The 2021 NFL Draft is over, and the chaotic undrafted free-agent period is all but officially finished too. So it's time for undrafted free agent rankings. By now, everyone knows a handful of UDFAs ultimately make names for themselves, and we were served a reminder during the Super Bowl: Buccaneers star pass rusher Shaq Barrett went undrafted in 2014 out of Colorado State.
Let's rank this year's class of UDFAs by talent, of course, and also situation, which for these players is absolutely critical.
1. WR Tamorrion Terry (Seahawks)
Terry was born to play on the Russell Wilson-led Seahawks. Stylistically, the nearly 6-foot-3, 207-pounder is a lot like DK Metcalf -- get him on vertical routes and let him run past corners with his deceptive speed then locate Wilson's moon balls down the field.
The quarterback and offensive line play at Florida State held back Terry in the production department, but the tall speedster averaged 20 yards per grab in his first two seasons in Tallahassee on 95 catches with 17 touchdowns. He was a big play waiting to happen for the Seminoles. Terry's nearly 34 inch arms provide a gigantic catch radius, and while he's not exactly a rebounder down the field, he knows how to shield smaller defensive backs with his body while getting his feet in bounds on tight sideline throws.
With Metcalf and Lockett, Seattle has its top two wideouts, and they picked slot speedster D'Wayne Eskridge in the second round. But the Seahawks are more open to giving opportunities to late-round picks and undrafted free agents than most clubs, and clearly the front office wanted to add even more explosiveness to an already electric receiver room. Terry will fit nicely as a low-volume, splash play creator in Seattle. You heard it here first. And don't sleep on fellow UDFA receiver Cade Johnson. Some Doug Baldwin vibes with him.
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2. S Ar'Darius Washington (Ravens)
Sometimes, when you're as big of draft junky as I am, you actually find yourself irrationally ticked off when a quality football player slips through the cracks and doesn't get selected on draft weekend. This year, I have that admittedly ridiculous feeling when it comes to Washington out of TCU. How did this happen?!
Well, he's another prospect with a ruined draft stock thanks to a poor pro day workout. Funny thing with Washington -- he's significantly more twitched up and fast to the football than his 4.62 time in the 40 would indicate and did have a vertical in the 76th percentile, and his broad jump was in the 85th among safeties. The agility drills weren't great.
In 2019, he had five picks and broke up an additional four passes, and while he certainly regressed in 2020 -- some throws hit over the top in his coverage area -- Washington's suddenness in the slot and when planting and driving on a sideline throw from the deep middle continued to pop on film. He's a rocket against the run too. And while his smaller 5-8, 176-pound frame likely contributed to his undrafted status, I don't need my freelancing safety who has to cover the slot much bigger in today's NFL. I really don't. Remember, Tyrann Mathieu was 5-9 and 186 pounds at the 2013 combine.
Washington is going to make the Ravens and shine in Baltimore's blitz-happy defense that leans on quality coverage from its safeties and highlights them as playmakers at the intermediate level.
3. WR Jonathan Adams (Lions)
Adams finds himself in a dream situation -- Detroit's wide receiver group has been all but completely torn to the ground, and it's ready to be rebuilt. Needs to be rebuilt. Tyrell Williams was added in free agency. Other pass-catchers include Breshad Perriman, Khalil Raymond, Victor Bolden, last year's fifth-round pick Quintez Cephus and fourth-round selection this year, Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Jobs are up for grabs.
And Adams is very similar to Cephus, a bigger bodied high-point specialist with a little wiggle once he gets the ball in his hands. While not overly fast -- 4.59 in the 40 -- Adams posted a 39-inch vertical and a broad jump in the 95th percentile at his pro day, according to Mockdraftable, and he attacks the ball like a glass-cleaning NBA player.
He had 1,111 yards on 79 snags with 12 touchdowns in 2021 and recorded five games of multiple touchdowns at Arkansas State.
4. QB Feleipe Franks, (Falcons)
Franks should've been drafted. Big-time recruit. Started at Florida early in his career. Flopped. Transferred to Arkansas and rehabbed his game in a major way in 2020.
He's almost 6-7 and close to 240 pounds with a hose and impressive athleticism -- Franks is far from a tall, stiff mover on the field. While pocket presence, accuracy, and decision-making -- three pretty important elements to playing quarterback -- were all subpar during his time with the Gators, in his final collegiate season, Franks completed 68.5% of his throws at 8.9 yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns and just four picks in an offense that typically was overmatched along the offensive line and out wide.
In Atlanta, there's Matt Ryan and then no one at the quarterback spot. Long-time backup Matt Schaub retired this offseason.
5. TE Quintin Morris (Bills)
Morris started his career at Bowling Green at wide receiver and recorded 77 grabs for over 1,100 yards with 11 touchdowns before his move to tight end as a senior.
