Every year there are players who slip through the cracks. And this year will be no different. The trick is to find those players and snatch them up before it's too late. If a player doesn't get drafted, its not the end of the world. The list is certainly not short when speaking of undrafted free agents who have made quite the name for themselves:
- Kurt Warner
- John Randle
- Warren Moon
- London Fletcher
- Tony Romo
Of the guys listed here, two are Hall of Famer's, while another two are likely to follow their footsteps. In fact, there have been 14 UDFA's who made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So feel no pity for UDFA's, because some still do pretty well for themselves.
This year's crop of UDFA's is loaded. There are a lot of players, that in other drafts - one's that may not be as deep as this one - would have been drafted. Some of the players could make a legitimate argument that they could have been 4th round picks. But not every player available can blame the depth of the draft. Some fell simply because of character issues, while others may not be the most athletic, but are pure football players. Let's have a look at some of the players who are available for the Rams:
Miami 6'2" 213lbs
Morris has all the tools, but lacks the consistency. He is a very good athlete with the potential to crack a roster somewhere, and possibly down the line develop into a starter. But he has mechanics issues to be worked on before any of that can take place.
Washington 6'1" 204
Price is a QB who - if he was 3 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier - would probably goes in the 2nd-3rd round. He is a very good pocket passer. He also displays good athletic ability to take off, but more times than not his scrambling is to buy time to find the open receiver. He is very accurate and as good of a leader you will find. Price reminds me a lot of Russell Wilson.
North Carolina 6'3" 228lbs
-Renner's stock plummeted due to a shoulder injury. After taking over as the full time starter for the 2012 season, Renner looked like a surefire 2nd-3rd round pick. He compares best to Andy Dalton. Renner is a name to keep an eye on and to never forget. He has a good chance to make a name for himself if in the right situation.
Alabama State 5'11" 224lbs
-Crowell is sure to be one of the hottest names on the market. He is one of the players that was not drafted due to character issues. If not for those issues and being dismissed from Georgia, Crowell would more than likely have been drafted in the second round with the rest of the top backs, and could have possibly been the first overall back taken. There is no denying his talent, the question is when will he get his head on right?
Missouri 5'8" 194lbs
-Josey is a true NFL scat back. With that being said do not underestimate this kid. He runs very hard. He is not overly powerful, but his consistent extra effort on runs allows him to break more tackles than you would expect. His most impressive traits are his vision, patience, and burst. His 4.3 speed truly does translate to the field, and when he sees a hole, he hits it as fast as anyone.
Tennessee 5'11" 220lbs
-Neal is one of those really impressive specimens that inexplicably goes undrafted. He is a day one three down back. With good speed and better explosiveness, as well as the ability to protect and catch the ball, someone is going to be very happy to have Neal in camp. It will be very hard to cut him.
West Alabama 5'11" 203lbs
-Rhodes has some character red flags. And was dismissed from Florida International. But he was well on his way to being a mid-round draft pick prior to that. He is a very shifty back, with a lot more power than his weight would indicate. He will also catch a lot of passes out of the backfield. A pure runner, with natural catching ability -could probably even play slot- Rhodes is far too enticing to be without a contract for a long period of time.
Missouri 6'4" 195lbs
-Washington is another Mizzou player who's 4.3 speed truly translates to the field. He makes some very tough catches, but needs to be more consistent. He also needs to clean up his route running. He rounds off a lot of his cuts instead of sticking and going, but he does a great job coming back to the football.
Rutgers 6'6" 225lbs
-Coleman literally has every physical tool a coach looks for. But his inconsistency, bad routes, drops, and lack of physicality is a major turnoff. If someone can get him to clean up those routes, and become more physical he could be a true gem. He has the size, speed, and frame to be a dominant force in the NFL for years to come.
Boise State 6'3" 207
-Burke has identical size to Austin Pettis and he is even from the same alma mater. But he is everything Pettis is not. He is fast, explosive, and uber athletic. Burks lacks consistency, and his hands are not reliable. But the talent is hard to ignore, and some of the catches he made were jaw dropping.
Tennessee State 6'2" 256lbs
Leonard looks like a Vernon Davis clone. But off the field issues are a MAJOR concern. He was dismissed from Florida, and is said to still lack maturity. He also has had a few injuries, one of which being a torn meniscus. But even with those injury issues, if he had a clean off the field reputation, he may have still been a 3rd round pick. He could give a better effort on blocks. His talent is impressive, and hard to ignore. He has the ability to play all over the offense.
Missouri Western 6'3" 240lbs
Jordan lacks ideal size, but has very long arms, and huge hands. Jordan has above average speed, and makes plays off of pure athleticism. He is very raw, but has intriguing tools, and is a red zone monster. 32% of his total career catches went for touchdowns (17 of 52), with 14 coming from within the red zone. He's agile, and moves extremely well.
