I call the UDFA free-for-all after the completion of Day 3 the "Dessert draft." The UDFA carousel on Saturday night in essence takes care of Rounds 8-20 at warp-speed.
Undrafted players comprise roughly one-fifth of NFL rosters and provide the NFL with more value and snaps than the sixth- and seventh-rounds combined. In three-consecutive years, the Chargers found Austin Ekeler, the Broncos discovered Phillip Lindsay, and the Jaguars struck gold with James Robinson during the UDFA sweepstakes.
The list of Hall of Famers who went undrafted includes Kurt Warner, John Randle, Warren Moon and Dick “Night Train” Lane. Recent notable UDFA include Tony Romo, Doug Baldwin, James Harrison, Wes Welker, Antonio Gates, Arian Foster, Cameron Wake and Chris Harris. Current UDFAs making an impact in the NFL include Adam Thielen, Robby Anderson, Alejandro Villanueva, La’El Collins, Michael Pierce, Shaquil Barrett, Mario Addison, Cory Littleton, Malcolm Butler, J.C. Jackson, and Anthony Harris.
This year's UDFA crop is especially intriguing. Because the NCAA’s 2020 pandemic eligibility waiver allowed graduated seniors to return to school, the 2021 NFL Draft had only 657 declared prospects. By contrast, the year before, in 2020, 1,932 prospects declared. This class, with eligibilities exhausting of players granted the extra year, we had over 2,000 declarees. That means a deeper UDFA pool.
Let's dive into how the NFC did in this year's "Dessert Draft." The ranking in parenthesis following each team below indicates how each ranked overall in the NFL. Speaking of that, check back Friday for my AFC UDFA class rankings.
1. Dallas Cowboys (1)
|iOL16||167||Alec Lindstrom||J.C. Tretter||8.35||6033||299|
|WR29||200||Dontario Drummond||Ron Dugans||5.7||6007||217|
|CB30||210||Isaac Taylor-Stuart||Eli Apple||9.61||6014||201|
|LB20||230||Aaron Hansford||Drue Tranquill||7.61||6025||239|
|S17||233||Markquese Bell||Kamu Grugier-Hill||8.95||6020||212|
|S19||253||Juanyeh Thomas||Darrick Forrest||8.48||6006||213|
|WR39||263||Ty Fryfogle||Travis Fulgham||7.2||6011||209|
|WR44||307||Jaquarii Roberson||Cedrick Wilson||9.02||6007||182|
|ED35||325||Mika Tafua||Malcolm Koonce||9.03||6027||249|
|iOL39||387||James Empey||Greg Mancz||2.58||6034||297|
|TE25||452||Peyton Hendershot||Brevin Jordan||8.4||6036||246|
|S38||467||La'Kendrick Van Zandt||Andrew Wingard||8.09||5114||210|
|CB53||474||Quandre Mosely||Derrick Baity||6016||185|
|ED47||493||Big Kat Bryant||Aaron Lynch||2.86||6040||254|
|QB36||---||Terry Wilson||Vad Lee||6022||204|
|RB50||---||Aaron Shampklin||Matt Breida||8.28||5093||194|
|RB59||---||Malik Davis||Kyle Hicks||5.95||5097||202|
|WR79||---||Dennis Houston||Jhajuan Seales||7.58||6011||198|
No team invests in undrafted talent like the Cowboys. This is my fourth year ranking UDFA classes for NBC. During that time, Dallas has spent more UDFA money than any other organization. Is it any wonder that the Cowboys have finished with a top-10 UDFA class all four years? The Cowboys ranked No. 9 in 2019, No. 1 in 2020, No. 2 in 2021, and have once-again assumed the top-overall spot in 2022.
This year, the Cowboys signed six prospects I had draftable grades on (top-262), as well as the highest-ranked UDFA-graded prospect on my board (Ty Fryfogle). I had a R5 grade on C Alec Lindstrom, R6 grades on WR Dontario Drummond and CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart, and R7 grades on LB Aaron Hansford, S Markquese Bell, and S Juanyeh Thomas.
