After every draft, there is a scramble as NFL teams look to scoop up talented players that slipped through the cracks and went undrafted. While teams may sign a few, or even a dozen, undrafted free agents (UDFAs) each season, some of these seemingly forgotten young men make the Week One 53-man rosters of various NFL teams. Here we look at which UDFAs have the best chance of sticking on the opening day rosters of teams in the AFC South.
2016 AFC South Undrafted Free Agent Predictions
Terrel Lathan, Defensive end, Texas Christian
Lathan is a large prospect standing 6’5″ and weighing around 280 pounds. The Titans could use some beef and depth on the outside. While Kevin Dodd was added as a pass rusher, Tennessee did not add any others in the draft. Lathan had a fantastic Alamo Bowl with four tackles, a sack, three hurries and two pass break ups. A strong camp and preseason showing could allow him to sneak onto the roster.
Antwaun Woods, Nose tackle, USC
The Titans lack difference makers on the defensive side of the ball, especially along the defensive line. While Woods may not be considered a difference maker, he is a proven starter at a big time college program. He started 20 games while at USC, which could afford Woods the opportunity to snag a roster spot. Woods may even carve out a role in the defensive rotation should he have a productive off-season.
Braedon Bowman, Tight end, South Alabama
Jacksonville left the tight end position untouched this off-season despite the need to bolster depth on the back end. Bowman walks into a potentially advantageous situation with the Jaguars if he can show special teams ability on top of developing his game at his position. Bowman has shown decent speed and strength, but he will need to show it on the field to stick.
Jarrod Wilson, Defensive back, Michigan
The Jaguars secondary is in need of an upgrade and has been for several seasons. While the top end of the roster has potentially been upgraded, the back end needs reinforcement and has several players on the bubble. Wilson wasn’t highly ranked by scouts, but his on-field performance and reputation as a leader could aid him in stealing a roster spot. He will have to stand out on special teams to make their final roster.
Soma Vainuku, Fullback, USC
While not a popular position in the modern passing offense, the Texans are one of the few teams that will carry on with the fullback position. While not a major contributor on offense at USC, he was a force on special teams. This is where he can make his mark this off-season, and Vainuku will have to compete with Jay Prosch for a potential spot on the roster.
Wendell Williams, Wide receiver, Cumberlands
The Texans looked to add more speed this off-season to an offense that relied on star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Will Fuller and Braxton Miller were drafted to fill that need, yet neither clocked a 4.19 40-yard dash time that Williams achieved. Williams also posted a 45-inch vertical leap. However, he is rather undersized for the wide receiver position. If he can’t latch onto the opening day roster, expect Williams to get on the practice squad to continue his development as a player.
Ron Thompson Jr. Outside linebacker/Defensive end, Syracuse
The Colts are in desperate need of pass rushers, and brought in many options to compete. Thompson played end in the 4-3 at Syracuse, yet believes that the transition to linebacker will be smooth. Thompson will hope to follow in the footsteps of fellow Syracuse alum Dwight Freeney. While not the highly-regarded prospect that Freeney was, Thompson could have a role to play providing specials teams and pass rushing aid to a team that desperately needs both.
Josh Ferguson, Running back, Illinois
Frank Gore remains the elder statesman at running back for the Colts, yet the supporting cast leaves something to be desired. Ferguson was invited to the NFL Combine yet went undrafted. A dual threat out of the backfield, he could not only obtain a spot on the Colts roster, but he could carve out a role in an offense that might be rotating players in the backfield to keep Gore fresh all season long. He will have to continue to show the superb receiving skills that he had at Illinois, where he is the all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards by a running back.
Other Undrafted Free Agent Predictions