Notable undrafted NFL players
Not every NFL star came from the draft. Several of the game's best players initially went undrafted. See which notable players, in alphabetical order, were never chosen in the NFL Draft.
Signed by Broncos after 1963 draft
Brown had a short stint with the Houston Oilers after getting drafted but was cut during training camp. Denver scooped him up, and he would go on to have 54 interceptions with both the Broncos and the Raiders. The highlight of Brown's Hall of Fame career was a 75-yard pick-six in Super Bowl XI.
Wide receiver, Hofstra
Signed by Jets after 1995 draft
“The little wide receiver that could” hauled in 580 catches for 7,365 yards and 41 touchdowns during his 11–year Jets career.
Wide receiver, Massachusetts
Signed by Giants after 2010 draft
Cruz exploded onto the scene in 2010 when he caught six passes for 145 yards and three TDs in a preseason game against the Jets. A hamstring injury forced Cruz onto injured reserve, but he stepped up in 2011 after injuries depleted the Giants' wide receiver corps and hasn't looked back since. He's become a dangerous target for Eli Manning.
Linebacker, John Carroll
Signed by Rams after 1998 draft
Fletcher has racked up 1,320 career tackles in 15 seasons with three teams.
Running back, Tennessee
Signed by Texans after 2009 draft
One of the best running backs in the league was passed up by every team in 2009. Foster has gone on to record 4,521 rushing yards, 44 rushing TDs and three Pro Bowls in four seasons with Houston.
Quarterback, San Jose State
Signed by 49ers, 1999
Garcia went undrafted in 1994 after scouts said he was too small to play quarterback. He latched on with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders until 1998 when the San Francisco 49ers gave him a shot.
Tight end, Kent State
Signed by Chargers after 2003 draft
Gates played basketball in college and tried out in front of more than half of the NFL in 2003. The Chargers signed him, and he redefined the tight end position with his combination of size and speed.
Linebacker, Kent State
Signed by Steelers after 2002 draft
The newest member of the Cincinnati Bengals has 64 sacks in 10 seasons, including 15 sacks in 2008 when he was named Defensive Player of Year.
Running back, Texas
Signed by Ravens, after 1997 draft
Holmes set a then-NFL record with 27 rushing TDs in 2003 for the Chiefs and had four 1,000-plus yard seasons in his career.
Kicker/lineman, Ohio State
Signed by Browns, 1967
"The Toe" was signed by legendary Browns owner Paul Brown out of military service. Groza went 263-for-481 on field goals, including 23 of 26 (88.5 percent) in 1953, and also doubled as an offensive lineman. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.
DICK “NIGHT TRAIN” LANE
Cornerback, Western Nebraska CC-Scottsbluff
Signed by Rams, 1952
After "Night Train" Lane returned from military duty in 1952, he went to the Rams' front office and asked for a tryout. After moving from end to cornerback, Lane returned 14 picks for 298 yards and two TDs in his first NFL season. The Hall of Famer totaled 68 career picks (five for TDs), 1,207 return yards and 11 fumble recoveries.
Signed by Houston Oilers, 1984
The Hall of Famer went undrafted in 1978 and played with the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos for six years, winning five straight Grey Cup titles from 1978-82. Hugh Campbell, Moon's former coach at Edmonton, signed him to the Oilers in 1984.
Fullback, South Carolina State, Nevada-Reno
Signed by Browns, 1946
Motley was a bruising fullback who was one of first black athletes to play in pro football. Browns owner Paul Brown signed him after Motley returned home from World War II. Motley led the NFL in rushing in 1950 and totaled 5.7 yards per carry (828 carries, 4,720 yards).
Defensive tackle, Texas A&M-Kingsville
Signed by Vikings after 1990 draft
Randle had 137 1/2 sacks in his 14-year Hall of Fame career. He led the league in sacks in 1997 with 15 1/2 and recorded nine seasons of 10 or more sacks.
Quarterback, Eastern Illinois
Signed by Cowboys after 2003 draft
The three-time Pro Bowler has thrown for 25,737 yards, 177 TDs and 91 INTs in nine seasons. While postseason success has eluded Romo thus far in his career, he's still regarded as one of the better quarterbacks in the league.
Center, North Carolina
Signed by Ravens after 1998 draft
The Ravens had signed Saturday after the 1998 draft but cut him before training camp opened. The Colts signed him in 1999, and he became Peyton Manning's longtime center in 1999.
Kicker, South Dakota State
Signed by Patriots, 1996
Vinatieri went undrafted in 1995 and played a season with the Amsterdam Admirals of the World League of American Football before the Patriots signed him in 1996. The rest -- 413 career field goals and two Super Bowl-winning kicks -- is history.
Quarterback, Northern Iowa
Signed by Rams, 1998
By now, most NFL fans know Warner's backstory. Warner went undrafted in 1994 after only playing one season in college. He stocked grocery shelves before getting his chance in Arena Football and NFL Europe. But 32,344 yards, 208 TDs, four Pro Bowls and two MVPs later, the Super Bowl champion may one day get the call to Canton.
Offensive lineman, North Texas
Signed by Cowboys, after 1999 draft
Wide receiver, Texas Tech
Signed by Chargers after 2004 draft
Welker played in one game with the Chargers but was cut to make room for safety Clinton Hart. He then went to Miami and was used mainly on special teams. He burst onto the scene after being traded to Patriots in 2007, catching 672 passes for 7,459 yards and 37 TDs out of the slot.