Top 5 UDFA Signings
Jeff Ratcliffe breaks down the top 5 fantasy prospects from Saturday's undrafted free agent signings.
Top 5 UDFA Signings
While most of our future fantasy prospects came off of the board in the draft, every year we see undrafted free agents (UDFA) signings who make an impact. Arian Foster and Vontaze Burfict are two of the most notable players who went undrafted.
At this point, it’s tough to speculate whether any of the UDFAs will make that degree of an impact, but there is certainly a lot of talent in the bunch. In no particular order, here are the top 5 UDFAs in terms of fantasy potential:
Isaiah Crowell, RB – Cleveland
I kept waiting to see Crowell’s name flash across the screen on Saturday, but it never happened. The Browns promptly swooped in and snatched up the former five-star recruit. Crowell’s checkered past (three weapons charges that caused him to be dismissed from Georgia) is a concern, but Crowell can be a productive pro if he’s straightened things out.
He has decent size at 5’11” and is on the faster end of the spectrum. With Cleveland being a team in transition, Crowell could carve out a nice niche along with fellow rookie Terrance West behind Ben Tate.
David Fluellen, RB – Philadelphia
After news came across the wire that the Eagles had traded Bryce Brown the Bills, many suspected Philly would select a running back with one of their Day 3 picks. That didn’t happen, but the Eagles did sign Fluellen and Henry Josey after the draft wrapped.
While Josey is a burner, Fluellen is a north-south runner with size who can grind it out between the tackles. He’s also more the capable of catching the ball out of the backfield, and had the unique distinction of topping 100 yards receiving and 100 yards rushing in the same game at Toledo. Fluellen lacks speed, but his physicality and willingness to run between the tackles will fit well in Chip Kelly’s run-heavy offense.
Brett Smith, QB – Tampa Bay
The darling of the draftnik community surprisingly went undrafted on Day 3. Smith was fighting an uphill battle after not being invited to the Combine because he declared his eligibility too late. At 6’1”, Smith is a tad undersized, but he’s a very mobile quarterback who displays blazing speed.It’s not just top-end speed either. His 10’8” broad jump suggests impressive explosion.
Smith has a slightly awkward throwing motion, but he’s very accurate in short- to mid-range passes. The Bucs have a project on their hands, but Smith’s high ceiling makes him an ideal dynasty stash.
Brandon Coleman, WR – New Orleans
The Saints plucked speedy WR Brandin Cooks on Day 1, but then focused on defense for a bulk of the remainder of the draft. But they got serious value in signing Coleman. Many had expected Coleman could possibly have been a late Day 2 selection, but it didn’t happen for the big receiver out of Rutgers.
Coleman has a basketball background and stands a massive 6’6.” He has good speed for his size, though he’s not a particularly instinctual player and isn’t the best route runner. A lot closer to his floor than his ceiling, Coleman has intriguing long-term fantasy value if he takes well to New Orleans coaching.
Cody Hoffman, WR – BYU
One of the bigger receivers in this year’s class, Hoffman impresses at times on film due to his massive catch radius. He has limited speed and explosion and his route running doesn’t stand out. Still, Hoffman has an accomplished resume, finishing his career as BYU’s all-time leader in receptions (260), receiving yards (3,612), and receiving touchdowns (33). He has the profile to become and intriguing long-term PPR option.
Honorable mentions: Connor Shaw, QB – Cleveland; Rajion Neal, RB – Green Bay; Ladarius Perkins, RB – Green Bay; Silas Redd, RB – Washington; Damien Williams, RB – Miami; Mike Davis, WR – Oakland; Kain Colter, WR – Minnesota; Chandler Jones, WR – Cleveland
Key IDP UDFA Signings
Christian Jones, LB – Chicago
A versatile linebacker who call play all three positions, Jones has the range and coverage ability to be an every-down ‘backer. He would have been a Day 2 pick had he not failed a drug test at the Combine. Needless to say, that’s a huge red flag. Jones comes with significant risk, but we’ve seen similar UDFA gambles pay off (see: Burfict, Vontaze).
Shayne Skov, LB – San Francisco
One of the most instinctual linebackers in this year’s class, Skov undoubtedly went undrafted due to his poor foot speed. He also has a checkered injury history. Still, Skov is a thumper who projects to have a role as a two-down player in the long-term (think Dan Connor).
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE – Seattle
Jeffcoat comes from an NFL pedigree, as his father won two Super Bowls with the Cowboys. He’s a tweener edge player who plays smart and possesses good size/speed. Jeffcoat doesn’t project to play immediately, but he should learn a lot from Seattle’s fleet of pass rushers.
Dion Bailey, S – Seattle
This guy totally fits the mold of a Seahawks safety. He’s a defensive back/linebacker hybrid who lacks speed but has good coverage skills. Bailey isn’t likely to make an immediate impact, but he has the fantasy profile of a Brian Scott.
Rashaad Reynolds, CB – Jacksonville
The Jags snagged a UDFA who could have been picked as early as Day 2. Reynolds is not a big defensive back, but he has good coverage skills and is very willing in run support. His ability to cover could get him on the field quickly. Jones also can return punts.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out our new Mock and Companion Draft Tool. Utilizing our updated player projections, run a quick mock draft and see where this year’s crop of free agents are coming off the board in early fantasy football drafts.
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Assistant Managing Editor and resident IDP maven of PFF Fantasy.
Jeff Ratcliffe | Director of Fantasy
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is one of the most accurate rankers in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.