UK football: Former Cats hope to land on NFL rosters

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 11: Garrett Johnson
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 11: Garrett Johnson /

For the second consecutive year, no one from the University of Kentucky was chosen in the NFL Draft. However, a few UK football players hope to make their mark as undrafted free agents.

The UK football program, for the second year in a row, had no player taken in the NFL Draft. That didn’t deter several Wildcats from continuing to pursue their dreams of making an NFL roster. Let’s check out where some of your favorite Cats landed.

Garrett ‘Juice’ Johnson signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears. Johnson is not the prototypical size of today’s NFL wide receivers. He’s only 5’11”, 175-pounds, but with his quickness, Johnson could find a home as a slot receiver in the Bears offense.

Matt Nagy, the new head coach of the Bears, is an offensive guy. He was an assistant coach with the Eagles, and worked as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs before landing the head coaching gig in the Windy City a few months ago.

Tyreke Hill, the Chiefs leading receiver from last season, is actually smaller than Johnson. While Johnson doesn’t possess the elite athleticism of Hill, he could find similar success if the system fits Johnson’s skill set.

The Bears roster is devoid of a No. 1 or even a No. 2 NFL-level receiver. Kevin White, out of West Virginia, was supposed to be a top target for Chicago, but he’s never stayed healthy over the course of his career. Johnson may have a real shot to make the Bears’ roster.

Former Kentucky linebacker Courtney Love has also latched on with an NFL team as an undrafted free agent. Love signed with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns need all the help they can get, as Hue Jackson’s squad lost every game they played last year.

The UK football program wasn’t the only school shut out on draft day. Duke now has three consecutive seasons without a player being drafted, and the Iowa State Cyclones are in the midst of a four year drought.

Odds are Kentucky will have several players receiving calls from coaches and GMs next year on draft night. Seniors C.J. Conrad, Josh Allen, Mike Edwards and Jordan Jones are sure to be picked up by an NFL franchise. It’s also highly likely that Benny Snell Jr. enters his name in next year’s NFL Draft.