The NFL's Most Interesting Undrafted Free-Agent Matches

Justis Mosqueda@justisfootballFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2016

The NFL's Most Interesting Undrafted Free-Agent Matches

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    Even after just Day 2 of the draft, many sports fans flip their attention from hearing names read for hours on television to embracing the postseason of either the NBA or NHL. With that being said, even after the draft was over, there were impactful acquisitions made in the NFL.

    The fabled "eighth round," excluding names like Dallas Cowboys guard La'el Collins, have brought in players such as Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls, New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, Denver Broncos pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett and Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson in recent years.

    In an attempt to try to find the hidden gems in this draft class, we looked at all 32 teams' undrafted signings and roster situations. Above the rest, seven prospects stood out as potential starters or high-end backups in the near future.

Trevone Boykin, QB, Seattle Seahawks

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    Since Matt Flynn was traded after Russell Wilson's rookie season of 2012, the Seattle Seahawks haven't really invested in the backup quarterback position behind the mobile passer.

    They haven't really had a reason to, since Wilson has played in all 64 regular season games in his four-year NFL career, but having a safety net at the most important position in the sport seems like a borderline necessity for a team trying to make a championship run.

    This offseason, the team has brought in a trio of interesting names. The first is Jake Heaps, a former blue-chip recruit from the state of Washington who spent time with the BYU Cougars, Kansas Jayhawks and Miami Hurricanes while in college.

    Vernon Adams, an FCS standout at Eastern Washington who was injured for half of his graduate transfer year at Oregon, is the second. Adams is in Seattle on a tryout basis.

    The final name is Trevone Boykin of TCU, who has the best shot to stick on the roster, if you're setting odds in early May. Boykin finished back-to-back as a top-10 Heisman Trophy candidate in both 2014 and 2015, along with being named the Big 12's Offensive Player of the Year in 2014.

    Like Wilson, Boykin is a quarterback who restarts a play mid-snap and uses his mobility like the feet of a boxer, shifting around until he has the perfect opportunity to deliver a lethal blow. At only 6'0", and with his pre-bowl assault arrest on his resume, he's not for everyone, but Seattle is a perfect home for his playing style, if his head is on straight.

Quinshad Davis, WR, Detroit Lions

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    Since Bryn Renner was the quarterback at North Carolina, Quinshad Davis has flashed as a receiver. Over the years, the team has been more spread-run-based under Larry Fedora, and it's not like Davis truly had a stellar passer to get him the ball, either.

    In four years, the 21-year-old was able to post 2,614 receiving yards, but he never had more than his 776-yard total in his rookie season of 2012. The 6'3" receiver is a candidate for this year's "better professional than collegiate" award at the position.

    The Detroit Lions are thirsty for new wideouts as Calvin Johnson recently retired, and they're forced to enter the 2016 season with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones as their top-two options. Davis can stick around as a potential starting outside receiver down the line, and he has some gadget upside, too. For the Tar Heels, he threw four passes, all of which resulted in touchdowns.

Tyler Johnstone, OT, San Diego Chargers

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    The San Diego Chargers don't have an above-average offensive line, but they have paid their left tackle King Dunlap, their left guard Orlando Franklin and their right tackle Joe Barksdale significant money on long-term deals. Their right guard, D.J. Fluker, was a first-round pick by the team who was moved from tackle to guard in his rookie contract.

    That is why the team took defensive end Joey Bosa with the third overall pick in the 2016 draft instead of an offensive tackle. The Chargers not addressing their "settled" offensive line is one reason why former Oregon left tackle Tyler Johnstone may make the team.

    Early on in Johnstone's career as a Duck, he was discussed as a potential first-round pick, as he flashed very early on in Eugene. After two major knee injuries, though, he was sidelined for the entire 2014 season, leading to the rise of Jake Fisher, who would eventually be drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2015.

    Johnstone returned to the field in 2015, but he looked like a shell of himself. Plays, like him being crossed over against TCU in the Alamo Bowl and resorting to a box-out approach, linger in the mind when his name comes up.

    With that being said, with his injuries, it's not fair to judge his final year as his prime. If the Chargers can get him right from a health standpoint, don't be surprised if he's the next Alejandro Villanueva—a potential starting left tackle who seemingly came out of nowhere.

