10 Offensive UDFA's to Like
What do Michael Bennett, Cameron Wake and Jason Peters have common? Well there’s two things that spring to mind when you think of that trio. The first is that they’re all amongst the best players in the league at their respective positions.
The second? Well they were all undrafted. They slipped through the entire draft without a team calling their name just like a host of people did this year. Those guys might face long odds to make an NFL roster, but there’s been more than enough recent success from UDFA’s to know that some will not just make a roster, but contribute in a big way on Sundays.
Here are 10 guys on offense who could do so.
Connor Neighbors, FB, Tennessee Titans
He didn’t offer anything with the ball in hand so why would this fullback be on any team’s radar? Well it’s because he’s a punishing lead blocker. He only featured on 327 snaps for LSU but that was all it took to post the second-highest run blocking grade of all draft-eligible fullbacks. The only thing I don’t like about Neighbors is where he’s ended up because it’s hard to see the team keeping him on the roster when they spent a fourth-round pick on Jalston Fowler.
Chris Jasperse, C, Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals have a habit of finding good lineman. Whether drafted or not, Jasperse has some potential to latch on long-term on the inside after man handling the competition for Marshall. There is one alarming concern with him and that’s his ridiculous tendency to draw penalty flags (13 of them last year and mostly false starts) but even with those issues he still had the second-highest grade of all draft eligible centers. Didn’t let himself down in the Senior Bowl at all.
Greg Mancz, C, Houston Texans
The guy who was No. 1 ahead of Jasperse? Mancz, and it really wasn’t close. You can complain about his level of play and the shoulder surgeries are a big concern, but Mancz utterly dominated his level of competition like few others could. Played powerfully and looks like a natural in space and when the competition level got rose (Missouri) he still delivered. Real surprise he went undrafted, if healthy he’s got the tools to do something in the NFL.
Jean Sifrin, TE, Indianapolis Colts
27-year-old rookies don’t even need the red flag label such is the warning they come with. But the Colts will give anyone a shot and Sifrin, who had the fifth-highest production grade for his receiving at the tight end spot, fits the bill. The kind of athlete that is a real mismatch for defenders in coverage, he is raw but why not take a raw former basketball player and see what you can mold out of him. It’s worked in the past.
Josue Matias, G, Tennessee Titans
On tape was, to us, more impressive than fourth-rounder Tre Jackson. Like Jasperse, frustrated us with too many penalties, but knows how to use his length to compensate for less than ideal strength. Keen blocker at the second level who had the 12th-highest production grade against Power 5 opposition despite the penalty count.
Kalon Davis, OL, Denver Broncos
Played all over the line at Clemson and was impressive at tackle against a lower level of competition. Doesn’t have the speed that will translate well at the spot in the pros and is far more of a natural guard type prospect. Still had sixth-highest run blocking score of all tackles against Power-5 opposition and his versatility will keep him around. Denver and it’s zone blocking system might not be best fit.
Matt Miller, WR, Denver Broncos
Season was cut short by ankle surgery after he made an extremely productive start to the season for Boise State. His 2.73 yards per route run would have seen him finish 12th in the nation of draft-eligible wide receivers if he had played enough to qualify. Still, he was even more productive in the slot with his 3.19 YPRR best in the nation and that’s where he could fit in as the kind of bigger body there.
Matt Rotheram, G, Green Bay Packers
One of my favorite players to watch during the 2014 season, Rotheram was a first-team All-American in our eyes as a bullying behemoth in the run game. No guard matched his grade in that respect as he finished with the top score in the nation. So, while he struggled at times in pass pro and doesn’t wow you with his athleticism like the guy who played next to him, his execution and polish present him with a great chance to find a home in the NFL.
Titus Davis, WR, San Diego Chargers
Of all draft-eligible wide receivers, Davis had the ninth-highest receiving grade as he dominated at Central Michigan despite only playing 531 snaps. Imagine the numbers he would have put up if he’d been able to play more? Very quick off the line, he might struggle if a DB gets a ahold of him, but has the ability to pick up yards after the catch.
Tyler Varga, RB, Indianapolis Colts
We didn’t see a lot of Varga given he came out of Yale, but when he did play he stole the show. Was fantastic running over Army and showed a bit of everything at the Senior Bowl where he blocked, ran and caught like a star. The kind of guy who has such a breadth of skills that you tend to find a home for him on your 53.
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