USC 6'6" 310lbs
Graf is a good pass blocker, but needs to improve as a run blocker. Something that may help with that is becoming more physical. He could also get a little more consistent with his pass blocking too. But make no mistake about it, there is more than enough talent there, and if the tackle position was not so deep this year, he could have been a 4th round pick.
North Carolina 6'5" 296lbs
-Hurst is a player that came into the 2013 season being projected by some as 2nd round pick. But injuries sapped his draft stock. It also did not help that he is a bit lighter than you would prefer any of your linemen to be. He has a slender build, but he does not let that stop him from absolutely dominating some of his competition. He needs to add about 15-20 pounds, but he is going to be an absolute steal for someone.
Tennessee 6'6" 336lbs
I can honestly say I have no clue how Richardson managed to go undrafted? There has to be something that we don't know about him? I understand his inconsistent play, and borderline too much weight, but his skills are eye popping. Going into round one of the 2014 NFL Draft, there were many that thought he could slip into the first round. To go undrafted, would qualify him as one of the biggest shockers of the draft.
USC 6'3" 283lbs
Uko is a guy that probably should have gone in the 5th-6th round. He has a lot of versatility and possess the ability to line up any on the line except for a zero alignment. He plays the run very well, and has amazing hand usage.
Texas 6'3" 247lbs
There is no question Jeffcoat is undersized, but man he can he rush the passer. He is another guy that's hard to figure out how he went undrafted. It's even more crazy when you consider the big complaint for this year's draft was there weren't enough pass quality pass rushers. Jeffcoat can play in either a 4-3 (situational) or 3-4.
California 6'5" 314lbs
Coleman is a very big man. The kind of big man Jeff Fisher likes to have on his roster ,and his play is equally as big. The most impressive thing about Coleman is he understands how to use his strength. He is more of a run stuffer, than a pass rusher.
Oregon 6'4" 329
Speaking of a big man, Havili-Heimuli is pretty much colossal. He has a very wide and thick body, and can plug holes with the best of them. More interesting than his ability to plug holes, is his ability to defeat double teams. He may have been one of the more underrated players in this year's draft.
Illinois 6' 238lbs
Brown is a classic run and chase linebacker. He plays a very aggressive and violent brand of football. He is actually very similar to Jo-Lonn Dunbar. He might be slightly better in coverage though. Brown's biggest issue is he is a knucklehead with less than ideal athletic ability.
Missouri 6'3" 239lbs
Wilson will wow no one with his athleticism. He plays the game with his head. He plays a very smart brand of football, and somehow is always in the right place at the right time. His lack of athleticism will never stop him from being around the ball. His real knock is his inconsistent tackling, and inability to disengage from blocks.
Cincinnati 6'1" 244
Blair is a physical, downhill linebacker. He is a missile when playing the run. He can be a little over aggressive, and will take poor angles. He's not great in coverage either. He dissects plays very quickly, and reacts extremely fast.
Iowa 6'1" 241lbs
-Of the Iowa big three at linebacker, Christian Kirksey was the fly around, big play, guy. Anthony Hitchens was the atheletic guy. And James Morris was the do it all guy. Of these three there was only one who did not get drafted. But Morris may have been the best of the bunch, creating a reputation as the most complete. He actually reminds me a lot of James Laurinaitis, but a little more athletic. That says a lot, because the only knock anyone has ever had on JL is he is a below average athlete.
Jerry "Boo Boo" Gates
Bowling Green 5'11" 211lbs
-Gates is a ball hawk with loads of upside, and is very physical. He shows the ability to cover a lot of ground, plays the ball, and can/will tackle anyone. He is also a special teams ace, and a very good kick returner. Two things killed his stock. His violent and at time overly aggressive style will cause him to miss tackles, and he played for Bowling Green. Khalil Mack is the exception, because even though Gates had ample production and was very consistent, it is not often you see a Mac player get that type of recognition. Gates has the potential of a 3rd round pick, and should be able to make a name for himself on special teams early in his career.
Rutgers 6'1" 209lbs
-Deering physically is an ideal free safety. His size, plus his athleticism - 4.4 40, 4.32 shuttle, 6.99 three cone, and 10'6" broad - makes him a very enticing prospect. The problem is he is very raw. He is said to have a very good work ethic, which is good news because of his measurable's. With his size and athleticism, if he can learn to play safety the correct way, he will develop into one hell of a player.
USC 6' 201lbs
-Bailey is a physical player who actually played linebacker for two years at USC. That is actually how he plays the safety position. He managed to pick off 11 passes in 3 seasons with the Trojans. He maintain a consist and respectable stat line each season. Had he stayed in school he may have been a 2nd round pick next year.
San Diego State 6'3" 220
-Pinkins is simply a freak athlete. No this is not a typo, he is a free safety and is 6'3" 220lbs, but moves like he is 5'11" 190. But he might be the most raw of any of the defensive backs available. He simply looks lost at times. But he understands what he doesn't understand; using his athletic ability to help him out. If someone can get their hands on this kid and take a year or two to coach him up, they may have a scary weapon playing the deep middle.