UFL to NFL Tracker: Do Players Go From UFL to NFL

UFL to NFL Tracker: Do Players Go From UFL to NFL?

Spring football is officially over with the Birmingham Stallions wining a third straight UFL title. Players from the UFL are officially eligible to attend NFL training camps with a few players receiving the invitation from NFL teams to workout. Contracts have already been signed in a few instances.

Let’s explore some of the UFL players that have gone to the NFL.

Atlanta Falcons: OL Jaryd Jones-Smith

Marcus Jones-Smith, a standout defensive player from the United Football League (UFL), has earned another opportunity in the NFL after an impressive 2023 season with the St. Louis Battlehawks. At 28 years old, Jones-Smith is being given another chance to make his mark at the highest level of professional football.

Despite going undrafted out of the University of Pittsburgh back in 2018, Jones-Smith has shown tremendous perseverance in his pursuit of an NFL career. He has spent time with numerous organizations, including the Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Las Vegas Raiders, Baltimore Ravens, and Washington Commanders. In addition to his NFL stints, Jones-Smith has also played in other alternative professional leagues like the AAF and XFL.

New England Patriots: OL Liam Fornadel

Liam Fornadel, an offensive lineman who played in the United Football League (UFL) for the D.C. Defenders, has signed with the New England Patriots according to reports from his agency.

Fornadel brings versatility to the offensive line, having experience playing both guard and tackle positions during his college career at James Madison University. His ability to line up at multiple spots along the offensive front could be an asset for the Patriots.

After going undrafted, Fornadel initially continued his football journey in the UFL with the D.C. Defenders. His play in the spring league caught the attention of NFL teams, leading to his signing with the Patriots organization.

Minnesota Vikings: DT Jalen Redmond

Jalen Redmond, a defensive tackle who made a impact in the United Football League (UFL) this past season, appears to be joining the Minnesota Vikings. Redmond took to social media to share a report about his signing with the NFL team.

Despite playing in only four games for the Arlington Renegades of the UFL in 2023, Redmond put up impressive numbers. He racked up 18 total tackles, 5 tackles for loss, and an eye-catching 4.5 sacks from the interior defensive line position.

Originally going undrafted out of the University of Oklahoma in 2022, Redmond spent time with the Carolina Panthers last offseason trying to make their roster before being released. His dominant stretch in the UFL has now earned him another shot at the NFL level with the Vikings.

Minnesota is taking a flier on the disruptive defensive tackle, hoping he can translate his production from the spring league to the pros. If Redmond can continue making plays behind the line of scrimmage like he did for the Renegades, he could carve out a role on the Vikings’ defensive line rotation.


Carolina Panthers: WR Daewood Davis

Wide receiver Daewood Davis, who starred in the United Football League (UFL) last season, has signed with the Carolina Panthers. Davis showcased his receiving talents in 2023 while playing for the Memphis Showboats of the UFL. Over the course of the season, he hauled in 41 receptions for 446 yards and scored 5 touchdowns through the air.

Prior to his successful UFL campaign, Davis spent the 2022 offseason with the Miami Dolphins, looking to make their NFL roster. However, his time in Miami was cut short after suffering a serious injury that ultimately led to his release with an injury settlement.

Now healthy, Davis gets another shot at the NFL level after putting up impressive numbers in the UFL. The Panthers are taking a chance on the talented pass-catcher, giving him an opportunity to compete for a spot on their wide receiver depth chart.

Dallas Cowboys: LB Willie Harvey Jr.

The Dallas Cowboys have bolstered their linebacking corps by signing Darius Harvey, who was one of the top defensive players in the United Football League (UFL) last season. Harvey, an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State in 2019, led the entire UFL in total tackles with 76. He also topped all linebackers in tackles for loss (9), passes defended (6), and forced fumbles (2), showcasing his disruptive playmaking abilities.

Despite his impressive collegiate and UFL production, Harvey went undrafted and had only a brief NFL stint with the Cleveland Browns a few years ago, appearing in just four games and recording two total tackles. However, the Cowboys are giving him another opportunity after his dominant UFL campaign.

Dallas has found success in the past by taking chances on talented players from alternative professional leagues. Notable examples include wide receiver/return specialist KaVontae Turpin and kicker Brandon Aubrey, both of whom contributed for the Cowboys after joining the team from spring football leagues.

Detroit Lions: K Jake Bates

Jake Bates, a standout kicker from the United Football League (UFL), has signed a two-year contract with the Detroit Lions. Bates previously played for the Michigan Panthers in the UFL and was considered one of the top talents in the league. Despite receiving interest from multiple teams, he chose to remain in his home state of Michigan by joining the Lions.

During the 2023 UFL season, Bates showcased his strong leg, converting 21 of his 28 field goal attempts. His deep range was on full display as he drilled a 64-yard field goal, along with two other kicks from 60 yards out. His ability to consistently split the uprights from long distance is a valuable asset.

After going undrafted out of the University of Arkansas in 2023, Bates had a brief stint with the Houston Texans but did not make their final roster. Now signed by the Lions, he will have an opportunity to compete for the kicking duties and prove himself at the NFL level. The Lions are surely hoping Bates’ booming leg can provide a weapon in the kicking game.

New York Giants: RB Jacob Saylors

The New York Giants have signed running back Jacob Saylors to their roster. Saylors previously played for the St. Louis Battlehawks in the UFL (United Football League). During the 2023 UFL season, he was one of the top rushers, finishing second in total rushing yards with 460. He also tied for second place in rushing touchdowns with 5 total scores on the ground. In addition to his running abilities, Saylors contributed as a pass catcher, hauling in 23 receptions for 151 yards and 3 receiving touchdowns.

Despite his success in the UFL, Saylors went undrafted out of East Tennessee State University. He briefly spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons organizations, but has not yet appeared in an official NFL game. Now signed by the Giants, Saylors will get an opportunity to make his NFL debut and showcase his skills at the highest level of professional football.