I’m still surprised Lindstrom didn’t get drafted. Especially after a similar undersized pivot prospect, Drew Dalman, returned huge investment for the Falcons last year on a R4 pricetag. Like Dalman, Lindstrom is a smart, athletic, undersized interior lineman with deep NFL bloodlines running through his veins.
Drummond is a weird prospect. He’s a 215-pound slot receiver that only runs a 4.65. He was forced to go to “Last Chance U” – East Mississippi Community College – out of high school, and didn’t pop-off at Mississippi until his last year when he could play slot full-time following Elijah Moore’s departure. But he’s a sure-handed, tackle-breaking machine who gets after it blocking. Drummond also has return chops.
Taylor-Stuart was a top-40 overall recruit coming out of high school. He has an ideal blend of length and speed (4.42). He’s a fabulous all-around athlete who owns a second-degree blackbelt off the field. But Taylor-Stuart needs to find a position (corner or free safety?), refine his technique, and improve his instincts. If the light ever turns on, he'll be a player.
Dallas' UDFA class had everything: Draftable talent, depth, athleticism (nine tested in the RAS 80th-percentile or better), and well-reasoned shots at positions of need.
2. New Orleans Saints (3)
|RB10||156||Abram Smith||Marlon Mack||6.61||5115||213|
|S14||171||Smoke Monday||Barry Church||6.46||6016||207|
|WR25||181||Dai'Jean Dixon||Andre Holmes||5.9||6030||205|
|CB26||201||Vincent Gray||Keenan Lewis||7.2||6020||195|
|CB38||277||DaMarcus Fields||Josh Lay||6.19||5115||192|
|S23||316||Jack Koerner||Greg Blue||9.19||6003||209|
|LB29||348||Nephi Sewell||Shaun Bradley||7.04||5114||224|
|TE22||363||Lucas Krull||Briley Moore-McKinney||9.07||6061||253|
|LB40||472||Isaiah Pryor||Garret Wallow||7.63||6013||220|
|iOL47||479||Eric Wilson||Eric Heitmann||8.68||6035||306|
|WR73||480||Dee Anderson||Jaleel Scott||8.15||6052||218|
|iOL48||485||Lewis Kidd||John Molchon||8.05||6060||311|
|K9||---||John Parker Romo||5110||174|
The Saints are one of three NFL teams that have finished in the top-10 of my UDFA rankings all four years. The Saints, who check in No. 3 overall this year, finished No. 1 in 2019, No. 3 in 2020, and No. 7 in 2021. Sean Payton was notoriously aggressive on the telephone in the late-rounds recruiting UDFAs during his tenure, and the Saints kept to the same ethos this year without him.
In his only season as a full-time starting RB after shifting over from LB, Smith posted a Baylor-record 1,601 rushing yards on 6.2 YPC. Smith is a profit-taking runner that's rarely finished behind the line. He exhibits good patience and tempo, along with crisp cuts into the hole in Baylor’s wide-zone system.
In this RB class, Smith finished top-10 last year in both overall PFF grade and yards after contact per attempt. He’s a little stiff in the lower half, remains raw as a receiver, and lacks joystick agility and high-end speed – but I think his early-down efficiency will translate to the NFL.
I was surprised Monday didn’t get picked in the draft. He’s long and athletic, and a proven playmaker in the SEC (three-straight years with a pick-6). Monday will be able to contribute on special teams immediately. He’s a willing contributor in run defense and can be played in the box. But while he has the athleticism and ball skills for coverage, Monday is a risk-taker who can leave himself susceptible to getting burned. That’ll be the primary thing New Orleans works with him on this summer.
