Diamonds in the Rough: 10 NFL UDFAs With the Best Chance at Making Their Team’s 53-Man Roster

Every year, a few UDFAs will catch the NFL by surprise and make the roster. We look at some guys across the league that may fit the mold.

Every year, there seems to be an undrafted guy or two who takes the NFL by storm and makes their presence felt out the gate, leaving people wondering why they weren’t selected. Before they can do that on Sundays, they have to make the 53-man roster first.

We take a look at 10 UDFAs who have the best chance to do that this season.

NFL UDFAs Most Likely To Make 53-Man Roster

The NFL has a long history of UDFAs making rosters and having an impactful career. The latest to do so is LB Ivan Pace Jr., who went undrafted and then shined for the Minnesota Vikings last season.

We take a look at a group of guys who may not only be able to make a 53-man roster first but have the potential to have a similar impact as Pace in Year 1.

Garret Greenfield, OL, Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks needed O-line help, and they made it a priority to target the position group throughout the draft. The additions didn’t stop there, though, as they continued to dip their toe in the offensive line pool and found themselves one of the best available UDFAs to add to the bunch.

Garret Greenfield out of South Dakota State made a name for himself at the East-West Shrine Bowl, and although he didn’t hear his name called in April, he finds himself in Seattle with a real chance to make an impact, especially if he can move inside where they have less depth.

According to Pro Football Network’s Ian Cummings, “Greenfield’s mirroring prowess and pass protection potential are worth a Day 3 selection,” setting up tremendous value for Seattle as they got him after the conclusion of the draft.

Leonard Taylor III, DT, New York Jets

Leonard Taylor III going undrafted is a bit of a head-scratcher. Early on in the process, many had him as a potential Day 2 prospect, so while the fall to UDFA is an alarming one, there is no denying that the New York Jets got a tremendous value on a potential talent here.

The Jets boast one of the better defensive interiors with the likes of Quinnen Williams, Javon Kinlaw, and Solomon Thomas, but as far as depth goes beyond that, Taylor could find his way into the two-deep rotation.

According to Cummings, “In both odd-front and even-front schemes, he has varied situational utility from 1-tech to 3-tech, and his composite tools make him a dangerous and disruptive force.” This sets up a situation where Taylor could add real value to the middle of an already stout Jets defensive front.

Brevyn Spann-Ford, TE, Dallas Cowboys

Those around Dallas are excited about Brevyn Spann-Ford this season. They gave him over $200,000 in salary guarantees to sign with the team, and with only Jake Ferguson as a solidified lock of a playmaker at the position, Spann-Ford has the opportunity to make a name for himself with America’s Team.

The Cowboys will look to be more physical this year, and the big-bodied TE who likes to move people in the run game will be a welcomed addition to an offense that has the chance to be at the top of the NFL once again.

Aaron Casey, LB, Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals LB room isn’t the most exciting in the NFL, and while Casey himself is an exciting prospect, the fit and opportunity might be the most enticing situation here. The young LB from Indiana has a real chance to make an impact for a Bengals defense that could use more juice in the room.

Alongside veterans Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt, Casey can come in and insert himself early if he hits the ground running in training camp.

According to Cummings, “For what he lacks in raw explosiveness, he makes up for with an explosive mindset, invading gaps with ruthless energy.”

Blake Watson, RB, Denver Broncos

Blake Watson was another East-West Shrine guy who flashed all week but still found himself undrafted. It may say more about the perceived value of the RB position than Watson’s ability, but with that being water under the bridge, he has a chance to fit right in as a Denver Bronco.

In a room that includes the likes of Javonte Williams as the established starter but leaves room for opportunity amongst Samaje Perine and Jaleel McLaughlin, Watson may be able to play his way into a roster spot, and playing time in Denver.

Jalen Coker, WR, Carolina Panthers

Jalen Coker is a classic case of an FCS player getting overlooked. The former Holy Cross Crusader did nothing but make plays during his college days, and when he stepped on the practice field at the Shrine Bowl, it was more of the same.

Coker was one of Steve Smith Sr.’s favorite players, and for him to land in Carolina feels like a perfect match. Coker can separate well, runs clean routes, and is a true hands catcher; everything you could want in a WR, Coker has it.

Gabriel Murphy, Edge, Minnesota Vikings

Getting an edge who can rush the passer is tremendously valued in the NFL. To be able to get one after the draft concludes feels like hitting the lottery. That’s exactly what the Vikings did with the signing of Gabriel Murphy.

MORE: NFL UDFA Winners and Losers

Playing behind Andrew Van Ginkel, Jonathan Bullard, and other established pass rushers may be an uphill battle, but Murphy has a chance to get in the mix early and carve out a 53-man roster spot.

According to Cummings’ pre-draft analysis, “His career pressure rate is near the top of the class and he projects best as a pure pass rusher in the NFL, though his size could push him down into the middle or later rounds.”

Dallin Holker, TE, New Orleans Saints

Holker is a playmaker in his own right, but putting him on this list has a lot to do with an excellent fit. The New Orleans Saints boast a TE room that shouldn’t scare him from thinking he belongs, highlighted by Juwan Johnson, Taysom Hill, and Foster Moreau.

According to Cummings, “At 6’3″, 241 pounds, he’s not an elite size-speed threat, but he has the agility, fluidity, and leg churn to be a venerable RAC presence, and his body control at the catch point is extremely appealing.”

Holker is a pass catcher who can add big-play ability to the room, and if he comes out the gate well in training camp, he may be able to establish himself early.

Dillon Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

The days of Derrick Henry in Tennessee are gone, and while they have an established RB in Tony Pollard with a solid room around him, Dillon Johnson may be able to do enough to find a role on the 53-man roster.

He runs physically, is a pass-catching threat out of the backfield, and could be a quality special teams piece right away.

Kalen DeLoach, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Historically speaking, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have always had quality linebackers. While there are still remnants of that there, Kalen DeLoach has a chance to step in and make a name for himself as things change a bit in Tampa Bay.

With Devin White now in Philadelphia, there is room for some youth to step up and take a role. DeLoach could be that guy, and according to Cummings, it’s not unreasonable to think it is possible in Year 1.

“DeLoach was an incredibly productive linebacker at the college level, but his lack of size could make it difficult for him to remain at that position in the NFL. His short-area quickness and hip fluidity may limit his upside, but he flashed the coverage skills to succeed as a safety at the next level.”

Whether it is a sub-package LB or even a move back to safety, his productivity and athletic ability may buy him a spot on the roster.

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