NFL News & Analysis

One UDFA to watch on each NFL roster

2M6BD8A Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Curtis Jacobs (23) celebrates during the 109th Rose Bowl football game against the Utah Utes, Monday, January 2, 2023, at the Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, CA. The Nittany Lions defeated the Utes 35-21. (Jon Endow/Image of Sport/Sipa USA)

More receiver help for the Arizona Cardinals?: Xavier Weaver could make an impact on a Cardinals roster still in need of receiver help.

A potential playmaker for the Kansas City Chiefs: Linebacker Curtis Jacobs was one of the top undrafted free agents on the board in 2024.

Excellent cornerback depth for the Pittsburgh Steelers: Beanie Bishop Jr. could fit into the Steelers' defense well thanks to his upside at cornerback.

 Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

The NFL is full of diamonds in the rough. Not every player steps foot into the league with a blue-chip pedigree and a clear run at success. Sometimes, players need to be nurtured from the ground up so they can reach their raw, untapped potential. Every so often, the NFL is surprised by an undrafted free agent providing a spark for a team. 

The 2024 class of undrafted free agents features some talented players who could wind up making an impact on their respective rosters.

Arizona Cardinals: WR Xavier Weaver, Colorado

Weaver was one of the top undrafted free agents on the board and is a potential coup for a Cardinals team lacking a certain amount of depth at the wide receiver position. Marvin Harrison Jr. is the obvious gem for the Cardinals in their 2024 draft class, but Weaver caught 68 passes for 908 yards and four touchdowns while earning a solid 69.2 grade in 2023.

Atlanta Falcons: CB Jayden Price, North Dakota State

The Falcons' secondary was a much-improved unit in 2023 thanks to Jessie Bates‘ arrival, but cornerback depth is always a need across the league, and the team may have found that in Price. The former North Dakota State cornerback earned at least a 71.0 coverage grade in two of the last three FBS seasons and snagged two interceptions in 2023. 

Baltimore Ravens: OT Julian Pearl, Illinois 

Pearl was one of the better undrafted offensive linemen on the market and the Ravens, with needs on the offensive line, duly snapped up his services. In his five years at Illinois, Pearl had a penchant for versatility, biding his time between both tackle spots and some time at guard. That positional flexibility is nothing but a plus.

Buffalo Bills: RB Frank Gore Jr., Southern Miss

Gore was a constant in the Southern Miss backfield over the last two seasons, rushing for 2953 yards and 22 touchdowns at a clip of 5.8 yards per carry. The Bills running back rotation past James Cook is anything but set in stone, so a strong training camp could bolster Gore’s chances of earning touches in 2024.

Carolina Panthers: C Andrew Raym, Oklahoma

The Panthers offensive line struggled to protect Bryce Young in his rookie season and, as a result, underwent extensive surgery in the offseason, but the addition of Andrew Raym as an undrafted free agent is a shrewd depth move. The center earned a 70.3 pass-blocking grade in 2023 and could find his way into an important role on the depth chart this season. 

Chicago Bears:  CB Leon Jones, Arkansas State

Jones earned a 70.0 coverage grade or better in four games in 2023 and appeared in 33 games for the Red Wolves over a three-year span. At 6-foot-1 and 192 pounds, Jones is a big corner who could provide length on the outside for the Bears secondary.

Cincinnati Bengals: LB Maema Njongmeta, Wisconsin 

Njongmeta has been a force at linebacker for Wisconsin over the last two years, registering 146 total tackles over 26 games. He earned a 76.7 grade in 2023 and an excellent 88.5 grade in 2022. Njongmeta could feasibly be a real special teams asset for the Bengals.

Cleveland Browns: OL Javion Cohen, Miami

The Browns have a habit of growing offensive linemen into capable NFL players, and though he’s an undrafted free agent, Javion Cohen is in the perfect setting. Cohen was a solid starter in Alabama for two seasons before transferring to Miami in 2023 and earned an excellent 75.8 pass blocking grade. Cohen can grow into a fine rotational piece if he sticks on the Browns roster.

