The Best Undrafted Free Agent in Every 2020 NFL Training CampJuly 26, 2020
The Best Undrafted Free Agent in Every 2020 NFL Training Camp
Each year, the NFL draft consists of seven rounds and typically 256 picks. While it's easy to think the selection process ends there, it doesn't. Dozens of rookie prospects are signed as free agents following the draft, and many of them have fruitful NFL careers.
But opportunity is everything in the NFL, and those opportunities will be scarce in 2020. With no preseason and limited 80-player camp rosters, only the very best undrafted free agents will have a chance to emerge as rookies.
For some of these long shots, however, teams will not be able to ignore their talent and upside.
Here we'll examine each team's best undrafted free agent heading into camp—based on factors such as physical attributes, playing experience, collegiate production and potential roster fit.
Arizona Cardinals: CB Zane Lewis
Despite having a strong season for Air Force in 2019—45 tackles, 15 passes defended and an interception—cornerback Zane Lewis went undrafted. However, when the Arizona Cardinals scooped him up post-draft, he landed in a nearly ideal situation.
The Cardinals ranked just 31st in passing yards allowed and could use depth in their secondary. The 6'1", 190-pound Lewis can provide that depth while also bringing some versatility to the position.
Lewis has both the speed and short-area quickness to defend all areas of the secondary in coverage. However, he isn't the soundest tackler and might be a liability early on against the run.
If Lewis can improve in that regard, he could work his way into a permanent role with Arizona or another squad as a rookie.
Atlanta Falcons: TE Jared Pinkney
Like Zane Lewis, former Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney finds himself in an enviable situation. The Atlanta Falcons lost star tight end Austin Hooper in free agency and are looking to replace him with former Baltimore Ravens draft disappointment Hayden Hurst.
If Hurst fails to live up to his first-round status with a second franchise, the 6'4", 257-pound Pinkney could get an opportunity to become a fixture in the Falcons offense.
Though he caught just 20 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns last season, Pinkney was remarkable in 2018 when he caught 50 passes for 774 yards and seven touchdowns and worked his way into a second- to fourth-round draft grade.
"I took from it that I would probably be about a third-round pick," Pinkney said, per Adam Sparks of the Tennessean.
Vandy's bad offense in 2019 might just have netted Atlanta a steal.
Baltimore Ravens: OL Trystan Colon-Castillo
Former Missouri interior offensive lineman Trystan Colon-Castillo might not have the easiest time making the Baltimore Ravens since the team selected two interior linemen during the draft.
However, the Ravens lost guard Marshal Yanda to retirement, while starting center Matt Skura is recovering from knee surgery.
Colon-Castillo's experience starting at center—38 games over the last three seasons—could earn him a spot as insurance behind Skura.
If the 6'3", 313-pound Colin-Castillo doesn't make the roster, he'll have a good chance of sticking somewhere as a rookie. He was ranked the 10th-best center in this class by ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
Buffalo Bills: OT Trey Adams
If not for a knee injury in 2017 and a back injury in 2018, former Washington offensive tackle Trey Adams almost certainly would have been drafted—and possibly early. Those injuries caused him to land with the Buffalo Bills, which is a great spot for his physical tool box.
"Trey Adams is a guy many of us expected to be drafted," NFL Media's Bucky Brooks said on the Move the Sticks podcast (h/t Nick Kosko of 247Sports). "He somehow fell through the cracks. But you talk about a big-bodied tackle who has length, who has toughness. He has ability to move people off the ball in Buffalo, which should still be a run-heavy system. He is going to be a great fit."
It may take some time for Adams to round back into playing shape and to adapt to life in the NFL, but he has the upside and physical stature (6'8", 311 lbs) of a future starter.
If Adams doesn't stick with the Bills, some other team will likely take a chance on him.
Carolina Panthers: LB Jordan Mack
The Carolina Panthers lost a key piece of their defense when longtime leader Luke Kuechly retired this offseason.
While former Virginia linebacker Jordan Mack isn't going to replace Kuechly any time soon, the bruising run-stuffer does have the potential to be a big piece of the solution.
At 6'3" and 240 pounds, Mack is a force in the box. He's also savvy enough to make plays in the backfield with some consistency. Last season, he amassed 69 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. Mack also had 10 quarterback hurries, per CFBStats.com, and two forced fumbles.
Mack isn't much of an asset in pass defense, but he could make an impact for Carolina as a physical two-down defender.
Chicago Bears: DT Trevon McSwain
While Duke isn't exactly known as an NFL factory, former Blue Devils defensive tackle Trevon McSwain has the goods to make an impact at the next level. The 6'6", 285-pound prospect racked up 34 tackles, seven tackles for loss and four sacks last season.
