Notable NC State UDFA Signings

NC State UDFA signing

Of the seven North Carolina State Wolfpack UDFA signings, three of them are poised to make an immediate impact on their teams.

NC State only had one player selected in the 2023 NFL Draft: Chandler Zavala. He went to the Panthers in the 4th round and looks to fill in at guard immediately. Outside of him, there have been seven other Wolfpack players to sign NFL contracts as UDFAs. Three of them are in prime positions to not only make the roster but to provide valuable impact right away.

All Seven NC State UDFA Signings

  • Christopher Dunn, K, Los Angeles Rams
  • Derek Pitts Jr, DB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Drake Thomas, LB, Las Vegas Raiders
  • Isaiah Moore, LB, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Tanner Ingle, DB, Los Angeles Rams
  • Thayer Thomas, WR, Minnesota Vikings
  • Tyler-Baker Williams, DB, Los Angeles Chargers

Thayer Thomas-WR, Minnesota Vikings

Thomas played five years at NC State, racking up 2,484 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns on 215 receptions. He was a surehanded receiver for the NC State Wolfpack, and he excelled in the slot. Coach Dave Doeren used Thomas as a gadget player; he threw for 4 touchdown passes during his Wolfpack tenure. Thayer also handled the punt return duties all 5 years, averaging 9.7 yards per return and scoring 1 return touchdown.

Thomas profiles as a slot receiver who can handle punt return duties. While he was able to compete for contested catches and is a great route runner, he lacks the elite speed to get separation effectively. Standing at 6-0, 197 pounds, Thomas has average slot receiver size but will have to impress the Vikings coaching staff with his route-running ability and versatility.

The Vikings already have star receiver Justin Jefferson, and drafted USC’s Jordan Addison in the 1st round this year. Thayer will obviously have to compete for the slot receiver role to make this roster. Additionally, the Vikings’ punt returner, Jalen Reagor, was mediocre last year. Thomas has the opportunity to compete for that job if he performs well in camp.

Thayer’s most likely way of making the Vikings roster is through a special teams role while also showing promise as an effective slot receiver. Thomas’ ceiling is reminiscent of Julian Edleman, who made the Patriots’ roster as a return specialist before becoming a very effective slot receiver. If he makes this roster, Thomas should handle punt return duties and fill in as the 4th or 5th receiver on this Vikings offense.

Isaiah Moore-LB, Kansas City Chiefs

Moore boasted an 84.2 PFF grade in his 2022 campaign and was a focal point of the Wolfpack defense. He also played five years at NC State and has been a leader on the field and off each season. Doeren gave Moore play-calling duties ever since his redshirt freshman year, and Moore’s performance shows that he rose to the occasion. Before an ACL injury in 2021, Isaiah led the team in both tackles and TFLs. In 2022, Moore received honorable mention All-ACC honors with 82 tackles, 15 TFLs, and 3 sacks.

He is a phenomenal run defender who is also proficient at understanding a variety of different defensive coverages. Doeran kept him on the field in multiple packages, and his versatility is sure to play well at the next level. However, he has average size at 236 pounds and does not have elite speed. He is strong and able to make tackles but does not scare offenses with his pass rush or coverage abilities.

The Kansas City Chiefs have one promising middle linebacker in Nick Bolton but lack depth behind him. Since the Chiefs’ defensive scheme primarily utilizes three linebackers, Isaiah’s path to making this roster is as a 2nd MLB to Bolton. Both have similar size and collegiate production and both young LBs have similar strengths and weaknesses. Moore has a chance to fill that middle linebacker role for the Chiefs while also being more dynamic and able to play in various packages that require an additional linebacker.

Moore needs to showcase his leadership and run-defense abilities to make this roster. But of the three Wolpack UDFA prospects, Moore is in the most ideal position to make the Chiefs’ final team, as they did not draft a middle linebacker and they do not have a competitive complement to Bolton on the roster.

Christopher Dunn-K, Los Angeles Rams

Dunn won the 2022 Lou Groza Award and holds the record for most field goals in an NCAA career. Dunn gave the Wolfpack faithful headaches when he missed multiple field goals in a 2021 upset win against Clemson. However, he made up for it by recovering his own onside kick which led to a miraculous comeback against the UNC Tarheels. Christopher bounced back from a rollercoaster 2021 by making 28 of 29 field goals in 2022. Dunn was also perfect in his extra-point attempts, never missing one in his entire career. It is also worth noting that Dunn succeeded in every one of his field goal attempts at the 2023 NFL Combine.

The major knock against Dunn is his inability to handle kickoff duties. Also, Dunn has a relatively slow field goal routine, despite his laser accuracy in 2022. He will have to speed up his kicks and show well in training camp to beat out the Rams’ other kicker on the roster, Tanner Brown.

Obviously, his path to making the Rams’ team is through beating out Brown in the preseason. Dunn appeared very confident in 2022 and at the combine and must continue to do so to make the team. If he does win the kicker battle, he will assuredly take on field goal duties for the Rams. The Rams play in a stadium that is essentially a dome, so Dunn will be in a position as advantageous as can be for NFL kickers.

Each NC State UDFA signing has the chance to make an NFL roster but must win a spot in camp.


NC State UDFA signing

Photo courtesy: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports