Grading Every Team's Undrafted Free-Agent Haul

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2018

Grading Every Team's Undrafted Free-Agent Haul

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    William Mancebo/Getty Images

    For many prospects coming into the league, it's a hard pill to swallow after they didn't get a call about being drafted by an NFL team. The 2018 NFL draft made dreams come true for 256 men, but what about the hard-working athletes who went undrafted? 

    Frequently, it's said that undrafted players have a better opportunity than late-round picks to make a roster because of the freedom to choose a destination. However, the feeling of 32 teams passing on you stings a competitor to the core. As a result, it has driven some of the best undrafted free-agent signings ever—James Harrison, Jason Peters and Antonio Gates, to name a few. 

    A player can land in the UDFA pool for a variety of reasons, from an extensive injury history, character issues, lack of production to position concerns. Nonetheless, once minicamps open, everyone gets to compete for a spot.

    The majority of teams will start the three-day minicamps Friday; these teams held their camps last weekend: Baltimore, Cleveland, Green Bay, Kansas City, Minnesota, New York Jets, Oakland, San Francisco and Seattle. 

    In a search for underrated talent, how do each team's undrafted free-agent signings stack up? Let's go through all the clubs and provide some players to watch as the offseason programs get underway.

       

Arizona Cardinals

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Names to watch: CB Deatrick Nichols, DE Alec James, WR Corey Willis

    The Arizona Cardinals brought in several high-productivity players as undrafted free agents.

    Cornerback Deatrick Nichols started three years and logged 11 interceptions and 24 passes defensed at South Florida. At 5'10", 189 pounds, he doesn't possess the ideal size to endure the grind on the professional level as a boundary cornerback. Nonetheless, the Cardinals could add a playmaker on the back end to replace Tyrann Mathieu, who's listed at a near-identical 5'9", 185 pounds by the Houston Texans. Maybe a move to safety could help Nichols earn a roster spot. 

    Defensive end Alec James stands at 6'3", 272 pounds but moves well in space. He's capable of pursuing ball-carriers attacking the edge and sealing the deal on effort sacks in extended sequences. The former Wisconsin Badger logged 6.5 sacks as a senior and goes to Arizona with the ability to hold on to a roster spot as a rotational pass-rusher.

    Wide receiver Corey Willis profiles as a slot machine on the NFL level. In space, the speedy pass-catcher can shred a defense with his agility, though, he doesn't have much experience as a kick returner. The Central Michigan product logged 1,091 receiving yards as junior and 18 touchdown receptions in his last two seasons. 

    Along with second-round pick Christian Kirk, Willis could replenish the depth at the wide receiver position in Arizona.

    Grade: A

Atlanta Falcons

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    Justin Crawford
    Justin CrawfordJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Names to watch: RB Justin Crawford, TE Jake Roh, DT Jon Cunningham

    Don't sound the alarm for running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, but Justin Crawford will push fourth-rounder Ito Smith for a backup spot on the depth chart.

    Crawford's collegiate journey started at Northwest Mississippi Community College, which he helped lead to an NJCAA title in 2015. He transferred to West Virginia, where he logged 2,244 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in two years. On the other hand, Smith may have an edge in the competition due to his receiving ability and experience as a kick returner at Southern Miss. 

    Boise State's Jake Roh racked up nine touchdowns as a reliable red-zone target during his senior year. Look for him as a potential partner to Austin Hooper in two-tight end sets. The team decided not to re-sign Levine Toilolo, who started 12 games in 2017.

    Jon Cunningham didn't earn a reputation as a pass-rusher, but he accumulated stops as a solid run-stopper on the defensive line. The Falcons lost Dontari Poe in free agency and brought in Tyrone Crawford. The Kent State product could rotate in as extra bulk against teams that heavily rely on the run. 

    Grade: B+

Baltimore Ravens

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Names to watch: LB Alvin Jones, OL Randin Crecelius

    UTEP product Alvin Jones inflicted most of his damage near or behind the line of scrimmage. He was a four-year starter with 40 tackles for a loss and 16 sacks.

    A defense can never have enough players who can attack the pocket. Jones can check another box in that area as Terrell Suggs (11 sacks) goes into his age-36 season, and it remains to be seen if Matt Judon can replicate his production as a pass-rusher (eight sacks). 

    Still, you'd like to see the Ravens add someone who has a strong suit in pass coverage on the second level.

    Baltimore acquired two offensive tackles in this year's draft. Randin Crecelius could be another to make the roster at the position. As a small-school prospect, there's always concern about facing a level up in competition. 

