Arguably the greatest walk-on player in the history of the SEC, former Arkansas offensive lineman Brandon Burlsworth would have continued his success well into the NFL, according to the man who drafted him.

In an interview with Rich Eisen, former Indianapolis General Manager Bill Polian, the man who drafted both Peyton Manning and Burlsworth, claimed the Colts were prepared to start the former Arkansas walk-on as a rookie after he earned the position during the team’s first camp following the 1999 NFL Draft. It was soon after the camp that Burlsworth died in an automobile accident driving from Indianapolis back to Arkansas.

Polian proclaimed the Colts offensive line coach Howard Mudd, who coached the O-Line in both college and the NFL from the early 1970’s until 2012, fell for Burlsworth’s potential early in the draft process. It was Mudd who evaluated Burlsworth as a future star and proclaimed the former Hog ready to play immediately and for the rest of his NFL career.

Of course, a feature film titled Greater was just made on Burlsworth and is now playing in theaters nationwide. The movie currently has an overall positive rating of 62 percent, according to the collective reviews found on

As sad as the ending of Burlsworth’s life was for so many, Polian makes a good point. In death, the impact and story of his life could end up affect many more lives than it ever would have before. In the end, that’s all anyone can ask for from their life.