We’ve seen so many players come and go in the NFL through the years. Some of them are bad, some of them spectacular. Some of them were clearly mistakes to be drafted. Others, on the other hand, were never drafted at all and ended up becoming football legends. 

Before you check out Fanduel’s Super Bowl odds ahead of the next game, we thought that we would take the opportunity to look back on some of the best players in the NFL who were never drafted. These are players that were so good, in fact, that their names made their way onto the NFL Hall of Fame. Keep on reading to find out more! 

1. John Randle 

Talk about a talent gone completely unnoticed! We still aren’t entirely sure why so many teams in the NFL never even gave John Randle a second glance way back in 1990. Eventually he was taken on by the Minnesota Vikings completely undrafted. He was so good as a defensive tackle though that by the time 1991 began, he was part of the team’s starting lineup, and was one of the best defensive tackles out there by 1992. 

He eventually ended up in the Hall of Fame in 2010, after a long 11 year career with the Vikings and an additional 3 years with the Seattle Seahawks.

2. Kurt Warner

Making his way into the Hall of Fame in 2017 after starting his career at 27 in 1998, we’re pretty surprised that this player was never drafted. Warner really showed off some impressive talent when he made his way onto the football field, eventually two MVP titles in his very first year. It is largely in part due to his skills that the Rams gained their spectacular victory. He eventually retired in 2009, which is a real shame considering the immense talent that Warner displayed! 

3. Jim Langer

You’ve probably heard the name Jim Langner before and not known that he was initially undrafted in the 1970s. He did manage to get into the Miami Dolphins and after just three years in the NFL, he became the starting center. His career lasted a healthy 10 years, finishing in 1981. He made his way into the Hall of Fame in 1987, and it was certainly well deserved. 

4. Warren Moon

Warren Moon’s debut into the NFL happened when he was 28 years of age, and he was also undrafted. Initially his career was spent in Canada, but he became a free agent for the Houston Oilers back in 1984. It was after he hit 32 years old that he really started to shine in the NFL though, playing for the Minnesota Vikings and making quite the name for himself. He was inducted into the hall of fame in 2006, and he finished his career at the age of 44. 

5. Willie Brown

Willie Brown started his career with the Denver Broncos back in 1963, and eventually was a Pro Bowler by the time his second season came around. He played for 12 years with the Oakland Raiders after his 4 years stint with the Broncos, and he had a rather impressive career, even bagging a Super Bowl win. He entered the Hall of Fame in 1984. 

6. Mick Tingelhoff

Though he was initially undrafted, Tingelhoff eventually started playing for the Minnesota Vikings. He would play 17 seasons for the NFL. He was a center in the 1962 season and we’re pretty confident in saying that the Vikings didn’t regret picking him up! He was put into the Hall of Fame quite a while after he started his career in 2015. 

7. Larry Little

Larry Little played for the San Diego Chargers in 1967, and signed with the Miami Dolphins after two seasons on reserve with them. He was instrumental to the strong defensive line that the Dolphins had. He eventually retired in 1980 with two Super Bowl wins under his belt. His Hall of Fame debut came in 1993.

8. Emlen Tunnell

In 1948 Emlen Tunnell made his way onto the NFL scene with the New York Giants. His 14 year career was filled with successes, including two championships, nine Pro Bowls and more. His final three years of his career were spent with the Packers. His name made its way into the Hall of Fame in 1967.

9. Willie Wood 

Coming from a fairly large college, it comes as a surprise that Willie Wood would go undrafted. Nevertheless, he eventually started a contract with theGreen Bay Packers by the time 1960 rolled around. He had a 12 year career with the team and he managed to make his first Pro Bowl just three years into his time in the NFl. He retired in 1971.

10. Emmitt Thomas

Defensive legend Emmitt Thomas joined the Kansas City Chiefs in 1966, and he had a 13 year career with them. He was part of the starting lineup three seasons into his career. He ended up in the Hall of Fame in 2008.


Can you believe that so many of these players went undrafted? We can’t! It’s lucky that their talents were eventually recognized so we now have these great names to look back on.