Thomas Sweeney Jersey

Every year, there are talented prospects who slip through the cracks and don’t hear their name called during the NFL Draft. Whether it’s due to athletic concerns, character concerns, or straight up being overlooked, some players who end up making an impact in the league don’t get drafted.

That applies to the 2019 NFL Draft as well. There are plenty of undrafted free agents who were quickly signed to teams and will now get their chance to show why they should’ve been draft picks all along.

Based on their college performances and how they fit with their new team, these are eight players who weren’t selected in this year’s NFL Draft who can produce early in their careers.
Buffalo Bills: David Sills V, WR, West Virginia

In 2018, Buffalo wideouts combined for 11 receiving touchdowns. In 2018, Sills caught 15 touchdown passes in 12 games for the Mountaineers. This was a decline from his 2017 season, when he sprang for 18 touchdowns and proved he was capable of rewriting his history as a scuttled prep quarterback.

The Bills went through their 2019 draft without adding a single wide receiver, though they did select a pair of tight ends in Dawson Knox and Tommy Sweeney. That gives Sills plenty of room to join a depth chart that includes 2018 standbys Zay Jones and Robert Foster, along with recent free agent additions John Brown and Cole Beasley.

If Sills can build a connection with Josh Allen, he’ll have a real chance to not just make the Bills’ 53-man roster, but open the year in Buffalo’s receiver rotation. While he may lack the top-level athleticism of his peers, the West Virginia wideout has proven to be a real asset for a spread offense — especially in the red zone.
Carolina Panthers: Elijah Holyfield, RB, Georgia

Elijah Holyfield was projected to be drafted before he ran a 4.78-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Unfortunately, he followed that up with a 4.89-second 40-yard dash at Georgia’s pro day. Those times, combined with other unfavorable testing results, plummeted his draft stock. Despite that, Holyfield still has the chance to make an impact for the Panthers. He was one of the most productive running backs in the entire draft. The Panthers have been looking for a reliable backup to spell Christian McCaffrey since the moment they drafted him in 2017. Now they’ll have two options in Holyfield and fifth-round pick Jordan Scarlett.
Chicago Bears: Emanuel Hall, WR, Missouri

Chicago is leaning hard into a field-spreading offense under head coach Matt Nagy. Adding Hall gives the Bears another weapon to frustrate safeties vertically. The former Missouri standout averaged nearly 21 yards per catch while teaming with Drew Lock, giving the Tigers a badly needed extra dimension and matching up well against some of the SEC’s top secondaries.

The bad news is that vertical speed was kind of a one-trick pony for Hall. That lack of a route tree — and the injuries that limited him to 32 games in four years of college — pushed him from a potential Day 2 prospect and into the overlooked masses of the UDFA ranks.

He’ll pair with a budding young quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky, who utilized both Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller as deep threats in his breakout 2018 season. Robinson is only signed through 2019, which could give Hall a chance to shine in 2020 and beyond. The Bears already have a potent uber-athletic group of playmakers in Tarik Cohen, Trey Burton, and Miller in the lineup. Hall can take that lineup to the next level if he can pad out his game and be the game-breaking threat he was at Missouri once more.
Cleveland Browns: Jamie Gillan, P/K, Arkansas-Pine Bluff Gillan may just be the most interesting man in 2019’s pool of eligible players. He played only five games of high school football (and two all-star games) in Maryland after coming to the United States from Scotland, then accepted a scholarship to Arkansas-Pine Bluff sight unseen after a friend of his posted his game tape to the Golden Lions’ Facebook page.

The Inverness native was a potent threat in all three phases of special teams for UAPB. He averaged 42.5 yards per punt while pinning opponents inside their own 20 more than a third of the time. He connected on 20 field goals as a senior and has the range to hit 70-yarders in practice.

And he’s a workout fiend, having ripped off linebacker-esque numbers — a 38-inch vertical leap and 4.6-second 40 time at 6’2 and 210 pounds — at his pro day.

