As the seventh round of the NFL draft nears a close, NFL phone lines light up like trees on Christmas (or menorahs on Hanukkah, to my friends of the Jewish faith).
War room phone bills begin to resemble that of an adolescent girl’s.
After all, like an all-expenses paid shopping spree, or Wynona Rider shopping trip, the merchandise is free (free of draft pick expense, that is).
Although shopping for passed-over draft prospects may feel like perusing last seasons’ sales rack or catching the late train of the seventh floor crew, there are future starters and role players galore to be found.
Many sixth and seventh-round prospects go undrafted as a result of not matching team need.
Even first-round talents will go unselected as a result of injury or character concerns.
Whatever the reason, there are some undrafted athletes who are just too valuable to be passed over entirely.
Teams that are risk-averse to character concern or injury history can rest assured knowing that the risk of an undrafted free agent is minimal. With no draft pick involved, the only guaranteed cost to a franchise is a marginal signing bonus.
Risking the $10,000 it takes to get an UDFA to sign the dotted line is about as big a risk to an owner as allowing a roommate to “borrow” toilet paper (I never did get that back, by the way).
The closing of the seventh round is also a time that humbled college superstars begin their journey of redemption.
Their agents begin to play part-time matchmaker, weighing the benefits of team quality against the ease of cracking the regular season roster.
For many athletes, being undrafted is a better outcome than being seventh round selection.
After all, undrafted free agents are free to sign with any team they wish.
They can be sentimental and sign with their childhood team, or act as a part-time rental and follow the money.
They can join a Super Bowl contender in pursuit of a ring, or bottom feeder in hopes of a full-time fling.
In the process of filling unaddressed needs and snatching up draft-worthy talent, some NFL teams always seem to come out on top. These were the teams that sprayed on that (insert generic French name) cologne, styled their receding hair, and attended the undrafted free agent middle school dance.
The following is a list of the five teams that fared the best in undrafted free agency, including the prospects they signed and an analysis on their headline pickups.