Dixon has great size and ball skills but will need to improve as a route-runner to make a difference at the next level. Gray is blessed with length, and possesses the instincts Monday arguably lacks. But Gray lacks take-on play strength, and needs to improve his ball skills (zero career INT despite playing WR in high school).
In all, the Saints signed 12 UDFA that made my Thor500 big board. That group had an average size-adjusted RAS athletic composite slightly above the 75th-percentile. Those are the projectable developmental stabs you want to add during the Dessert Draft.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (5)
|QB5||93||Carson Strong||Jared Goff||6033||230|
|CB15||118||Josh Jobe||Cordrea Tankersley||5114||189|
|CB23||170||Mario Goodrich||Levi Wallace||5.03||6002||191|
|DL17||224||Noah Elliss||Danny Shelton||6042||351|
|RB22||270||Kennedy Brooks||Bilal Powell||5.99||5105||209|
|iOL24||279||William Dunkle||Kraig Urbik||4.82||6047||347|
|WR50||333||Britain Covey||Braxton Berrios||5.92||5080||169|
|S29||398||Reed Blankenship||Daniel Sorensen||8||6006||203|
|iOL42||437||Josh Sills||Adam Grant||7.91||6055||322|
|OT40||468||Jarrid Williams||Max Scharping||7.62||6055||323|
|CB60||---||Josh Blackwell||Xavier Crawford||8.25||5106||183|
The third team in the NFL that has finished in the top-10 of these rankings four-years running? That would be the Eagles. Like the Cowboys and Saints, Philly prioritizes the UDFA process and is willing to pay through the nose to land players they believe should have been drafted.
Per Spotrac, the Eagles gave Nevada QB Carson Strong a UDFA-record $320k in guarantees. To illustrate how intense the bidding for Strong’s services must have been, consider that the previous record for guaranteed money to a UDFA was a “mere” $200k. The guaranteed money Strong received was equivalent to what the Bears gave OT Braxton Jones, a fifth-rounder taken with the No. 168 overall pick.
The Eagles were far from done. They reportedly gave out three other signing bonuses between $217k-$240k (RB Kennedy Brooks, DT Noah Ellis and CB Mario Goodrich), as well as four additional six-figure guarantees (OG Josh Sills, OG William Dunkle, CB Josh Jobe, and CB Josh Blackwell).
Expect that strategy to pay off with multiple long-term contributors. Strong was a Day 2 talent if not for questions about the health of his knee – is it degenerative, or not? – as well as maturity issues. But boy if he doesn’t have a big-league arm. He was the only top-100 player on my board that didn’t get picked… it wasn’t a surprise that there was a bidding frenzy for his services once the draft concluded.
Brooks, in contrast to some other UDFAs from blueblood schools, has always been more than the sum of his parts. He only posted a 4.59 forty, but Brooks runs with exemplary patience, tempo and vision. He’s got a real shot to crack the roster.
Goodrich is another guy that outplays his measurables – I saw some Levi Wallace in him. Jobe played through a turf toe injury last year and didn’t acquit himself well. He should have returned to school. It was still a surprise to see him go undrafted, and the price was right to see if he can return to his 2020 level of play.
Noah Ellis is an enormous interior presence that’ll be a plus against the run at the next level. Dunkle is another elephantine prospect, a collegiate tackle likely kicking inside at the next level. He would have been drafted if not for his disappointing testing.
4. New York Giants (9)
|S16||191||Yusuf Corker||Shawn Davis||6.45||6000||199|
|TE15||283||Austin Allen||Gavin Escobar||8.08||6075||252|
|DL22||298||Christopher Hinton||Montravius Adams||5.56||6035||304|
|RB30||303||Jashaun Corbin||Deon Jackson||5.38||5111||203|
|DL27||347||Tyrone Truesdell||Frederick Jones||6017||347|
|iOL38||385||Josh Rivas||Braden Smith||5.48||6055||330|
|CB46||407||Zyon Gilbert||Blessuan Austin||8.68||6002||182|
|TE24||418||Jeremiah Hall||Alex Armah||2.51||6015||239|
|WR71||471||Daylen Baldwin||Branden Smith||4.31||6017||218|
|WR85||---||Jahcour Pearson||Sammie Parker||6.91||5073||178|
|iOL53||---||Matt Allen||T.J. Johnson||0.26||6023||303|
The Giants brought in a ton of guys for tryout looks. But it’s the top of their class that snuck them into the top-10 of our UDFA rankings this year.
