Every NFL Team's Best Undrafted Free-Agent Signing so Far
The NFL draft is an important source of talent and roster depth for all 32 teams, but it's not the only one. The moment the seventh round of the draft comes to an end, the rush begins for all of the undrafted rookie free-agent talent still available.
Every team picked up at least a heaping handful of players in the hours and days after the draft. Here's a list of their best pickups.
San Diego Chargers: LB Dan Molls, Toledo
Among the San Diego Chargers' undrafted free agents, Toledo linebacker Dan Molls stands out the most.
Molls had 166 tackles and six tackles for loss in 2012, along with three interceptions, 2.5 sacks, four pass breakups and a fumble return for a touchdown.
Molls was college football's leading tackler, and he's also a strong special teams contributor. Though Molls is not the fastest linebacker in the league, Jeremy Hayes of Rant Sports compares him favorably to Tedy Bruschi. Not bad for an undrafted player.
Oakland Raiders: S Dexter McCoil, Tulsa
The Oakland Raiders' top undrafted free agent signing is safety Dexter McCoil from Tulsa.
McCoil had 91 tackles in 2012 along with five interceptions, nine pass breakups and a forced fumble. He has great athleticism, ideal speed and size and great ball skills, owing partially to his long arms, as well as to his football smarts.
McCoil could use some improved strength, but he's a great tackler who plays extremely well in coverage. The Raiders got a steal.
Kansas City Chiefs: QB Tyler Bray, Tennessee
By far, the Kansas City Chiefs' best undrafted rookie free agent addition was strong-armed former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray.
Bray completed 59.4 percent of his passes in 2012 for 3,612 yards, 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Though Bray is certainly not the most accurate or starter-ready quarterback in the 2013 draft class, his considerable upside makes him an excellent choice to back up Alex Smith.
Bray could someday be the Chiefs' full-time starter, after he has a chance to learn the game while apprenticing under Smith.
Denver Broncos: DE Lerentee McCray, Florida
The Denver Broncos' best undrafted rookie free agent this year is defensive end Lerentee McCray from Florida.
McCray had 25 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, a forced fumble and an interception in 2012. He's a good but not great 3-4 outside linebacker who can also play situationally in a 4-3. He has good athleticism, but he's raw and has a history of injuries, which is why he went undrafted.
Buffalo Bills: WR Da'Rick Rogers, Tenneseee
There's no doubt that former Tennessee and Tennessee Tech wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers would have been selected in the second or third round of this year's draft if it weren't for positive drug tests that got him kicked off of the Volunteers prior to the start of the 2012 season.
As such, he fell all the way out of the draft and landed with the Buffalo Bills as their top undrafted free-agent pickup this year.
Rogers had 61 receptions for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns with Tennessee Tech in 2012 after a massive impressive 2011 with Tennessee in which he caught 67 passes for 1,040 yards and nine scores.
Rogers has all the tools of a top receiver—size, speed, hands, route-running—and, as long as he can stay out of trouble, should be a huge boost to Buffalo's passing game.
New York Jets: TE/WR Mike Shanahan, Pitt
The New York Jets' best undrafted free agent rookie signing thus far has been former Pitt wide receiver/tight end Mike Shanahan.
Shanahan caught 62 passes in 2012 for 983 yards and six touchdowns. Though not fast enough to be projected as a successful receiver in the NFL, as a "joker" tight end lined up against linebackers, he should be successful.
Shanahan can be used by the Jets to modernize their passing offense and give whoever lines up under center another dangerous weapon to target. He has a great chance of making the Jets' active roster.
New England Patriots: WR T.J. Moe, Missouri
The New England Patriots added yet another receiving weapon when they brought on former Missouri wide receiver T.J. Moe in their class of undrafted rookie free agents.
Moe had just 40 catches in 2012 for 399 yards and one touchdown. His best season came in 2010, when he had 92 receptions for 1,045 yards and six scores. The dip in production was the result of Missouri going from Blaine Gabbert under center to James Franklin.
