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18 players from Utah colleges sign NFL free agent deals, one invited to camp

Published: Wednesday, July 29 2015 2:09 p.m. MDT

Reggie Dunn runs a 40 during Utah Pro Day in this Wednesday, March 20, 2013 file photo. Dunn signed an NFL free agent deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Reggie Dunn runs a 40 during Utah Pro Day in this Wednesday, March 20, 2013 file photo. Dunn signed an NFL free agent deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Just because most of the top football talent from Utah's FBS universities didn't get drafted into the NFL doesn't mean they have no chance of suiting up for an NFL team in the fall.

Immediately after the conclusion of the NFL draft, all 32 teams pursued players they felt had been overlooked, hoping to fill individual needs.

Players who are not selected by a team in the NFL draft are known as undrafted free agents. They are free to negotiate and sign a contract with any of the 32 NFL teams that want to sign them

Signing a free agent contract, however, does not guarantee that a player will make a final NFL roster. Players who are signed to free agent contacts participate in minicamps and summer camps prior to the NFL season. Several participants of these camps are cut from teams as rosters are finalized.

However, it's not unusual for players who have not been drafted to have successful NFL careers. Super Bowl champion quarterback Kurt Warner, Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon and San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates are a few of the most famous players to not have been drafted. In fact, some say it is better to not be drafted.

Utah punter Sean Sellwood (86) passes to wide receiver Luke Matthews (11) for a 49-yard touchdown on a fake punt against Washington State during the first half of an NCAA College football game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Pullman Wash. (AP Photo/Dean Hare) Sellwood signed an NFL free agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons. (Dean Hare, AP) Utah punter Sean Sellwood (86) passes to wide receiver Luke Matthews (11) for a 49-yard touchdown on a fake punt against Washington State during the first half of an NCAA College football game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Pullman Wash. (AP Photo/Dean Hare) Sellwood signed an NFL free agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons. (Dean Hare, AP)

Most players who specialize in special teams — punters, kickers, long snappers and return specialists — do not get drafted and sign free agent contracts. In this year's draft, two special teams specialists from Utah signed free agent contracts.

Overall, there have been 19 players from Utah colleges that have inked free agent deals since the 2013 NFL draft concluded Saturday:

USU wide receiver Matt Austin: Seattle Seahawks

Utah offensive lineman Sam Brenner: Miami Dolphins

BYU offensive lineman Braden Brown: St. Louis Rams

Utah wide receiver DaVonte Christopher: Washington Redskins

Utah return specialist Reggie Dunn: Pittsburgh Steelers

Utah center Tevita Stevens during practice at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Friday, Aug. 12, 2011. Stevens signed an NFL free agent deal with the Washington Redskins. (Mike Terry, Deseret News) Utah center Tevita Stevens during practice at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Friday, Aug. 12, 2011. Stevens signed an NFL free agent deal with the Washington Redskins. (Mike Terry, Deseret News)

BYU defensive tackle Romney Fuga: Denver Broncos

BYU defensive back Preston Hadley: Seattle Seahawks*

BYU offensive lineman Braden Hansen: Oakland Raiders

USU wide receiver Chuck Jacobs: San Francisco 49ers

BYU linebacker Uona Kaveinga: Denver Broncos

Utah defensive lineman Dave Kruger: Cleveland Browns

Utah cornerback Ryan Lacy: New Orleans Saints

USU defensive lineman Al Lapuaho: St. Louis Rams

Utah cornerback Moe Lee: Baltimore Ravens

BYU linebacker Brandon Ogletree: Miami Dolphins

Utah tight end David Rolf: San Diego Chargers

Utah punter Sean Sellwood: Atlanta Falcons

David Rolf lifts weights during Utah Pro Day at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Rolf signed an NFL free agent deal with the San Diego Chargers. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) David Rolf lifts weights during Utah Pro Day at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Rolf signed an NFL free agent deal with the San Diego Chargers. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Utah center Tevita Stevens: Washington Redskins

Utah cornerback Reggie Topps: Arizona Cardinals

*Hadley did not sign a free agent contract, but was invited to the Seahawks' summer minicamp.

Landon Hemsley is the sports content manager for DeseretNews.com. Email: lhemsley@deseretnews.com. Twitter: @EarlOfHemsley

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