Undrafted Rookies Who Could Make the Most Noise This Summer

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2021

Undrafted Rookies Who Could Make the Most Noise This Summer

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    It could be quite the noisy summer for undrafted free agents in the NFL. 

    Taking into account another unorthodox predraft process (including the complete lack of a scouting combine), opt-outs, different draft-prep approaches for each prospect and typical factors like bad college teams, level of competition and injuries, some unheralded players have a propensity to surprise under the circumstances. 

    The undrafted players capable of making the most noise are at least somewhat recognizable names whose stock fell for one reason or another. They landed in good pro spots that will enable them to show off their talent on depth charts ripe for an unexpected riser to steal snaps during the regular season. 

    These are the undrafted players to know as June begins and training camp is fast approaching.

Marvin Wilson, DT, Cleveland Browns

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    Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

    Sometimes, it's easy to tell which undrafted players will have big impacts based on the size of the signing bonus. 

    Marvin Wilson, for example, got a $30,000 signing bonus and $162,000 in guaranteed salary, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. 

    Wilson wasn't an unknown before the draft, though. The former Florida State star regressed in 2020 over six games but for his career put up 109 total tackles, 15 for loss, 9.5 sacks, five passes defended and two forced fumbles. 

    Now, Wilson joins a Browns interior defensive line that lost Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi this offseason. It's clear Cleveland had to win a bidding war to get him, and he's got the talent to excel early, so it won't be a shock to eventually see him on the final 53.

Kenny Yeboah, TE, New York Jets

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    Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

    Kenny Yeboah didn't put up big numbers in college, which might explain his drop out of the draft. 

    Still, the Ole Miss product is an interesting "move" tight end prospect who can work all over the formation and create mismatches with his 6'4", 250-pound frame. Suiting up for two schools over five seasons, Yeboah produced 1,062 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 14.4 yards per catch. 

    The New York Jets rolled the dice on Yeboah for good reason. Chris Herndon has a grasp on the starting role, but there isn't much else to speak of behind him on the depth chart as the team gets ready to trot out first-rounder Zach Wilson under center. 

    While Yeboah isn't much of a blocker, which could limit his usage, he is great at contested catches and using his catch radius to his advantage—perfect for big training camp highlights and carving out a role in the base offense, too.

Pooka Williams Jr., RB, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Matthew Putney/Associated Press

    The Cincinnati Bengals have a loaded depth chart at running back even after the release of Giovani Bernard thanks to Joe Mixon, Samaje Perine, Trayveon Williams and 2021 draft selection Chris Evans. 

    But the fact that the Bengals added Anthony "Pooka" Williams in free agency might be a big hint. 

    Williams was the top offensive weapon for the Kansas offense since 2018, and over 26 games he put up 2,382 rushing yards (5.7 yards per carry) with 12 scores, plus 66 catches as a receiver. He regressed statistically in 2020 before opting out, though, which potentially played a role in his draft slide.

    While Williams is only 5'9" and 175 pounds, he's a prototypical modern back who seemed to simply lose the numbers game at a devalued position on draft day. Williams, almost identical to Bernard, looks like the perfect replacement for him as a rotational presence alongside Mixon once his talent flashes in camp.

Dylan Moses, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Dylan Moses is one of the most recognizable names here because he spent his college days putting up numbers in the nationally televised SEC for the Alabama Crimson Tide. 

    As expected of former Alabama 'backers who were key cogs in their defensive units, Moses does everything pretty well. His mobility allows him to go north-south versus the run or sideline to sideline to limit an offense. 

    That skill set helped him tally 192 total tackles, 21.5 for loss, six sacks, two interceptions, four passes defended and three forced fumbles over 35 games while in Tuscaloosa. 

    The injury bug, including an ACL tear that derailed his 2019 season before it even started, pushed Moses to the realm of the undrafted. But now, he's part of one of the NFL's most comprehensive rebuilds where anything goes once the competitions begin. Moses' sheer productivity and pro-ready play should have him rising up the depth chart quickly.

Shakur Brown, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Michigan State cornerback Shakur Brown is one of the most shocking names to fall out of the draft. 

    In the eyes of talent evaluators, Brown seemed destined to come off the board on Day 2 and potentially fight for a starting role. 

    After all, Brown intercepted five passes over seven games last year and Pro Football Focus gave him an 84.2 coverage grade, highest in the Big Ten. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein tabbed Brown as a fourth-round pick, though size came up as a talking point that might limit his potential destinations. 

    5'10" and 185 pounds are nothing to sneeze at for a corner, but those measurables might limit Brown to the slot, making him a good fit for the Steelers. Pittsburgh just lost one of the NFL's most underrated slot guys to free agency in Mike Hilton on top of cutting Steven Nelson. 

    Given the need and Brown's ball-hawking tendencies, headlines speculating about him starting as a rookie could start flying right after camp opens.

Tamorrion Terry, WR, Seattle Seahawks

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    Mark Wallheiser/Associated Press

    The Seattle Seahawks appeared to get one of undrafted free agency's biggest steals in Florida State wideout Tamorrion Terry. 

    Terry regressed hard last year statistically while appearing in just six games compared to 25 over the prior two seasons. That hardly seemed like a good enough reason for him to be passed over by all 32 teams considering he produced 2,221 yards (18.8 yards per catch) in three collegiate seasons. 

    Simply put, Terry is a big-play machine who averaged 21.3 and 19.8 yards per catch in each of his first two seasons. His 6'3", 207-pound frame with a huge catch radius should have him making big plays in camp, even over seasoned veterans. 

    Obviously, Terry is a long way from cracking the top of the depth chart next to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but he's got the talent and sub-package usefulness to quickly ascend. Be on the lookout for some viral moments from Terry this summer.

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