    The Portland State product earned an honorable mention and third-team honors in the All-Big Sky Conference in 2015 and '16, respectively, but he didn't have a senior season that would suggest a solid projection as an NFL starter. 

    Grade: C

Buffalo Bills

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    Levi Wallace
    Levi WallaceMichael Hickey/Getty Images

    Names to watch: CB Levi Wallace, DB Ryan Carter

    Last season, the Buffalo Bills allowed 14 touchdowns through the air, which ranked second in the league. The front office allowed cornerback E.J. Gaines to walk during free agency and signed Vontae Davis to a one-year deal after an injury-plagued season with the Indianapolis Colts. 

    Davis, who turns 30 on May 27, could bounce back, or he may continue to experience a decline in his performance. Either way, the Bills also added fifth-year veteran Phillip Gaines along with cornerbacks in the fourth and fifth rounds. 

    UDFAs Ryan Carter and Levi Wallace have a shot to round out the back end of the cornerback depth chart.

    Carter, who stands 5'9", 180 pounds, uses field awareness and timing to break up passes in coverage. On the professional level, the Clemson product is best suited in off-man schemes away from the boundary.

    Wallace finished his tenure at Alabama as a late bloomer in a secondary that's typically loaded with talent. He notched three interceptions and 15 passes defensed as a senior.

    Unlike Carter, the rangy cover defender doesn't have size limitations at 6'0", 179 pounds with 32 ¾" inch arms. There's also a level of respect for a former collegiate walk-on who eventually climbed the depth chart under head coach Nick Saban. That shows unwavering commitment. 

    If Wallace doesn't land on the Bills practice squad, he'll likely find his footing elsewhere as an early contributor in dime packages.

    Grade: B

Carolina Panthers

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    Tim Warner/Getty Images

    Names to watch: OL Brendan Mahon, OL Taylor Hearn, QB Kyle Allen

    Don't expect to see sparks from this group.

    The Carolina Panthers need a proven commodity to back up quarterback Cam Newton. The front office signed quarterback Kyle Allen among the undrafted acquisitions, but he couldn't maintain a starting job at Texas Tech or Houston. 

    Brendan Mahon and Taylor Hearn may battle for a spot on the back end of the roster at guard. Both have shown power, but the latter displayed more hand usage to stand up defenders. 

    Hearn also shows more quickness when leaving his spot to pull on the opposite side. Mahon projects as more of a mauler who uses brute strength to stalemate a defender at the line of scrimmage or engulf inside blitzers. Keep an eye on both in a potential training camp battle.

    Grade: D-

Chicago Bears

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Names to watch: RB Ryan Nall, CB Rashard Fant

    The Chicago Bears should have signed a linebacker with a high level of productivity in the pass rush. Notre Dame product Nyles Morgan's resume doesn't look impressive in that area. 

    Cornerback Rashard Fant performed at his best during his sophomore and junior seasons. The Indiana Hoosier led the Big Ten in pass breakups in both years. Measurables don't work in his favor at 5'10", 179 pounds, but the coaching staff can work with his ball-tracking skills. 

    Ryan Nall could earn a role at fullback since Mike Burton's position isn't a lock for the upcoming season. The Oregon State product runs with power in his stride. He also flashed reliable hands as a receiver out of the backfield. Head coach Matt Nagy could use him to exploit matchups against linebackers in coverage.

    Grade: C

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Eugene Tanner/Associated Press

    Names to watch: LB Junior Joseph, CB Trayvon Henderson

    Don't expect too much impact from the Cincinnati Bengals' undrafted group. As for the two names that stand out, Junior Joseph could carve out a role in the linebacker corps. His film doesn't produce a convincing argument to leave him on the field for the first three downs, but there's potential as an early-down defender. 

    Joseph also flashed as a pocket-pusher with four sacks in his final season at UConn. He may hold a backup position at strong-side linebacker, but special teams will help him earn a roster spot.

    Cornerback Trayvon Henderson started for three seasons at Hawaii, but the production was a bit scattered through his tenure.

    An NFL safety must find a way to get takeaways, play closer to the box in run support or fill a hybrid role as a small linebacker. At 6'0", 200 pounds, without consistent ball-tracking skills and being average against the run, Henderson doesn't cleanly fit into any of the three categories. 

