10 Greatest Undrafted NFL Players


Warren Moon
Image: drcliffordchoi

8. Warren Moon

Former quarterback and NFL legend Warren Moon went undrafted in 1978, and he got his start playing for the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos that same year. Moon then made the jump to the NFL in 1984, signing with the Houston Oilers after a bidding war. A nine-time Pro Bowl pick, he would later go on play for the Minnesota Vikings, the Seattle Seahawks and, at the tail end of his career, the Kansas City Chiefs. Moon was one of the first African-American quarterbacks to be regarded as a genuine superstar of the NFL. Incredibly, he threw for 291 touchdowns during his pro football career, which is still eighth highest on the all-time list. Moon received the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 1989, and he joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

priest holmes2
Image: Steve Elliott

7. Priest Holmes

Running back Priest Holmes went undrafted in 1997, but he stuck with it and broke into the NFL after signing with the Baltimore Ravens as a free agent later the same year. Holmes was a member of the Ravens’ 2000 Super Bowl-winning team, but he went on to have some of the best years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, whom he joined in 2001. At 5’9” and 213 pounds, Holmes isn’t the biggest running back to have played in the league, but that didn’t stop him from rushing for 1,615 yards and being named NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2002. Holmes was selected for the Pro Bowl three times, and he was the league leader in rushing touchdowns in 2002 and 2003. In fact, he found paydirt 86 times during his career. Not a bad turnaround, all things considered.


Adam Vinatieri
Image: Lance Cpl. Edward L. Mennenga, USMC

6. Adam Vinatieri

Despite going undrafted in 1996, placekicker Adam Vinatieri is ninth on the NFL’s all-time list for points scored, with 1,867. He began his career with the New England Patriots, whom he signed with as a free agent back in 1996. Nicknamed “Automatic Adam” and “Iceman,” Vinatieri is known for his dependability, his mental toughness and his ability to split the uprights late in games, having twice kicked game-winning field goals in the dying seconds of Super Bowl finals. He was the hero of the Patriots’ first successful Super Bowl run in 2001; and he went on to win two more Super Bowl rings with the Patriots (in 2003 and 2004) before signing with the Indianapolis Colts in 2006 – and promptly helping them bring home the Vince Lombardi Trophy that same year. Vinatieri is playing his 18th season in the NFL in 2013, and this two-time Pro Bowl starter could be a Hall of Fame contender when he finally hangs up his cleats.