The 2014 NFL draft has come to an end with only one BYU player getting selected (Kyle Van Noy), even though a handful of Cougars were hoping to hear their name called.
In some professional sports, that would mean the end of the road, but the NFL is a different story. Plenty of undrafted players sign free-agent contracts right after the draft ends and manage to make solid NFL careers out of their opportunity.
BYU greats Cody Hoffman (Washington Redskins), Daniel Sorensen (Kansas City Chiefs) , Eathyn Manumaleuna (New York Giants) and Spencer Hadley (New Orleans Saints) all signed such deals after the draft finished over the weekend.
Although it is not the easiest road to NFL success, a number of Cougars have traveled it with success.
Here is a look at the 10 best careers by BYU Cougars who went undrafted.
Ena made the Philadelphia Eagles in 2002 after going undrafted. He played in 47 games for the Eagles and the Tennessee Titans as a linebacker. His best season came in 2004 when Ena recorded 32 tackles while starting five games for the Titans.
For his career, Ena recorded 59 tackles over four seasons.
Unutoa Played 86 games over seven seasons with three different teams in the NFL as a backup center after going undrafted. His longest stint came with the Philadelphia Eagles where he played 48 games over three seasons. Unutoa also played for the Buffalo bills and had two stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his second stint with the Buccaneers, Unutoa was a part of a Super Bowl winning team in 2002.
Ring went undrafted out of BYU but managed to make the San Francisco 49ers. Ring spent six seasons with the Niners and played in 69 games (nine starts). His best season in the NFL came in 1983 when Ring appeared in all 16 games, including five starts. That year, Ring rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns on 64 carries. He also caught 23 passes for 182 yards. During his time in the NFL, Ring was a part of two Super Bowl winning teams with San Francisco. Ring made solid contributions in the 49ers' 1981 playoff run to the championship, he carried the ball 21 times for 73 yards and a touchdown while also catching two passes. Ring was also on San Francisco’s 1984 Super Bowl winning team.
For his career, Ring carried the ball 183 times for 732 yards and seven touchdowns as a rusher. He also registered 45 receptions for 336 yards and another score.
Brumfield went undrafted after leaving BYU but was able to make the Cincinnati Bengals' roster in 1993. Brumfield spent his whole six-year NFL career there and appeared in 56 games (29 starts). As a rookie, Brumfield played in every game and even managed to make seven starts. Brumfield had his best season in 1995 when he appeared in 14 games and started 11 at left guard, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Brumfield is a remarkable story of strength and perseverance. After moving into the starting lineup during the second game of the 1996 season, Brumfield started eight straight games. During the eighth and final game of his season, Brumfield suffered a severe spinal cord injury against the Baltimore Ravens which left him temporarily paralyzed. After months of rehab, Brumfield was able to return to the football field and play in 15 of the Bengals' 16 games the following season, including two starts.
Francisco made the Arizona Cardinals in 2005 as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in 75 games (23 starts) with the Cardinals and the Indianapolis Colts from 2005-2010 as a defensive back and safety. His most impressive season came in 2010 when Francisco started all 12 games he played in at safety for the Colts and recorded a career high 59 combined tackles and two interceptions.
For his career, Francisco made 218 tackles, intercepted four passes and forced a fumble.
Hoke made the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent and managed to carve out an 11-year NFL career. Even though Hoke made the Steelers in 2001, he didn't appear in a regular season game until 2004. Over the next eight years, Hoke appeared in 114 games (18 starts) at nose tackle and recorded 83 combined tackles and two sacks while being a part of two Super Bowl winning teams.
Whittingham played 63 games from 1964-1971 after going undrafted. During that time, Whittingham played for the Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Boston Patriots as a linebacker.
For his career, Whittingham registered three interceptions and a fumble recovery.
After going undrafted, Moore made the Indianapolis Colts in 1998. Moore played 96 games (73 starts) over eight seasons, playing for the Colts, Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals.
Moore had his most success with the Colts where he spent time at center and right guard. He started 48 of the 54 games he played with Indianapolis and did very well protecting a young Peyton Manning.
Felt appeared in 80 games over seven seasons as a member of the New York Titans and the Boston Patriots in the AFL as a defensive back. His best season came in 1962 when Felt intercepted five passes for the nine-win Patriots and was named to the Pro Bowl.
During his career, Felt registered 18 interceptions and was named a Pro Bowler on two separate occasions.
Lewis went undrafted out of BYU but was able to make the Philadelphia Eagles. As a rookie, Lewis only caught 12 passes for 94 yards but found the end zone four times. In fact, the first touchdown of his career was thrown by fellow BYU alum Ty Detmer. Lewis went on to play 116 games (77 starts) over nine seasons with the Eagles and the Saint Louis Rams. His best statistical season came in 2000 when Lewis caught 69 passes for 735 yards and three touchdowns. Lewis was also very effective in the playoffs, catching 38 passes for 409 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games.
For his career, Lewis caught 229 passes for 2,361 yards and 23 touchdowns in nine seasons and was a three-time Pro Bowler.