Top 5 undrafted free agents in Denver Broncos history

- The greatest undrafted WR in NFL history?

- A cornerback who defined the No Fly Zone

- One of the most clutch RBs in team history

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5. Rich Karlis (1982-1988), K

Deciding who would get the last spot on this list was a tough call, but Rich Karlis takes the cake thanks to some legendary moments, being a member of two Super Bowl teams in the 1980s, and being the last bare-footed kicker to ever grace the game.

Unsurprisingly for a kicker, Karlis went undrafted out of Cincinnati in 1981. He signed with the Houston Oilers as an offseason/practice squad member before coming to Denver in 1982 where he would become a fixture at kicker during a very successful seven seasons. According toPro Football Reference, Karlis made about 73% of his field goals- a very respectable conversion rate for his era- and made almost 96% of his extra points during his Broncos tenure. In five of his seven seasons with Denver, Karlis made at least one field goal from 50 or more yards, an impressive distance for a 1980s-era kicker.

Of course, most Broncos fans remember Karlis from one moment and one moment only, his legendary game-winning field goal in the 1986 AFC Championship game. From John Elway's clutch throw on 3rd and 18 to Mark Jackson hauling in a laser in the endzone, all of the best moments from "The Drive" would have been forgotten if Karlis failed to convert the game-tying extra point and overtime field goal. He converted both of his final kicks in that game, and the most famous moment in Broncos history was solidified by Rich Karlis's barefoot.


After the 1988 season, Karlis spent the last two seasons of his career with the Vikings and Lions, but he will always be remembered for forging legendary moments with the 1980s Broncos. Like everyone else on this list, Karlis went from undrafted to a Denver legend. With the 2023 season on the horizon, everyone in Broncos Country will be eagerly waiting for its next undrafted hero.

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