5 Undrafted Atlanta Falcons Players Who Could Prove to Be Gems
Paul Worrilow, Joplo Bartu and Ryan Schraeder kind of spoiled Falcons fans on what to expect from undrafted players in 2013. Gems like Brent Grimes, Harvey Dahl and Tyson Clabo before them also don’t help the Falcons' perspective on being able to find talent after the draft’s seven rounds are done.
This year, the Falcons signed 19 undrafted free agents and hope to find at least one or two who can take roster spots. The team should be able to get some quality play from that talent in this year’s preseason games, but Atlanta needs to make sure the rookies fit the Falcons mentality.
RB Jerome Smith, Syracuse
Jason Snelling's retirement has left a hole on the roster for a running back who can do it all. Jerome Smith is the kind of running back who can be a powerful runner, solid blocker and good pass-catcher. However, the Falcons have a logjam at the spot this year.
Smith could sit on the practice squad for a year while learning and growing within the Falcons offense. He could have a Snelling-type impact if he gets a chance on the field and the offensive line can create lanes for him.
WR Geraldo Boldewijn, Boise State
The Falcons have been missing a big third-down target at wide receiver since Brian Finneran retired. Geraldo Boldewijn has glue on his hands and doesn’t drop many balls. He’s a solid route-runner but could use some coaching up in that department.
He has good short-area quickness and deceptive long speed. However, he has to get more physical on the line when he’s blocking. He also has to show that he knows what to do both as a gunner and a blocker on special teams if he wants a roster spot.
WR Bernard Reedy, Toledo
Bernard Reedy is making a name for himself in minicamp this week. He has looked like a legitimate deep threat in practices by repeatedly burning the defenses on 30- and 40-yard catches. The Falcons need to utilize him as another explosive option in the preseason.
It will all come down to how he does on special teams. He will have to show he’s competent there. If he can develop some chemistry with Matt Ryan and look like a solid special teams player, Reedy could be the dark horse for Darius Johnson’s roster spot in 2014.
WR Freddie Martino, North Greenville
Freddie Martino set records for North Greenville when he was playing in college. He runs great routes and has good body control. More than that, he has solid size and quickness for a position that could use a dark-horse standout this year.
Martino has an uphill climb as he looks to be near the back of the roster at wide receiver. However, if he ends up sitting on the practice squad for a year and then eventually turns into a good No. 2 receiver, it wouldn’t be shocking. He has that kind of talent.
TE Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin
Jacob Pedersen has the best chance of any undrafted free agent to make the roster at this moment. The Falcons are very limited at tight end and could easily put him on the roster as an H-back/fullback/third tight end that they could use in multiple different packages.
He is quick off the line when he’s blocking and is a better pass-catcher than most of the other tight ends on the roster. The question is whether he will show it on the field once the Falcons get to the preseason, because that will make his roster spot clearer.
All stats used are from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN.com, CFBStats or NFL.com. All combine and pro day info is courtesy of NFLDraftScout.com. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.