The 2013 NFL draft may be over, but sometimes seven rounds just aren't enough.
Hundreds of NFL hopefuls didn't hear their name called between April 25-27. And consequently, they're looking to prove themselves as undrafted free agents.
Once training camp opens up, there will be 90-man rosters, which means some of these unheralded prospects will get their chance. And at least 18 of these UDFAs will get their chance with the New England Patriots.
Head coach Bill Belichick and Co. have been able to turn undrafted players into viable players in year's past. Names like Randall Gay, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Dane Fletcher, Kyle Love, Brandon Bolden and Justin Francis have all left their mark at one point in time. Who will do the same this year?
For that, let's take a look at who New England signed and determine just how good each signing was.
Here are your report card grades for New England's 2013 undrafted class.
Foxboro now has another McDonald. Yes, New England agreed to terms with Michigan State offensive guard Chris McDonald—the younger brother of the Patriots' 25-year-old utility lineman Nick McDonald.
The Spartans' McDonald is a 6'4", 300-pounder who played a big part in the success of Pittsburgh Steelers draftee Le'Veon Bell, who rushed for 1,793 yards in 2012. Aside from his downhill prowess, McDonald is also quite experienced. He played in 43 collegiate games, starting 39 of them at right guard, per MSUSpartans.com.
Although he's not a superior athlete, McDonald did post a 4.97 40-yard dash and 31 reps of 225 pounds at his pro day, according to Mike Griffith of MLive.com. Both of those numbers would have been top-10 finishes among O-linemen at the NFL combine.
If McDonald is anything like his brother, then he'll have the grit to stick around either as a practice squad option or as a backup interior lineman on the 53-man roster.
Not that the Patriots need any more tight ends, but Nevada's Zach Sudfeld is the type of talent that comes in handy.
At 6'7" and 253 pounds, it goes without saying that Sudfeld is a gigantic target. Yet he can also move. According to Gil Brandt of NFL.com the big pass-catcher ran the 40-yard dash in 4.77 and in 4.71 seconds at the Wolf Pack pro day.
It wasn't natural ability that caused Sudfeld to go undrafted, however. It was injuries. Per NevadaWolfPack.com, Sudfeld was injured as a redshirt freshman in 2008 and unable to play, he started one game in 2011 before breaking his leg as a redshirt senior, and he was granted a medical redshirt season in 2012.
In many ways, the 24-year-old is a one-year wonder. He had two career catches before this past season, when he caught 45 passes for 598 yards and eight touchdowns in Nevada's pistol offense.
Even though he has undergone numerous surgeries and been relatively unproductive, you can't teach size and quickness. Sudfeld has both. But with tight ends upon tight ends on the roster, Sudfeld will have to beat out someone like Daniel Fells or Michael Hoomanawanui.
If he stays healthy, he might just do so.
It's hard being a modern-day fullback in the NFL. With all the spread offenses and two-tight end sets, the days of a blocking back taking up space may be numbered.
But don't tell that to Tennessee fullback Ben Bartholomew.
The 6'2", 245-pound redshirt senior benched 30 reps of 225 pounds and ran a 4.68 40-yard dash at the Volunteers' pro day, per UTSports.com. Those are some good numbers for a guy well off the radar.
He will do his best to make his presence felt on the Patriots—a team that has not carried a fullback on the active roster for more than just a couple games over the last two years. Instead, the team has employed versatile tight ends and kept an extra halfback on the roster.
If Bartholomew is to stick around long, it will likely be because he can do more than lead the way for tailbacks. Although he only recorded two career rushes for 10 yards, the Volunteer did catch 17 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown over the last two seasons.
The more you can do, the harder it is for a team to let you go.
Missouri's T.J. Moe is likely New England's premier undrafted signee. Moe could have very well been taken late on Day 3 due to his solid hands and route running, so the Patriots certainly got a good deal.
A very productive player during his time with the Tigers, Moe racked up 92 receptions for 1,045 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2010. His numbers tapered off once then-Mizzou quarterback and current Jacksonville Jaguar Blaine Gabbert left school. In 2011 and 2012 combined, Moe totaled 94 grabs, 1,142 yards and five scores.
More doesn't have imposing size or great straight-line speed for a wide receiver, but boy is he quick in space. At the combine, Moe clocked the fastest three-cone time among all receivers at 6.53 seconds. It was second to only Utah State cornerback Will Davis, who notched a 6.52 time. This lateral agility bodes well for the 6'0", 204-pound Moe, who's likely going to be lining up as an inside receiver in the NFL.
A tough receiver built for the slot, Moe has a very good chance of making the Patriots roster. If he doesn't make New England's final cut, he'd be a sought-after practice squad candidate.
Belichick has opened up a new pipeline to Foxboro now that former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien is the Penn State head coach.
According to GoPSUSports.com, Stankiewitch saw his first starting work at left guard during his redshirt freshman season in 2009. By the time it was 2011, Stankiewitch was the full-time starter at center.
