco 49ers
1948Emlen TunnellNew York Giants
1951Jack ButlerPittsburgh Steelers
1952Dick "Night Train" LaneLos Angeles Rams
1960Willie WoodGreen Bay Packers
1963Willie BrownHouston Oilers
1966Emmitt ThomasKansas City Chiefs
1967Larry LittleSan Diego Chargers
1970Jim LangerCleveland Browns
1984Warren MoonHouston Oilers
1990John RandleMinnesota Vikings


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The NFL's Undrafted Stars