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May. 07, 2019 - Michael Stewart

UDFA Signings: Diamonds in the Rough

Introduction: Throughout NFL history, there have been many teams finding that diamond in the rough during the UDFA (undrafted free agents) process immediately after the draft.  Since football’s been around for a long time, we’ll only go back to 1980 to list the top 3 most notable players not drafted who are now in the Hall of Fame:

  • Warren Moon (QB) Houston Oilers: Moon was a star in the Canadian Football League when the Oilers gave him a shot in 1984. Moon took full advantage of the opportunity and was a key player in the Oilers “run and shoot” offense. Moon led the league in passing in 1990 & 1991 and was named offensive player of the year in 1990. Moon is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
  • Kurt Warner (QB) St. Louis Rams: Warner was playing arena football when got a call from St. Louis Rams Head Coach Dick Vermeil to compete for a backup quarterback position behind Trent Green.  After a season ending injury to Green, little did anyone know that Warner would replace Green and never give up his starting position to Green again. Warner would lead the Rams offense to eclipse many offensive stats and were a juggernaut for many years. Warner’s achievements with the Rams and the Cardinals enable him to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
  • John Randle (DT) Minnesota Vikings: Randle is the perfect example of hard work paying off as Randle worked onto the Vikings training camp and proceeding to average double-digits in sacks from 1992 to 1999. Randle received many honors; which includes All-Pro from 1993 to 1998 and being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Final Thoughts: Perhaps the 2019 UDFA class will have the next Warren Moon, John Randle or Kurt Warner for only time will tell. In my next article, we’ll take a look at the top 10 UDFA signings in the 2019 draft that could possibly go on to have solid NFL careers and even end up wearing a gold jacket.