Undrafted Free Agents 2014: Prospects Who Will Prove to Be Good Investments

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2014

August 31, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Tennessee Volunteers offensive linesman Antonio Richardson (74) celebrates in the second half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at the Georgia Dome. Tennessee beat NC State 35-21. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Even after 256 players were selected in the 2014 draft, there are prospects available who can make big contributions at the next level. 

Whether the players fell down draft boards due to injuries, character issues or some other reason, there was a lot of talent still available after the final name was called at Radio City Music Hall. This gives teams plenty of options to supplement their rosters without much risk.

While this is not an ideal situation for the former college stars, there have been plenty of undrafted free agents to go on to have successful NFL careers.

Each of these players has loads of upside and could end up being a smart addition for his team if he lives up to his potential. 


Minnesota Vikings: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee

Once considered an early-round pick, Antonio Richardson fell completely out of the draft before being signed by the Minnesota Vikings, as he announced on Twitter:

Based on his physical ability, you can understand what makes him such a highly regarded player. "Tiny" Richardson stands at 6'6", 336 pounds and proved to be one of the strongest prospects at the combine.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports was one of many surprised to see him not taken in the draft:

One of the explanations is his inconsistent play, which plagued him throughout his career at Tennessee. However, he enters a good situation at Minnesota with a team that only took one offensive lineman in the draft in guard David Yankey.

At the very least, Richardson will be able to provide some depth across the line for the Vikings with the potential to turn into a legitimate starter down the line.


San Diego Chargers: Chris Davis, CB, Auburn

John Bazemore/Associated Press

The Auburn cornerback was quickly picked up after the draft by the San Diego Chargers, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN:

College football fans know all about Chris Davis from one historic play:

Davis helped Auburn win the Iron Bowl with a touchdown scored off a missed field goal. This return ability was on display throughout his career on both punts and kickoffs, and it is something that will translate well to the next level.

Considering San Diego was in the bottom 10 in the league in both kickoff and punt return average, Davis could be a welcome addition.

Additionally, Davis will be able to contribute on defense thanks to his strength and toughness from the secondary. While he is only 5'10", he often guarded bigger receivers in the SEC and should be able to do it again in the NFL.

He and first-round pick Jason Verrett will certainly be an upgrade to a poor secondary from last season.


Jacksonville Jaguars: Stephen Morris, QB, Miami (FL.)

It is rare to see an undrafted free-agent quarterback turn into a starter, but is often worth the low risk to have a chance to grab a talented player.

The Jaguars are attempting this strategy by bringing in Miami passer Stephen Morris, according to Albert Breer of NFL Network:

Breer also notes that he will reunite with Jedd Fisch. The former Hurricanes offensive coordinator and quarterback coach was there in 2012 when Morris had 21 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

Morris has been a bit inconsistent in his career, but he has a strong arm and is incredibly athletic. If he can focus himself, he has the tools necessary to be successful in the NFL.

Meanwhile, the quarterback is finally healthy after an injury hindered him this past year. He told Christy Cabrera Chirinos of the Sun-Sentinel:

Even when I was playing at Miami, I never let my ankle be an excuse for anything, but I had to let all those coaches know that I almost tore my Achilles [tendon] and it was almost a big deal. I had confidence going into my senior year and then the injury happened, but things happen like that in football. A lot of guys wrote me off ever since the injury, but I'm healthy now, so my biggest focus is just improving and impressing all these NFL coaches.

Jacksonville drafted Blake Bortles with the No. 3 overall pick, but the organization has given itself another high-upside option in Morris.


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