The Browns need a punter to push Britton Colquitt for the top spot on the depth chart. Gillan, who can do a little bit of everything when it comes to both kicking, punting, and wrecking returners who dare range near him.
Kansas City Chiefs: Gary Johnson, LB, Texas

The Chiefs needed some depth at linebacker, but they didn’t take one during the 2019 NFL Draft. Instead, they waited until after the draft by signing speedy Texas linebacker Gary Johnson.

Johnson had a strong senior season for Texas, racking up 90 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. He profiles as a weakside linebacker for new Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. Johnson has the speed and agility to be a coverage weapon for Kansas City if he can find his way onto the field as a rookie.

Entrenched starters Reggie Ragland and Anthony Hitchens should be better fits for the Chiefs’ new defense, but they don’t have the speed that defenses have been trending toward over the past few years. Johnson has a chance to get reps in nickel and dime sets to give the Chiefs more athleticism to defend the pass.
New Orleans Saints: Lil’Jordan Humphrey, WR, Texas

The Saints need wide receiver talent to pair with Michael Thomas, but with only five picks in the 2019 draft, they weren’t able to address that position. Instead, they dipped their toes into the undrafted free agent market by signing Lil’Jordan Humphrey from the University of Texas.

Humphrey has more than a cool first name — he was a really productive receiver during his final season at Texas. Last year, Humphrey recorded 1,176 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns, including the game-winner against Texas Tech.There isn’t exactly a ton of competition for Humphrey in New Orleans, outside of Thomas, No one should be surprised if he ends up seeing snaps as a rookie.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DaMarkus Lodge, WR, Ole Miss

With DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries moving on to new teams this offseason, the Buccaneers needed to bring more competition to their wide receiver group. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin should be one of the top receiving duos in the league, but a talented third receiver could really help Bruce Arians’ offense take off.

DaMarkus Lodge was one of the three of Ole Miss receivers who entered the draft this year. He didn’t have the explosive measurements that his teammate D.K. Metcalf did, but he did put up better numbers than Metcalf during their college careers.

Lodge is a refined route runner who should be able to feast on the cornerback talent he’ll see with Evans and Godwin commanding so much attention from defenses.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Nate Trewyn, C, Wisconsin-Whitewater

Trewyn was a Division III All-American and the 2018 Rimington Award winner as the division’s top center. He also has NFL size at 6’4 and 315 pounds, but mostly I’m here to stan for the Warhawks, who routinely turn undersized and overlooked talent from Wisconsin and Illinois into a Division III dynasty.

Trewyn was the linchpin of that dynasty in 2018, clearing the space for an offense that averaged nearly 250 rushing yards per game en route to the national semifinal. An angry blocker who never took plays off — including when I saw him live in a 67-14 playoff win over Eureka College this November (Whitewater averaged 13.9 yards per carry that day. I don’t care who you’re playing, that’s pretty good).

He’s a project, sure, but the Buccaneers have time to let him develop and continued needs across their offensive line. Ryan Jensen is signed through 2021, but if his level of play slips after 2019 he can be released without any dead money on Tampa’s cap sheet. If Terwyn can find a way to stick around, he could be the next man up in the middle for the Bucs — even if he’s got a lot to prove to get there after ragdolling 220-pound pass rushers in southern Wisconsin.

Dawson Knox Jersey

Dawson Knox wasn’t going to spend any more time in college.

Knox graduated from Ole Miss in December and still had a year of eligibility left. He could have returned to campus for one more season but declared for the draft instead.

He was overshadowed at Ole Miss playing in an offense with receivers D.K. Metcalf (second round pick), A.J. Brown (second round pick) and Demarcus Lodge (signed with Tampa Bat post-draft). It made sense to stay another year. In fact, Knox never even caught a touchdown in college.

Despite the lack of certain college statistics, the Bills were more than happy to take a chance on Knox’s potential.

The Bills grabbed Knox with the No. 96 pick in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft by trading picks No. 112 and 131 to acquire a second third-round pick. A former walk-on at Ole Miss, Knox has now been compared to the likes of two-time Pro Bowl selection Kyle Rudolph and some scouts believe he has the opportunity to cement himself as a long-time starter for Buffalo.

