May 2, 2017
When the Denver Broncos selected former University of Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly, the draft officially came to an end. However, the work wasn’t done yet for the teams, and players who went undrafted still can live their pro-football dreams.
NFL history is full of players who went undrafted that went on to long careers, such as Kurt Warner, Wes Welker, Tony Romo and Jackson State University’s Coy Bacon among others. Most of the players hope to prove teams wrong for not drafting them.
Things change a little with undrafted rookie free agents. The players can pick their team, if more than one team is vying over their services. That means a player can pick the team offering the most money or the team that will be the best fit.
Undrafted rookies that can do several things, such as playing multiple positions and special teams, have a better chance of making a team. If an offensive lineman can play tackle and guard or center and guard, that player will be tougher for teams to cut later.
I spent the last two days scouring the Internet and watching Twitter to see which players from universities in our state signed with NFL teams. This list is broken down by NFL team with thoughts on some of their signings.
Javancy Jones, linebacker, Jackson State University
Arizona drafted a linebacker in the first round and signed another rookie free agent. The Cardinals have a solid defense, so it will be tough for most rookies to make the team.
Will Freeman, offensive line, University of Southern Mississippi
The Falcons are the defending NFC Champions but did have guard Chris Chester retire. That opens a spot, even if the team drafted a guard in the fourth-round and signed four other undrafted rookies.
Quincy Adebayo, wide receiver, University of Mississippi
Xavian Bingham, cornerback, Jackson State University
Baltimore didn’t draft a wide receiver but did sign three other undrafted rookies. The Ravens drafted a cornerback in the first round and signed an undrafted safety.
Fred Ross, wide receiver, Mississippi State University
Carolina drafted a wide receiver in the second round and signed one undrafted rookie wide receiver, but this team needs receiving help so there is a chance to make the team.
Nick James, defensive tackle, University of Mississippi
The Lions only signed one other undrafted rookie but did draft a couple of defensive ends and signed an undrafted rookie defensive end. There is a chance to make this roster as a defensive tackle.
Green Bay Packers
Johnathan Calvin, linebacker, Mississippi State University
Green Bay took a linebacker in the fourth round and just one undrafted rookie. This is a good team, so it will be tough for rookies to make the roster.
Daniel Ross, defensive tackle, Northeast Mississippi Community College
The Texans feature a strong defense and drafted a defensive tackle in the fourth round and signed another undrafted rookie.
Chris Lyles, cornerback, Mississippi College
The Colts drafted cornerbacks in the second round and fifth round in the draft. Indianapolis signed two undrafted rookies, as well. This team is full of newly drafted or undrafted rookies in the secondary.
Damore’ea Stringfellow, wide receiver, University of Mississippi
Miami drafted a wide receiver in the seventh round and signed three other undrafted rookies. There is little chance that all five rookie wide receivers will make the roster.
Dylan Bradley, defensive tackle, University of Southern Mississippi
Minnesota drafted a tackle in the fourth round and a defensive lineman in the seventh round. The Vikings didn’t sign any other undrafted rookies. This is another team with a solid defense.
New Orleans Saints
Cameron Tom, center, University of Southern Mississippi
The Saints have one of the best centers in the league, Max Unger, but having a backup center never hurts. Tom might be able to play guard, as well, but New Orleans did sign an undrafted rookie at that position.
Fadol Brown, defensive tackle, University of Mississippi
Brown is the only defensive tackle that the Raiders have signed either through the draft or as an undrafted rookie. Oakland has a good defense, but defensive-line depth is important for every team.
Nelson Adams, defensive tackle, Mississippi State University
Marcel Newson, wide receiver, Mississippi College
Pittsburgh signed just Adams at defensive tackle among the undrafted rookies and didn’t draft a player at that position. The Steelers drafted a wide receiver in the second round, however. The team has a solid defense and deep receiving unit.
San Francisco 49ers
Nick Mullens, quarterback, University of Southern Mississippi
Even though the 49ers selected a quarterback in the third round, the position is wide open. San Francisco has a new head coach and general manager, so a strong showing could earn a spot on this team.
Tony Bridges, safety, University of Mississippi
Seattle is thin on depth in the secondary, and it showed when the team selected three safeties over the course of the draft. The good news is that Bridges is the only undrafted rookie at safety that the team signed.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Richie Brown, linebacker, Mississippi State University
Tampa Bay drafted a linebacker in the third round and signed one undrafted rookie. This is a young team, so there is hope for Brown.
If I missed any signings, feel free to comment below or let me know on Twitter at @JFPSports.