    Grade: D

Cleveland Browns

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    Trenton Thompson
    Trenton ThompsonAssociated Press

    Names to watch: WR Evan Berry, OL Desmond Harrison, DL Trenton Thompson

    General manager John Dorsey continues to infuse the roster with talent as he tries to steer the Cleveland Browns' future into a far more respectable direction.

    The Browns signed Evan Berry, one of Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry's twin brothers. He's listed as a wide receiver but has the best shot at making the roster on special teams. The Tennessee product scored four touchdowns (all on kickoffs) and averaged 34.3 yards per attempt as a kick returner. 

    At 6'3", 288 pounds, NFL teams may see defensive lineman Trenton Thompson as undersized, but he's shown the ability to reach the quarterback for Georgia. He had five sacks as a sophomore, and while his junior year didn't bring the same success, there's room for competition at the position in Cleveland.

    Offensive lineman Desmond Harrison comes into the league with character concerns. He started out as a JUCO All-American out of Contra Costa Community College and transferred to Texas. According to NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein, Texas suspended him twice, and Harrison went through a two-year gap without football before resurfacing at West Georgia. The time away from the field didn't hurt his play, as he was a quality starter at left tackle in 10 games.

    The Browns have to find Joe Thomas' replacement at the position. Harrison certainly has a shot to fill the role. 

    Grade: A

Dallas Cowboys

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    Names to watch: DT DeQuinton Osborne, DB Kameron Kelly, DB Tyree Robinson, S Kyle Queiro

    The Dallas Cowboys have long-term question marks at safety, but this undrafted group may fill the void on the back end. Defensive backs Kameron Kelly, Tyree Robinson and Kyle Queiro all come into the league with playmaking ability on their resumes. 

    Kelly logged nine interceptions and 15 passes defensed in his last three years at San Diego State. A 4.66-second 40-yard dash time likely raised concerns about his speed, but it's hard to argue with that type of consistency in forcing turnovers. 

    Robinson didn't produce gaudy interception numbers, but he's about 6'2", 190 pounds and ran a 4.53 at the NFL Scouting Combine. The Oregon product also started all four years for the Ducks at safety and cornerback. His 17 pass breakups in that span stand out. 

    Kyle Queiro broke out during his senior year at Northwestern with five interceptions and eight passes defensed. The production came a little too late to boost his draft stock, but the trend upward could benefit the Cowboys secondary.

    Also keep your eyes on defensive tackle DeQuinton Osborne, who wreaked havoc on quarterbacks in two years at Oklahoma State with 9.5 sacks. He could rotate in on passing downs for added pocket pressure.

    Grade: A

Denver Broncos

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Names to watch: RB Phillip Lindsay, OL Leon Johnson

    Somehow Colorado running back Phillip Lindsay slipped through the draft cracks. The Denver Broncos may have found a jewel.

    Those who look past Lindsay's 5'8", 190-pound stature see he's solid in pass protection and able to handle running between the tackles. Furthermore, he can help as a kick returner. 

    In his junior and senior seasons, the Pac-12 standout racked up 2,726 rushing yards and ran for 30 touchdowns. 

    Leon Johnson started at both offensive tackle positions in his final two years at Temple. Expect the 6'5", 335-pounder to take reps on the right side and possibly on the inside. 

    The Broncos have made an effort to rebuild their offensive line over the past couple of seasons. They signed Ronald Leary and Menelik Watson, used a first-round pick on tackle Garett Bolles and acquired tackle Jared Veldheer via trade with the Cardinals. Johnson will potentially add depth to the unit. 

    Grade: B

Detroit Lions

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Names to watch: DE JoJo Wicker, LB Al-Rasheed Benton, OL Brett Kendrick

    The Detroit Lions brought in potential pass-rushing help in case Anthony Zettel doesn't produce off the edge as he did in the previous season with 6.5 sacks.

    JoJo Wicker could crank up the pressure across the front. He recorded 12.5 sacks and 32 tackles for a loss in three years at Arizona State.

    West Virginia's Al-Rasheed Benton performed to the level of a sideline-to-sideline linebacker during his senior campaign. Detroit probably gained interest in his ability to move fluidly across the field, but he must show consistency. The former Mountaineer didn't fully break out until his final year in Morgantown. 

    Brett Kendrick is a versatile offensive lineman. Taylor Decker and Ricky Wagner have strongholds on the tackle positions, while the team's first-rounder, Frank Ragnow, will have an opportunity to start at center or guard. The Tennessee product could compete for an interior spot.