Dallas Cowboys: WR Cam Johnson, Northwestern

 Johnson is an older prospect at 25 years old but joins the Cowboys after his best season in college football with Northwestern in 2023. The wide receiver caught 54 passes for 715 yards and six touchdowns, catching the attention of the Cowboys in the process. The Cowboys are starved of wide receiver talent outside of CeeDee Lamb and an aging Brandin Cooks. 

Denver Broncos: RB Blake Watson, Memphis

 There may be tread on the tires of Blake Watson, but it’s a shrewd move from the Broncos to pick up a running back who rushed for 1152 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2023, earning an 80.3 grade. Watson did it at an efficient clip of six yards per carry too and could provide some punch for a Broncos offense that’s lacked some va-va-voom in recent times. 

Detroit Lions: WR Isaiah Williams, Illinois

The Lions gave Isaiah Williams $225,000 in guaranteed money, an indication of their admiration for the former Illinois receiver. Williams caught 82 passes for 1055 and five touchdowns in 2023, earning a 79.9 grade, and could make the Lions roster as the team needs depth at receiver.

Green Bay Packers: T Trente Jones, Michigan

Not unlike the Browns, the Packers have made developing offensive linemen into something of an art form in recent seasons. Jones has had limited game time at Michigan but earned an 81.1 pass-blocking grade for his work in 2023, splitting his time between left tackle, right tackle and as an extra offensive lineman, but could kick inside to guard on the Packers roster.

Houston Texans: DI Pheldarius Payne, Virginia Tech 

Payne transferred to Virginia Tech in 2023 and was one of the top undrafted free agents on the market. The defensive lineman earned four 80.0-plus grades in 13 games this season and registered six sacks and 10 tackles for loss for the Hokies. Payne could be a nice complimentary piece on a much-improved Texans defensive line.

Indianapolis Colts: RB Justin Strong, Southern Illinois

The Colts’ UDFA class lacks some punch, but Strong is a curious case. The former Saluki had a monster game against Murray State in 2023, carrying the ball 13 times for 126 yards, with 102 yards coming after contact. If the Colts have done their due diligence, he could find his way into the backfield rotation in 2024.

Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Joshua Cephus, UTSA

Cephus joins the Jaguars after being one of the most productive wide receivers in the FBS in 2023. He caught 82 passes for 1049 yards and nine touchdowns while earning an 88.4 receiving grade, the ninth-best among all receivers in college football. With the Jaguars wide receiver room in a transition, Cephus has a chance to earn a spot as the team's fourth or fifth receiver on the depth chart.

Kansas City Chiefs: LB Curtis Jacobs, Penn State 

The Chiefs have a need for depth at the linebacker position and Jacobs could provide that. Jacobs logged 49 total tackles in 2023 and was an effective blitzer for Penn State, earning 31 pressures in the last two seasons and 69 defensive stops in the last three years.

Las Vegas Raiders: OT Andrew Coker, TCU 

Coker was a stalwart on the TCU offensive line over the last three seasons, logging close to 2,000 snaps split across both tackle spots. The Raiders offensive line has been in dire need of starting talent and depth over the last few seasons and a strong training camp could see Coker in contention for a place on the depth chart. 

Los Angeles Chargers: G Bucky Williams, Appalachian State 

Like the Raiders, the Chargers have been in constant need of offensive help during the Justin Herbert era. They’ve begun to address those needs, and while Bucky Williams may not be a starter, the former Appalachian State guard could provide solid depth. He earned 80.0-plus grades in back-to-back seasons and allowed just six pressures in 2023.

Los Angeles Rams: CB Josh Wallace, Michigan

Wallace transferred to the Wolverines in 2023 and was an integral piece in the secondary as the team won the national championship. He allowed a 59.3 passer rating when targeted and earned an 81.5 grade. Wallace could stick on the roster as a valuable depth piece. 

Miami Dolphins: CB Storm Duck, Louisville

Storm Duck would be a franchise cornerstone if names were star power in the NFL, but he could still stick onto the Dolphins roster as a rotational cornerback. The former Cardinal earned a 68.5 grade in 2023.