At 6'3", 302 pounds, Stankiewitch has good size for the middle of the line. But it's important to note that Stankiewitch isn't the most athletic blocker. A combine participant, he ran a 5.43 40-yard dash, ran a 7.9 three-cone time but did bench 27 reps of 225 pounds.
Stankiewitch is a good prospect to bring into camp and test out. Starting center Ryan Wendell—who was also undrafted—really came into his own last season. Maybe a few years down the line Stankiewitch could do the same if he can continue to overachieve.
The 5'11", 205-pound Kanorris Davis is an intriguing defensive prospect out of Troy who faces an uphill battle to make it as a safety on the Patriots.
According to NFL.com's Gil Brandt, Davis worked out as both a linebacker—his natural position—and as a safety at the Troy/Alabama pro day. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.60 and 4.65 seconds, registered a 37-inch vertical jump, clocked a 7.07 second three-cone drill and benched 21 reps of 225 pounds.
Due to his size limitations, Davis is unlikely to play very close to the line of scrimmage at the next level. He does, however, have the incredible athleticism needed to play defensive back. But as we know, that's a very crowded spot on New England's roster.
That Bill O'Brien connection is really paying off, huh?
Penn State cornerback Stephon Morris is the second Nittany Lion to sign with the Patriots following this year's draft. Morris, a 5'8", 188-pounder, is of less than ideal size for an NFL cornerback. Nonetheless, his official 40-yard dash time at Penn State's pro day was a 4.35, per Mark Brennan of PennState.Scout.com.
Morris has a couple seasons of starting experience and totaled 41 tackles, 1.5 sacks and five pass deflections during his senior campaign. Although he has excellent speed, Morris hasn't been able to convert that into turnovers. His only career interception came during his freshman year in 2009, when he returned the pick 70 yards.
While he is a very gifted athlete, it will take more than measurables for Morris to make the Patriots' final roster. But he has a shot, and that's all he can ask for.
When you're a defensive tackle and your nickname is "Pork Chop," you're doing something right.
That's the case for former South Florida Bull Cory Grissom, a 6'2", 306-pound space eater. Grissom isn't the biggest D-lineman, but he plays with a high motor and great determination to break through blockers.
A fifth-year senior, Grissom has played in 46 career games at USF, starting 40 of them. He never totaled more than 38 combined tackles in a season, but Grissom did progress as a penetrator. In 2010, he had one sack and three tackles for loss. In 2011, he had 1.5 sacks and six tackles for loss. And in 2012, he had 2.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss.
Grissom isn't a really strong defensive tackle; he benched 24 reps of 225 pounds at his pro day, per Gil Brandt of NFL.com. That said, he's got surprising quickness. Grissom ran a 4.82 40-yard dash at his pro day, which is a stark contrast when compared to his 5.31 40-yard time at the combine.
While he doesn't have the big belly of your typical nose tackle, Grissom still knows how to embrace two-gaps. If he finds his niche with the Patriots, he could become a nice tackle to spell in with Vince Wilfork.
He has a slight injury history and broke his ankle last year. But Grissom has the drive to succeed, and that's apparent on film. He's the type of guy you find a spot for, perhaps even on the practice squad. The Patriots are fortunate he wasn't a Day 3 pick.
Cincinnati wideout Kenbrell Thompkins has an opportunity to take advantage of a relatively unsettled wide receiver depth chart.
A 6'1", 193-pound junior college transfer who was originally committed to Tennessee, Thompkins caught 44 passes for 536 yards and two touchdowns in 2011. He followed that up with 34 grabs for 541 yards and two scores in 2012.
Considering his troubled youth was filled with seven arrests before he turned things around, according to Michael McKnight of SI.com, Thompkins has done well for himself.
While he's not flashy or explosive, Thompkins ran a 4.54 40-yard time and a 6.88 three-cone time at the combine. He will be in camp vying for a final spot on the roster or practice squad.
It looks like Zoltan Mesko will be facing some stiff competition in camp, as the Patriots signed accomplished Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen.
Allen, a two-time winner of the Ray Guy Award that is given out to the nation's best punter, could have very well been drafted. The 6'2", 215-pound Oregon State transfer averaged 48 yards per punt in 2012, even notching 20 punts inside the 20-yard line.
This is an excellent undrafted pickup for New England. Allen will be a starting NFL punter before long.
Brandon Ford is a versatile tight end who was put to use in Clemson's potent offensive attack.
A 6'4", 245-pounder, Ford had his best season by far in 2012, catching 40 passes for 480 yards and eight touchdowns. An All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, the senior ran a 4.73 40-yard time and leaped 37 inches, according to Travis Sawchik of The Post and Courier.
A converted wide receiver who can also be used as an H-back, Ford is another tight end in the stable for New England. He was a backup during his first three years with the Tigers, but he made the most of his chances as a starting senior and could find a spot on a practice squad initially.
Missouri offensive tackle Elvis Fisher is 6'5" and 296 pounds. That's not great size for your typical Patriots bookend, but Fisher has shown the experience and leadership to take care of the Tigers' left side.
If it weren't for some serious injury concerns, Fisher would have been drafted. According to MUTigers.com, Fisher ruptured the patellar tendon in his left knee in 2011 and was consequently awarded medical hardship by the NCAA.