    Grade: B-

Green Bay Packers

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    Tim Warner/Getty Images

    Names to watch: LB Naashon Hughes, DT Filipo Mokofisi, OL Jacob Alsadek 

    Linebacker Naashon Hughes played defensive end and linebacker during his four-year stint at Texas. At 6'3", 259 pounds, he'll attempt to find his way as a linebacker with the Green Bay Packers.

    The former Longhorn logged 12.5 sacks. There's a potential opening behind Nick Perry, who's flourished as a pass-rusher over the past two seasons. 

    Defensive tackle Filipo Mokofisi made a name for himself as an interior penetrator during his junior year at Utah—a campaign in which he notched five sacks and eight tackles for a loss. He was less productive as a senior, but he will compete with seventh-rounder James Looney for a spot on the defensive line.

    The Packers must upgrade the interior of their offensive line to help the ground attack. At Arizona, Jacob Alsadek started four years at right guard. At 6'7", 312 pounds, he has the size to line up across from defensive tackles in the pros, but it's important for him to add core strength in order to hold his ground.

    Grade: A-

Houston Texans

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    Andre Chachere
    Andre ChachereMichael Hickey/Getty Images

    Names to watch: CB Andre Chachere, OL K.J. Malone, OL Anthony Coyle

    The Texans must work on strengthening their offensive line. The front office decided to bring in players with extensive experience to push the current front five.

    K.J. Malone spent two years at left tackle, but he profiles as an offensive guard in the league due to his sluggish footwork. On the outside, quicker edge-rushers would have a definitive advantage. The LSU product compares to fellow Tigers alum Vadal Alexander, who experienced some struggles at right tackle with the Oakland Raiders in 2016. Could Malone make a successful transition to guard? 

    Offensive lineman Anthony Coyle has experience on both sides of the perimeter as a starter at Fordham. He's not technically sound with his hands and weighs just less than 300 pounds. Offensive line coach Mike Devlin will need to develop the former Ram. 

    There's also offensive tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith, but he suffered a serious right knee injury three years ago that significantly affected his play.

    Cornerback Andre Chachere comes into the league with ideal size (6'0", 197 pounds) and production on the collegiate level. He intercepted four throws and logged 14 pass breakups as a junior. The Texans need the help at the position with Kareem Jackson in a contract year and Johnathan Joseph going into his age-34 season. 

    Grade: B-

Indianapolis Colts

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Names to watch: WR Steve Ishmael, LB Skai Moore

    The Colts' new coaching staff, under head coach Frank Reich, has the opportunity to uncover some undrafted gems over the next four months. 

    Indianapolis didn't re-sign Donte Moncrief, leaving an open competition for the No. 2 spot at wide receiver. Free agent Ryan Grant should have an advantage, but Steve Ishmael has a chance to push him for the position. He's a 6'2", 212-pound receiver who's going to create separation through disciplined routes rather than speed.

    Despite his size, the Colts can move Ishmael to the slot for a matchup advantage over smaller slot cornerbacks. He can outmuscle bigger defenders with the ball in the air as well.

    Linebacker Skai Moore's lanky 6'2", 218-pound frame and serious neck injury possibly caused concern during the draft evaluation process. Can he hold up on the professional level against bigger bodies? Nonetheless, in today's NFL, there's a hybrid role for someone who has a knack for finding the football. 

    Moore recorded at least three interceptions in each of his four seasons at South Carolina. After missing the 2016 campaign because of a neck injury, he returned to form and finished fifth in career solo tackles (212) among defenders in the SEC. Barring an injury during the offseason, he should earn a roster spot.

    Grade: A

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

    Names to watch: LB Andrew Motuapuaka, CB Quenton Meeks

    Andrew Motuapuaka plays with a high motor, fights through blocks and took the responsibility in lining up the defense while at Virginia Tech. It's what NFL teams want to see out of defender who's projected play inside linebacker. 

    Motuapuaka started at least 10 games the last four years and provided consistency as a reliable tackler with short-area coverage ability. He could very easily earn a spot at middle linebacker in Todd Walsh's defense.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars signed veteran cornerback D.J. Hayden who will assume Aaron Colvin's role in the slot. Hayden may feel a push from Quenton Meeks, who's comfortable playing with a physical style. At Stanford, he also played downhill to support the run. 

    Meeks didn't draw a single penalty during the 2017 season, according to Zierlein. The discipline in his lock-step coverage, coupled with the willingness to contribute in the box, should help him earn a spot on the 53-man roster. It's also worth mentioning he showed off his ball-tracking skills with seven interceptions in the three seasons.