Minnesota Vikings: EDGE Gabriel Murphy, UCLA

The Vikings have invested heavily in the edge rusher spot this offseason, signing Andrew Van Ginkel, and Jonathan Greenard in addition to drafting Dallas Turner in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. They’re set with their plan, but undrafted free agent Gabriel Murphy could make a dent as an impact rusher. He earned 55 pressures and an 85.0 grade in 2023, as well as an 86.0 pass-rushing grade. 

New England Patriots: OL Charles Turner III, LSU

Turner is undersized but was a constant on the LSU offensive line over the last two years, logging 1400 snaps. During that time, Turner earned a 73.0 pass-blocking grade in 2022 and a 77.8 grade in 2023. That’s valuable offensive line depth for a Patriots team lacking just that. 

New Orleans Saints: TE Dallin Holker, Colorado State

Holker broke out in his senior year after transferring to Colorado State, catching 64 passes for 767 yards and seven touchdowns, leading to him being the top undrafted tight end post-draft. Holker was one of the finalists for the John Mackey Awarded given to the nation’s best tight end and could be a perfect fit on the Saints roster.

New York Giants: WR Ayir Asante, Wyoming

Asante transferred to Wyoming and made the most of his limited options in 2023. The former Holy Cross receiver caught just 21 of his 40 targets but converted six of those catches into touchdowns and averaged 16.9 yards per reception. Asante’s 67.8 grade in 2023 was solid, and his dynamism presents an interesting chess piece for the Giants offense.

New York Jets: DI Leonard Taylor III, Miami

Taylor III was one of the top undrafted free agents on the board and joins an already stacked Jets’ defensive line, making opportunities a little harder to come by. However, his 82.3 pass-rush grade and 64.4 run-defense grade tell the story of an interior defender who can do a little bit of everything. 

Philadelphia Eagles: DI Gabe Hall, Baylor

Like Taylor, Hall was also one of the top defensive players to go undrafted in 2024. His size and athleticism make him a force on the defensive line, and he earned 21 pressures and 13 stops for Baylor in 2023. There’s a lot of potential there. 

Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Beanie Bishop Jr., West Virginia 

Bishop has earned successive 70.0-plus coverage grades in three straight seasons with three separate programs, a real sign of his natural talent. The former Mountaineer lined up as a boundary corner for the majority of his college career and could provide excellent outside cover for the Steelers. 

San Francisco 49ers: G Drake Nugent, Michigan

Nugent has been one of the most consistent centers in college football for the last three seasons. The 23-year-old transferred to Michigan from Stanford in 2023 and promptly became a starter, earning an excellent 77.2 grade. He could earn valuable reps for a 49ers offensive line in need of some improvement.

Seattle Seahawks: LB Easton Gibbs, Wyoming 

Gibbs is an all-action linebacker who has been a tornado on the Wyoming defense for the last three seasons, registering 319 tackles and 20 tackles for loss as a starter. He might not be an elite athlete but his tackling ability and instincts could see him force his way onto the Seahawks roster. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DI Judge Culpepper, Toledo

Culpepper has racked up 62 pressures in three seasons for Toledo and earned a 66.4 grade in 2023. He’s shown glimpses of being a strong run defender and his father played in the NFL for nine seasons. The genetics are strong.

Tennessee Titans: G X’Zauvea Gadlin, Liberty 

Gadlin has been a quality starter for the last two years and showed his ability in 2023, allowing just seven pressures on 499 pass-blocking snaps, earning an excellent 75.6 pass-blocking grade. He provides potential solid depth for a restructured Titans offensive line. 

Washington Commanders: CB Chigozie Anusiem, Colorado State

Anusiem is a big, tough-tackling corner who racked up 10 PBU’s in two years with Colorado State, earning an 80.9 coverage grade in 2022 and a 70.6 grade in 2023. During that time, he also forced 26 defensive stops, and his tackling ability could lend itself well to the NFL.


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