Every year over 200 prospects are selected in the NFL Draft. In 2019 alone there were 254 players picked by an NFL team, but what about the guys who don’t have the luxury of hearing their names called on draft night? Many of them sign as undrafted free agents with the NFL team of their choosing, but that puts them at a disadvantage already. They have to do more than the players selected to get themselves noticed and make a roster. A surprising amount of undrafted free agents ultimately do make up NFL rosters though and every team needs these players.
Sometimes they turn into NFL Hall of Fame players like Kurt Warner or John Randle, sometimes they turn into Super Bowl heroes like James Harrison or Malcolm Butler, sometimes they turn into solid starters like Coley Beasley or Wesley Woodyard, and sometimes they turn into special teams stars like Adrian Phillips or Zeke Turner. Either way, undrafted free agents are important for building a roster and every NFL team has them. These are the players on each of the 32 NFL teams who could make the roster as an undrafted free agent.
Tariq Cole, OL, Rutgers
- This might not be the most exciting pick for the Cardinals, but it’s the most logical. Arizona selected just one offensive lineman in the 2019 NFL Draft (Lamont Gaillard) despite having major depth issues there. Tariq Cole played left tackle at Rutgers, but is best suited to kick inside in the NFL. He’s a big physical run blocker who consistently finishes through the whistle. His length and heavy hands should give him an advantage inside. Cole is an interesting developmental option at left guard.
- Pro Comparison: Sean Locklear
Olamide Zaccheaus, WR, Virginia
- The Falcons have a history of loving gadget players at receiver, Taylor Gabriel comes to mind, and Olamide Zaccheaus is perfect in that role. What’s working against him making the team is that Atlanta has drafted gadget players in the last two drafts with Russell Gage and Marcus Green. Zaccheaus is talented enough to make an NFL roster thanks to his route running and electric ability after the catch. He likely would have been drafted if he were slightly bigger. Look for him to make a splash in the preseason.
- Pro Comparison: Albert Wilson
Antoine Wesley, WR, Texas Tech
- Smart undrafted free agents sign with teams that lack depth and overall talent at the position they play. The Ravens had arguably the worst WR corps in the league entering draft week and Antoine Wesley made a great choice heading there. Wesley going undrafted was a huge surprise. He’s got a wiry frame and some athleticism questions, but he’s one of the best route runners among bigger WRs in the class. Wesley is also a circus catch extraordinaire and YAC playmaker. He might already be the best contested catch WR on the Ravens roster. Gerald Willis III has a good chance to make the team too.
- Pro Comparison: Allen Robinson
Tyree Jackson, QB, Buffalo
- It’s a grind for an undrafted QB to make an NFL roster, but Tyree Jackson is in the most ideal situation in terms of team. Buffalo only has journeyman Matt Barkley behind Josh Allen. If Allen were to go down the offense would be completely different with Barkley, but with Jackson it could be run similarly. Jackson, like Allen, has a cannon of an arm, plus mobility, and struggles with consistent accuracy. Jackson is a poorer mans Allen.
- Pro Comparison: Josh Freeman
Elijah Holyfield, RB, Georgia
- Carolina needs to get an inside runner to help lighten the load on Christian McCaffrey and they drafted one in Jordan Scarlett, but they got a better one after the draft. If Elijah Holyfield ran even close to a 4.5 40 then he probably wouldn’t have gotten out of the fourth-round, but he ran 4.78. Despite the poor 40, Holyfield holds up on tape. He’s got impressive contact balance, power, and lateral quickness. There are few runners in this class more violent than Holyfield, he must get that from his pops. Holyfield can be the perfect compliment to CMC.
- Pro Comparison: Chris Carson
Alex Bars, OG, Notre Dame
- If not for a torn ACL as a senior, Alex Bars would have likely been drafted and might have been a top guard prospect. Now, he’s undrafted on a team set with their starting O-line. It’s a great situation for him as he’s reunited with his college O-line coach Harry Hiestand. The Bears need depth behind their starters and Bars is a powerful run mauler with a strong anchor in pass pro. He won’t wow as an athlete, but he lives for putting defenders in the dirt. Bars can be a top interior O-line backup.
- Pro Comparison: Joe Thuney
Stanley Morgan Jr., WR, Nebraska
- Some guys go undrafted due to lack of talent, others due to character concerns. Stanley Morgan Jr. doesn’t lack talent. He’s arguably the best route runner in the entire WR class. With his crisp routes, repertoire of releases, and downfield speed, he could be contributing early as a rookie. With a handful of depth questions, Tyler Boyd in the last year of his contract, and John Ross’ lack of production, Morgan Jr. could see time at Z or in the slot over the next few years in Cincinnati. He’s good enough to start in the NFL one day.
