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Ranking the greatest undrafted players in NFL history

Greatest undrafted players, Kurt Warner, best undrafted NFL players
Credit: Robert Deutsch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The first NFL Draft occurred in 1936. Ever since, we’ve seen the annual player selection process turn into a full TV drama, complete with months of hype to build up prospects, team draft scenarios, and other player-related storylines.

Most of this attention focuses on the potential No. 1 picks in the NFL Draft, but a good football player can be found in all seven rounds. Teams can even find some hidden gems through undrafted free agency. Some last for a season, while others go on to help form the greatest undrafted players in NFL history.

Considering the 2023 NFL Draft has 259 players selected, it’s incredible that an undrafted player can develop into Pro Bowl or better talent. But it’s happened. Over and over again in football history.

While uncovering an All-Pro as an undrafted free agent has become rare, with more draft picks in the modern era than ever due to a total of 32 teams, plus the introduction of the compensatory pick formula, talented players still slip through the cracks.

There will always be undrafted players who were overlooked throughout the player selection process. Here we look at the greatest undrafted players in NFL history, a list that will feature plenty of updates over time.

10. James Harrison

NFL: Super Bowl XLIII-Pittsburgh Steelers vs Arizona Cardinals
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

9. Adam Vinatieri

Syndication: USATODAY
Jim Hudelson, USA TODAY, USA TODAY via Imagn Content Services, LLC

8. Willie Wood

NFL: USA TODAY Sports-Archive
Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

7. Jason Peters

NFL: Preseason-Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

6. Antonio Gates

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

5. John Randle

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

4. Emlen Tunnell

NFL: USA TODAY Sports-Historical
David Boss-USA TODAY Sports

3. Dick ‘Night Train’ Lane

David Boss-USA TODAY Sports

2. Warren Moon

Herb Weitman-USA TODAY Sports

1. Kurt Warner tops list of greatest undrafted players in NFL history

NFL: St Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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