Fisher ran a 5.2 40-yard time at his pro day before straining his calf, per Bill Pollock of MissouriNet.com. He's not going to wow you with measurables, but Fisher started 40 games at left tackle.
Don't expect Fisher to take any starting gig away from Nate Solder or Sebastian Vollmer, but the Patriots were in need of some extra help at tackle.
Quentin Hines has been around the block a few times. He started his college career at Cincinnati in 2008, transferred to Murray State in the spring of 2011, then proceeded to Akron.
The 5'11", 194-pounder has taken an unusual journey to say the least. He rushed the ball 35 times for 194 yards and one touchdown during his only year with the Zips, also adding seven receptions for 54 yards. And aside from his two attempts for five yards as a member of the Bearcats in 2009, that's his college resume.
According to KFFL, Hines ran a 4.38 40-yard dash and leaped 42 inches at his pro day, which certainly boosted his stock.
Very under the radar, Hines will have some serious work to do in camp, as Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, Leon Washington and LeGarrette Blount are in front of him.
If we've learned anything through this draft process, it's that Rutgers is taking over the Patriots defense. Brandon Jones is the next in line.
A redshirt senior, Jones collected 31 total tackles, five interceptions, 13 pass deflections and a forced fumble this past season. The year prior, he added another two interceptions, so it's clear he has some ball skills.
A 6'0", 191-pound corner, Jones showcased his speed at his pro day. He ran a 4.47 and a 4.48 40-yard time to go with a 6.54 three-cone time, per ScarletKnights.com.
Jones split time across from Patriots third-rounder Logan Ryan and should also have some familiarity with the other third-rounder, Duron Harmon. Seeing how Belichick loves his Scarlet Knights, Jones has as good a chance as any to stick around.
But unless he beats out someone like Marquice Cole or Ras-I Dowling, that opportunity would likely begin on the practice squad.
Kent State's Josh Kline is a versatile offensive lineman who did his part to help out All-American running back Dri Archer.
The 6'3", 307-pound blocker knows how to use his arms due to his experience in another sport. Per KentStateSports.com, Kline was a successful high school wrestler, much like his Golden Flashes teammate Brian Winters.
According to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, Kline impressed at his pro day, running a 5.12 40-yard time, a 7.66 three-cone time and benching 25 reps of 225 pounds.
A fifth-year senior, Kline has seen starting work since 2010 at both tackle and guard. He could be used in a variety of ways for Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. But like most undrafted prospects, practice squad is the most likely destination.
The Patriots went big in more ways than one during the post-draft signing period.
Mississippi State defensive tackle Dewayne Cherrington is a 6'2", 345-pounder who has the size to absorb multiple blocks.
As a nose tackle, Cherrington is a a space-eater; not a pass-rusher. A junior college transfer, Cherrington made 24 tackles, including one for a loss last season. As a junior in 2011, he totaled 12 tackles, 2.5 of which were for loss.
According to Aaron Wilson of Scout.com, the Bulldog benched 36 reps of 225 pounds at his pro day. Although with that strength and size, it's clear he won't beat you with his feet, running the 40-yard dash in 5.5 seconds.
Cherrington is raw, but should draw a lot of intrigue in camp. With his size, it's hard to say he'd ever develop into an every-down player. But he certainly can two-gap. Time will truly tell how Cherrington can be utilized.
The Patriots added another long snapper into the fold, giving incumbent Danny Aiken some company in camp.
Mike Zupancic may not be in the class of a Luke Ingram or a Carson Tinker, but he makes for an interesting prospect nonetheless. The 6'5", 240-pound Eastern Michigan Eagle has been a four-year starter at long snapper, per EMUEagles.com.
It's hard to say if this is a way to keep Aiken sharp or a way to find a replacement. Either way, Zupancic will get his chance to compete at a very anonymous position.
Maryland defensive tackle Joe Vellano is the classic overachiever who finds a way to get the job done without eye-popping size or athleticism.
According to UMTerps.com, the 6'2" redshirt senior weighed 285 pounds this past season. Yet as CBSSports.com points out, he has bumped up to a more NFL-friendly 306 pounds. That lack of natural size and leverage hasn't hindered the three-year Terrapins starter and former All-American. Vellano has a relentless work ethic that shows up both on the field and in the stat book.
In 2011, Vellano amassed 94 total tackles—a tremendous feat for a player lodged on the inside of the defensive line—and also recorded 2.5 sacks. His tackle numbers dropped back down to earth in 2012 as Maryland switched to a 3-4, but Vellano upped his sack total to six, also making 14 stops for loss and even one interception.
There's nothing pretty about Vellano's game. He doesn't have great speed, running a 5.35 40-yard time at his pro day, according to NFLDraftScout.com. It's also hard to project where he fits in a 4-3 front. Is he a three-technique? Is he a nose tackle?
Although New England's defensive tackle group is a very stocked one, Vellano has the moxie to stick around Foxboro in one fashion or another. He is the quintessential hard-working "Belichick guy" and could end up a rotational D-lineman before too long.