Every so often in sports, someone makes an unexpected impact. Look at the NFL, where undrafted players like Arian Foster and Wes Welker have become super stars. In MLB, Daniel Nava had a season to remember after playing independent. It’s not an uncommon thing to see. However, in lacrosse, it can be a lot harder to break the system.
Most of the biggest stars of the National Lacrosse League came along via a high draft pick; John Grant Jr, Casey Powell, Mark Matthews as the newest one. However, some other players have come along a different way.
Tyler Carlson is an example. He went undrafted and signed with the Minnesota Swarm, where he became a part of one of the best goalie duos in the league along with high draft pick Evan Kirk. The emergence of Carlson allowed the Swarm to trade away goaltender Anthony Cosmo for two first round picks.
Tyler Burton and Jamie Batson are two Knighthawks defenders who went from being undrafted to being signed by the Knighthawks and being parts of a 2012 Championship team.
Dan Marohl, who is now a member of the Baltimore Bombers of the NALL, went undrafted in 2001 and signed with the Ottawa Rebel before having a very successful NLL career, mostly with the Minnesota Swarm. He also played with the Philadelphia Wings and scored 80 points with them in 2005 as his career high. He is probably the most succesful undrafted player in the league’s history.
Brett Queener went undrafted in the NLL and went to try outs with the Boston Blazers before making it as a transition player with them for their three seasons in the league.
There were three Philadelphia Wings player in the early part of the new century who went undrafted and made an impact. Andrew Martin played in the league from 2002-2008 and put up 26 career points in 57 games played.
Bryan Barrett was an American field player out of Delaware who signed on to play for the Wings and was later traded to the New York Titans. Lastly, Jeff Spano scored 28 points over his career after signing with that same Wings team.
Some other players of note are Travis Hill, who is still playing with the Rochester Knighthawks as a transition player and was given his first chance in Minnesota in 2005. Ray Guze was a walk on with the Buffalo Bandits the same year and became a successful defender in the league.
Has there ever been an impact player like Arian Foster who everyone completely passed by? No, there has not been an impact like that, with only so many openings on a team. But for players who did not get drafted, there is some hope. Guys like Carlson and Marhol were (and are) impact players on their teams, which proves that sometimes, some players are just passed over and can still make a pro team.