Possessing both good length and agility, McSwain should find a home as a versatile 3-technique or defensive end, depending on the alignment.
McSwain may have a tricky time cracking the Chicago Bears' 53-man roster. The Bears are loaded up front with Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols, Brent Urban and fifth-round pick Trevis Gipson.
McSwain's path to the NFL may come via the Chicago practice squad or with a different team this season.
Cincinnati Bengals: TE Mitchell Wilcox
Tight end Mitchell Wilcox wasn't the most productive tight end for South Florida last season, finishing with 28 receptions for 350 yards and five touchdowns. However, he possesses immense physical potential at 6'4" and 247 pounds, having run a 4.88-second 40-yard dash at the scouting combine.
Wilcox could become a difference-maker for the Cincinnati Bengals—if they are willing to take the time to develop him.
With Tyler Eifert gone, Cincinnati needs a potent pass-catching tight end. Wilcox could begin contributing as a red-zone target and has the ability to turn into a more consistent contributor as he adds polish to his game.
Cleveland Browns: CB A.J. Green
The Cleveland Browns have been burned by former Oklahoma State cornerbacks before. They used the eighth overall pick on Justin Gilbert back in 2014 and got a mere 39 tackles and one interception in return. However, they're buying much lower on A.J. Green.
Green is big (6'2", 198 lbs) and physical and could thrive in coordinator Joe Woods' zone-based defense. While Green has plenty of size, he's a tad on the slower side for a pure cornerback (4.62-second 40). Still, he has shown the ability to produce.
Last season, he logged five pass breakups, an interception and 39 solo tackles. Given Cleveland's need for depth behind starters Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams, Green should have a fair shot at making the regular-season roster.
Dallas Cowboys: DE Ladarius Hamilton
North Texas might not be a college football powerhouse, but former Mean Green defensive end Ladarius Hamilton was a powerhouse during the 2019 season. He appeared in 12 games and finished with 39 tackles, 8.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss.
The 6'3", 260-pound Hamilton has the combination of size and agility needed to be a developmental edge-rusher at the next level.
For the Dallas Cowboys, this could be huge. Dallas needs a replacement for Robert Quinn, who racked up 34 tackles, 11.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last season. The Cowboys did little to replace Quinn, aside from signing Aldon Smith, who was reinstated by the NFL in May after a suspension and hasn't played since 2015.
While it's too early to pencil in Hamilton as an edge-rusher opposite DeMarcus Lawrence, he should get a fair shot at sticking on the roster or the practice squad as a project.
Denver Broncos: CB Essang Bassey
While the 2020 draft class was deep at cornerback, it's hard to understand why former Wake Forest corner Essang Bassey was not picked. The 5'10", 190-pounder has 4.46 speed and was productive last season.
In 13 games, Bassey racked up 60 tackles, 11 passes defended and an interception. Impressively, 41 of his tackles were solo stops.
While the Denver Broncos aren't exactly aching for help in the secondary—they ranked 11th in passing yards allowed last season—Bassey has the physical tools and the experience to become an early contributor.
A three-year starter for the Demon Deacons, Bassey appeared in 52 games during his college career.
Detroit Lions: TE Hunter Bryant
The Detroit Lions used a first-round draft pick on former Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson last offseason, and presumably, Hockenson will be the team's starter moving forward. However, former Washington tight end and undrafted free agent Hunter Bryant might just carve out a role in Detroit.
Last season, Bryant caught 52 balls for 825 yards and three touchdowns, and he clocked a 4.74-second 40 at the scouting combine. While a bit undersized at 6'2" and 245 pounds, Bryant can still be a dangerous move tight end or oversized receiver at the next level.
Bryant's chance of sticking in Detroit could hinge on the camp production of 2019 free-agent addition Jesse James. The Lions signed James to a four-year, $22.6 million deal last year, but only $8.6 million of the remaining contract would be dead money, per Spotrac. That number drops to $4.3 million next offseason.
Bryant could stick in Detroit as James' eventual replacement. If he doesn't, another team is likely to snag him off the cut pile.
Green Bay Packers: CB Stanford Samuels
The Green Bay Packers weren't necessarily hurting for cornerbacks heading into the 2020 draft—they ranked a respectable 14th in passing yards allowed last season. However, former Florida State corner Stanford Samuels III should have a chance to make their 53-man roster.
At the very least, Samuels should crack the practice squad. The 6'1", 187-pounder has too much athletic upside and produced too much for Green Bay to let him walk away.
