Every year, there are a handful of players who slip through the cracks to free agency and..."/> Every year, there are a handful of players who slip through the cracks to free agency and..."/>

Best Undrafted Players By Position


Every year, there are a handful of players who slip through the cracks to free agency and make an impact on a roster. Just for my Broncos alone, last year we saw Cassius Vaughn emerge as one of the best special teams players on the roster, and he was a machine on the punting team and also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. I’m sure every NFL team has a guy, even in recent years who was an undrafted free agent and is now making an impact on their team. Here are my top rated players available by position who did not get drafted this past weekend.

Quarterback: Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin

Tolzien battled Pat Devlin for this honor, but I think Tolzien will have the longer NFL career. He is not a flashy player by any means, but he is solid and a field general. He could go and sign with the local Green Bay Packers to be a third stringer for Aaron Rodgers, and I also know the Chicago Bears really liked him as well.

Running Back: Derrick Locke, Kentucky

Locke battled injuries throughout his career, but he’s a playmaker and is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. I also considered Mario Fannin and Graig Cooper here. Fannin is a bigger back who showed a lot of speed this offseason.

Fullback: Henry Hynoski, Pittsburgh

Perhaps the best pure fullback in the draft, Hynoski left school early and wound up going undrafted. He will get picked up by a power running team and could wind up as that team’s starting fullback on opening day. At worst, he will develop into a solid special teams player.

Wide Receiver: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Iowa

Without question, this is the best receiver still available. He is big, physical, and can help a team in so many ways. He can be your kick/punt returner, he is a polished route runner, and he is a big play threat in the passing game. It was a mistake that he wasn’t drafted, and I think you could see him go to the Browns, Bengals or Bears because he is from Ohio and trains in Chicago. He could also go to Kansas City or Jacksonville, because he has an affliction for their new young quarterbacks–Ricky Stanzi and Blaine Gabbert.

Tight End:  Zack Pianalto, North Carolina

Tough call here between Pianalto and Weslye Saunders, but I think Pianalto has the character required to make it for a long time in the NFL, but Saunders is probably the more talented player between the two. Underrated pass receiver and a good blocker who will probably get an invite to camp and could crack an NFL roster.

Offensive Line:  Kris O’Dowd, OL, USC

This guy was a big time recruit and a solid player for the Trojans who didn’t test great athletically. Might not be an NFL starter, but he has the  talent to be.

Defensive Line: Ryan Winterswyk, DE, Boise State

This player has a non-stop motor and was very productive for the Broncos. Has potential as a DE or OLB in the NFL, and will be one of the hardest working players on the team.

Linebacker: Mark Herzlich, Boston College

Perhaps the biggest  travesty of the draft was that Herzlich was not drafted. He is a big, physical linebacker with first round ability, the question is whether or not he will come back to that point. There is probably not a bigger prize on the free agent market right now than Herzlich.

Cornerback:  Kendric Burney, North Carolina

Small and slow, but should have been drafted. This guy is a playmaker, and at worst can be a great nickel or dime back in the NFL. He will make a roster and will probably be playing when the seasons open.

Safety: Joe Lefeged, Rutgers

Big athletic safety, and I debated here whether or not I would put DeAndre McDaniel in this slot, and it was a tough call. Lefeged probably could have gone in the third or fourth round, so he will be great value. McDaniel was once regarded as a potential second round pick.

Specialist: Ryan Donahue, Iowa

Donahue can really boom the ball. The punter isn’t the most valued position in the draft, but this guy is a good one, and will definitely land on someone’s roster before too long.