BYU Football’s 10 Best NFL Players Who Were Undrafted
PROVO, Utah – In 2019, 30 percent of the NFL was made up of players that were undrafted. For every first-round pick into the league, there are handfuls of undrafted free agents looking to carve out a career.
BYU is one of those schools that has produced a lot of undrafted players who went on to have success in the NFL. Here are the 10 best all-time as we head into the NFL Draft weekend.
* = denotes Active player
#10 Michael Davis, Los Angeles Chargers*
In 2016, Davis was benched midway through his senior season at BYU. But Davis, a former wide receiver out of high school, has always had elite athleticism. Davis surfaced near his hometown of Glendale with the Los Angeles Chargers and has been there ever since. Through three seasons, Davis has started in 21 games with the Chargers and has recorded 107 tackles to go with two interceptions.
Former #BYU defensive back Michael Davis with the first interception of his NFL career helping the Chargers beat the Dolphins. @BYUfootball @KSL5TV @kslsports https://t.co/mswkFuB8kZ pic.twitter.com/WtcdDUqd4P
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) September 29, 2019
#9 Aaron Francisco, Arizona Cardinals
After being a four-year starter at BYU, Francisco was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals where he played in 53 games and had 143 tackles. In 2008, Francisco wore Captain “C” for special teams during the Cardinals’ first-ever Super Bowl appearance against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Francisco later went on to play for the Indianapolis Colts where he became a full-time starter for the 2010 season.
#8 Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints*
Through three seasons, Hill has carved a niche with the New Orleans Saints as an “F position” in head coach Sean Payton’s game plan. Flourishing as a wide receiver, tight end, and special teams ace. But the goal from Hill is still to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Payton and the Saints have said all the right things that they believe Taysom will be that in the league. Now Hill prepares for his fourth year with a guaranteed salary of $4.641 million after he received a first-round tender from the Saints.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) August 10, 2019
#7 Larry Moore, Indianapolis Colts
The starting center on BYU’s 1996 team that went 14-1, Moore was the starting center for 48 of Peyton Manning’s first 59 games as an Indianapolis Colt. Moore played in 96 games and had 73 total starts between his time with the Colts, Redskins, and Bengals.
#6 Chris Hoke, Pittsburgh Steelers
For eight seasons, Chris Hoke was a key rotation player in the Pittsburgh Steelers teams that went on to win two Super Bowls. In his career with Pittsburgh, Hoke racked up 112 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and two sacks in 114 games played for the Steelers.
#5 Dick Felt, New York Titans
Prior to being a defensive coordinator at BYU, Dick Felt was one of the best defensive backs in the AFL with the New York Titans and Boston Patriots. Felt joined the New York Titans in 1960 where he started in 12 of the 14 regular season games earning AFL All-Star honors. Then he was an all-star again in 1963 with the Patriots. Two years after his playing career concluded in 1966, Felt went on to coach at BYU for 25 years.
#4 Daniel Sorensen, Kansas City Chiefs*
Despite posting some of the best numbers out of safeties at the 2014 Combine, Sorensen went undrafted. He landed with the Kansas City Chiefs where he played in nine games his rookie season. Then in 2015 he played in all 16 games and started to earn the nickname “Dirty Dan.” In 2017, Sorensen signed a contract extension with the Chiefs worth $16 million over four seasons. Last year, Sorensen played in every game to help the Chiefs win their first Super Bowl in 50 years.
— BYU Cougars PR (@BYUCougarsPR) February 3, 2020
#3 John Denney, Miami Dolphins
The man closest to Dan Marino for most games played as a Miami Dolphin is former BYU defensive end, John Denney. Denney played in 224 games as the starting long snapper for the Dolphins and all 224 games were played consecutively from 2005 to 2018. Last fall, Denney was cut by the Phins, thus ending an impressive career that garnered two Pro Bowl selections at long snapper.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) November 6, 2017
#2 Chad Lewis, Philadelphia Eagles
Lewis, an undrafted free agent in the class of 1997, landed with Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a perfect match. Aside from a brief stop with the St. Louis Rams in 1999, Lewis played with the Eagles for nine years and had three Pro Bowl appearances from 2000-2002. In 2004, Lewis was part of an Eagles team that won the NFC Championship before falling to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) October 22, 2017
#1 Bart Oates, New York Giants
Oates’ first two years professionally were in the USFL where he helped lead the Baltimore Stars from the center to back-to-back titles in 1983 and 1984 before beginning an 11-year career in the NFL, beginning with the New York Giants. As a Giant, Oates is now viewed as one of the best centers in the G-Men’s history. A five-time Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl Champion, Oates started in 165 games in his NFL career that concluded with the San Francisco 49ers.
Think Bart Oates is the best free agent signing in #NYGiants franchise history? Cast your vote today in the 2018 Bracket Challenge!
— New York Giants (@Giants) March 14, 2018
The NFL Draft begins this Thursday and concludes on Saturday. For all the details on how to watch the Draft check here.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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