Corker was a team captain each of the past two years who posted 159 tackles across 24 games during that span. I love the fearlessness he plays with – he flies downhill like a bat of hell looking to de-cleat runners. The biggest question will be if he has the agility to trust in coverage at the next level.
Though Corker was the only UDFA that the Giants signed who I had a draftable grade on, New York was able to flesh out its crop with eight other prospects who made my pre-draft 500-player big board.
The two-most intriguing dart throws amongst that latter group might be TE Austin Allen and CB Zyon Gilbert – both are highly projectable. Gilbert has the height, long speed, and athleticism for any task, but will need to work on his technique to hang.
Allen nearly measured in at 6’8. Not only is he massive and long, but Allen is a very strong athlete for his size. He doesn’t run great routes – struggling to separate – but he knows how to use body to pin defenders to his back, and he spears balls outside his frame and holds on through contact.
5. Atlanta Falcons (10)
|OT15||154||Dare Rosenthal||Bruce Campbell||7.67||6066||290|
|LB22||241||Nate Landman||Josey Jewell||6.41||6024||238|
|WR46||318||Stanley Berryhill III||Whop Philyor||5.85||5096||182|
|DL29||361||Derrick Tangelo||Neville Gallimore||7.49||6017||296|
|OT30||367||Tyler Vrabel||Sam Tevi||7.6||6056||315|
|S30||404||Brad Hawkins||Jaquiski Tartt||7.65||6004||207|
|WR61||412||Tyshaun James||Kristian Wilkerson||9.55||6022||214|
|WR69||453||Jared Bernhardt||Chris Hogan||7.32||6011||189|
|CB55||488||Matt Hankins||Harlan Miller||1.25||6001||181|
|LB43||---||Kuony Deng||Akeem Ayers||4.93||6053||244|
The two names to watch here are Dare Rosenthal and Nate Landman. Rosenthal would have been drafted if not for questions about his maturity. He signed with LSU as a defensive lineman but quickly transitioned to the offensive line, where he contributed following his redshirt campaign.
But Rosenthal’s next two seasons were filled with disciplinary issues. He fled to Kentucky for his final year. He played LT along a very strong UK offensive line, finishing No. 21 in PFF grade last year and No. 20 in run-blocking amongst this OT class.
Landman is a fearless gap-plugger who triggers downhill quickly and arrives with a thud. Colorado’s defense cratered whenever he was off the field. He lacks speed (4.82 forty), but had 72nd-percentile or better showings in the 3-cone, vertical jump and broad jump. Landman could turn into an early-down tone-setter against the run if everything breaks right and his body doesn’t betray him – he’s got a physical game heavy on violent collisions.
6. San Francisco 49ers (11)
|iOL14||124||Dohnovan West||Isaac Seumalo||7.01||6033||309|
|S18||245||Leon O'Neal Jr.||Kenny Vaccaro||6.07||6005||204|
|WR51||336||Calvin Turner Jr.||Tavon Austin||7.06||5113||197|
|WR52||341||Tay Martin||Isaiah Ford||6.45||6014||184|
|WR54||354||Taysir Mack||Tre Nixon||7.69||6017||200|
|iOL33||356||Jason Poe||Kyle Hinton||9.47||6005||300|
|LB30||368||Jeremiah Gemmel||Cole Holcomb||6006||225|
|RB48||469||Jordan Mason||Alfred Morris||7.13||5111||223|
|S39||477||Marcelino McCrary-Ball||Rudy Ford||9.04||5116||212|
|RB69||---||Cyrus Habibi-Likio||Kenny Hilliard||1.9||5117||219|
Dohnovan West was one of two Arizona State offensive linemen who shockingly went undrafted (Kellen Diesch was the other). I’m a big fan of West’s. He started immediately at ASU, and ended up manning three different positions during his three-year career, both guard spots and center.