“A lot of guys don’t have to go into college knowing that they have to earn every single thing,” Knox said. “And I just had to go in with the mindset that I am going to outwork everybody because no one was going to give me anything.”

The 6-4, 257-pound frame he has today was not nearly the same as when he entered Ole Miss.

Knox played quarterback in high school. He had offers to play quarterback from Air Force, Austin Peay and Cornell, but he wanted to play at a higher level. He knew going to Ole Miss would force him to play tight end.

There was only one problem – he was just 210 pounds.

“I walked on having never played a down of tight end in my life,” Knox said on One Bills Live last week. “I was trying to block SEC defensive linemen and that was an eye-opening experience. I had no idea what I was doing”

Not only did Knox not have the size, he had major competition at the position. Evan Engram, a former first round pick now with the New York Giants, was a first-team All-American during his freshman year.

Knox failed to see the field in his first season and was redshirted. In his redshirt freshman year in 2016 he appeared in six games – strictly on special teams.

While learning the finer points of his new position on the field, Knox went to work in the weight room off the field. He added over 30 pounds to his frame. He believed his work with Engram for two seasons helped hone his craft.

Over the next two seasons as a starter, Knox hauled in 39 passes for 605 yards and a gaudy 15.5 yards per catch.

In 2017, he produced a single-season best 24 receptions for 321 yards and was nominated for the Burlsworth trophy – an award given annually to the nation’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on. The following season he was nominated for the Mackey Award for the best tight end in the country.

NFL Draft analyst Lance Zierlein called Knox a “workout freak-daddy.”

“Talent wise there wasn’t much difference between he and T.J. Hockenson who went number eight overall to Detroit,” said Jim Nagy executive director of the Senior Bowl. “Dawson can block, he’s a really tough kid, he’s got a great body type for the position.”
Knox planned to play in the Senior Bowl in January but was forced to pull out of the game due to an injury.

Knox doesn’t believe it is his physical attributes, like his 4.57 forty time, sets him apart from other tight ends. He feels his best edge comes on the mental-side of the game.

“Playing quarterback was one of my biggest advantages,” Knox said. “Because you just read the defense differently, you have to look at what everybody’s doing. You try to look at the entire concept and changes from each person’s role.”

Knox knows how long and far corners and linebackers will drop into coverage. It aides when he’s trying to run routes different ways. He understands quarterback progressions and Knox says it really helped his learning process.

“He’s one of the guys that I was able to see live this year,” general manager Brandon Beane said. “And he showed enough stuff that I think will translate to our game. I do think he’s a dual player. He’s not just a pass receiver. He’s not just a blocker. I think he’s a guy that will improve.”

Darryl Johnson Jersey

Darryl Johnson watched the NFL Draft on TV at his home near Savannah, Ga., surrounded by his extended family. He waited until the last round on the last day before he heard his named called.

Johnson, a 6-foot-6 defensive end from N.C. A&T, had left school early and was picked late, going to the Buffalo Bills with the 11th pick of the seventh round Saturday afternoon, the 225th overall selection.

Where he went didn’t matter, Johnson said. That he went, well, that mattered a lot.

“I wasn’t nervous at all,” Johnson said. “At the end of the day, I knew I was going to get a shot to play football. I was excited that I got drafted. That’s a dream come true, to hear your named called. I knew God had a plan for me. I kept my faith high, and things worked out.”

The MEAC’s defensive player of the year and an FCS All-American, Johnson gave up his final season of college eligibility when he signed with Charlotte-based sports agent Robert Walker in January, a month after the Aggies won their second consecutive Celebration Bowl.

It was risky. Johnson has NFL-caliber speed for a defensive lineman, but he’s small by pro standards. The average NFL defensive end is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 279 pounds.

“When I left school in January and started training, that first day I was 232 pounds,” Johnson said. “So, I’ve put on a lot of weight, a lot of muscle. It’s good, man. I’m still just as fast, but I’ve worked on my lower body and I feel more explosive. I feel like I can do a lot more, that I’ve added to my arsenal. There’s more weight behind me, and I’m a lot stronger.”

At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Johnson weighed 253 pounds. He showed off his strength there in the bench press with 20 reps of 225 pounds.

