Although there were 259 players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, it isn’t the end of the road for the hundreds of prospects who didn’t hear their name called in Cleveland. Roughly 30 percent of players in the NFL are undrafted free agents. Furthermore, 17 undrafted free agents are currently residing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Even before the final pick was announced, teams were already making signings in the 2021 UDFA class. Which UDFA signing is most likely to land on the 53-man roster for each NFL team?
Top 2021 UDFA signings to make each team: AFC
Which undrafted prospects have a chance of sticking on AFC rosters?
Ar’Darius Washington, S, TCU
Although Oklahoma offensive tackle Adrian Ealy is more of a “lock” to make the Baltimore Ravens’ roster due to the lack of depth on the offensive line, Ar’Darius Washington is an absolute steal of a UDFA signing in this 2021 class. His stock suffered due to his diminutive size (the TCU safety is listed at 5’8″). However, he’s extremely athletic and comes with excellent ball skills. Moreover, he offers special-teams value.
Quintin Morris, TE, Bowling Green State
Tight end and running back were two pre-draft needs that the Buffalo Bills failed to address over the 2021 NFL Draft. They remedied one of those with the UDFA signing of Bowling Green’s Quintin Morris. An athletic tight end who isn’t afraid to take a hit, Morris is more than capable of making yards after the catch. Although his blocking as a tight end requires some work, he’s a great fit in Buffalo as a TE2 behind Dawson Knox.
Pooka Williams, RB, Kansas
Although the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Michigan running back Chris Evans, Pooka Williams could make the roster as the best of their 2021 UDFA signings. An explosive and productive running back at Kansas, Williams also offers special-teams versatility as a kick returner. He would make an interesting and exciting change of pace back alongside Joe Mixon. He does come with some character concerns. Still, the Bengals have shown with Mixon that perception isn’t always a major factor in their consideration of who to keep on the roster.
Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida
The Cleveland Browns won a bidding war to capture the signing of one of the top UDFA prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. Prior to the 2020 college football season, Marvin Wilson was receiving first-round recognition. Although several factors led to him slipping down draft boards, it was somewhat surprising for him to go undrafted. The Browns selected Tommy Togiai to help plug the gap on the interior of the defensive line, but Wilson should be able to carve out a roster spot.
Drew Himmelman, OT, Illinois State
Offensive tackle was an area that the Denver Broncos were expected to address in the 2021 NFL Draft. Although they had a successful three days in Cleveland, they left without adding at the position. However, one of their UDFA signings in the 2021 class was Illinois State’s gargantuan offensive tackle, Drew Himmelman. (Illinois State scouting reports will detail Himmelman’s profile).
Standing at 6’9″, Himmelman is physically imposing while also displaying good football intelligence. Although he played left tackle, some scouts project he would be better suited to right tackle. Either way, he provides much-needed depth at the position for the Broncos.
Carson Green, OT, Texas A&M
While the future of the quarterback position may be uncertain for the Houston Texans, the need to improve the protection is clear. They have only made four UDFA signings following the 2021 NFL Draft so far. Carson Green has the skill set to develop into a starting tackle in the NFL. At the very least, he should be able to forge a career at the guard position even if he doesn’t live up to his potential. He impressed at the Senior Bowl and seems more likely to make the roster than his former Texas A&M teammate, Ryan McCollum.
Anthony Butler, LB, Liberty
Somewhat surprisingly, the Indianapolis Colts didn’t add an offensive tackle during the 2021 NFL Draft or as one of their UDFA signings so far. Amongst the small number of players added since the end of the draft, former Liberty linebacker Anthony Butler stands out as having the potential to make the roster. The Colts need to add depth at the position, and Butler has been productive in coverage and as a disruptor in the backfield.
Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Dylan Moses proved to be one of the surprises of the 2021 NFL Draft, and not in a good way. Although it was expected that his injury history and the subsequent impact on his play last year would harm his stock, he was at least expected to be drafted. Incredibly, he fell out of the draft altogether. Moses is clearly the best of the Jaguars 2021 UDFA signings. Yet, they’ve added some considerable talent at the end of the draft, including Georgia cornerback D.J. Daniel and Illinois wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe.
Kansas City Chiefs
Dicaprio Bootle, CB, Nebraska
Cornerback was considered a big need before the 2021 NFL Draft, but they never addressed it in Cleveland. They did make moves in the UDFA market, signing former Nebraska cornerback Dicaprio Bootle. An experienced and speedy cornerback with decent ball skills, Bootle has been overlooked due to his diminutive stature. A switch to safety may be necessary in the NFL, but given the Chiefs are lacking in depth at both positions, that shouldn’t stop him carving out a roster spot. Furthermore, Bootle adds value with special-teams experience.
Las Vegas Raiders
Darius Stills, DT, West Virginia
After parting ways with Maurice Hurst, the Las Vegas Raiders were one of the favorites to land Alabama’s Christian Barmore in the 2021 NFL Draft. Amazingly, they didn’t address the defensive tackle position until making Darius Stills one of their UDFA signings. The West Virginia defensive tackle is a great scheme fit in the Raiders’ four-person front. Although he is a little undersized for the position, his explosion helps him win at the line of scrimmage.
Los Angeles Chargers
Forrest Merrill, DT, Arkansas State
The Los Angeles Chargers addressed their major needs extremely well in the 2021 NFL Draft, then quickly added 10 UDFA signings. Although Oklahoma State’s Amen Ogbongbemiga is the more well-known prospect, Arkansas State defensive tackle Forrest Merrill should have a good chance to make a roster spot. He’s a big, nose-tackle-sized defensive lineman who has great explosion. He should be able to win a roster spot as a backup defensive tackle.
Robert Jones, OG, Middle Tennessee State
Having had a successful 2021 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins only made four UDFA signings in the immediate aftermath. Of those, Middle Tennessee State offensive lineman is the clear standout. His versatility, having played offensive tackle and guard during his career, is alluring. Jones also had an excellent showing at the Senior Bowl, which undoubtedly influenced the Dolphins to snap him up once he went undrafted. Despite adding Liam Eichenberg and Larnel Coleman in the draft, Jones adds another element of protection for Tua.
New England Patriots
At the time of writing, the New England Patriots hadn’t made any UDFA signings following the 2021 NFL Draft.
New York Jets
Kenny Yeboah, TE, Ole Miss
Following an explosive season for Ole Miss, Kenny Yeboah was expected to be an early Day 3 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has obvious pass-catching ability and has demonstrated that he can be proficient as a blocker. Shockingly, he didn’t hear his name called in Cleveland and instead was snapped up as a UDFA by the New York Jets. The tight end position was considered one of need coming into the draft, giving Yeboah a great opportunity to make the roster and be a contributor in his first season.
Shakur Brown, CB, Michigan State
The Pittsburgh Steelers were extremely active in the aftermath of the 2021 NFL Draft, adding 10 UDFA signings. They got an absolute steal with Michigan State cornerback Shakur Brown. He’s demonstrated the ability to play both outside and in the slot, and has showcased excellent ball skills and physicality. There is a good chance that Brown not only wins a roster spot but can contribute early on in his career.
Chandon Herring, OL, BYU
While Zach Wilson was universally lauded as a quarterback prospect through the 2020 college football season, the members of his offensive line quietly went about being one of the best units in the nation. Left tackle Brady Christensen parlayed his performances into a third-round selection of the 2021 NFL Draft, and Chandon Herring was a UDFA signing for the Tennessee Titans.
6’7″ and 310 pounds, Herring has good size to play tackle in the NFL. He also combines football intelligence and strength, which should allow him to secure a role as a backup tackle or even guard for the Titans.