West moves well but lacks bulk and play strength. He’s a perfect-fit for a zone-blocking team, and he found a match in signing with the 49ers. The 49ers have Alex Mack as a one-year plan at center. After that, it wouldn’t surprise me if West impressed enough to put himself in serious contention for the 2023 starting lineup.
Expect at least one of the 49ers’ three UDFA receiver signings to make the Week 1 roster. It’ll be interesting to see if San Francisco’s offensive brain trust can make something out of Hawaii OW Calvin Turner. Turner was moved all over the place by Hawaii – backfield, slot, out wide, and as a Wildcat QB – and also has extensive special-teams experience.
7. Green Bay Packers (12)
|RB13||190||Tyler Goodson||Chase Edmonds||9.55||5093||202|
|LB26||278||Ellis Brooks||Akeem Davis-Gaither||5.54||6013||226|
|OT36||427||Caleb Jones||Trey Adams||1.9||6087||370|
|RB45||428||B.J. Baylor||Mike Gillislee||6.07||5100||202|
|OT37||434||George Moore||K.C. McDermott||5.37||6056||312|
|WR65||436||Keke Chism||Jamal Custis||5.52||6041||209|
|CB51||445||Raleigh Texada||Shaun Prater||8.22||5102||191|
|ED43||448||Ryder Anderson||Jashon Cornell||7.6||6062||276|
|S41||497||Tre Sterling||Josh Bullocks||4.55||5115||205|
|QB37||---||Max Bortenschlager||Zach Smith||0.57||6031||207|
|WR78||---||Danny Davis III||Cam Phillips||2.44||6003||188|
|TE35||---||Sean Dykes||Cethan Carter||4.97||6001||234|
The gem of this class is Iowa’s Tyler “Spin Shady” Goodson, a sweet-footed air back with joystick agility. Goodson is a fabulous receiver who gives effort in pass-pro. But he lacks play strength and goes down on first contact – which was a bad fit behind Iowa’s offensive line last year, which had its worst crop of guards and tackles of the past 20 years.
Goodson also was done no favors by Iowa’s lethargic passing attack, which encouraged opponents to cheat up in an attempt to stop him. Goodson’s down 2021 season is the reason he didn’t get drafted – but his pre-2021 work, athletic profile, and on-field skills all screamed middle-round pick.
The rest of Green Bay’s class prioritized quantity over quality. While Goodson was the only Packers UDFA I had a draftable grade on, the Packers were able to snatch up eight additional prospects on my 500 board.
8. Detroit Lions (15)
|OT14||143||Obinna Eze||Jaryd Jones-Smith||5.36||6064||328|
|WR35||240||Josh Johnson||Damonte Coxie||3.72||5104||179|
|WR48||323||Corey Sutton||Geronimo Allison||6015||208|
|WR49||327||Kalil Pimpleton||Dri Archer||6.55||5075||172|
|RB37||371||Greg Bell||Brian Calhoun||4.4||5104||201|
|CB45||399||Jermaine Waller||Johnthan Banks||3.83||6003||180|
|TE26||486||Derrick Deese Jr.||Pharaoh Brown||3.73||6032||244|
|iOL50||---||Kevin Jarvis||Beau Benzschawel||6.66||6051||317|
The Lions have fared better than this year’s middle-of-the-pack UDFA finish in recent years. I wonder if that was in part a result of NFL agents recognizing the rising tide of talent on Detroit’s roster following three successful drafts in a row.
