Best Undrafted Free Agent Fits
Not everyone can get drafted, but plenty of undrafted players have made careers in the league. Here are a few that I think best fit the teams they signed with after the draft.
Beau Benzschawel G Wisconsin-Lions
Detroit has a hole at right guard, after releasing TJ Lang in March. They did not draft one, and they did sign Oday Aboushi in free agency with options on the roster (Kenny Wiggins, Joe Dahl, Tyrell Crosby), but it is basically an open competition to replace Lang. Benzschawel was expected to be drafted between rounds 2 and 5 and had offers from over 20 teams before choosing the Lions. He’s a better run than pass blocker, but he definitely warranted being a draft selection. Detroit should be thrilled to have him.
2. Derrek Thomas CB Baylor- Seahawks
Seattle likes long corners, and at 6’3″ Thomas is exactly that. He’s got long arms and a good vertical jump and speed, but needs to get stronger. He’ll get beat in coverage sometimes but limits the damage and doesn’t miss many tackles. Pete Carroll and his staff are also great at developing undrafted players, like Doug Baldwin and Michael Bennett. That list also includes a corner in DeShawn Shead, who became a starter and had his best seasons in Seattle. Other than Tre Flowers and Shaquille Griffin, they don’t have much corner depth, so Thomas is someone I can see the Seahawks easily developing.
3. LJ Scott RB Michigan St- Ravens
Scott had an up-and-down career for the Spartans. In his freshman year, he looked like a future star and scored one of the most legendary touchdowns in program history. He ran for just under 1000 yards the following season, and topped 800 rushing yard in his junior year. He also averaged 4.8 yards per carry for his college career. Spartan fans were ecstatic he came back for his senior season, but it was a season to forget for Scott (He was limited to just 3 games because of injury). It’s a bit of a crowded backfield in Baltimore, but Scott runs the way the best Ravens backs have run: tough and strong. He’s big but has the ability to catch ball out of the backfield and make people miss, and he can pass protect.
4. Felton Davis WR Michigan St- Chiefs
Davis burst on the scene in 2017 after a 55 catch 776 yard 9 TD season. He would’ve been a Day 2 pick if he had not suffered an Achilles injury in the second quarter against Michigan, a week after a huge 100 yard 2 touchdown receiving day against Penn St. He missed the rest of the season, and the offense clearly missed him, scoring in double digits just TWICE in the their last 7 games. He played just 6 games, but had 474 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. For the Chiefs, he brings a big-bodied (6’3″ 212) receiver who can go get the ball and has an underappreciated physicality. Those are elements Kansas City has only really had in their tight ends, so he’s a great fit for Mahomes and this offense. He should have a chance to make the roster, depending on how he’s been recovering from the injury.
5. Devine Ozigbo RB Nebraska- Saints
New Orleans lost their power back Mark Ingram to Baltimore, and he was a perfect complement to Alvin Kamara. They signed Latavius Murray to fill that role, but the rest of their running backs are not very impressive (and Murray is close to that dreaded age (30) for running backs. At 235 lbs, Ozigbo is absolutely a power back. He wasn’t used very often his first 3 years, but he exploded for 1082 yards and 12 touchdowns his senior year, averaging 7 yards per carry. That’s the kind of running back teams need for goal-line situations and to wear down on opposing defenses.
6. Evan Worthington S Colorado- Ravens
I like watching Worthington play. He’s got great size, athleticism, and ball skills. He can mostly play that “center-field” free safety but can support the run defense enough when needed. He needs use his size to be more physical. Baltimore’s defense always has a big, physical safety who isn’t afraid to light you up. Earl Thomas is going to be that guy for a few years, and a guy like that is a perfect player for Worthington to learn from. He can be a hidden gem with the right development. I think Baltimore is a wonderful spot for him.
7. Dax Raymond TE Utah St- Bears
I fully expected Raymond to be drafted at some point in the middle rounds. He was one of my favorite tight ends in this class. He has ideal size for an NFL tight end, makes plays in the passing game with sure hands, and is a good enough blocker. One reason he wasn’t drafted may be that he is older than most other prospects (24). He reminds me of former Bears tight end Zach Miller,who had almost identical size and testing numbers. I believe that is what his ceiling can be, which would be phenomenal for Matt Nagy’s offense. There aren’t many tight ends on the roster, so he should get his shot.