Undrafted NFL Free Agents 2013: Highlighting Saturday's Best Signings
The 2013 NFL draft ended on Saturday, but the action was far from over in terms of player transactions involving aspiring pro prospects. A flurry of undrafted free-agent signings took place, with several teams receiving collegiate studs at an absolute bargain of a price.
Success stories have come from the UDFA pool in the past, including current Dallas Cowboys starting QB Tony Romo and past Defensive Player of the Year, LB James Harrison, to name a couple.
Here is a breakdown of the most interesting signings that happened after the rush of the draft concluded.
Matt Scott, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
The read-option element that Scott brings to the table alone makes him worth signing, which was initially reported by Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union:
#Jaguars agree to terms with Arizona QB Matt Scott, Vanderbilt QB Jordan Rodgers and Florida State FB Lonnie Pryor.— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) April 28, 2013
With unproven commodities in Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne vying for the starting job, there is at least a puncher's chance that Scott could compete for the No. 1 spot.
Ideally, Scott would sit behind whomever the winner of that prospective training camp competition is and better learn to grasp pro-style offensive concepts and go through his progressions better.
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In any event, the Jaguars now have Maurice Jones-Drew and Denard Robinson in the backfield, and Scott could be brought into games at the very least to provide a dynamic change of pace.
And that isn't to say that Scott can't throw. He's raw, and only had one season of starting experience under his belt with the Wildcats. That doesn't mean he hasn't flashed brilliance, as he threw nearly 500 passes, 27 touchdowns and amassed 3,620 yards through the air.
Rich Rodriguez's spread attack proved to be successful, and GM Dave Caldwell made an extremely savvy signing with Scott here.
If he can pack on a little more weight to his 6'2" frame, focus on fundamentals and trust his instincts while protecting himself when running with the football, Scott has a legitimate shot to be a Jaguar for years to come.
Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Buffalo Bills
Off-field issues got him dismissed from the University of Tennessee. Thereafter, the 2011 second-team All-SEC selection dominated at Tennessee Tech, snagging 78 passes for 1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns.
USA Today's Mike Garafolo broke news of Rogers' signing in Buffalo:
WR Da'Rick Rogers to the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 28, 2013
As far as the tape measure is concerned, Rogers projects as a better pro than even the Bills' second-round pick, WR Robert Woods.
Rogers' 39.5" vertical leap at the combine was absolutely eye-popping, and he's also 6'2" and 217 pounds to go along with that. There is no doubting the upside this receiver possesses, but can he keep it together enough to develop into a polished pro?
GM Buddy Nix seems to think it's worth the minimal risk of bringing Rogers in undrafted, and it's hard to doubt him. Uncertainty still exists at the quarterback position even with the selection of first-rounder EJ Manuel. Whether it's him or Kevin Kolb, the Bills desperately need weapons outside of star wideout Stevie Johnson.
There's no guarantee that Rogers emerges as that No. 2 option, but he does have the talent and upside to have a successful NFL career.
Kevin Reddick, ILB, New Orleans Saints
The former North Carolina Tar Heel standout hails from a program troubled by recent NCAA violations, but Chapel Hill continues to produce solid pro prospects.
North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora was pumped up about the Saints signing of his former standout playmaker:
New Orleans elected not to address the linebacker position at all in the draft, so bringing in Reddick to provide competition makes sense. As his NFL.com scouting report notes, his role expanded greatly as a senior.
Reddick lined up primarily at middle linebacker as the team captain and heart of the Tar Heels defense, but he also showcased the versatility to line up as an edge rusher on the outside and even planted himself at defensive end.
For the 2012 season, Reddick racked up 85 tackles and garnered first-team All-ACC honors. Whether he's utilized as a pass-rusher in Rob Ryan's 3-4 attacking scheme or as a sure tackler that provides depth in the middle, the league's worst reigning defense definitely benefits from Reddick's presence.
Tony Jefferson, S, Arizona Cardinals
The safety position is only so-so for the Cards right now, and they could use some insurance at the position with the drafting of oft-troubled, third-round prospect Tyrann Mathieu and the aging Yeremiah Bell.
Jefferson may be a bit undersized for an NFL safety at 5'11", but he does have a thick 213-pound frame and knows how to use it. Unfortunately, a 4.75 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine definitely didn't help his draft stock.
What makes Jefferson special, though, is what he does on tape as opposed to any sort of heavily scrutinized drills. ESPN Big 12 blogger David Ubben pointed out a stark difference between Jefferson and his former Sooner teammate, No. 4 overall pick Lane Johnson:
Lane Johnson: Missed both all-Big 12 first teams. Drafted No. 4 overall. Tony Jefferson: Made both teams. Undrafted.— David Ubben (@davidubben) April 27, 2013
When the lights were on for his junior season, Jefferson performed exceptionally.
As a second-team AP All-American, Jefferson registered 119 tackles and two interceptions. He was a leader on the Oklahoma defense ever since winning Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.
Jefferson's leadership intangibles should translate well to the next level. In the event that Mathieu ultimately doesn't work out, Jefferson is a strong candidate to give Arizona depth at safety—and maybe even see the field as a rookie.
Note: All background information, combine numbers and team draft selections, unless otherwise indicated, are courtesy of NFL.com.
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