My favorite prospect that Detroit added outside the draft was Obinna Eze. The NFL seemed to throw up its hands at the OG/OT tweener who spent his first four seasons at Memphis. But Eze was a four-star recruit coming out of high school who had offers from a who’s-who of bluebloods. He started his last 37 collegiate games.
Eze lacks height, but he has verifiably freakish length, with a wingspan of 7’2. He gets his hands on you first and they arrive like defibrillators. But Eze will need to improve his lower-body strength for his presumed move to OG in the NFL, and he’s going to need to cut down on the penalties.
Outside of that, Detroit made a concerted effort to attack UDFA receivers, bringing in three that I ranked inside the top-377. Expect at least one of them to hang on the active roster, and perhaps even two.
9. Seattle Seahawks (17)
|QB12||260||Kaleb Eleby||David Fales||1.69||6006||206|
|S21||289||Bubba Bolden||Chris Conte||8.12||6021||209|
|S24||320||Scott Nelson||Troy Apke||9.69||6020||203|
|CB43||372||MyKael Wright||K’Waun Williams||2.97||5104||181|
|S35||440||Joey Blount||Sean Davis||9.62||6010||201|
|LB39||458||Avery Roberts||Michael Clay||3.3||5113||221|
|QB23||465||Levi Lewis||B.J. Daniels||3.24||5084||187|
|ED46||489||Joshua Onujiogu||Peppi Zellner||6030||250|
|WR82||---||John Mitchell||Boo Williams||8.22||6037||235|
|WR83||---||Demetris Robertson||Stacy Coley||4.93||5116||183|
Seattle didn’t take a quarterback in the NFL Draft, and HC Pete Carroll stated in its aftermath that he isn’t expecting a trade for a signal-caller. If Seattle doesn’t add another one, Kaleb Eleby is going to have a shot to crack the Week 1 roster behind Drew Lock and Geno Smith.
Eleby is short and non-athletic, but he’s got a live arm and uses it to attack the intermediate and deep sectors. He posted a 45/11 TD/INT in college. Eleby is going to have to overcome a tendency to stare-down his primary target if he’s going to hang in the NFL – his margins are too thin to overcome that bugaboo otherwise.
10. Chicago Bears (21)
|LB19||222||Jack Sanborn||Monty Rice||7.35||6014||239|
|OT27||300||Jean Delance||Charles Leno||6.77||6042||303|
|TE21||353||Chase Allen||Cameron Brate||7.33||6061||247|
|CB54||476||Allie Green IV||Jamal Peters||2.55||6024||203|
|DL38||449||Mike Greene||Cedric Woodard||5.45||6023||281|
|QB40||---||Drew Plitt||Brogan Roback||6022||206|
|RB53||---||De'Montre Tuggle||Reggie Corbin||6.88||5084||206|
|RB62||---||Maurice Burkley||Maurice Morris||9.56||5110||212|
|TE37||---||Braden Galloway||Nick Eubanks||7.17||6041||239|
|TE40||---||Jake Tonges||Jacob Hollister||7.57||6043||240|
|CB58||---||Dishon McNary||Deshon Elliott||6003||190|
I was a little puzzled by the Bears draft. And if I’m being honest, I was a bit surprised – and underwhelmed – by their showing in the UDFA sweepstakes as well. It wasn’t an issue of legwork. Chicago cast an enormous net and brought in a league-high amount of UDFA either on contracts or tryouts.
The issue, instead, is squandering the one advantage that having a poor roster should give you – a leg-up when pitching to agents during the UDFA free-for-all. Each NFL agent has intricate diagrams of every NFL depth chart. During the latter-stages of Day 3 on Saturday, when teams start calling prospects that have fallen through the cracks, agents are always eying the most advantageous situation (in addition to bartering for the highest-possible amount of guaranteed money).
The Bears should have been in the catbird seat during those discussions – there aren’t many other rosters in the NFL where UDFA could have felt better about potentially cracking the opening-day roster.
