According to statistics, just 1.2% of college football will get drafted into the NFL.
From there, the predictions of a successful NFL career vary from when a player gets drafted. But sometimes, that isn’t always the case––sometimes, there are unicorns.
Take a look at Kurt Warner for example. Warner went from going undrafted and being benched three times to stocking shelves at the grocery store until he gave the NFL another go around. He ultimately earned himself not one, but two MVPs, a Super Bowl ring and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Warner’s “rags to riches” story was so inspirational that Hollywood made a movie about him: American Underdog. And of course, then Hollywood ruined it and made it super corny, but it’s still worth a watch.
Below we’ll take a look at the success stories that are currently brewing in the NFL that you may not have known about.
And let’s check the latest NFL picks, stats, injury reports, and NFL news. We’ve got plenty of NFL lines for the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft Games.
These kids are climbing to the top of the NFL charts
1. Taysom Hill
Taysom Hill’s journey to the NFL was a painful one.
After starting college two years late following a mission trip, Hill was in the Heisman conversation as early as his Junior year while at Brigham Young University. However, a handful of season-ending injuries crushed that dream. In fact, all but one of his seasons at BYU ended with an injury. While at school chasing his future, he also dealt with the loss of his brother, Dexter, to an overdose.
The injuries completely ruined Hill’s draft stalk and he ended up going undrafted.
The Green Bay Packers saw some potential and picked him up as a UDFA in 2017, but released him during final roster cuts. But somehow, somewhere, Hill caught the eyes of New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and was claimed off of the waivers just one day after being released by Green Bay.
He’s been with New Orleans ever since where he’s been asked to play quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, fullback and special team roles––which he’s done and done really well!
Hill is the utility player that baseball fans wish they had on their teams and his willingness to accept a challenge and try new things has gotten him seven years in the league so far.
We can’t control what life brings, we can only control how we respond to it. My journey to the NFL has had the highs, the lows and everything in between— and I’m grateful for all of it! #GiveThanks
Full video: https://t.co/FMlFI0eYYp pic.twitter.com/2QCRJ6NcoZ
— Taysom Hill (@T_Hill4) November 22, 2020
2. Craig Reynolds
Craig Reynolds played at Kutztown University, which is a small Division II school in Pennsylvania.
He finished his collegiate career as the school’s third all-time leading rusher with 2,650 yards and second in school history with 5,277 all-purpose yards. As a Golden Bear with impressive stats, he caught the attention of a Washington Commanders scout. After going undrafted in 2019, Reynolds signed with Washington.
He was released shortly after and spent time on the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad before finding a home with the Detroit Lions in 2021.
Ahead of the 2022 season, Reynolds made the Lions’ final roster as the team’s third running back.
Watching a small-school guy rise in the NFL like Reynolds is a neat thing, and if anything, it’s an indication that Division II players are not only hidden gems, but they are the type of athletes who will work extra hard for any opportunity that they’re given.
0 D1 offers coming out of Abington. Kutztown was the only D2 school to offer me as a RB. After graduating took job interviews. Undrafted. P-Squad. Cut 7 times. God, Prayer & Hard Work… Anything Is Possible!🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/51isXQQhZW
— Craig Reynolds (@13_CJR) December 13, 2021
3. Younghoe Koo
Younghoe moved to the United States from South Korea in sixth grade. He had absolutely no idea what American football was until he joined his classmates who were playing some touch football during recess.
One day, he punted the ball so far that he shocked his newfound friends, who convinced him to play organized football. And that’s where it all began.
Koo began kicking on the football team in 7th grade and he didn’t know that being good at football could lead to a scholarship…or eventually, the pro league until his middle school coach explained that part to his parents.
Koo would go on to become the first kicker ever in Georgia Southern’s history to be named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award given to the best placekicker in college football.
After going undrafted in 2017, he found himself with the LA Chargers before settling in with the Atlanta Falcons in 2019. Koo has earned a Pro Bowl nod and led the NFL in scoring in 2020.
Not to mention that he has been the brightest spot in the Falcons franchise since joining the team.
— Younghoe Koo (@YounghoeKoo) December 1, 2016
4. Erik Harris
Speaking of Atlanta Falcons players, Erik Harris’ inspiring background is hard to overlook.
After receiving zero interest from NFL teams following Cal U’s Pro Day back in 2012, Harris was forced to get one of those “real” jobs. So, he worked as a corn mixer at UTZ potato chip factory in Hannover, Pennsylvania.
After the summer, he went back to school to finish his degree and began another job as a UPS “belt manager,” where he oversaw the belts that boxes went out for delivery on. He stayed at the job before he decided to drive to Buffalo, New York and try out for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
Harris landed a three-year deal with the Tiger-Cats. Three years later, the New Orleans Saints came calling, which is where he first met current Atlanta GM Terry Fontenot, who served as the director of Pro Scouting for NO. After a stint with the Saints, Harris signed with the Las Vegas Raiders, before being reunited with Fontenot in Atlanta.
While Harris is no Yonghoe Koo, he remains a valuable asset to the Falcons’ secondary.
5. Brock Purdy
But the newest and most exciting success story in the NFL is Brock Purdy.
Purdy, nicknamed “Mr. Irrelevant,” the name given to the last player drafted, has made a name for himself in the span of just seven games.
He is currently undefeated as an NFL rookie quarterback and led the San Francisco 49ers to a playoff run. In fact, his next stop is at the NFC Championship against the Philadelphia Eagles.
With Purdy front and center, the Niners have the third-best NFL odds of the four teams to win Super Bowl LVII at +300, according to BetUS.
Purdy is the third quarterback that San Francisco has had to turn to this season… and the best.
At this point, Purdy is just one win away from a Super Bowl appearance and if anyone’s money isn’t on Purdy and Kyle Shanahan, then your picks are trash.
Also, if Purdy wins the Super Bowl, I’ll flash my ta-tas on social media, just to make it a real Cinderella story.
Loyal, Forever, True. pic.twitter.com/mjKibAdk5c
— Brock Purdy (@brockpurdy13) January 8, 2022