With skill players taking a back seat to this year’s NFL draft, many top ones dominated as undrafted NFL offensive free agents. How they are going to do is another question but history suggests there’s hope.
There were also some undrafted free agent defensive players that will also still get a chance.
Take a look at some top ones.
DT Kwame Geathers (Georgia): Geathers comes with good bloodlines as his father, uncle and two brothers all played in the league. He came up short in his production last season and he faces challenges with technique. But on the plus side, he’s talented and trainable. Geathers can come up to speed with a team willing to work with him. He probably could have benefited from his final year in school instead, he’s a work in progress. This team should be happy to help.
Team: San Diego Chargers
OLB Chase Thomas (Stanford): Thomas was considered a top, productive pass rusher last season in the NCAA ranks and his undrafted free agent status surprised many. From his 47 Stanford starts, he amassed 229 tackles, 27 1/2 sacks, 50 1/2 stops for a loss, two interceptions, nine forced fumbles with four fumble recoveries. His physical size may be a little unusual for a top pass rusher (6’3″,244) , but he’s smart, versatile and hardworking. After playing the 3-4 at Stanford, he should fit in nicely with the Saints new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s same defense.
Team: New Orleans Saints
LB Lerentee McCray (Florida): In his senior year, McCray had 25 tackles with 4.5 TFL (3.0 sacks), one interception with one fumble recovery in his 11 starts. But this came as a defensive end at Florida and now he’ll have a learning curve as he moves to outside linebacker. McCray is fast and fortunately for him, his new team won’t need his services immediately so he can take his time He brings a good reputation to the league as the No. 2 overall pick, Luke Joeckel, had said McCray was the “toughest player” he blocked in 2012.
Team: Denver Broncos
S Tony Jefferson (Oklahoma): Jefferson’s fall to undrafted free agent status shocked Sooners Nation after his career at Oklahoma. He started a promising freshman player but by his third year, he was battling injuries. He left school early for the NFL and by February, he brought expectations as the top 5 safety in the draft. Then he had a disappointing combine performance. He is a versatile player and if he matures, stays healthy and invokes some discipline, he should be a good contributor to his NFL team.
Team: Arizona Cardinals