The Collegian
Monday, March 27, 2023

Two Spiders sign with NFL teams as undrafted free agents

<p>Wide receiver Cortrelle Simpson runs down the field during a scoring drive with center John Yarbrough (right) in tow.</p>

Wide receiver Cortrelle Simpson runs down the field during a scoring drive with center John Yarbrough (right) in tow.

Shortly after the 2019 NFL Draft, University of Richmond wide receiver Cortrelle Simpson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and center John Yarbrough signed with the Chicago Bears as undrafted free agents.

Simpson transferred to UR from Temple University in Philadelphia. In his first game as a Spider during the 2017 season, he recorded seven catches for 204 yards and one receiving touchdown against the third-ranked Sam Houston State.

His 204 yards set the program record for most receiving yards in a player's debut, and also made him the Spiders' first wide receiver since 2015, and the sixth overall in school history, to surpass 200 receiving yards.

In both seasons, Simpson was named Second Team All-Colonial Athletic Association. He finishes his Spider career with 96 receptions for 1,670 receiving yards and 11 receiving touchdowns in two seasons.

John Yarbrough started the final 28 games of his college career for UR. After starting 11 games at center in the 2017 season, he showcased his versatility by starting 11 games at three different positions, center, right guard and right tackle, during his senior year.

After the 2018 season, Yarbrough was named Second Team All-Colonial Athletic Association. The Touchdown Club of Virginia also named him Virginia's Offensive Lineman of the Year.  

Yarbrough was invited to play in the FCS National Bowl in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Dec. 9, 2018, and he was named Lineman MVP after the game. 

In an earlier Collegian article from February previewing his preparation for the draft, Yarbrough was described as a "Chicago Bears fanatic." Now, he has earned an invitation to his favorite NFL team's rookie minicamp.

In addition to players drafted in the seven rounds of the NFL draft, teams sign undrafted players and invite a handful of other players to attend rookie minicamp, vying for a coveted roster spot or a place on the practice squad. 

Both Simpson and Yarbrough will hope to make a positive impression on their respective teams to continue their pursuits of an NFL career.

Last year, UR quarterback Kyle Lauletta was the lone Spider to be drafted by the New York Giants in the fourth round with the 108th pick of the 2018 draft. 

Many undrafted free agents have gone on to have prolific NFL careers, such as two-time NFL MVP and hall of fame quarterback Kurt Warner

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

A difficult road lies ahead for both Simpson and Yarbrough, but they have rightfully earned the chance to prove they belong in the NFL after their illustrious careers at UR.

Contact sports editor C.J. Slavin at

Support independent student media

You can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking the button below, which takes you to our secure PayPal account. The page is set up to receive contributions in whatever amount you designate. We look forward to using the money we raise to further our mission of providing honest and accurate information to students, faculty, staff, alumni and others in the general public.

Donate Now