In 12 games for the Seminoles last season, Samuels produced 60 tackles, seven passes defended, two interceptions and 1.5 tackles for loss.
The son of former CFL standout Stanford Samuels, he has the upside to pique the Packers' interest as a project.
Houston Texans: OL Cordel Iwuagwu
Former TCU guard Cordel Iwuagwu didn't hear his name called during the draft, but he was a strong enough prospect that he did earn a combine invite. The 6'3", 309-pounder started all 12 games for the Horned Frogs in 2019.
Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller ranked Iwuagwu the 30th-best interior-line prospect in the 2020 draft class.
Iwuagwu won't have a shot at starting for the Houston Texans any time soon, as Houston has Zach Fulton and 2019 second-round pick Max Scharping at the position. However, he has the size and starting experience to stick as a rotational backup or to land with another team if Houston decides not to retain him.
Indianapolis Colts: WR DeMichael Harris
Former Southern Mississippi standout DeMichael Harris isn't what one would consider an archetypal receiver prospect. He's on the smaller end of the NFL spectrum at 5'8" and 178 pounds and was more of a utility player than a wideout in college.
In 2019, Harris produced 541 rushing yards, 346 receiving yards, 282 kick-return yards and nine touchdowns.
However, this versatility can be a major asset at the pro level. The quick and shifty Swiss army knife can find a role as a runner, receiver or special teams contributor. For the Indianapolis Colts, he might even become one of new quarterback Philip Rivers' preferred targets.
The only established wideout on the roster is T.Y. Hilton. Rookie Michael Pittman Jr. and second-year man Parris Campbell are likely to compete for the No. 2 receiver role, and the depth is questionable after that.
As a slot receiver and gadget player, Harris could do damage in Frank Reich's offense.
Jacksonville Jaguars: S J.R. Reed
Generally, prolific defenders for the Georgia Bulldogs receive more draft attention than safety J.R. Reed got this offseason. Despite being a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award and the Jim Thorpe Award, the 6'1", 202-pound Reed slipped through the proverbial draft cracks.
The Jacksonville Jaguars shouldn't have much trouble figuring out how to capitalize. Reed is a proven playmaker who can help bolster a secondary that has lost cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye since the middle of last season.
In 13 games last year, Reed racked up an impressive 54 tackles, two tackles for loss, seven passes defended, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown.
Kansas City Chiefs: WR Kalija Lipscomb
As if the Kansas City Chiefs needed more firepower in their passing game. The reigning Super Bowl champions may have landed an undrafted steal by scooping up former Vanderbilt wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb.
Though Lipscomb didn't produce eye-popping statistics last season—he had 46 receptions for 505 yards and three scores—he had 916 receiving yards and nine touchdowns two seasons ago. With a 6'0", 207-pound frame and 4.57 speed, Lipscomb has the physical traits needed to catch on as a reserve.
A reliable possession receiver with some after-the-catch ability, Lipscomb could emerge as a sneaky underneath target for Patrick Mahomes in four- and five-receiver sets.
If the Chiefs don't keep Lipscomb on their active roster, there's a good chance a team with less depth will target him off the practice squad or cut pile.
Las Vegas Raiders: LB Javin White
If linebacker Javin White sticks with the Las Vegas Raiders, it will make for a story almost too unbelievable. The Oakland native played his college ball at the University of Las Vegas, and now he has a chance to play for his hometown-turned-college town team.
However, White can be more than just a feel-good story. The former receiver and defensive back is more than capable in coverage at the second level, a trait Las Vegas was clearly interested in.
"The Raiders were blowing me up throughout the draft," White told Fox5 Las Vegas. "I felt like they were really on me the whole time."
In 12 games last season, the 6'2", 211-pound White amassed 79 tackles, 11 passes defended, 1.5 sacks and three interceptions.
Los Angeles Chargers: LB Asmar Bilal
Former Notre Dame linebacker Asmar Bilal possesses the playing experience, the production and the big-program pedigree of a player who should have been picked in the first seven rounds of the draft. Bilal appeared in at least 12 games in all four of his collegiate seasons and finished 2019 with 79 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and two passes defended.
Yet Bilal didn't hear his name called until the Los Angeles Chargers rang to offer him an undrafted free-agent contract.
The 6'2", 230-pound linebacker should have a chance to make the regular-season roster as an early-down defender and special teams contributor. If he doesn't stick with the Chargers, other teams in need of a run-support backer will likely come calling.
Los Angeles Rams: WR Easop Winston Jr.