Moe has good hands and good speed and looks like a prototypical slot receiver. Though he may need a good quarterback to make him look better on the field, that shouldn't a problem with Tom Brady passing to him.
Miami Dolphins: LB Alonzo Highsmith, Arkansas
The Miami Dolphins' best undrafted rookie free agent addition was linebacker Alonzo Highsmith of Arkansas.
Highsmith had 54 total tackles, four tackles for a loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery in 2012. He's strong against the run and blitzes well, but is more of a "tweener" type who will require some development. He should be able to contribute on special teams immediately, however.
Cincinnati Bengals: OLB Jayson Dimanche, Southern Illinois
The Cincinnati Bengals' top undrafted rookie free agent signing this year is linebacker Jayson Dimanche of Southern Illinois.
Dimanche had just 49 tackles in 2012, but he also has 38 career tackles for a loss and 16.5 career sacks. Though presently a situational pass-rusher, Dimanche could eventually be developed into the Bengals' replacement for James Harrison in a year or two's time.
Cleveland Browns: WR Keenan Davis, Iowa
The Cleveland Browns' top undrafted rookie free agent acquisition this year is Iowa receiver Keenan Davis.
Though Iowa's offense hasn't been all that strong, Davis has been the one reliable constant. He had 47 receptions in 2012 for 571 yards and one touchdown.
Davis has ideal size and strength to play the receiving position on the outside, runs terrific routes and blocks capably. Though he has had some drops issues—owing mainly to concentration—his upside is considerable. His addition to Cleveland's receiving corps should help them immediately.
Pittsburgh Steelers: OT/G Chris Hubbard, University of Alabama-Birmingham
Unsurprisingly, many of the Pittsburgh Steelers' undrafted free agent rookie signings were offensive linemen, considering the many injuries their starting linemen have suffered in seasons past. Among them, their best signing was Chris Hubbard from the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Hubbard was a left tackle in college, and though he may be better-suited for guard in the NFL, this positional versatility will be of major help for the Steelers when it comes to their depth. The fact that Hubbard has considerable speed is a huge plus.
Baltimore Ravens: QB/WR Trent Steelman, Army
Among the Baltimore Ravens' undrafted rookie free agent signings, former Army quarterback Trent Steelman stands out the most.
Steelman is anything but a traditional quarterback, throwing just 90 times in 2012 for a mere 667 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He's a mobile threat, however, rushing 241 times last season for 1,248 yards and 12 touchdowns.
His versatility as both a receiver and running back could provide the Ravens with a speedy new dimension for their offense. If Steelman can stick around, he could be a legitimate playmaker.
Houston Texans: FB Zach Boren, Ohio State
The Houston Texans' top undrafted rookie free agent acquisition this year is Ohio State fullback Zach Boren.
While not many teams require the services of a fullback to help out their run game, the Texans can certainly use Boren. Their offense hinges primarily on the running of Arian Foster (and to a lesser extent, Ben Tate), so any player who can help open holes for their backs becomes a perfect signing.
Boren is a traditional lead-blocking fullback—he's not a rushing or receiving threat in his own right. But the fact that the Texans already have talented rushers on the roster makes Boren worth the pickup.
Indianapolis Colts: CB Nigel Malone, Kansas State
The Indianapolis Colts' best undrafted free agent rookie pickup thus far is cornerback Nigel Malone of Kansas State.
Malone is a bit small, at 5'10" and 185 pounds, but he should be a fine player in zone coverage. He's competitive and aggressive, and doesn't back away from contact. He also has the ability to blitz, which gives him an added dimension.
Malone had 51 tackles in 2012, along with five interceptions, nine pass breakups and a forced fumble.
Jacksonville Jaguars: TE Ryan Otten, San Jose State
Among the Jacksonville Jaguars' undrafted rookie free agents this year, San Jose State tight end Ryan Otten stands out.
Otten is a good receiving tight end who also has decent blocking skills. He had 47 receptions in 2012 for 742 yards and four touchdowns.