Keith Lumpkin, OT, Buffalo Bills

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    Keith Lumpkin of Rutgers may not have been on your radar in 2016, but in 2014, when he went toe-to-toe with Randy Gregory, then thought of as a top-five pick, he opened a lot of eyes. At 6'7", he certainly has the frame of an NFL offensive tackle, but he wasn't even invited to the combine. He was, however, at the East-West Shrine Game, largely regarded as the second-best college All-Star game in terms of talent.

    Lumpkin was a former super recruit for Rutgers, and his basketball background does show up on the field at times. He's going to take some work to see the field but has starter upside.

    The Buffalo Bills have a hole at right tackle right now, as Cyrus Kouandjio hasn't developed into who the Bills thought he would be when he was drafted with a 2014 second-round pick. Seantrel Henderson, a late-round flier, has been inconsistent, too. Henderson, who once was regarded as a generational talent coming out of high school, has seemingly had effort issues during his entire career.

    If Lumpkin can hang on as an eighth or ninth bookend, don't be shocked if he slips into the starting lineup in the future.

Jack Allen, IOL, New Orleans Saints

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    Al Goldis/Associated Press

    Not many 6'1" centers make it to the NFL, but Jack Allen isn't your typical center prospect. Despite his length, Michigan State also trusted him as a blindside tackle when the Spartans' left bookend, Jack Conklin, left play due to injury.

    He's small, but his compact frame holds up very well when anchoring. At the Senior Bowl, I was a firsthand witness to his anchor, which was the best out of either team in Mobile, Alabama. The fact that he went undrafted speaks to both the depth of this particular center class and the NFL's bias toward longer offensive linemen, even on the interior.

    The New Orleans Saints' lone established center is Max Unger, who was brought in from the Seattle Seahawks via the Jimmy Graham trade. Allen looks like the clear No. 2 center on the team, a role which must make the 53-man team, and if Unger, who is on the last year of his current contract, walks, then we could see Allen as a 16-game starter as soon as 2017.

Connor Wujciak, DL, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    Connor Wujciak is an undersized defensive tackle from Boston College. He's an amazing athlete for the position, as Mock Draftable placed his 10-yard split, 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone and 20-yard shuttle all at or above the 86th percentile for defensive tackles.

    On film, Wujciak didn't always display that athleticism, which is why he was an undrafted free agent, but there isn't another place in the league where he's better suited to succeed. Why? Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

    Undersized defensive tackles typically play a downhill position called 3-technique or under tackle. Think of the Cincinnati Bengals' Geno Atkins or the Green Bay Packers' Mike Daniels. This is Wujciak's role as a professional.

    A unique trait that Schwartz-coached defenses have is their tendency to not only field one 3-technique defensive tackle, but to put a defender in both B-gaps while the front defensive line has double Wide-9 defensive ends on the outside, an all-out pass-rushing maneuver. If Wujciak can take a step in camp, he has an immediate role in the Eagles defense, which enhances his chances of making the regular-season roster.

Curt Maggitt, LB, Indianapolis Colts

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    Curt Maggitt, a former Tennessee linebacker, has one of the oddest narratives in this draft class. On the field, heading into the 2015 regular season, he was a Day 2 talent. Unfortunately, he ended his 2012 season with a torn ACL and his 2015 season with a hip issue.

    On top of health concerns, Maggitt was also named in a lawsuit for allegedly punching a former teammate because he took an alleged rape victim to the hospital, per Sports Illustrated Andy Staples.

    Asked Saturday at the NFL scouting combine about an accusation from former Volunteers receiver Drae Bowles that Maggitt punched Bowles in Tennessee’s locker room in 2014, Maggitt told reporters to contact Knoxville attorney Jeff Hagood if they had any questions. Maggitt then said he has told NFL teams the same thing when they have asked about the allegation. Bowles claims Maggitt confronted him after Bowles took to the hospital a woman who claimed to have been raped by Tennessee players Michael Williams and A.J. Johnson. Williams and Johnson were charged with aggravated rape in February 2015 and are scheduled to stand trial separately later this year.

    Maggitt can play football, but the two wild cards of injury questions and character questions must have been too much for NFL teams to look over. He's a hybrid edge defender and Sam-like linebacker, and if he ever is able to look like his 2014 self again, with a clean record, he can be a starter in this league. The Indianapolis Colts, desperate for young, talented defenders, certainly can use his help on the field.


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