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I won’t pretend to be an expert on these undrafted players, but there are a few every year that go on to have a major impact at the NFL level. Some more notable ones in recent years include Phillip Lindsay, Tyler Huntley, Marquez Callaway, Rodrigo Blankenship, Jakobi Meyers and Deonte Harris to name a few.
Not all of these players will be starters. In fact, none of them are likely to be. However, I think these players could be in a good spot to make a roster and prove they belong in the NFL.
Tyshaun James, WR, Central Connecticut State
Atlanta is in desperate need of receivers and it might have found some help in James. He is big at 6’3″, which is something the Falcons will be able to make use of. His numbers fell off during his senior season, scoring just six touchdowns after accounting for 14 his junior year. Given that Atlanta lacks much in the way of proven talent at the position, I could see him making the roster.
Alec Lindstrom, C, Boston College
I’m a bit surprised that Lindstrom went undrafted. He had a fantastic career at Boston College. Starting for three seasons at center, he was All-ACC first-team in his junior and senior seasons while finishing as a finalist for the Rimington Award in 2021. He is unquestionably undersized, but that never seemed to be an issue in college. He actually tested average to above average in just about every drill at the combine as well. I think he has a future as a backup in the league. Dallas did well to pick him up.
Tyler Goodson, RB, Iowa
Another player that I was surprised to see go undrafted, Goodson lands in a good spot with Green Bay. He will certainly face an uphill climb to make the roster given that the Packers have Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon and Kylin Hill already. That being said, he is quick and has decent hands (31 receptions in 2021). If he can find a way to contribute on special teams, I think he has a shot to hang around as a change-of-pace back in the league.
Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
This one exclusively comes down to medicals. Four years ago, we all thought Ross was on track to be a surefire first-round pick. He was a big-body receiver snagging catches from Trevor Lawrence. He was the top target on a team that included Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers, reeling in 46 catches for 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns as a true freshman. That Clemson team went undefeated and won a title. He followed it up with another impressive campaign in 2019. Then, he underwent surgery on a congenital spinal fusion condition that cost him the 2020 season. He returned for a much more modest 2021 campaign. If Ross is truly healthy, he landed in the best spot possible with the Chiefs. I know Kansas City will likely rely less on the vertical passing game in 2022, but they’ve found a deep ball specialist in Ross.
Chase Garbers, QB, Cal
There was a time where I convinced myself that Chase Garbers could be a first-round quarterback. This was back in 2020, when Garbers debuted in my Way-Too-Early 2021 NFL Mock Draft. That assessment was definitely a bit off, but there are still some elements of his game that I really like. He is mobile and extends plays while keeping his eyes downfield. His completion percentage slowly crept up over the final three years of his career as well. In Las Vegas, he will be competing with Nick Mullens and Garrett Gilbert for a roster spot. I could see him spending a year on the practice squad before hopefully making the 53-man roster.
Cameron Dicker, K, Texas
It’s not a fun list unless we have a kicker on it! Matt Gay is the incumbent for the Rams, but Dicker will be interesting competition this offseason. Here’s what makes him interesting: he punts and kicks. He was first-team All-Big 12 as a punter this past season and an honorable mention as a kicker. If he hopes to make the roster, he will have to improve his accuracy, but he did hit from 57 in 2019, so the range is clearly there. I think he makes the practice squad because of that versatility to punt and kick.
Kellen Diesch, OT, Arizona State
Diesch is an incredible athlete who didn’t quite check every box from a measurables standpoint. At 6’7″, 301 pounds, he ran a 4.89 40 and posted an impressive 32.5-inch vertical. Unfortunately, he has below average length for an NFL tackle. Still, he started all 13 games for Arizona State this past season, earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors. He is a bit of a project, desperately needing to fill out his massive frame, but the Dolphins will be willing to bet on his upside panning out, especially after having just four selections in the 2022 draft.
Smoke Monday, S, Auburn
The first man on the all-name team, Monday joins the Saints after a solid career at Auburn. He is a big-play threat, accounting for a defensive touchdown in each of his final three college seasons. Monday also has the requisite size and speed to play in the NFL, even if nothing he brings to the table is elite on paper. He is a hard-hitting safety who needs to be a bit more disciplined in his approach. New Orleans could use a bit more youth at the safety spot.
Brenden Schooler, S, Texas
This is a really interesting one. Schooler started his college career at Oregon, where he entered as a defensive back. After ten starts at safety as a true freshman, he switched to receiver. He admittedly did not do much as a receiver in college, accumulating 661 yards and six touchdowns over four seasons, including his 2020 season spent with Texas as a grad transfer. He returned to the Longhorns for his extra year of eligibility and moved back to defensive back. I don’t know that Schooler is destined for a long NFL career, but his path to the NFL is one of the most interesting ones I can think of. The Patriots will probably find a way to utilize his size (6’2″) and varied skill set.
Reggie Roberson Jr., WR, SMU
Another receiver who had his career disrupted by injuries, Roberson landed with the Titans after going undrafted. He was on his way to being a Day 2 prospect in 2019 (2020 draft), but suffered a season-ending foot injury. Then, he tore his ACL in 2020. His 2021 season was much more muted as he tried to regain his form. He is not supremely athletic, but he was productive in college and could be a solid No. 4 or No. 5 receiver in the NFL if he can stay healthy. The Titans need to find some depth at receiver they can rely on.
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