Otten is more of a "joker" tight end meant to line up against linebackers. The mismatches this produces could be a boon to Jacksonville's passing game.
Tennessee Titans: WR Dontel Watkins, Murray State
The Tennessee Titans' top undrafted free agent rookie signing this year is Murray State wide receiver Dontel Watkins.
Watkins is a field-stretching receiver who is also a perennial scoring threat. He had 39 catches for 561 yards and five touchdowns in 2012.
Though the Titans don't necessarily need another wide receiver, Watkins' skill set could provide them with another valuable weapon for quarterback Jake Locker.
Dallas Cowboys: LB Brandon Magee, Arizona State
The Dallas Cowboys' best undrafted rookie free agent addition is Arizona State linebacker Brandon Magee.
Magee had 114 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble in 2012. He's quick to react to ball-carries, as well as in coverage, and works best in man situations. He's athletic, and though he needs some development—he needs to become more physical and to also be better when playing zone—he has enough talent to someday be a starter.
New York Giants: WR Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech
The New York Giants' best undrafted rookie free agent this year is former Virginia Tech wide receiver Marcus Davis.
Davis had 51 catches for 953 yards and five touchdowns in 2012, his first year as a full-time starter. Though raw, Davis has prototypical size and speed for a wideout, with good separation on defenders and yards-after-catch ability.
Philadelphia Eagles: DT/DE Damion Square, Alabama
The Philadelphia Eagles' top undrafted rookie free agent pickup this year is former Alabama defensive lineman Damion Square, who should add depth to their defense as they transition from a 4-3 base to a 3-4.
Square had 33 tackles in 2012, including four tackles for a loss. He also had 3.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and a pass defense.
Square can play both defensive end and defensive tackle, though he may play outside linebacker for the Eagles unless he adds some bulk. He's a consistent player with good technique, but he doesn't have a ton of speed.
Washington Redskins: OL Ricky Barnum, Michigan
The Washington Redskins' acquisition of former Michigan offensive lineman Ricky Barnum has thus far been their best undrafted rookie free agent signing.
Barnum was a starter for just one season, but in that time showed considerable talent as an offensive guard, especially when it comes to pulling. He's ideal for a zone-blocking run scheme and has the requisite nastiness teams like to see in an offensive lineman.
Carolina Panthers: SS Robert Lester, Alabama
The Carolina Panthers' best undrafted free agent rookie signing this year is Alabama strong safety Robert Lester, a player who could have easily been taken in the third day of the 2013 draft.
Lester had 48 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss in 2012, along with four interceptions, 1.5 sacks and three pass breakups. He's far better against the run than in coverage, but his 6'1" frame makes up for some of his speed deficiencies and he's very versatile regardless. He plays physically, which teams certainly want to see out of a strong safety.
Atlanta Falcons: CB Momo Thomas, Colorado State
Colorado State cornerback Momo Thomas is the Atlanta Falcons' best undrafted free agent acquisition of the year—as long as he stays healthy.
Thomas has suffered a string of shoulder injuries that have cut into his playing time—he had just three starts in 2012 before missing time with his latest one. When healthy, however, he's a solid cornerback, with the kind of discipline, quickness and physicality to make him potentially one of the better undrafted rookie corners of the year.
His last full season was in 2011, when he had 31 tackles, one tackle for a loss, two interceptions, five pass breakups and a forced fumble.
New Orleans Saints: LB Kevin Reddick, North Carolina
The New Orleans Saints' best undrafted rookie free agent addition this year is North Carolina linebacker Kevin Reddick, who possesses the talent to have been worth a mid-round draft pick.
Reddick had 85 tackles and 18.5 tackles for a loss in 2013, along with 6.5 sacks, six passes defensed and two forced fumbles. With the Saints moving to a 3-4 defensive base, Reddick's skills as a run-stopping inside linebacker who also possesses coverage skills will be of great use. He could certainly crack the 53-man roster this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Branden Smith, Georgia
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' best undrafted free agent rookie signing this year is Georgia cornerback Branden Smith.
