Intriguing undrafted free agents
Mel picks out a total of 70 players to keep an eye on this summer
The NFL draft in its current form is built with the idea that rosters will be loaded with undrafted players. It's not at all odd for an NFL team to have 20 percent of its active roster undrafted. It's simple math: Having only seven rounds means the draft can't stock up what 32 53-man rosters (plus a practice squad) demand. Sure, guys such as Wes Welker and Arian Foster can be called Cinderella stories, but they're also products of draft math. Many players worthy of being drafted aren't, and many will subsequently succeed on different levels.
Well over 400 undrafted free agents have signed since the draft ended Saturday night, so I can't hit them all. What I have done is listed:
• One or two (or more in some cases) players per team
• Whether I considered them possible draft picks or just guys who could stick
In other words, I'm certain there will be a bunch of guys I don't mention who will stick. But these are at least some names that stood out to me.
Glenn Carson, LB
I had Carson as my No. 10 inside linebacker in my final rankings, worthy of being drafted. The depth chart beyond the starters here at ILB is merely OK.
James Stone, C
Jeff Matthews, QB
I had Stone as my No. 9 center heading into the draft, and he could provide useful depth. Matthews has good size and a pretty strong arm, but is raw. He could develop into a No. 2.
James Hurst, OT
Richie Leone, P
As my No. 16-ranked offensive tackle, and once a guy I saw as a possible middle-rounds pick, Hurst is a nice get. He broke his leg in North Carolina's bowl game. Leone won't land here, but he's NFL-worthy, a left-footer who could punt well in preseason and get a call from somewhere else.
To read Mel Kiper's full take on undrafted free agents who have the potential to make an impact in the NFL, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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