The Los Angeles Rams traded standout wide receiver Brandin Cooks this offseason, and while undrafted Washington State wideout Easop Winston Jr. isn't going to replace Cooks, he can help reload the receiving corps.
The 6'0", 192-pounder hauled in 85 passes for 970 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. According to Pro Football Focus' Mike Renner, he ranked third among all college receivers in yards per route against man coverage. Only Tee Higgins and Laviska Shenault Jr. ranked higher.
This suggests Winston should be more than capable of beating man-cover corners on the second level. That should benefit him greatly in Sean McVay's offense, which relies heavily on spacing and creating mismatches.
Miami Dolphins: DT Benito Jones
Former Mississippi defensive tackle Benito Jones might not have landed in an ideal situation with the Miami Dolphins. He'll have to compete with Christian Wilkins, Davon Godchaux and rookie second-rounder Raekwon Davis for playing time.
However, if Jones can't make Miami's 53-man roster, some other team is going to scoop him up.
Jones, who amassed 30 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss in 2019, should have been one of the 255 players selected in the 2020 draft. In addition to producing, Jones possesses intriguing size at 6'1" and 316 pounds.
Defensive tackles who can penetrate are always at a premium, and if Jones doesn't make a roster as a rookie, it will be a surprise.
Minnesota Vikings: CB Nevelle Clarke
After parting with cornerbacks Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander and Xavier Rhodes this offseason, the Minnesota Vikings should feel fortunate to have landed Central Florida's Nevelle Clarke after the draft.
While Clarke isn't going to replace an established starter such as Rhodes, he does possess an enticing combination of size (6'1", 190 lbs) and ball skills. He had 11 passes defended to go with two interceptions and 22 tackles in 2019.
Though Clarke didn't face the toughest of competition in college, he showed enough to warrant being selected during the seven-round process. Though he wasn't, he should have a solid shot at making a roster or practice squad as a rookie.
New England Patriots: DE Nick Coe
While the New England Patriots don't have the best early-round draft history, they do seem to have a habit of finding talent other teams miss. This may be the case with former Auburn defensive tackle Nick Coe.
Coe certainly had the production and the program pedigree of a draftable prospect—though one has to look to 2018 to find it. Coe was less impressive last season, amassing just 15 tackles before forgoing the Outback Bowl.
In 2018, however, Coe racked up 27 tackles, 7.0 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in 11 games. This is likely the year's worth of tape Bill Belichick focused on before snapping up Coe after the draft.
Though the 6'5", 291-pound Coe may be a long shot to make the roster, he has intriguing potential as an edge-rushing defensive end.
New Orleans Saints: OL Calvin Throckmorton
Physically, former Oregon offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton isn't the most impressive player. He disappointed at the scouting combine with a 5.57-second 40-yard dash at 6'5" and 317 pounds. By comparison, Louisville's Mekhi Becton ran a 5.10-second 40 at 364 pounds.
Of course, there's more to being an offensive lineman than physical potential, and Throckmorton possesses several desirable traits. For starters, he is a four-year player who started at every position along Oregon's line.
Though both strong and physical, Throckmorton may have to be an effort player at the next level because of his lack of elite athleticism. However, he's versatile and experienced enough to be a depth piece for the New Orleans Saints or any other team looking for a backup lineman.
New York Giants: WR Austin Mack
Austin Mack might not have been the most prolific receiver during his time at Ohio State, but he did show some flashes of what he can be at the next level. Through four seasons, he caught 79 passes for 1,050 yards and six touchdowns while also spending time on special teams.
Last season, Mack caught 27 passes for 361 yards and an impressive 13.4 yards-per-catch average.
It's this downfield ability—along with tremendous size at 6'2" and 215 pounds—that makes Mack an intriguing prospect.
But Mack is looking up at a depth chart that features Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Corey Coleman. While Mack has the physical attributes needed to play in the NFL, he may have to begin his career on the practice squad or with a more receiver-needy franchise.
New York Jets: CB Lamar Jackson
The New York Jets finished a respectable 17th in passing yards allowed last season. However, after parting with cornerbacks Darryl Roberts and Trumaine Johnson, they could use some retooling at the position.
The Jets snapped up former Nebraska corner Lamar Jackson after the draft.
This was a somewhat surprising development, as Jackson both played for a big-time college program and had a productive 2019 season—he finished with 40 tackles, a sack, 12 passes defended and three interceptions.
At 6'2" and 208 pounds, Jackson can be the sort of big, physical press corner Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams loves to employ on the perimeter. Don't be shocked if he gets playing time as a rookie.
