For only the second time since 1984, no Virginia football players were selected in the NFL Draft.
Linebacker Charles Snowden and tight end Tony Poljan were both projected to be selected in the draft, but neither heard their name called.
Those prospects didn’t wait long to find NFL homes, though.
Snowden, Poljan and D’Angelo Amos quickly signed undrafted free agent deals following the draft. Snowden will join the Chicago Bears. Amos will join the Detroit Lions and Poljan will become a member of the Baltimore Ravens, per reports.
“Staying in that orange and blue,” Snowden posted on Twitter. “Thank you so much to the Chicago Bears organization for this amazing opportunity! I’m excited to get to work.”
Amos, a safety who played his final season at UVa in 2020 after transferring from James Madison, joined Snowden in signing an undrafted free agent contract with an NFC North organization. He’s attempting to start his professional career with the Detroit Lions, according to a report from NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero.
Poljan became the third former UVa player to sign an undrafted free agent deal following the draft. The big tight end will join the Baltimore Ravens, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Snowden blossomed throughout his four-year career in Charlottesville. He arrived at Virginia with a basketball background and a lanky frame. He added significant muscle, checking in at around 240 pounds currently. He also became a team leader for the Wahoos, serving as a team captain in 2020.
On the field, Snowden’s production was significant. He tallied 44 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss and six sacks, in eight games in 2020. Snowden missed the final two contests of the season with a broken ankle, which knocked him out of most pre-draft workout opportunities and potentially hampered his draft stock.
When healthy, Snowden was one of the most dynamic players on Virginia’s defense. He tallied at least 7.5 tackles for loss in each of his final three seasons in Charlottesville. His length as a 6-foot-7 linebacker helped him defend 11 passes in 2018, which led all FBS linebackers.
Snowden joins a Chicago franchise hoping to take a leap forward. The Bears drafted Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in the first round, trying to land a franchise quarterback. They went 8-8 in 2020 before losing to the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs.
Amos played an important role in Virginia’s secondary in 2020. Even though he joined the team just over a month before the season, Amos played in all 10 games in 2020. Amos started five games, and he recorded 47 tackles and two interceptions for the Wahoos. He also blocked a kick.
At JMU, Amos played in 44 games. He was a standout defender, making 135 tackles and snatching a pair of interceptions. He also excelled on special teams, returning five punts for touchdowns and finishing his career with 1,259 punt return yards. Amos blocked four kicks while with the Dukes.
Detroit is rebuilding, and Amos will have a chance to compete for a roster spot. The Lions went 5-11 in 2020, and the team ranked last in the NFL in scoring defense. Detroit allowed 32.4 points per game. The secondary also struggled, giving up 284.9 passing yards per game.
Poljan adds a potential tight end weapon for a good Ravens team. Baltimore went 11-5 in 2020 and won a playoff game before falling 17-3 to the Bills in the NFL Divisional round. The Ravens run the ball at an effective rate, often using tight ends to help block and in the play-action passing game.
A transfer from Central Michigan, Poljan started his college career as a quarterback. He transitioned to tight end while at Central Michigan, catching 33 passes for 496 yards and four touchdowns in 2019.
Poljan transferred to UVa for the 2020 season and caught 38 passes for 411 yards and six touchdowns in UVa’s 10-game season. At 6-7 and 265 pounds, Poljan’s frame makes him a matchup problem for opposing defenses. He moves well and uses his body to shield away defenders. He also uses his size well as a blocker.
Linebacker Zane Zandier and running back Shane Simpson are also former UVa players with the potential to sign undrafted free agent deals in the coming days.