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In part two of the best undrafted NFL players of all time we’ll be kicking off with the teams of the AFC (American Football Conference) North. Remember the whole idea of this series is showing you that just because you aren’t picked first, doesn’t mean you can’t keep working hard and make it big! Hardwork beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
For the Baltimore Ravens it’s a well deserved top spot for Kicker Justin Tucker. The Kicker is something of a zero or hero position in American Football; if you make the extra point kicks then you could win your team the game or likewise lose if you miss, all in the blink of an eye. The kicker’s position sees less game time than most so for one to make top spot shows you just how important he has been for the Ravens. In fact Tucker is the most accurate kicker of all time, making 202 of 224 field goals, (that’s 90.2%!) and has seen two pro bowls becoming a two time first team all pro. Furthermore, he is the fastest kicker to reach 800 points in just 95 games; pretty impressive considering he was overlooked in his draft class in 2012!
The Bengals have seen reasonable success with undrafted players and many might have expected to see Vontaze Burfict take top spot here but given he is still young in his career, we’ll allow him a few more seasons to add to the stat sheet and instead praise the DE (defensive end) Coy Bacon. Starting out his career in the Continental football league without an NFL team, he was eventually picked up by the Dallas Cowboys, but made his spark at Cincinnati. Making three pro bowls in 14 seasons Bacon was a terror for QBs and is said to have recorded 22 sacks in one season (a franchise record) or if you ask him, 26! Unfortunately the NFL did not recognise sacks back then on the scoresheet so we have only the Bengals and Bacon himself to trust.
The poor old Cleveland Browns haven’t had the best football history, particularly in recent years where they’ve recorded several seasons without a single win. That being said, it is truly a team sport and they have had some great individual players over the years, one of whom was undrafted G (Guard) Robert Jackson. A guard doesn’t rack up much of a stat sheet given the position but Jackson saved their QB many a time and was particularly well remember as a person too, being stated as a great team player and hosting golf tournaments for the team off the pitch; what a guy!
There can only be one Steelers’ legend, and it is of course the formidable OLB (outside line backer) James Harrison. A mountain of a man known for his incredible acts of strength, huge presence on the field, and ‘steely’’ disposition he is truly a fearsome opponent to come up against us for any offense. After going undrafted and playing a season of World League American Football he was picked up and recorded 84.5 sacks in his time with the Steelers, contributing greatly to two super bowl victories and earning NFL defensive player of the year in 2008 with 16 sacks, a huge amount for a line backer! He has very recently left the Steelers for the New England Patriots over a lack of play time but he will always be remembered there for his tremendous career.
IMAGE SOURCE: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/04/16/james-harrison-retires/