So how does Chicago leave the UDFA process – following an underwhelming draft where they didn’t have a R1 pick – with only one prospect I had a draftable grade on? I’m all about bringing in waves of prospects for tryouts to see if you can find something that other teams missed during the scouting process.
But if you’re Chicago, how do you not invest more heavily during this process? Handfuls of prospects who went undrafted would have had a shot to not only crack Chicago’s roster, but play early. Instead of ponying up, the Bears skimped. Missed opportunity.
11. Carolina Panthers (23)
|WR31||216||Charleston Rambo||Gary Jennings||5.82||6005||177|
|DL23||312||Marquan McCall||Benito Jones||1.03||6025||354|
|LB33||401||Isaiah Graham-Mobley||Dylan Moses||6.21||6010||229|
|WR64||424||Andrew Parchment||DaMarkus Lodge||4.28||6020||191|
|WR70||461||Ra'Shaun Henry||Tiquan Underwood||9.4||6015||185|
|QB27||---||Davis Cheek||Matt Flynn||5.63||6020||216|
|QB31||---||Anthony Russo||Elijah Sindelar||3.9||6030||239|
|RB61||---||John Lovett||Reuben Droughns||4.57||5114||215|
|TE33||---||Josh Babicz||Antony Auclair||8.14||6057||255|
|S44||---||Drew Hartlaub||Nick Scott||9.1||5111||170|
Carolina targeted the wide receiver position during the UDFA free-for-all. Of the five they signed, it would be stunning if at least one didn’t make the roster.
The best bet for that is Rambo, who surprisingly went undrafted after popping off for a 79-1172-7 line in his only season at Miami. Rambo is an adept route-runner blessed with good length and play speed. And what better mentor for him than former UDFA Robby Anderson?
Parchment has good size and has shown refined skills on the field despite being caught in poor passing offenses for the duration of his career (NIU, Kansas, FSU). But he's a below-average athlete who may not have NFL juice.
Opposite story for Henry, who only played two years in the FBS after transferring up. He’s a raw prospect with dynamic athleticism. At nearly 6’2, Henry ran a 4.46 with 90th-percentile or better showings in the vertical jump, broad jump, and 3-cone. Henry averaged nearly 20 yards per catch on his 48 grabs at Virginia.
12. Los Angeles Rams (24)
|K2||267||Cameron Dicker||Ryan Succop||6007||220|
|DL31||373||Dion Novil||JorDan Phillips||3.43||6012||300|
|iOL37||381||Jack Snyder||Chandon Herring||9.5||6050||306|
|ED40||394||Brayden Thomas||Wyatt Huber||6.72||6030||258|
|LB35||425||Jake Hummel||Matt Milano||9.47||6017||225|
|TE39||---||Jamal Pettigrew||Coby Fleener||9.38||6064||244|
|TE41||---||Roger Carter||Charlie Taumoepeau||8.11||6020||256|
|CB62||---||TJ Carter||Darnay Holmes||3.62||5092||189|
The Rams signed the best UDFA kicker – Dicker the Kicker – and didn’t do much of note outside of that. But Dicker will be given a fair shot to compete with Matt Gay, who bounced around a bit before, among other things, eliminating his former team the Buccaneers from the 2021 playoffs with a game-winning kick.
13. Tampa Bay Bucs (25)
|WR37||257||Jerreth Sterns||Lance Moore||5.53||5073||183|
|WR45||313||Deven Thompkins||Brandon Banks||7.17||5067||167|
|QB19||360||Aqeel Glass||Landry Jones||1.11||6036||231|
|S28||377||Nolan Turner||Andrew Sendejo||7.73||6007||202|
|CB48||416||Kyler McMichael||Brandon Facyson||5.08||6001||201|
|WR72||478||Kaylon Geiger||Eddie Royal||4.22||5100||180|
Weird UDFA strategy for the Bucs. The team has Russell Gage starting in the slot, backed up by Tyler Johnson, Jaelon Dardon and Scotty Miller – yet three of Tampa Bay's six consequential UDFA signings are slot receivers.