    Grade: A

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Names to watch: DL Dante Sawyer, LB Ben Niemann, WR Byron Pringle

    The Chiefs don't have many names that will drop your jaw, but Ben Niemann could turn some heads as an inside linebacker.

    During Niemann's sophomore year, he looked like a complete thumper going downhill against the run. His instincts show well on film. Anthony Hitchens and Reggie Ragland project as the starters on the inside, but the former Iowa Hawkeye could push for a backup position while boosting his profile on special teams. 

    Kansas City needs help shoring up the defensive front against the run. Dante Sawyer brings effort up front to patch the Chiefs' weakness, but he doesn't present the powerful drive to force penetration after initial contact.

    Nonetheless, there's a spot on the roster for someone who knows how to jar the ball loose. He forced five fumbles in his final year with South Carolina.

    Byron Pringle led Kansas State in receiving yards over the past two seasons, but he didn't dominate against suspect Big 12 defenses. It's a difficult sell to see a roster or practice squad spot for him. 

    Grade: C

Los Angeles Chargers

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    Tony Brown
    Tony BrownMichael Hickey/Getty Images

    Names to watch: OT Chris Durant, CB Tony Brown

    The Los Angeles Chargers picked up some lesser-known names that could find a way to the 53-man roster in September.

    Offensive tackle Chris Durant could add valuable depth in the trenches. He comes into the league as a four-year starter and earned recognition as an exemplary player in the All-Colonial Athletic Association from his sophomore to senior years at William & Mary.

    Anthony Brown blazed through the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds, and he's also played in a system that knows how to rough up wide receivers. He may not make the roster as a cornerback during his rookie season, but the Alabama product has the physical tools to hold a slot position.

    Downfield lapses in coverage can pose a potential issue, but Brown has the quickness to close separation gaps when he's aware of the ball in the air.

    Grade: C+

Los Angeles Rams

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    Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    Names to watch: LB Tegray Scales, S Chucky Williams

    Linebacker Tegray Scales seemingly flashed coverage skills and enough production as a pass-rusher on the collegiate level to earn a spot among the 256 draftees, but that didn't happen. Now, the Indiana product has a chance to make an NFL roster as an undrafted gem.

    Scales would be a good complement to a second-level pocket-pusher. He made plays as a sideline-to-sideline defender during the 2016 season and finished his four-year stay with eight interceptions. 

    Chucky Williams has a steep hill to climb for a roster spot, but he plays the game like a tone-setting safety with solid wrap-up tackling skills. As a junior at Louisville, he made 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage. The Rams have the space for his skill set in a backup role. 

    Grade: B+

Miami Dolphins

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Names to watch: DT Jamiyus Pittman, LB Mike McCray

    The Miami Dolphins didn't rank higher than 16th in points or yards allowed in the last three seasons with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Now, the unit moves on without him in the middle.

    Jordan Phillips, Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor come into the year with higher expectations. Defensive tackle Jamiyus Pittman could ease his way into the rotation with his pass-rushing skill. 

    At 6'1", 319 pounds, he's more compact than athletic, but his upper-body strength and leadership qualities at UCF should turn heads at Dolphins camp. 

    Injuries have limited linebacker Stephone Anthony's availability over the past two years. He suited up for 18 out of a possible 32 contests between the 2016 and '17 seasons. Mike McCray goes to Miami as insurance and a potential undrafted steal.

    McCray can instinctively read plays and doesn't hesitate to follow through with action, whether it's against the run or as a pass-rusher. In the last two seasons at Michigan, he recorded 152 tackles, 29.5 for a loss and nine sacks as a standout downhill defender on the second level.

    Defensive coordinator Matt Burke shouldn't drop McCray in coverage. He's best on the strong side challenging lead blockers.

    Grade: A

Minnesota Vikings

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    Hercules Mata'afa
    Hercules Mata'afaAssociated Press

    Names to watch: RB Roc Thomas, DL, Hercules Mata'afa, CB Holton Hill

    The Minnesota Vikings added a trio of intriguing names. 

    Running back Roc Thomas will battle fellow undrafted free agent Kamryn Pettway and Mack Brown for a reserve role at running back. He's hit or miss when it comes to finding open lanes, but the Jacksonville State product can rip off a 20-yard gain at any time.

    At 6'2", 254 pounds, Hercules Mata'afa played defensive tackle at Washington State. Of course, that size-position combination wouldn't translate to the NFL. The Vikings will attempt to use him as a backup SAM linebacker, per general manager Rick Spielman in an interview with KFAN 100.3 FM's Paul Allen (h/t DailyNorseman). 