Smith needs development—he could serve to gain some weight and become more physical—but he has good straight-line speed and the long arms of a prototypical cornerback.
Smith had 25 tackles and nine pass breakups in 2012.
Arizona Cardinals: S Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma
The Arizona Cardinals' top undrafted rookie free agent signing thus far is safety Tony Jefferson from Oklahoma.
Jefferson had 119 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss in 2012, along with two interceptions and three pass breakups. He's a good run defender and plays just as well in coverage, with solid speed and tackling ability, and can play both zone and man coverage schemes. This versatility will be very useful to Arizona's defense.
San Francisco 49ers: OL Luke Marquardt, Azusa Pacific
The San Francisco 49ers' top undrafted rookie free agent signing this year is Azusa Pacific offensive lineman Luke Marquardt.
Marquardt, a left tackle in college, may have to move to guard in the NFL, but his time at tackle makes him a versatile option when it comes to depth. His height and size are ideal for an NFL offensive lineman, but he needs to improve his technique, especially when it comes to leverage. A foot injury kept him off the field in 2012.
Seattle Seahawks: S Ray Polk, Colorado
Former Colorado safety Ray Polk is the Seattle Seahawks' best 2013 undrafted free agent signing.
Polk had 33 combined tackles in 2012 along with three tackles for a loss. Though not the most impressive stats, Polk is extremely fast and explosive—he ran a 4.4 40-yard dash at his pro day—and knows how to deliver a hard hit. He should be a special teams force before making it into the defensive rotation later on.
St. Louis Rams: DL Garrett Goebel, Ohio State
The St. Louis Rams' top undrafted rookie free agent signing thus far this year is Ohio State defensive lineman Garrett Goebel.
Though Goebel is undersized, he could easily add some weight to push him over the 300-pound mark, which would increase his chances of someday cracking St. Louis' defensive rotation. He has enough speed to reach quarterbacks and makes up for his lack of strength by putting forth extra effort.
Goebel had 42 tackles, four tackles for a loss, a sack and a blocked kick in 2012.
Detroit Lions: TE Joseph Fauria, UCLA
The Detroit Lions' best undrafted rookie free agent pickup this year is UCLA tight end Joseph Fauria.
Fauria had 46 receptions in 2012 for 637 yards and 12 touchdowns. At 6'7", he's a huge red-zone target who lacks speed. Fauria blocks well, though not spectacularly; he can do it, but he's better off catching passes and using his massive frame to his advantage.
Though Fauria has boom-or-bust potential, he's a stellar get by the Lions during free agency.
Chicago Bears: CB Demontre Hurst, Oklahoma
The Chicago Bears' best undrafted free agent rookie signing of 2013 is former Oklahoma cornerback Demontre Hurst.
Hurst had 59 tackles and a tackle for loss for the Sooners in 2012, along with a sack and nine pass breakups. The first thing one sees when looking at Hurst is his size—he's just 5'9", which will limit him to playing nickel or dime cornerback—but his athleticism and speed provide him with enough upside to potentially contribute for the Bears right away, especially on special teams.
Green Bay Packers: TE Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State
The Green Bay Packers' best undrafted free agent rookie signing this year is tight end Jake Stoneburner of Ohio State.
Stoneburner caught only 16 passes in 2012 for 269 yards and four touchdowns. However, he is certainly capable of more. Though not the fastest tight end prospect nor the best blocker, Stoneburner's variety of skills make him a useful H-back/fullback/tight end hybrid for the Packers who they can use in many different ways.
Since Stoneburner isn't fast to begin with, he should add some strength to improve his overall profile.
Minnesota Vikings: S Brandan Bishop, North Carolina State
The Minnesota Vikings' top undrafted rookie free agent signing this year is safety Brandan Bishop from North Carolina State.
Bishop had 103 tackles, three tackles for loss, three interceptions, seven pass breakups and two forced fumbles in 2012. He has excellent football instincts and can play coverage like a free safety and the run like a strong safety. He's good at reading quarterbacks and reacting quickly, which helps make up for his lack of elite speed and athleticism.
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