That said, I’m a fan of Jerreth Sterns, who led the NCAA in receiving last season before shockingly getting spurned by the NFL Combine. Sterns is small and lacks athleticism, but he’s an awesome route-runner with ball skills.
14. Washington Commanders (27)
|QB10||229||Cole Kelley||Paxton Lynch||2.4||6075||249|
|TE16||292||Curtis Hodges||C.J. Fiedorowicz||7.39||6077||258|
|WR56||366||Jequez Ezzard||Reggie Bell||6.91||5090||204|
|iOL35||369||Tyrese Robinson||Shane Lemieux||3.05||6031||319|
|ED45||484||Jacub Panasiuk||Kenny Willekes||3.5||6033||253|
|TE28||---||Armani Rogers||Tyree Jackson||6053||230|
The NFL never seemed to warm up to Cole Kelley, coming off a pair of incredible seasons in the FCS after he transferred down from Arkansas. Kelley is a jumbo-sized quarterback with short-yardage battering-ram rushing chops. He doesn’t have a big arm, but he’s accurate short and intermediate.
Kelley wouldn’t seem to have a great shot of cracking this roster – he enters camp behind Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke, and Sam Howell – but may latch on elsewhere if he shows something in the preseason. If not, Washington is assuredly earmarking one of its practice squad slots for his development.
15. Arizona Cardinals (28)
|RB32||310||Ronnie Rivers||Jaret Patterson||5.97||5074||198|
|CB40||335||Darrell Baker Jr.||Derrek Thomas||9.1||6007||190|
|RB39||383||T.J. Pledger||Lavon Coleman||4.11||5082||192|
|DL36||433||LaRon Stokes||Ed Stinson||5.25||6036||278|
|QB22||459||Jarrett Guarantano||K.J. Costello||4.1||6027||219|
|WR74||490||Changa Hodge||Demetrius Byrd||4.52||6004||196|
|WR105||---||Stephon Robinson Jr.||2.61||5091||181|
Baker has a shot to crack the roster and was worth the investment on measurables alone. The rest of this crop is uninspiring.
The pair of running backs were the other big investment, but both are extreme long-shots to crack the roster. Ronnie Rivers will enter camp as RB5, and Pledger is likely entering as RB7.
16. Minnesota Vikings (32)
|RB36||359||Bryant Koback||Ty Johnson||9.72||5106||209|
|K3||362||Gabe Brkic||Zane Gonzalez||6020||197|
|ED39||388||Luiji Vilain||Jonathon Greenard||8.83||6035||255|
|LB44||---||Zach McCloud||Samuel Ebukam||6.44||6017||246|
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and crew struggled to get their footing in the post-draft UDFA sweepstakes, but did bring in a few prospects who’ll be given chances to hang.
Koback is a big-play runner with plenty of athleticism. He ran for more than 4,000 yards over four years in school while displaying soft hands as a receiver (54 catches the past two years). But he’s merely a dump-off outlet guy – doesn’t run routes – and he doesn’t pass-block. Assuredly the Vikings will always have someone more capable for passing-down work. Koback isn’t likely to beat out either Kene Nwangwu or Ty Chandler for a roster spot, but is absolutely worth a practice squad spot.
Brkic will have a real chance to unseat Greg Joseph this summer. The other signing of note was Luiji Vilain, an undersized, athletic edge defender. Vilain drew rave reviews out of rookie camp. The Vikings have a ton of bodies to compete for backup OLB spots in the new 3-4 defense. But it wouldn’t be a surprise if Vilain climbed his way up the depth chart to the Week 1 active roster, especially if early reports are to be believed.
Coming Friday: AFC UDFA class grades