Best NFL Undrafted Free Agent Signings Thus Far

There is no question the NFL draft is important but undrafted free agency is becoming just crucial.  Who are some gems teams have uncovered?

Baltimore Ravens – James Hurst – OT – North Carolina

Ozzie Newsome always finds a way to meet his team needs regardless of when and the offensive line issues for the Baltimore Ravens got some help with the addition of James Hurst.  He played left tackle at North Carolina, is a good run blocker and shows the smarts to pick up blitzes and the nastiness for the pros.

Chicago Bears – Christian Jones – LB – Florida State

The arrival of Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch got the headlines but Christian Jones might be the steal of UDFA for the Chicago Bears.  Pegged as a 2nd to 4th round pick, he is a freak athlete with proven production at Florida State and initially planned to sign in Jacksonville before Chicago swooped in.  Loads of starter potential.

Dallas Cowboys – L’Damian Washington – WR – Missouri

Jerry Jones loves his wide receivers and there is no question Missouri standout L’Damian Washington bears watching.  He stands a rangy 6’4″ and showed off blazing speed at school and the scouting combine.  His technique is still very raw but if he can be brought along Tony Romo has another quality target in the making.

Green Bay Packers – Rajion Neal – RB – Tennessee

I’m not sure why he wasn’t drafted but Rajion Neal is going to succeed in the NFL.  He has the ideal body for it at 5’11″, 220 lbs with the instincts and feet to find and hit the hole.  The Green Bay Packers will love his ability to pass protect and catch passes out of the backfield.

Houston Texans – Anthony Denham – TE – Utah                                            

That “tweener” label between wide receiver and tight end probably hurt him but Anthony Denham has excellent potential.  He’s 6’4″ with 33 inch arms and big hands.  While not fast he can become a great target on money downs and in the red zone for the Houston Texans.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Craig Loston – SS – LSU

This team arguably had the best NFL draft and undrafted free agency as well.  Among their haul was LSU safety Craig Loston.  Many, including myself had him going in the 4th round.  Though not premier athlete he’s big, physical and a terrific leader on the back end.  The Jacksonville Jaguars can find a home for him.

Minnesota Vikings – Antonio Richardson – OT – Tennessee

Considered a third round pick going into the draft, something must have happened to cause Antonio Richardson to fall so far but the Tennessee tackle is a proven blocker with great size, strength and heavy hands to wall off pass rushers.  The Minnesota Vikings might find a home for him at guard.

New Orleans Saints – Brandon Coleman – WR – Rutgers

I for one was concerned the New Orleans Saints favored speed at wide receiver in the draft considering it was a lack of size that really hurt them against Seattle in the playoffs.  Then they went ahead and signed Rutgers monstrosity Brandon Coleman who stands every bit of 6’6″.  Very raw but loads of potential for Sean Payton to mold.

Oakland Raiders – Shayne Skov – LB – Stanford

Nick Roach wasn’t a world beated at middle linebacker last season so the Oakland Raiders knew they wanted to bring in competition.  To get Shayne Skov who commanded the Stanford defense and has playmaking ability as an undrafted free agent could be a steal for the Silver and Black.

(Update:  After initial reports the Raiders signed him, Skov tweeted he is in fact joining the San Francisco 49ers)

Pittsburgh Steelers – Howard Jones – LB – Shepherd

Another small school standout many thought did enough at the scouting combine to get draft.  Howard Jones has that look of a pass rushing 3-4 linebacker with really good athleticism.  It’s only fitting that he ends up with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Seattle Seahawks – Jackson Jeffcoat – DE – Texas

Few teams value undrafted free agents more than the Seattle Seahawks and they may have struck again on that front when they nabbed Jackson Jeffcoat out of Texas.  He doesn’t have a definitive position at defensive end or linebacker yet, but he has pass rush potential Pete Carroll can certainly put to good use.