- Pro Comparison: Emmanuel Sanders
Love watching Stanley Morgan Jr’s pacing off the LOS. Understands timing on releases and might be the best route runner in the class. Makes it all look easy. pic.twitter.com/13F7xuYClB
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) April 15, 2019
Wyatt Ray, EDGE, Boston College
- It’s tough to find an undrafted free agent on the Browns with a shot to make the roster. They already have a lot of talent at a lot of positions and they had one of the weakest UDFA classes. The best bet is Wyatt Ray. Ray is a decent athlete with some bend and speed rushing ability. He needs to improve a ton as a run defender and develop counter moves, but there are some traits there.
- Pro Comparison: Jeremiah Attaochu
Daniel Wise, DL, Kansas
- With D-line questions everywhere, but Tank Lawrence’s spot, Dallas was a smart place to go for coveted UDFA Daniel Wise. Wise, brother of Patriots Deatrich Wise, isn’t a great athlete, but he plays with impressive leverage and is strong at the point of attack. He also provides the versatility to play EDGE, 5-Tech, or 3-Tech for Dallas. DC Rod Marinelli will love his work ethic and motor on the field. His ability to provide depth all over the D-line will be his way onto the roster.
- Pro Comparison: Ricky Jean-Francois
Malik Reed, EDGE, Nevada
- It’s hard not to pick Brett Rypien here, but he’s more likely to land on the practice squad than active roster. If not for size concerns, Malik Reed would have been a Day 3 lock. There are few pass rushers in the class with better bend around the edge than him. He’s got natural flexibility and his leverage kills offensive tackles in pass pro. Along with his bend, Reed brings an explosive first step and active hands as a pass rusher. The tools are there for him to become a pass rush specialist and who better to learn from than Von Miller and Bradley Chubb
- Pro Comparison: Elvis Dumervil
Beau Benzschawel, OG, Wisconsin
- If the Lions had selected Beau Benzschawel in the fifth-round nobody would have batted an eye. He was expected to be a Day 3 pick and Detroit is an ideal fit in terms of both need and scheme. Instead they got him as a UDFA and he could end up their top backup on the interior. Benzschawel isn’t a great athlete, but he’s long and physical and does his best work in the run game. Some years with an NFL O-line coach and in a strength and conditioning program could do him wonders.
- Pro Comparison: Adam Snyder
Green Bay Packers
Manny Wilkins, QB, Arizona State
- With one of the weaker UDFA classes, the Packers are a tough team to bet on a UDFA making the squad. An interesting player to watch will be QB Manny Wilkins. After Aaron Rodgers, the Packers don’t have much at QB and Wilkins could be competing with both DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle for either the QB2 or QB3 spot. New coach Matt LaFleur might want his own guy on the team to help develop, that favors Wilkins. Wilkins isn’t a classic NFL QB, but has enough arm, impressive improvisation skills, and experience and poise.
- Pro Comparison: John Wolford
Johnnie Dixon, WR, Ohio State
- Three things worked against Johnnie Dixon getting drafted: Ohio State had a crowded WR corps, he has a history of knee injuries, and the 2019 WR class was BIG deep. Luckily for Dixon he’s with a team in need of depth at WR and he has NFL tools. Dixon has big play ability with elite downfield speed, but he’s also one of the best route runners out of the slot in the class. If he can stay healthy, Dixon could quickly find a role as the Texans WR4.
- Pro Comparison: Kenny Stills
Penny Hart, WR, Georgia State
- Senior Bowl favorite Penny Hart going undrafted was disheartening, but at least he’s with Frank Reich, Andrew Luck, and the rest of the improving Colts. What works against Hart is the Colts have a handful of WRs that feel like locks to make the team. What works for him is Reich’s creativity and Hart brings a lot of dynamic ability to the field. Hart is an impressive route runner and can do a ton of YAC damage, which is also a plus for his return ability. He can be their gadget player with his jet sweep ability.
- Pro Comparison: Taylor Gabriel
Bunchy Stallings, OG, Kentucky
- An offensive lineman named Bunchy? Who would want to cut that guy? But seriously, Stallings has a good chance to make the Jaguars. Doug Marrone, who has an O-line background, has been building a physically tough run blocking O-line and Stallings fits that mold. Few players punished defenders like Stallings did at Kentucky, he consistently put them in the dirt and would finish on top of them. He has pass blocking flaws and lacks athleticism, but the tools are there for a developmental left guard.