    Mata'afa used his natural quickness to reach the quarterback, and the Vikings want to maintain that trend as he changes position. 

    According to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, cornerback Holton Hill failed a drug test at the combine, which probably caused his draft stock to plummet. Nonetheless, he lands in Minnesota with a chance to compete for a spot at a position loaded with talent. The Vikings also picked up Mike Hughes in the first round.

    Hill had a pedestrian college resume in terms of production. He'll have a hard time earning a space on a depth chart that's already five deep in probable roster locks at cornerback.

    Grade: B-

New England Patriots

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Names to watch: DE Trent Harris, CB J.C. Jackson

    The New England Patriots addressed shallow spots on defense during free agency by adding defensive end Adrian Clayborn to strengthen the pass rush and cornerback Jason McCourty as a replacement for Malcolm Butler.

    Clayborn had a surreal six-sack performance against the Cowboys, but he eclipsed that number in an entire season only once, as a rookie in 2011.

    The Patriots added more depth for insurance in defensive end Trent Harris, who spent the majority of his time at Miami as a designated pass-rusher before breaking out last year with 8.5 sacks. He could take the field as a rotational player similar to his first three seasons in college.

    J.C. Jackson's physical presence would add an asset capable of challenging receivers early in routes. He's also willing to take on ball-carriers in run defense. McCourty's contract expires at the end of the year. A reserve cornerback will have an opportunity to take those snaps.

    Grade: B+

New Orleans Saints

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    Chris Pietsch/Associated Press

    Names to watch: TE Deon Yelder, DT Henry Mondeaux

    The New Orleans Saints added potential quality depth players who can either claim a roster spot or land on the practice squad as developmental stashes. 

    Despite just one year of significant contributions on the collegiate level, tight end Deon Yelder stands a good chance to find a spot in the regular-season rotation. He's the only player at the position whose contract extends beyond the current year, per Spotrac

    Yelder caught 52 passes for 688 yards and seven scores in his only year of production at Western Kentucky. On an NFL practice field, he'll continue to refine his blocking ability, but the Saints may use him as a receiving tight end in a year or two. 

    Former Oregon head coach Willie Taggart described defensive tackle Henry Mondeaux as a "war daddy," per Daily Emerald reporter Gus Morris. He went into detail on the term. 

    "It's not hard to describe: You see those guys that go all out all the time, leave everything on the field and try to get after the guy in front of them every time he has an opportunity to do that," Taggart said. 

    It's the type of player who can add some intensity and nastiness to the defensive line. The Saints run defense needs a tough penetrator up front who can pressure the quarterback and stuff the run.  

    Grade: A

New York Giants

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    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    Names to watch: OL Nick Gates, S Sean Chandler

    According to ESPN.com reporter Jordan Raanan, offensive tackle Ereck Flowers' name came up in trade talk during the draft. The New York Giants couldn't find a partner for an exchange, so he'll compete for a starting spot on the right side. 

    Nick Gates will have an opportunity for the same spot. He comes into the league with extensive experience at left tackle but lined up on the right as a redshirt freshman. He's a nimble blocker with swift feet on the move.

    The Pittsburgh product would've boosted his draft stock with another year in college but has a chance to develop behind the scenes in New Jersey.

    Defensive back Sean Chandler won't displace projected starters Landon Collins or Darian Thompson, but he can hold a backup role in big nickel or dime packages. He played safety and cornerback at Temple but needs refinement in coverage as well as tackling leverage. 

    The Giants didn't reel in a prospect who looks like a legitimate competitor for the slot cornerback spot. 

    Grade: C-

New York Jets

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    Brett Deering/Getty Images

    Names to watch: FB Dimitri Flowers, OL Austin Golson

    Fullback Dimitri Flowers would have preferred to hear his name among the 256 draftees, but he likes his fit with the New York Jets, per NJ.com reporter JJ Conrad.

    "Obviously with Coach Jeremy Bates, it's a good place for me to be," Flowers said. "He likes that West Coast offense. He uses the H-back in a lot of different ways, uses the fullback in different ways. It's something I feel I can fit into." 

    Flowers caught 13 touchdown passes between his sophomore and senior seasons at Oklahoma. He's also versatile as a contributor on special teams. There's a strong chance that he beats out Lawrence Thomas for the starting spot.

    Austin Golson lined up at four different positions across the offensive line through his collegiate years, but he spent extensive time at center, where the Jets signed Spencer Long. Look for the Auburn prospect to take early reps as a backup in the middle and at guard. Right now, he's a raw prospect with high upside due to versatility.

