Tyler Sigler’s NFL dream comes to an end (for now)

Tyler Sigler during the preseason with the Arizona Cardinals. Photo by Arizona Cardinals

Tyler Sigler is the nephew of Scott Sigler (that’s me!), author of the Galactic Football League series. Until this week, Tyler was a member of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL. He was signed this year as an undrafted free agent safety out of Division III Wheaton College.

Tyler Sigler Intercepts StickHe played in four NFL pre-season games and ended his pre-season with nine tackles and one interception, which he returned 52 yards (Click the photo at right to see it, y’all!).

Unfortunately, when the Cardinals announced their final 53-man regular season roster, Tyler did not make the cut. He was not named to the Cardinal’s practice squad, and at the time of this post he has not been picked up by another NFL team.

We didn’t want to make a big deal out of it here, because we wanted the spotlight to be on Tyler, but holy cow, was this ever a big deal. As a Division III player, Tyler had almost no chance of making the NFL.

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Tyler wore #39 for the Cards, and also grew a sick Burt Reynold’s ‘stache for the pre-season.

Damn small. The image below is from the NFL. I’ll paraphrase a few key points:

  • Only 1.6% of NCAA college football players make an NFL roster.
  • Most of the players who make an NFL roster come from a Division 1 school.
  • I could not find stats on how many Division III players make NFL rosters.
  • One in 1.1 million high school football players make the NFL (0.00009%).

No amount of hyperbole in the known universe can express how exciting the last few months have been. Tyler came in as an undrafted free agent, and impressed the Cardinals coaching staff enough that they signed him to a pre-season contract (and had to cut a player to make room for him on the roster, to show you how cut-throat this process is).

Tyler busted his ass and put in the study time on the complicated defensive playbook. He listened to the coaches and to the veteran players. He learned all he could and put it into play, but in the end, the Cardinals chose to let him go. We couldn’t be prouder.

Tyler was signed as a safety, which meant we all knew it was a long shot for him to make the team (as summed up in this USA Today article on Tyler). The Cardinals have two excellent starting safeties (All-Pro Budda Baker and DJ Swearinger), and drafted Deionte Thompson out of Alabama this year in the 5th round. In addition, they used a supplemental 2020 draft pick to pick up Jalen Thompson out of Washington State. So not only do the Cards have two big-time safeties, they also drafted two safeties this year.

With that lineup, Tyler would have to have, in effect, an All-Pro pre-season. While he played well in the chances he had, in the end Deionte and Jalen looked solid both at safety and on special teams. Special teams were Tyler’s best chance to make the roster, and the Cards had enough second-string players to fill those positions so Tyler wasn’t needed.

Such is the life of a pro athlete.

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