The 2013 NFL draft has wrapped up, and teams will begin rookie minicamps soon.
On a personal note, I love scouting players and watch more film than most. I also travel on the college All Star circuit in January. My trips to the Shrine Game, Senior Bowl, and Texas Versus Nation games have enhanced my scouting reports. Seeing players like Pierre Garcon (Texas versus Nation, 2008) and Alfred Morris (Shrine Game, 2012) from field level before they became household names is extremely valuable to me. I love spotting late-round picks and undrafted free agents who have the talent to succeed in the NFL.
Per Elias Sports Bureau there were 13 UDFAs who made the Pro Bowl in 2012. Three UDFAs had at least 1,000 yards receiving (Wes Welker, Victor Cruz, and Lance Moore). Two UDFAs had at least 1,000 yards rushing (Arian Foster and BenJarvus Green-Ellis). Three UDFAs had at least 9.0 sacks (Cameron Wake, Chris Clemons, and Michael Bennett). Four UDFAs had at least 120 tackles (Jerrell Freeman, London Fletcher, Russell Allen, and Vontaze Burfict).
With stars like Arian Foster (Texans), Antonio Gates (Chargers), and Tony Romo (Cowboys) coming from the ranks of the undrafted it's obvious that talent can come from anywhere. Here's a look at some of my favorite undrafted free agents in 2013. These are players deep dynasty league owners need to keep an eye on.
New England Patriots
T.J. Moe, WR, Missouri
HT: 6'0" WT: 200
T.J. Moe was observed during the week of practice for the Texas Versus Nation Game earlier this year in Allen, TX. He impressed with his quickness and explosion when making cuts on his route. Moe was a favorite target of quarterback Blaine Gabbert in 2010, catching 92 passes for 1,045 yards and six touchdowns. Moe has above average straight line speed and is elusive when in the open field. He's a perfect slot wide receiver who has some Danny Amendola to his game. The pro comparison for him before the draft was Davone Bess (Browns) because of his ability to make tacklers miss. The decision to sign with the Patriots is an interesting one, and we could see Moe develop into a quality weapon at the pro level.
Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Tennesee Tech (Tennessee transfer)
HT: 6'3" WT: 205
What a steal for the Bills! Rogers had a second-round grade by some in the scouting community based purely on his on-field talent. Rogers was forced to transfer to Tech after the Volunteers suspended him indefinitely for multiple team rules violations. He admitted this was for drugs. If he can stay out of trouble Rogers could make a big impact on a Bills passing game that needs help. Rogers is a big, fast, physical wide receiver who isn't afraid to run routes over the middle. He could have been the most physically gifted of all Volunteers receivers in this draft, including first-round pick Cordarelle Patterson (Vikings) and second-round pick Justin Hunter (Titans).
Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh
HT: 5'9" WT: 190
Graham has been noteworthy since his freshmen season at Pittsburgh. He's an electric scat back who has phone booth quickness and good burst. He suffered a torn ACL in 2011 and was only rounding into form at the end of the 2012 season. He was observed during the week of practice for the Shrine Game earlier this year, and it looked like he was all the way back from the injury. Graham accelerates quickly and has the foot frequency to change direction with ease. He's a good receiver out of the backfield and can also help out in the return game. Landing with the Texans is a perfect spot. The zone blocking system should really accentuate his lateral agility and explosiveness. The Texans struck gold with undrafted free agent Arian Foster (2009) and is looking to strike it rich once again with a guy like Graham.
Trent Steelman, WR/QB, Army
HT: 6'0" WT: 207
A four year starting quarterback for Army, Steelman will try to make his way in the NFL as a wide receiver, return man, and gadget quarterback. He finished his college career with over 3,200 yards rushing and 2,600 yards passing for the Black Knights. Observed during the week of practices for the Shrine Game earlier this year, he was impressive. Steelman made the most of his opportunity and made aggressive plays as a wide receiver. He's a quick twitch athlete who can make players miss in the open field. Steelman showed strong hands and natural receiving ability during that week. He may have a commitment to the Armed Forces before he can start his pro career and that could delay him for two years. Steelman commented on this after the Ravens picked him up. "We are still working out a lot of those details, but I know there are a few rookie mini-camps on the weekends that are upcoming that I will be attending," he added. "I'm (sic) be able to work with them (Ravens) to work around my military obligations as well." He's a deep sleeper with the odds stacked against him, but that hasn't stopped Steelman in the past.
New Orleans Saints
Ryan Griffin, QB, Tulane
HT: 6'5" WT: 210
Griffin is your classic pocket passer. He has a big arm, spins the ball with proper velocity, and has a gunslinger's mentality. Griffin didn't have much to work with around him at Tulane, yet always went down swinging. While not a scrambler, Griffin can climb the ladder to evade pressure and keeps plays alive with his feet. Some in the scouting community have compared him to Nick Foles (Eagles) because of his prototypical size and arm strength. He impressed at the Texas Versus Nation week of practice. Griffin loves to challenge a defense vertically but also knows when it's best to check down.
New York Giants, WR, Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech
Washington Redskins, WR, Devonte Christopher, Utah
Chicago Bears, WR, Mark Harrison, Rutgers