Going undrafted in the NFL is a bitter pill to swallow, but it isn't the end of the road—just ask Arian Foster.
Many players who failed to land homes in the draft will inevitably get a chance to make an NFL roster this summer as undrafted free agents. These men were passed over by every team seven times, but there are a few who will undoubtedly turn into stars.
Whether they went undrafted due to character concerns, medical concerns or simply because teams didn't see enough raw talent to gamble on them in the draft, these hidden gems will assuage their desire for NFL glory.
Da'Rick Rogers, Wide Receiver, Buffalo Bills
Blessed with first-round talent, Rogers failed to hear his name called in the 2013 NFL draft due to character concerns stemming from repeated failed drug tests during his time at Tennessee (h/t Mike Organ of The Tennessean).
Rogers possesses prototypical size as an outside receiver at 6'2" and 217 pounds. He's an exceptionally gifted athlete with decent speed, and his physical approach to playing the receiver position translates well to the NFL game.
He was able to produce at a high level at Tennessee Tech in 2012 after his fall from grace, catching 61 passes for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns.
According to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, at least one NFL scout saw Rogers as a "disaster off the field," which is likely the reason he didn't get picked up during the draft. Another scout compared Rogers to Brandon Marshall, who has turned out to be one of the biggest stars in the NFL.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller summed up Rogers' failure to get drafted with one word:
Matt Miller @nfldraftscout
One word: Character. RT @bhugenroth: Why did Da'Rick Rogers go undrafted?4/28/2013, 8:47:55 PM
After the draft, the Bills picked up Rogers as an undrafted free agent (h/t Mike Garafolo of USA TODAY Sports). He'll have a chance to make a huge impact for this team in 2013 playing opposite Justin Blackmon, should he stay out of trouble.
Chase Thomas, Outside Linebacker, New Orleans Saints
It's hard to believe that Thomas went undrafted.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, via NFL.com, former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said of Thomas, "He was born to play football."
All this kid did the past four seasons at Stanford was 145 solo tackles, 50.5 tackles for a loss, 27.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles and two interceptions.
Thomas was scooped up by the Saints after the draft, and Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com seems to imply this young man will find be a good fit in Rob Ryan's defense:
Peter Schrager @PSchrags
Chase Thomas was a very productive LB at Stanford the past few years. Signs with the Saints after going undrafted. Nice pick up.4/28/2013, 4:30:25 AM
Thomas likely didn't get drafted due to poor numbers at the combine, but his production throughout his career at Stanford suggests he'll find a way to make a big impact in the NFL. Personally, I will be shocked if he isn't a key cog in Ryan's 3-4 defense this year.
Matt Scott, Quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars
If you payed attention to NFL Network or ESPN before the draft, you likely heard a few analysts speak in glowing terms about Scott as a potential star in the mold of Colin Kaepernick.
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah was one of those scouts high on Scott's potential. He believed the young man out of Arizona would be a third-round pick before the draft:
Daniel Jeremiah @MoveTheSticks
One other QB note-- I'll be surprised if Arizona QB Matt Scott makes it out of the 3rd round. He has several teams interested.3/28/2013, 2:12:46 AM
Scott came on strong as a senior at Arizona in 2012, passing for 3,620 yards with 27 touchdowns while adding another 506 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. He also put up nice numbers at the combine which showed off his speed and athleticism.
Needless to say, it was shocking to see Scott go undrafted, but the Jaguars wasted no time signing him to a free-agent contact after the draft (h/t Jeff Reynolds of NFLDraftScout.com).
Given the level of talent ahead of him on the depth chart (or lack thereof), Scott has a chance to make a name for himself with a strong camp. The young man must improve his accuracy to become an NFL signal-caller, but he possesses all the physical traits to become a star for years to come.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78