Philadelphia Eagles: DT Raequan Williams
The Philadelphia Eagles may have lucked out when former Michigan State defensive end Raequan Williams fell to them outside of the draft. The 6'4", 305-pound Williams has the size of a more traditional down lineman, but he has shown the sort of penetration power that teams covet at the position.
In 2019, Williams had 48 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and two passes defended. Williams also proved durable, starting 42 consecutive games.
The Eagles were impressed enough by Williams to offer him $100,000 guaranteed, per Spotrac.
If Williams doesn't crack the 53-man roster, he will have a good chance of landing elsewhere.
Pittsburgh Steelers: DT Josiah Coatney
Despite playing for a Power Five program at Mississippi and having an impressive 2019 campaign—46 tackles, 2.0 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss—defensive tackle Josiah Coatney did not hear his name called in April.
Coatney did land with the Pittsburgh Steelers, however, which gives him a prime opportunity to carve out a role with a playoff-caliber defense.
At 6'4" and 325 pounds, Coatney has the size needed to play the nose tackle role in Pittsburgh's 3-4 base defense. The Steelers added former Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Chris Wormley to help fill that position, but Coatney is more physically suited to be a nose guard than the 6'5", 300-pound Wormley.
If Pittsburgh doesn't carry Coatney into the regular season, other teams looking for a traditional nose tackle should be interested.
San Francisco 49ers: RB Salvon Ahmed
Size counts for a lot in the NFL, and it may be why former Washington running back Salvon Ahmed fell out of the 2020 draft. At 5'11" and 197 pounds, Ahmed isn't exactly tiny, but most teams likely viewed him as an undersized back.
However, falling out of the draft may have been a disguised blessing for Ahmed. He landed with the San Francisco 49ers, who have a history of using multiple backs under head coach Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers do have Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon, but they traded Matt Breida in the offseason, which could open the door for Ahmed.
Ahmed has proved he can produce when given the opportunity. Last season, he amassed 1,020 yards and 11 touchdowns on 188 carries while adding 16 receptions for another 84 yards.
Seattle Seahawks: QB Anthony Gordon
Former Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon isn't likely to get a crack at the Seattle Seahawks' starting job anytime soon. However, the prolific successor to Gardner Minshew II could become a long-term backup to Russell Wilson.
Last season, Gordon took over for Minshew and continued the tradition of big passing production under Mike Leach. In his lone season as a starter, Gordon threw for 5,579 yards and 48 touchdowns with 16 interceptions.
Like Minshew, Gordon is slightly undersized at 6'2" and 201 pounds. However, Seattle has plenty of experience working with an undersized quarterback in Wilson.
With young, talented—and cheap—signal-callers always in demand, Gordon should find a home with the Seahawks, their practice squad or another team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: LB Michael Divinity
Despite playing for a championship defense at LSU, linebacker Michael Divinity fell out of the draft. This is largely because injuries and a violation of team rules limited him to just six games last season.
In 2018, Divinity produced 54 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown. If he'd had similar numbers in 2019, there's certainly no way the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have landed him as an undrafted free agent.
At 6'2" and 242 pounds, Divinity has adequate size for the position, though he may not be as efficient an edge-rusher as he was for the Tigers.
Still, Divinity has a prime opportunity to bolster a defense that ranked just 29th in points allowed last season.
Tennessee Titans: DT Kobe Smith
Though they didn't use a draft pick on former South Carolina defensive tackle Kobe Smith, the Tennessee Titans were interested in him heading into draft weekend.
"They were actually one of the first teams that made contact with me," Smith said, per Justin Melo of Music City Miracles. "... I would say that they recruited me pretty heavily throughout the process."
The Titans lucked out and landed the hulking 6'2", 312-pound run-stuffer as an undrafted free agent.
While Smith may not be a replacement for departed defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, he has the physical tools and the production to suggest he can be a notable piece of the rotation.
Smith racked up 28 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss in 2019 and had 67 tackles over the past two seasons.
Washington Football Team: TE Thaddeus Moss
Former LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss is more than just the son of Hall of Fame wideout Randy Moss—though you can bet NFL announcers will regurgitate that fact for the foreseeable future. Moss is a dangerous pass-catcher who has landed in a good spot with the tight end-starved Washington Football Team.
Washington parted with Jordan Reed in the offseason and lost Vernon Davis to retirement.
There's a real chance the 6'3", 249-pound Moss could push for a prominent role as a rookie. He proved to be productive last season, hauling in 47 balls for 570 yards and four touchdowns.
According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, a foot fracture was discovered during Moss' combine physical. This may be the only reason why Moss fell out of the seven-round draft and into the waiting arms of Washington.