- Pro Comparison: Ramon Foster
Kansas City Chiefs
Cody Thompson, WR, Toledo
- Well, a week ago this pick would have been Washington State RB James Williams, but he’s already been cut. The life of a UDFA is a tough one. Cody Thompson is the more logical pick though with the Chiefs depth questions at WR. Thompson’s route running, toughness, and size will get him on this roster. He provides the Chiefs with the ability to play Z or slot thanks to his combo of lateral agility and size. With Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, and Byron Pringle locked in, Thompsons special teams ability should earn him the WR5 spot.
- Pro Comparison: Austin Collie
Los Angeles Chargers
Adarius Pickett, S, UCLA
- What better place for a versatile safety to land than the LA Chargers. Gus Bradley isn’t afraid to move his DBs all over the place to put them in the best position and that’s great for Adarius Pickett. Pickett played a ton in the box at UCLA and could find a role as a dime linebacker down the road. For now, he provides physicality and consistent tackling that will surely make an impact on special teams. Pickett is a great fit to backup Adrian Phillips.
- Pro Comparison: Adrian Phillips
Los Angeles Rams
Marquise Copeland, IDL, Cincinnati
- It’s going to be tough for a UDFA to crack a Super Bowl roster like the Rams, but LA has some questions along the D-line. Marquise Copeland is a nice fit with the Rams due to his ability to play both nose tackle and 5-Tech in base three man fronts and 1-Tech in four man fronts. He’s not the biggest IDL, but Copeland plays with impressive leverage and power at the point. His flexibility on the interior D-line is exactly what the Rams need from their depth players.
- Pro Comparison: Timmy Jernigan
Terrill Hanks, LB, New Mexico State
- New Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has a background in coaching linebackers and Terrill Hanks might just be his side project. Even with depth and youth at LB, Hanks has a good chance to make this roster. He’s raw, but the athleticism on tape is rare. There won’t be any questions about his aggressiveness either which should translate to special teams success. If Hanks can improve his tackling and instincts, then there’s a chance he could see real playing time down the road. Preston Williams is another UDFA to watch.
- Pro Comparison: Darron Lee
Isaiah Wharton, DB, Rutgers
- Mike Zimmer loves DBs and he especially loves physical ones, Isaiah Wharton is that. He’s a better prospect than drafted Rutgers teammate, Blessuan Austin. With his size and physicality, Wharton could see time at either corner or safety in Minnesota, but special teams are where it will matter most for him. With some depth issues at both safety and corner, if Wharton can prove his worth on specials than Zimmer will have a tough time cutting a DB with upside.
- Pro Comparison: David Amerson
New England Patriots
Jakobi Meyers, WR, NC State
- Of course, the New England Patriots got one of the biggest steals on the UDFA market and of course, he’s a clutch slot receiver. Jakobi Meyers falling undrafted was a travesty, but he’s in the ideal place. With strong hands, nuanced route running, a multitude of releases, and impressive contested catch ability, Meyers could be on the field as a rookie. It also helps that the Patriots have more questions than answers at the WR position. Meyers has the tools to be a starting NFL slot and the Patriots have the coaching to get him there.
- Pro Comparison: Tyler Boyd
New Orleans Saints
Devine Ozigbo, RB, Nebraska
- If you can get an RB as talented as Devine Ozigbo undrafted then why ever draft the devalued position? That’s a bit extreme, but Ozigbo has the talent to be an impact player early for the Saints. With Mark Ingram gone and Latavius Murray not all that great, Ozigbo can be the Alvin Kamara compliment. He’s a big bruising runner with impressive contact balance and burst you don’t expect from a powerful back. Ozigbo has the tools to be the tough inside runner the Saints need to replace Ingram.
- Pro Comparison: Deuce McAllister
New York Giants
Josiah Tauaefa, LB, UTSA
- A great option for an undrafted player is to a head to a team that has little talent at their positon. That’s what Josiah Tauaefa did, the Giants haven’t had quality off-ball LB play in years. With just Alec Ogletree, BJ Goodson, and Ryan Connelly locks to make the roster, Tauaefa has a nice chance to earn a spot through special teams. Tauaefa is an old school thumper who plays hard and aggressive. His ability as a pass rusher and versatility to play some EDGE will also be a helpful factor in making the roster.
- Pro Comparison: Lorenzo Alexander
New York Jets
Greg Dortch, WR, Wake Forest
- The Jets have their top three WR spots locked down with Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, and Jamison Crowder, but depth is an issue. Greg Dortch lacks NFL size, but his consistency as a route runner and ability to stretch the field from the slot are ideal in a backup slot role. Dortch is the perfect backup to Crowder, and a very similar player with his ability to win underneath and work himself open on third down. Dortch also has a shot at making the roster thanks to his ability as a punt returner.
