Some NFL hopefuls go undrafted for numerous reasons. They may be small school products, they may have injury pasts that scare teams off, or they may not be draftable based on character concerns. Whatever the reason is, teams wait until after the draft to bring them in as priority free agents.
However, it seems like at least one player every year makes a team's squad as an undrafted free agent. The Seattle Seahawks don't have a lot of glaring holes on either side of the ball, yet they may have room for one of the nine players they signed to future contracts.
Let's take a look at whom John Schneider and Pete Carroll signed after the draft concluded.
*All signing information is provided by Pro Football Talk.
The connection between the Seattle Seahawks and Utah State lives on for another year. Last year the organization selected Robert Turbin and Bobby Wagner in consecutive rounds out of the small school located in Logan, Utah.
This year they decided to take a priority free agent flier on wide receiver Matt Austin. Austin is a physical wide receiver who possesses great hands and strong route-running ability. If it hadn't have been for a couple of season-ending knee surgeries in college, he probably would have been drafted.
Even though the Seahawks are fairly set at wide receiver, Austin has a shot at the practice squad.
After beginning his career at Bowling Green as a defensive lineman, Jordon Roussos made the switch to offensive line in 2010. He went onto start 32 consecutive games at right tackle while earning second-team All-MAC honors in 2012.
Roussos has good size as a 6'4'', 303-pound tackle. It appears as if he lacks the athleticism to play at the next level. At his pro day in March, he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.39 and his broad jump was just eight foot, four inches.
It's unlikely Roussos makes enough of an impact to stick on the 53-man roster.
One of the few positions of need for the Seattle Seahawks prior to the draft was outside linebacker. After Leroy Hill wasn't retained, there was some speculation as to who might fill the position in 2013. In terms of looking for Hill's replacement, the draft seemed like a safe bet.
Yet Seattle didn't think so. It waited until Round 7 before it drafted outside linebacker help. That means undrafted free agent Craig Wilkins should have an increased chance of garnering a roster spot by the end of camp.
Wilkins led Old Dominion last year with 90 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. His playmaking ability definitely jumped out at you on tape. The only thing working against him is his small school background.
It was a shame, but knee injuries in back-to-back seasons cut Ramon Buchanan's collegiate football career short. After a fine junior season, Buchanan looked like he was on the fast track to becoming the next hot linebacker prospect.
The 6'1", 228-pound prospect is a bit undersized, but could benefit from a position change in the pros. If he were to cut a bit more weight, he could enter the Seahawks offseason workouts as a potential depth player at safety.
The talent has flashed in the past, but injuries may ultimately keep Buchanan grounded for good.
Head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider are always looking for pass-rushing help. They believe one team can never have too much help along the defensive line. This notion could explain why Seattle not only drafted defensive line help, but signed another pass-rusher as a priority free agent.
Kenneth Boatright of Southern Illinois University became the only defensive lineman the Seahawks signed after the draft. Boatright only played two years of Division 1 college because of a transfer, so his overall impact at Southern Illinois was limited.
Yet in two years he tallied 12 sacks and 27 tackles for loss and recovered three fumbles. This tells me that he hasn't yet reached his ceiling, making him an intriguing target for a good coaching staff.
Prior to the draft, Arkansas offensive lineman Alvin Bailey was a prospect I really liked. I felt as if he was a road grader in the run game. He moved people at will and rarely lost at the point of attack. Unfortunately for him, his fluctuating weight has been viewed as a problem, and his combine workout wasn't overly impressive.
These two things forced him out of the draft, making him a priority free-agent pickup. The Seahawks figured they could use help on the right side of the offensive line, especially at right guard. Tom Cable has been known to work wonders on the offensive line, so Bailey has the potential under his guidance to become a very good player.
If one undrafted free agent makes the roster this year, count on Bailey being that guy.
Even though the Seahawks are extremely deep at cornerback and have one of the best secondaries in the league, they could still use some quality depth at safety. Right now the depth behind Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor is Winston Guy, Chris Maragos and Jeron Johnson.
None of the three are "studs" by any means, so there is definitely room to add another potential player at the position. And Ray Polk from Colorado could end up being that player. As a senior in 2012, he was named team captain, played 332 snaps and registered 45 tackles. Two of those 45 tackles went for a loss and three were touchdown saving tackles.
Polk has the size required to play the position, but injuries clouded his collegiate career. His 237 career tackles ranks him 40th on Colorado's all-time tackle list.
Despite having Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin in the backfield, the Seahawks drafted two more running backs and signed another one as a priority free agent. The team used a second-round selection on Christine Michael and a sixth-round selection on Spencer Ware.
Dominique Whaley out of Oklahoma was the third pickup. Whaley was not invited to the combine, but averaged 5.7 yards per carry during his collegiate career. Moreover, he scored 10 touchdowns and caught 19 passes out of the backfield.
He measures in at 5'11'' and weighs 204 pounds. One would describe his type of running style as violent. He's not scared to take on tacklers and make people miss in the open field. In 2012, he was a Burlsworth Trophy finalist.
UNLV linebacker John Lotulelei played on a porous UNLV team in 2012, so it was hard for him to stand out on the field. Nevertheless, enough pro scouts took notice of his athletic, high-energy play. He was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine and was a top performer in two different events while there.
He vertical jumped 35.5 inches and ran the three-cone drill in 6.91 seconds. Despite lacking production in college, John Schneider and Pete Carroll liked his athletic play enough to sign him to a priority-free-agent deal.
John Lotulelei will come in and compete for a spot at outside linebacker. He could end up being a nice developmental player that could be stashed on the practice squad right away.