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There is nothing worse than waiting to be picked in the NFL Draft, that is, except not being picked at all. After the 2018 draft, there were several undrafted rookies who had every reason to feel they were slighted. When there are 400-plus people bidding for 256 slots, reality dictates a few people will be left out. Like all of those (myself included) who were last to be picked for dodgeball, it hurts watching your rivals or friends get selected ahead of you.

NFL teams also had a list of reasons why each player on this list wasn’t picked within the three days of the draft. Those reasons run anywhere from lack of size to lack of heart. Will they allow that to scar their ego? All these men have a desire to prove to the other 31 teams that they were dead wrong and play with a chip on their shoulder.

The Best Of The Rest: 2018 Undrafted Free Agents

EVAN BROWN: A 302-pound Center out of SMU. Signed by the New York Giants.

Why This Makes Sense?

The Giants have a hole at the center position after last year’s starter Weston Richburg signed with the 49ers. Brown started all 25 games over the last 2 years. He also played guard over his four-year tenure at SMU. The Giants backup center Ethan Cooper has little experience and is slow compared to Brown, who ranked highly among offensive linemen prospects in the 40-yard dash and the bench press.

Why Wasn’t Brown Drafted?

Scouts and coaches want their linemen mean and nasty. Brown doesn’t have that nasty streak in him. Although he was a leader and blocker for a high octane offense his footwork is sloppy. He has poor agility and lateral movement which are tough drawbacks at the pro level.

Can He Make The Team?

In a best-case scenario, Brown is a floater who can fill in at center and bump over to guard in case of emergency. If he plays with a chip on his shoulder and develops that nasty streak, he can stick around the league for a few years – especially if he finds the right team. The Giants, if they had a few extra late picks, may have taken him in the sixth or seventh round. This may be a great fit for both parties.

SIMMIE COBBS: 6 feet, 4 inches, 220 pounds from Indiana. Signed by the Washington Redskins.

Why This Makes Sense?

Cobbs is a desperately needed red zone threat who dominated the Big Ten. He will be aggressive on jump balls and go after blocks to seal off the corners for ball carriers. The reason he picked the Redskins over the other teams interested in him was the opportunity to make the team and potentially get on the field. Washington has just three Receivers that are guaranteed to make the team, led by veterans Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson.

Why Wasn’t Cobbs Drafted?

There is a  past full of injuries. He won’t be able to rely on his size in the NFL when he has to create separation. His speed is suspect to work the outside and his route running doesn’t translate to the slot. The tape has exposed that he may take a play or two off or not play to the whistle.

Can He Make The Team?

With the departure of Terrelle Pryor Sr., Cobbs’ body size should give him an advantage of fitting in at one of the open roster spots at receiver. He’s probably not a mainstay in the league for more than three years (which is right around the league average for players). Without the ability to contribute on special teams, Cobbs will have to excel as a pass catcher to maintain longevity with this team or any other.

JOHN FRANKLIN III: A speedster who played his last year for FAU. He virtually played every position on offense. Signed with the Chicago Bears.

Why this makes sense?

Chicago revamped a receiving corps from last year that saw its leader in receptions with just 59. They added Allen Robinson , who is coming off a season-ending knee injury and Taylor Gabriel,  a bit of an inconsistent speedster. What that means for Franklin III, is he can create competition and step in should either of them be unable to perform. If he makes the team he can open up the playbook and move all around the field. Franklin can also be utilized as a special teams threat as a returner. He does bring a lot of attention with him, staring in the Netflix documentary series Last Chance U.

Why Wasn’t Franklin III Drafted?

He has never really excelled at any position or at any school (there were four) while he was in college. Speed kills for sure, but a player like that is a dime a dozen and there were more players with a more polished skill set.

Can He Make The Team?

No! At least not with this team. The Bears have backup running back Tarik Cohen slated as the kick and punt returner, which is the only real fit for Franklin III. If he goes to another team and works hard he may have a shot. He is a lesser version of Brad Smith who made the transition from college quarterback to receiver in the NFL.

TARVARUS MCFADDEN: 6 foot 2, 196 pounds who played for Florida State. Signed with the San Francisco 49ers.

Why this makes sense?

McFadden has shown glimpses of a first-round type talent, especially during his sophomore year when he had eight picks. He has the right size and can jump for 50/50 balls making him a major asset in the red zone. Last year the 49ers allowed a touchdown around 60 percent of the time opponents reached the red zone. They also struggled on third and fourth down getting opponents off the field. McFadden has the potential to help in all those areas. Right now, the 49ers are in flux in the secondary. The primary or secondary plan is Jimmie Ward for just about every position. To add depth the 49ers have applied a ‘see what sticks’ mentality.

Why Wasn’t McFadden Drafted?

His measurables at the combine did not align to what an ideal, prototypical DB should have. With a 40 time of 4.67, he is limited from working in space with most NFL wideouts. The cone and agility drills also prove he can’t keep up with the quick Julian Edelmantypes in the slot. Outside of his second year at Florida State, McFadden had not shown he could even hold up against ACC competition.

Can He Make The Team?

With a press-coverage, zone varied scheme, there is a chance McFadden can turn into a decent cornerback. The 49ers matched him to their style and he will be given every opportunity to succeed. If he applies himself on special teams there is no reason McFadden can’t be a long-time player in this league.

The Minnesota Vikings made the biggest splash with this year’s crop of undrafted free agents. They have added three very talented players to their roster, all at positions of need that may be able to contribute in varying roles this year.

First is Holton Hill, a cornerback from Texas, who has pro size, pro talent, and he passes the eye test. Hill easily could have gone early on in the draft, but he has had issues with rule violations and he has been known to not always give a hundred percent.

Next, they signed Hercules Mata’afa. Outside of a great name, he has 21 sacks and 45.5 tackles for a loss while playing defensive line for Washington State. The knock on this guy is his size; at around 240 pounds now (he was lighter before the draft), he isn’t big enough to play inside, where he made most of his noise in college. This is a type of all-out player you want on your team, a motor that won’t stop. He may make some plays shifting on the line or moving to linebacker, but he can really shine on special teams like Larry Izzo did for so many years.

Last they picked up the speedy wideout Jeff Badet from Oklahoma. He ran a 4.27 in his 40. Need I say more?

Teams are on the lookout for the perfect player left in this group. The Dallas Cowboys were decimated at the tight end position, with the retirement of Jason Witten. They added depth acquiring David Wells, who can be a short yardage threat in the passing game and is a great blocker for Ezekiel Elliott.

The Jaguars picked up the best available receiver in Allen Lazard out of Iowa State who put up spectacular numbers in college and in the Senior Bowl.

The Eagles tried to strike gold again with Josh Adams, a running back out of Notre Dame. Adams, a downhill runner, has already asked last year’s diamond in the rough, former undrafted rookie Corey Clement for advice.

Waiting three days and not hearing your name called may hurt the ego. However, the benefit these players have over the players selected in the late rounds is they can negotiate with several teams to find the right fit. That is what Cobbs did in choosing Washington. Not all of these players or the hundreds of others will make their respective teams. But maybe, just maybe, there is a Clement in here who can not only make the roster but impact the team to the tune of 100 yards in the Super Bowl.

Gerard O'Grodnick

Author Gerard O'Grodnick

A writer by trade and a sports fan by passion, I have been using print and the air waves along with a background in broadcast communication to combine the two for years.

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Sports Al Dente 2018