    Grade: C

Oakland Raiders

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    Saeed Blacknall
    Saeed BlacknallBrett Carlsen/Getty Images

    Names to watch: WR Saeed Blacknall, LB Jason Cabinda, PK Eddy Pinero

    At 6'3", 212 pounds, wide receiver Saeed Blacknall has the measurables to impress the eye but lacked the production at Penn State to convince coaches that he'll become anything more than a spot contributor on the back end of the roster. 

    The Raiders have decided to go big at wide receiver during the offseason with Jordy Nelson (6'3"), Martavis Bryant (6'4") and seventh-rounder Marcell Ateman (6'4").  

    Unlike Ateman, Blacknall didn't show his full potential in college. He's a long shot to hang around. 

    Oakland will continue its attempt to flip a late-rounder or undrafted talent into a starter at inside linebacker. Jason Cabinda made stops all over the field and finished with 285 tackles in four years at Penn State. He projects as a weak-side linebacker. 

    Cabinda takes the field with high energy, but defensive coordinator Paul Guenther must find a way to help him strike ball-carriers with purpose to avoid wasted movement. He would compete with Nicholas Morrow and Emmanuel Lamur for snaps.

    Kicker Eddy Pineiro could replace incumbent Giorgio Tavecchio. The Florida product played two seasons with the team's rookie fifth-rounder punter Johnny Townsend. It's a combination to watch during the offseason.

    Grade: C+

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images

    Names to watch: RB Josh Adams, DT Bruce Hector, DE Joe Ostman

    The Philadelphia Eagles could bolster the strong parts of their roster that helped lead them to a Super Bowl LII victory.

    Running back Josh Adams hit the national spotlight behind Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey blocking on the offensive line at Notre Dame last year. Both players came off the board in the top nine selections. Let's not take anything away from the Fighting Irish's lead tailback over the past two seasons. He averaged at least 5.9 yards per carry in all three years on campus.

    Despite his impressive career yards-per-rush average, Adams doesn't have a second gear to reach the edge on the professional level. He's spotty at best as a receiver and comes up small in pass protection. The eye test likely hurts his draft stock.

    The Notre Dame prospect looks like an early-down back, who can contribute to a committee as opposed to a workhorse asset, though, he fits well in an Eagles backfield that lost a downhill runner in LeGarrette Blount during free agency.

    Bruce Hector and Joe Ostman could make the roster as an underrated pass-rushing tag team on the defensive line. The former finished a three-year college career as a wrecking ball on the inside with 18 sacks. The latter took down the quarterback 26 times in his time at Central Michigan.

    The Eagles front seven would certainly improve with either Hector or Ostman in the rotation. If they both manage to earn roster spots, Philadelphia should lead the league in sacks. 

    Grade: A

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Jessica Hill/Associated Press

    Names to watch: RB Jarvion Franklin, DT Greg Gilmore, CB Jamar Summers

    There's a disconnect between the Pittsburgh Steelers and running back Le'Veon Bell on a long-term deal, hence his franchise tag.

    Watch out for Western Michigan product Jarvion Franklin, if the Steelers decide to go with a backfield committee in the near future. He racked up 4,867 rushing yards and 52 touchdowns through four years. At 6'0", 239 pounds, the big ball-carrier is more likely to run over defenders than dart past them. He could hold in Pittsburgh as a quality one-cut running back who can stay on the field for third downs. 

    Pittsburgh added a playmaker in cornerback Jamar Summers. He erupted for eight interceptions as a sophomore at Connecticut and returned one for a touchdown. He didn't reach that level of production in the following seasons but broke up 16 passes in the last two years.

    Greg Gilmore projects as a defensive end in the Steelers scheme. The LSU product only experienced one strong campaign, which explains his undrafted status. Nonetheless, 7.5 sacks as senior could translate into production in the pros.

    Grade: A-

San Francisco 49ers

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    Tarvarus McFadden
    Tarvarus McFaddenMichael Hickey/Getty Images

    Names to watch: WR Steven Dunbar, CB Tarvarus McFadden

    The San Francisco 49ers won't field a bunch of household names at the position for the upcoming season. As it stands, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will throw to Pierre Garcon, Trent Taylor and second-rounder Dante Pettis.  

    Steven Dunbar could become a lesser-known name to make plays in the 49ers passing attack. He doesn't bring much flash and only scored 11 touchdowns in three seasons at Houston, but his routes come with sharp moves to break open. It's a simple yet effective approach that may fit this offense. 

