Undrafted NFL Free Agents 2021: Latest Details on the Biggest SigningsMay 1, 2021
NFL history is littered with players who have dominated the league despite entering the pros as undrafted free agents.
Examples over the last few decades include quarterbacks Warren Moon, Tony Romo and Kurt Warner, linebackers James Harrison and London Fletcher, wide receivers Rod Smith and Wes Welker, running back Priest Holmes, tight end Antonio Gates and defensive tackle John Randle.
With the NFL draft now complete, all 32 teams are clamoring to sign undrafted free agents in hopes of finding the next diamonds in the rough.
Here's a look at some notable names from this year and where they've landed.
Florida State DT Marvin Wilson: Cleveland Browns
Florida State defensive tackle Marvin Wilson signed a deal with the Cleveland Browns that includes $162,000 in guaranteed base salary and a $30,000 signing bonus, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
Cleveland reportedly won a "swift bidding war" for Wilson, who was ranked No. 74 overall on the B/R NFL Scouting Department's big board.
Florida State WR Tamorrion Terry: Seattle Seahawks
Pelissero reported news on another Seminoles player, as wideout Tamorrion Terry is headed to the Pacific Northwest to play for the Seattle Seahawks.
Terry had 23 catches for 289 yards and a touchdown in six games for Florida State last year. The 6'3", 207-pound wideout could provide quarterback Russell Wilson with another big-bodied target in Seattle.
Michigan State CB Shakur Brown: Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have landed Michigan State cornerback Shakur Brown as a UDFA, per Pelissero.
Brown had five interceptions in 2020 en route to being named a first-team All-Big Ten member. He was given a Round 4 projection by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, who compared him to ex-cornerback and three-time Pro Bowler Aaron Glenn.
Buffalo RB Jaret Patterson: Washington Football Team
One of the most productive running backs in college football history is headed to the Washington Football Team, per Ryan Fowler of the Draft Network.
Jaret Patterson, who had 19 touchdowns in just six games last year, is joining a WFT backfield that also includes Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. The ex-Buffalo star notably had eight scores and 409 rushing yards against Kent State last year. He finished his career with 53 touchdowns in three seasons.
Wake Forest WR Sage Surratt: Detroit Lions
Wake Forest wide receiver Sage Surratt surprisingly went undrafted, but he's found a new home with the Detroit Lions, per Chris Burke of The Athletic.
Surratt opted out of the 2020 NFL season, one year after posting 66 catches for 1,001 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 6'2½" Surratt joins a tall wideout crew in Detroit that already includes a bunch of players at 6'1" or higher, including 6'4" Tyrell Williams, 6'2" Breshad Perriman and 6'1" Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Kansas RB Pooka Williams Jr.: Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals added some backfield depth by signing Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. as a UDFA, according to Pelissero.
Williams had 2,916 total yards and 16 touchdowns in 26 games over three seasons for the Jayhawks. The pass-catching threat also had 66 receptions for 534 yards and four scores. He's a candidate to slide in behind starter Joe Mixon and backup Samaje Perine for the third running back spot.
Alabama LB Dylan Moses: Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars landed one of the best UDFA available by agreeing to terms with Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses, per Pelissero.
Moses, who is rehabbing a knee injury, will start the year on the non-football injury (NFI) list. He had 76 tackles last year for the undefeated Crimson Tide, which won the national championship.
No undrafted player ranked higher on the B/R NFL Scouting Dept. big board than Moses, who landed at No. 73.
Arkansas QB Feleipe Franks: Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons have signed Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks as an undrafted free agent, per Pelissero, who relayed the news from Franks' representation at OSMG.
Franks completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 17 touchdowns (four interceptions) and 8.9 yards per attempt. He's a candidate to back up starting quarterback Matt Ryan, who lost his No. 1 understudy Matt Schaub to retirement.
Louisville RB Javian Hawkins: Atlanta Falcons
Louisville running back Javian Hawkins is an Atlanta Falcon after signing as an undrafted free agent, according to Pelissero.
The Falcons' running back room could use some reinforcements with Todd Gurley and Brian Hill no longer in town. Mike Davis is the starter, and Qadree Ollison is the current backup.
Hawkins could enter the conversation to potentially back up Davis, however, after an impressive collegiate career. He had 2,544 total yards and seven touchdowns on 420 touches at Louisville.
Texas Tech WR T.J. Vasher: Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys kept a talented collegiate prospect in-state by signing Texas Tech wideout T.J. Vasher, per Pelissero.
Vasher is a developmental prospect who doesn't have much collegiate production, but the potential is clearly there. At 6'6", he's a big-bodied target who can be a quarterback's best friend. Vasher could find himself on the practice squad in Dallas, which already has a loaded pass-catching group led by Amari Cooper.
South Dakota State WR Cade Johnson: Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks keep adding rookie wide receivers, and South Dakota State wideout Cade Johnson is now in the mix, per Pelissero.
Johnson had 72 catches for 1,222 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019 for the Jackrabbits, who did not have a fall 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He's an exciting talent who could find his way onto the Seahawks' active roster.
Ole Miss TE Kenny Yeboah: New York Jets
The New York Jets added some competition at tight end by bringing in Ole Miss' Kenny Yeboah, per Pelissero.
Yeboah agreed to a $180,000 base salary and a $20,000 signing bonus. He's a big-play threat, amassing 27 catches for 524 yards (19.4 yards per carry) and six touchdowns.
Yeboah played four seasons at Temple before transferring to Ole Miss. He'll be competing with Chris Herndon and Ryan Griffin for snaps in New York.
SMU QB Shane Buechele: Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs certainly aren't looking for a QB1 with Patrick Mahomes calling signals, but they've added some depth at the position by signing SMU quarterback Shane Buechele, per Pelissero.
The highly productive signal-caller threw for 57 touchdowns in 23 games over the past two years.
The backup spot is currently occupied by veteran Chad Henne, but it's certainly possible Buechele could work his way up to a QB2 role in the future.
USC WR Tyler Vaughns: Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts signed an intriguing prospect in USC wide receiver Tyler Vaughns, per NFL reporter Aaron Wilson.
Vaughns had 33 catches for 406 yards and three touchdowns in 2020. The year prior, Vaughns amassed 74 receptions for 912 yards and six scores.
The 6'2" Vaughns was described as a "steady" receiver (albeit an unexplosive one) by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. He was very consistent at USC, though, which could help him make the Colts roster.
Ohio State LB Justin Hilliard: San Francisco 49ers
Ohio State linebacker Justin Hilliard did not get drafted despite an impressive finishing kick to his collegiate career, but Albert Breer of The MMQB reported he landed with the San Francisco 49ers.
Hilliard arrived at Ohio State in 2015 and was at his best during the end of the 2020 campaign.
He had nine tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery during the victory over Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game and eight tackles and another fumble recovery in the College Football Playoff win over Clemson.
Wake Forest/Georgia QB Jamie Newman: Philadelphia Eagles
While Jamie Newman was not among the quarterbacks who were drafted, the Philadelphia Eagles are bringing him in, per Pelissero.
Newman threw for 2,868 yards and 26 touchdowns while adding 574 yards and six scores on the ground in 2019 at Wake Forest. He then transferred to Georgia and appeared primed to compete for the starting job only to opt out of the 2020 campaign amid the COVID-19 pandemic.