He only made 20 receptions for 248 yards in his final collegiate season, but the seam-stretching ability and strong hands through contact were quality first impressions on film. At the Bowling Green pro day, Morris tested like an above-average athlete for the tight end spot, with a 10-yard split, 20-yard split, 40-yard dash, vertical, and broad jump all in the 63rd percentile or higher at the position, per Mockdraftable.
And Buffalo has a glaring need for a reliable, playmaking tight end. Ask their GM Brandon Beane, who said this after the Bills season ended in the AFC title game, per ESPN's Marcel Louis-Jacques: "We just never really got that position. At the end of the year, I thought we did a little bit, Dawson started to get his groove. But it was never where the opposing defense was like, 'man, we've got to stop their tight ends from going off.' So we'll into look to that group."
6. RB Javian Hawkins (Falcons)
Running back was a trendy Day 2 selection in mock drafts -- trust me on that one -- but the Falcons passed on the position altogether in the 2021 draft and stand today with a running back committee consisting of Mike Davis, Qadree Ollison, and Tony Brooks-James.
Hawkins knew what he was doing signing with the Falcons after the draft. And like many of the skill-position players from Louisville of late, Hawkins can scoot. The 5-8, 183-pounder ran 4.46 and had 36-inch vertical at his pro day and had runs of 70, 75, and 90 yards in 2020. He's electric. And there's some elusiveness to his game as well.
Now, the track record for success among backs under 200 pounds in the NFL isn't great, but don't think of Hawkins as a traditional, 20-carry per game runner. He can be an outside option for Atlanta's run game.
7. DT Darius Stills (Raiders)
In his two years as a full-time player at West Virginia, Stills registered 9.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss -- good numbers, right? What if I told you Stills predominantly played on the nose, especially in 2020? Super impressive. During the pre-draft process I repeatedly mentioned on podcast and radio spots that Stills was the most agile defensive tackle prospect in the class.
He tested just like he plays -- as a high-level athlete for an interior defensive lineman. Stills could spin inside a phone booth. For the younger readers, the dimensions of a normal phone booth on street corners back in the day was about three feet by three feet. Tiny.
He can threaten multiple gaps regardless of where he's aligned because of his lateral juice, and he understands how to utilize pass-rushing moves to beat defensive linemen. He absolutely is small for the position at not even 280 pounds but has the athletic gifts, plan of attack when getting upfield, and the production to make a Raiders team that needs a steady one-technique rusher after the release of Maurice Hurst.
8. RB Jaret Patterson (WFT)
Patterson is stupid elusive. Subtle cuts on zone plays, nasty jump cuts in the hole, spin moves -- whatever it takes to leave defenders whiffing at air, and he did it often at Buffalo. In three years with the Bulls, Patterson accumulated 3,884 yards at 6.2 yards per carry with 52 touchdowns. I don't care if he did most of that against MAC competition. That's dominance you want to see from a non-Power 5 conference prospect.
But Patterson isn't overly fast -- he ran 4.59 at just under 5-7 and 195 pounds. Now, I'd guess the lack of speed played a role in him going undrafted, but the height shouldn't matter whatsoever. And, really, I don't want my running backs very tall. Patterson hides behind his linemen, then you blink and he's already exploded in another direction.
Antonio Gibson is the lead horse in Washington, and there's a cast of journeymen behind him on the depth chart. J.D. McKissic is fresh off the most out-of-nowhere 80-catch seasons in NFL history. But Patterson has youthful legs, outstanding vision, and the most vital trait of all for a running back -- the ability to simply make a defender miss.
Patterson has a decent shot to crack the 53-man roster at some point, and with running back committees ubiquitous in today's NFL, he'll likely receive at least a few handoffs in 2021. And he'll make the most of them.
9. QB Jamie Newman (Eagles)
The Eagles are seemingly ready to move ahead with Jalen Hurts as their quarterback for at least 2021, but the acquisition of Newman is fascinating because of his natural skill set and how he flashed in 2019 at Wake Forest before opting out after his transfer to Georgia in 2020.
The nearly 6-3, 234-pound quarterback was a weapon in the designed run game for the Demon Deacons two years ago, made a variety of impressive tight-window throws, and connected on plenty of downfield tosses made with perfect touch. He even had moments in which he showcased outstanding pocket presence and movement. Is he ready to rapidly read coverages? Not yet. But Newman brings plenty of uncoachable traits to the field, and Hurts isn't the locked-in, long-time starter at his point.
10. OG David Moore (Panthers)
Moore will not lose leverage battles in the trenches at just under 6-2 and 330 pounds with offensive tackle arms that reach over 34 inches. In my scouting report for Moore I wrote "anchors like a champ."
He's an average to slightly above-average athlete by NFL interior blocker standards, and he's coming from Grambling, so his acclimation process will take time.
But he's ready to grapple inside. At times in pass protection, his feet stop churning, which stretches his balance to the limit. Moore is a textbook, under control combo blocker in the run game who plays with plenty of power. The only hurdle standing in the way is sixth-round pick Deonte Brown, who joins the Panthers with an Alabama pedigree. And he's even bigger and wider than Moore at 6-3 and 344 pounds.