- Pro Comparison: Jamison Crowder
Keelan Doss, WR, UC Davis
- If not for a pre-draft injury, Keelan Doss was almost guaranteed to be selected in the 2019 NFL Draft. On the bright side, Doss is already turning heads in Oakland and has a strong chance of making the roster despite a thick WR group. Doss is a big slot WR who is a jack of all trades, master of none type. Except, he’s on his way to being a master of route running. Doss looks like a poor mans Keenan Allen at times with his smooth routes and catch radius from the slot. If he’s healthy, he has the tools to be an instant impact WR4 with his routes, contested catch ability, and athleticism.
- Pro Comparison: James Jones
Nate Herbig, OG, Stanford
- It’s nearly impossible to crack a roster as talented and deep as the Eagles as a UDFA. It doesn’t help that their two best UDFA signings are on the O-line, a group the Eagles might be the strongest at in the league both with starters and depth. Ryan Bates and Nate Herbig are going to have to slug it out to make this team, both are more likely ending up practice squad players or on another teams roster. Herbig isn’t a good athlete and needs to play with better balance, but he can be a strong run blocker and finishes through the whistle. He needs to improve his pass pro if he wants to make this team.
- Pro Comparison: Jamon Brown
Fred Johnson, OG, Florida
- Much like the Eagles, the Steelers UDFA class is going to have a tough time cracking a deep roster. There best signing also comes on the O-line and the Steelers also have one of the best O-line groups heading into the 2019 season. Fred Johnson has rare size at guard and he uses it on the field. His length and strength show up in pass pro and help him make up for some athletic shortcomings. In the run game he’s a finisher, but struggles to get to the second level due to a lack of quickness. With an opening at backup guard, Johnson has a chance to make this team for his potential and versatility.
- Pro Comparison: Cameron Erving
San Francisco 49ers
Azeez Al-Shaair, LB, FAU
- A lot of UDFAs need to show off on special teams to make an NFL roster. That’s why a lot of UDFA linebackers and safeties become the heart and soul of special teams units. Azeez Al-Shaair has the athleticism and physicality you want in a special teams leader. He’s explosive and a consistent tackler with range. It’s a tough roster to make with Fred Warner, Kwon Alexander, Elijah Lee, Dre Greenlaw, and Malcolm Smith in place, but Al-Shaair can make his presents felt on specials. The 49ers also don’t have many other UDFA options with a chance.
- Pro Comparison: Elijah Lee
Derrek Thomas, CB, Baylor
- The Seahawks have a weaker UDFA class and it’ll be hard for a player to crack the roster on a playoff team. Their two best options are Jazz Ferguson and Derrek Thomas. They drafted three WRs this year so Ferguson has a slim chance, but Thomas fits their CB mold. He’s raw and needs a ton of technical work, but Thomas has the length and press ability Seattle has coveted for so long in a CB. Pete Carroll is going to love what Thomas could be and will want to keep him for development.
- Pro Comparison: Brandon Facyson
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DaMarkus Lodge, WR, Ole Miss
- The best player to go undrafted award goes to Ole Miss’ third WR, DaMarkus Lodge. If Lodge were on almost any other team in the country, he would have been a WR1 option. Landing in Tampa is interesting with DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries gone, Lodge should be able to crack this WR corps as the WR4/5. He’s one of the best route runners in the rookie class and might have the best release game. Lodge is nuanced and knows how to win at the line, underneath, and deep. He’s got the athleticism and contested catch ability to play outside at Z or in the slot.
- Pro Comparison: Davante Adams
Anthony Ratliff-Williams, WR, UNC
- Titans head coach Mike Vrabel has been around scrappy slot WRs before, thanks to his days in New England. With Tennessee making moves to improve their WR corps, it’ll be tough for Anthony Ratliff-Williams to crack the roster, but Vrabel is going to love what he brings to the table. ARW was by far the best player at UNC and his production was hurt due to lack of surrounding talent, that played a role in him going undrafted. With his ability as a route runner, physicality after the catch, and ball adjustment skills from the slot, he’s going to be a QBs best friend. His return ability alone might get him on the team.
- Pro Comparison: Jeremy Maclin
North Carolina WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams is one of my favorite players in the 2019 #NFLDraft. For a not massive guy he's incredible at adjusting to throws and making plays on 50/50 balls. pic.twitter.com/EqQxBYGGNw
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) December 31, 2018
BJ Blunt, LB/S, McNeese State
- It’s slim pickings from the Washington roster in terms of UDFAs with a chance of making the team. They had arguably the strongest draft class and have depth at almost every position. If Washington wants an athletically gifted tweener who will fly around on special teams, then BJ Blunt is their guy. Blunt won’t have a clear role as a defender, but his energy and aggressiveness are perfect to carve out a career on special teams. Coaches are going to love his motor and explosiveness.
- Pro Comparison: Kavon Frazier
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