    Cornerback Tarvarus McFadden may have hurt his draft stock by not following his stellar sophomore season with an even better junior year. He snagged eight interceptions that year but didn't record one in 2017. His 10 pass breakups didn't bring the same excitement, even though they were an improvement on his six from 2016.

    Nonetheless, ball-tracking skills don't just vanish into thin air. At 6'2", 205 pounds, McFadden can still impose his physicality in coverage and swat passes with his 32 ½" arms. 

    Grade: B

Seattle Seahawks

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    Ed Zurga/Getty Images

    Names to watch: OL Skyler Phillips, DE Marcell Frazier

    All three names here have a legitimate shot to make the roster due to the Seattle Seahawks' pressing needs. 

    Skyler Phillips played both sides of the offensive line at tackle and guard. At 6'3" and 344 pounds, he has the power to maul defenders and create space for the tailbacks. He's also fluid in his lateral movement, which allows him to stonewall an edge-rusher's moves on the perimeter. Expect him to see reps at multiple spots.

    Seattle parted with defensive end Cliff Avril due to a failed physical. Frank Clark, Dion Jordan and third-rounder Rasheem Green will likely soak up the snaps, but Marcell Frazier could find his way into the rotation. Surprisingly, he went undrafted after collecting 15.5 sacks over the past two years at Missouri. 

    Grade: A

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Names to watch: WR Sergio Bailey, S Godwin Igwebuike

    Two names jump out from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' group. Wide receiver Sergio Bailey led Eastern Michigan in receiving yards with a total under 1,000 yards, but he took the field as the focal point for nearly two years and managed to put up respectable production. 

    Bailey wrapped up his collegiate career with 1,746 yards and 16 touchdowns to keep the Eagles offense afloat through mediocre seasons. He'll have competition from fifth-rounder Justin Watson for a spot behind Chris Godwin. 

    There's an open pathway to the depth chart for safety Godwin Igwebuike. He's a four-year starter who won't hesitate to lower the boom on a receiver or ball-carrier but looks to take the ball away as well. The Buccaneers need more of what the Northwestern player can bring to their pass defense. 

    At the very least, Igwebuike holds potential value as a chase-and-pursuit tackler on special teams. 

    Grade: B

Tennessee Titans

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Names to watch: RB Akrum Wadley, WR Deontay Burnett, CB Damon Webb

    As the rushing-by-committee approach spreads throughout the league, the Tennessee Titans have room for a third tailback in the rotation to go with Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis. 

    At 5'11", 194 pounds, Akrum Wadley can disappear behind a stout offensive line and show up 10 yards downfield in open space. The same stature will make the coaching staff nervous about leaving him on the field for third downs. If the Iowa product holds up in pass protection, he can sting defenses as a receiver who slips out of the backfield for 25-30 catches per year.

    Deontay Burnett could've benefitted from another year at USC, but he decided to enter the draft after leading the Trojans in receiving yards during. His wiry frame will encourage defenders to press on him off the line of scrimmage. It's something to work on, but he's tough enough to fight through the physicality and come down with a catch. 

    Don't count Burnett out as a No. 4 wide receiver option. A new coaching staff suggests there's room for changes across the board. 

    Damon Webb couldn't crack Ohio State's starting lineup as a cornerback, so he transitioned to safety in his last two seasons. The switched paid off. He led the team with five interceptions during his senior year.

    Webb brings another alternative to fifth-rounder Dane Cruikshank, who's also set to play the position.

    Grade: B

Washington Redskins

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Names to watch: WR Simmie Cobbs, OL Sean Welsh

    Wide receiver Simmie Cobbs made a difficult post-draft decision to sign with the Washington Redskins over the Seattle Seahawks, per Chicago Tribune's Bob Narang.

    "I just looked up their rosters, seeing the depth of each team and thought the Washington Redskins were the best team for me," he said. "I just felt Washington overall, their roster had a good amount of players, but I didn't feel the wide receiver corps was stacked like Seattle's was."

    Whether Cobbs proves right in his assessment, he's going to have an opportunity to carve out a role in Washington. If the Indiana product makes the roster, he'll become an immediate red-zone target at 6'4" and 220 pounds. 

    Offensive guard Sean Welsh started four years at Iowa primarily at both guard positions. His feel for the game and strength could also help him earn reps at center over 2017 sixth-rounder Chase Roullier. 

    Grade: B+