Tennessee Titans – James Gayle – DE – Virginia Tech

Pass rushers were something the Tennessee Titans knew they needed this NFL season.  James Gayle up until recently was a solid prospect with 3rd to 4th round grades.  He has the explosion and motor of a pass rusher.  His height-weight-speed numbers are excellent.  Landing him as a free agent could prove fruitful right away.

Washington Redskins – Cody Hoffman – WR – BYU

One thing that has been missing from the Washington Redskins passing offense is size.  Not many people talked about Cody Hoffman out of BYU but the 6’4″ kid has an outstanding catch radius and proved at school he can get open, make the hard catches and also finds a way to be productive even when hurt.

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens Chicago Bears Dallas Cowboys Green Bay Packers Houston Texans Jacksonville Jaguars Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints NFL Oakland Raiders Pittsburgh Steelers Seattle Seahawks Tennessee Titans Washington Redskins

  • Otis60

    Shane Skov will not only make the team, he’ll be the Raiders starting MLB by mid-season. If not for injury concerns, he’d have been a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Great instincts and plays his best in the biggest games.

    • Erik Lambert

      You might be right, Otis. The kid is already a leader. If he’s fully healed from that knee injury he might be their solution in the middle.

      • KTDMM

        Skov going to 49ers

        • Erik Lambert

          Wow. Guess he changed his mind.

  • Gioscianna

    Christian Jones is a player I hopes the Bears drafted when he was available in the later rounds so the fact that we got him as a UDFA is incredible! Great athlete that’ll have a chip on his shoulder. Bear Down!

    • Erik Lambert

      After the 4th round when I saw him still on the board I was begging the Bears to take him if he was there. I got really upset when they didn’t. The fact they got him at such a ridiculously cheap price and with loads to prove is all bonus money at this point. Reggie Herring is going to turn him into a playmaker.

  • bigninaross

    He tweeted he’s going to the niners

    • Erik Lambert

      Yeah, I just got that news.

  • Jim Cogar

    Although I love Chandler Jones, WR, San Jose State, he’s a very slight slot receiver. The Browns already have a slew of them. Since they knew going into the draft that moron extraordinaire WR Josh Gordon has a good chance of being suspended a full season, I’m shocked that, number one, they didn’t draft a Donte Moncrief or another big, fast receiver, but failed to do so in FA with L’Damien Washington & Brandon Coleman still up for grabs. Maybe they want to have a bunch of small, quick receivers with their new offense. I do know that after bringing in two 5-9, 225 lb. running backs, they are going to play smash mouth football. Just hope Ray Farmer knows what he’s doing with the receivers.

    • Erik Lambert

      He firmly believes there’s plenty of chances to get receiver help. He’s not totally wrong. Roster cuts and waiver wire options are still to come and they can always execute some trade possibilities.

  • Panther Hines

    Not high on Corey Brown to the Panthers?

    • Erik Lambert

      Not particularly. There really isn’t anything that gets me excited about him. To be honest I’m more intrigued by their signing of Marcus Lucas from Missouri.

  • John Cornelius Cohen

    I am so excited about the Christian Jones signing! I believe he will be a starter one day and a good one! I am so glad the Bears signed him.

    • Erik Lambert

      You’re not alone, John. I hoped the Bears would draft him so to get him as a free agent is a steal. If he plays up to his ability, which is extensive they have a future starter on their hands.

  • David Hofstedt

    I’d include Adrian Hubbard in this group as well, signed by the Green Bay Packers. Hubbard was considered a solid 3rd or 4th round pick but had a medical issue with a enlarged heart. He was cleared by his Doctors late and the Paperwork didn’t make it to all the teams. He passed his physical with the Packers and signed. The Neal signing is concerning for Franklin, makes me wonder if his neck injury is something more than was thought.

    • Erik Lambert

      Hubbard could indeed be a good signing but I wonder about his value. The guy can do a lot of things well but nothing great. That enlarged heart business is scary as well, even if he’s been cleared. I’m not sure about the neck issue with Franklin but I think it’s more about the fact he has trouble hanging on to the ball. Seeing Neal in the backfield with him might help solve that problem.