Briefly breaking down the top undrafted free agent signings so far

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Pittsburgh Steelers: DE Josh Mauro

When watching tape of other Stanford defensive players earlier in the offseason, I started to like Josh Mauro as a solid run-stuffer who did a credible job of opening things up for others. Stephon Tuitt was the big 3-4 DE addition for the Steelers in this year’s draft, but I think Mauro will also crack the roster.

Baltimore Ravens: OT James Hurst

Last year, the Baltimore Ravens found big-time value in undrafted free agency after signing Georgia WR Marlon Brown, and James Hurst looks like a huge addition for them this offseason. I’m very surprised the UNC tackle went undrafted, and I think the will get a chance to fight for the Ravens right tackle gig, which remains a hole.

Cleveland Browns: QB Connor Shaw, RB Isaiah Crowell, WR Chandler Jones

Ray Farmer and the Browns were incredibly active in undrafted free agency, snagging another backup quarterback in Connor Shaw, who had an excellent college career at South Carolina. Crowell is infamous at this point, but he is an incredibly talented RB who has a shot at winning the starting gig over Ben Tate. It’s only shot, but that also shows just how good Crowell is. Jones is a near-lock to make the Browns roster, and David Fales’s favorite target at San Jose State should make a significant impact as a rookie after the Browns failed to draft a receiver.

Cincinnati Bengals: RB James Wilder Jr., FB/LB Nikita Whitlock

James Wilder Jr. has a nice NFL pedigree and had a solid career while with the Florida State Seminoles, but he fell down the totem pole due to the rise of more talented RBs Karlos Williams and Atlanta Falcons fourth-round pick Devonta Freeman. Wilder Jr. has a fair shot at cracking the roster, and we’ll see if Hue Jackson likes him. Nikita Whitlock is a very intriguing prospect, as he was an incredibly undersized defensive lineman at Wake Forest who won on the strength of his physical tools and incredible motor. He’ll be a linebacker or fullback in the NFL, but that’s for the Bengals to decide; he’s a good bet for the practice squad.

Denver Broncos: LB Shaquil Barrett, RB Kapri Bibbs, WR Isaiah Burse, RB Brennan Clay, QB Bryn Renner

The Denver Broncos are always a sure bet to land talented players in undrafted free agency, and they landed a handful of notable names (I did leave off the most notable name, which is Michigan State DT “Mister Cobble”…nice name, huh?). Weird digressions aside, the Broncos added another quarterback in Bryn Renner, who might have to fight for a roster spot or spot on the practice squad. Bibbs is a “local” prospect from Colorado State and a favorite of some draftniks, while Clay is another talented Oklahoma RB who should crack the Broncos roster and get a carry here or there in the Broncos rotation. Shaquil Barrett is the crowning jewel of their UDFA class, as he definitely should have been drafted. Another Colorado State product, the MWC DPOY will almost certainly make the roster and helps the Broncos out at a position of need. Isaiah Burse put up some big numbers at Fresno State, but he’s a practice squad guy who benefited an awful lot from playing with Derek Carr. That said, he’s a quick receiver, and he’s worth keeping an eye on.

San Diego Chargers: CB Chris Davis

Cornerback was the San Diego Chargers biggest position of need heading into the 2014 NFL Draft, and savvy GM Tom Telesco stole away Jason Verrett in the late first round to give the Chargers a top corner. He then signed a talented, uber-athletic UDFA CB in Chris Davis, who looks like a near-lock to make the roster.

Kansas City Chiefs: WR Albert Wilson

The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t draft a wide receiver, unless if you count De’Anthony Thomas as a receiver, so let’s focus on a top UDFA that the Chiefs inked at the WR position. Wilson will most likely make the Chiefs roster, and he has a good chance of making an impact in the slot after putting up big numbers at Georgia Southern. If he flashes in August, then Wilson will be well on his way to catching some passes from Alex Smith when the real games begin.

Oakland Raiders: WR Mike Davis, RB George Atkinson III, TE Jake Murphy

After he put together an excellent 2014 NFL Draft class that features the likes of Khalil Mack, Derek Carr, Jonathan Dowling, and Keith McGill, GM Reggie McKenzie built a strong group of undrafted free agents. I’m pretty shocked Mike Davis went undrafted, and the speedy Texas Longhorns wideout definitely fits the Raiders with his vertical ability. Atkinson is a big name as far as UDFAs go, but he’ll have to fight to stick around. Murphy has great size and averaged a ton of yards per reception last year, but he’s also an older prospect at 24; older prospects have a harder time banking on any upside. As with Atkinson, Murphy will have a tough fight to make the roster, but I like his chances significantly more.

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  • Jacob911

    Who are the best now availible

  • brian mckendry

    what about the bears signing Christian jones lb from florida state, lb – de de lattimore, and good ol in groy from Wisconsin, one pick, really!

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      Oh man, I didn’t see Jones or Lattimore on the list, but I would have added those guys if I saw them on the tracker at the time. It’s a surprise to see that Jones went undrafted. Thanks for the heads up on those guys, Brian.

  • unclejesse40

    I wanted the Chiefs to draft Brandon Coleman, if he somehow doesn’t hook on with the Saints, I would love to hear that we picked him up and gave him a shot. Guys that are 6’6″ and run a sub 4.6 forty don’t come around all that often. Would be a huge red zone target.