But he didn’t participate in any other drills, creating more questions than he answered.

“I did a lot of interviews at the NFL Combine,” Johnson said, “but I had tweaked my hamstring, so I didn’t do a lot of the workouts. … It just wasn’t meant for me to perform there, not part of God’s plan for me. I’d never tweaked a hamstring before in my life. I waited it out, and Pro Day came.”

Even on Pro Day, all his results were labeled “unhealthy” because he was still healing.

“I still wasn’t 100 percent,” Johnson said, “but I put up some solid numbers that kept me in the game. I ran the 40 (yard dash) in the high 4.7s (seconds), but I’ve run a 4.65 before, and they knew that.”

Johnson said the Bills were the most interested team on that pro day.

“I’ve been talking with the Bills on and off,” Johnson said. “The coach who called me to tell me they were drafting me was the same guy (linebackers coach Bob Babich) who worked me out on Pro Day. He took me out to eat that day, and we kind of built a relationship there. We learned each other’s stories about where we came from. I could tell he liked me then.”The next call Johnson got on his draft day was from a former teammate and current Chicago Bears All-Pro Tarik Cohen.

“Tarik was hype, man,” Johnson said. “He just said he’s proud of me, and proud of all of us, really. He told me to get to work, that the job isn’t done. When I get there, go to work and show them what HBCU football is all about, what A&T football is all about, what Aggie Pride is.”

In his last year at A&T, Johnson was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award for the FCS defensive player of the year. He tied for eighth in the nation with 10½ sacks and ninth with 19 tackles for losses. His 50 tackles ranked fourth on A&T’s No. 3-ranked defense and were the most by any Aggies defensive lineman.

But all of that means nothing now, Johnson said.

“I’m starting all over again,” he said. “It’s like being a freshman again, learning everybody’s name, building relationships with my new coaches and teammates. I’ve got a new playbook to learn. I want to find a veteran I can get up underneath who can teach me the ropes of how everything works.

“Most of all, I want to prove to everybody that I can play and that I deserved to be here.”

Jaquan Johnson Jersey

The Buffalo Bills exited the 2019 NFL Draft with eight new faces. Most of the first two days were devoted to the offense, but day three flipped the switch to defense. The current Bills front office has typically found some defensive steals in later rounds and undrafted players. In round six the Bills hoped to add to this growing resume by selecting defensive back Jaquan Johnson, the former Miami Hurricane. Relegated to backup duty for his first two years in Miami, Jaquan Johnson’s numbers don’t jump off the screen. He was inserted into the starting lineup for his junior year and took off. Johnson racked up more than 90 tackles the last two years and was named team MVP in his 2017 junior year. In that same two-year span he had six interceptions and one more touchdown than his new teammate, tight end Dawson Knox. If you’re not sure how many that is, then check out our Dawson Knox coverage here, here or here.

This is usually a paragraph about red flags and injuries and for Johnson it’d be nearly blank. Missing two games with a hamstring injury is about it. So let’s flip it around and discuss how Jaquan Johnson sounds like a perfect Sean McDermott culture pick. Johnson was a well-respected leader on and off the field, with repeated notes describing a person who leads by example. Johnson notably delivered a speech that was credited for inspiring a comeback victory over FSU during the 2018 season. Nothing about this chart is remotely inspiring. Jaquan Johnson profiles as undersized and not incredibly athletic. The broad jump and bench press look promising but only in comparison to his other numbers. Both are pretty representative of his position group. This is a good time to remind everyone that there’s more to a player than raw numbers. Despite the poor testing numbers, Jaquan Johnson is praised for acceleration and burst. A physical tackling style is universally recognized in his game. Johnson is said to play smart as well, wrapping up when his lack of size plays against him. Johnson does well in the open field and looks to create big plays by stripping the ball. There’s no shortage of praise for Johnson’s ability to read and react to run plays. Johnson’s size projects to be a major factor at the NFL level. At 5’11” and with a shorter-than-average wingspan and weight, there is plenty of concern he’ll be bullied by tight ends. A common refrain is that Johnson’s anticipation and instincts are a weakness. The words “slow” or “late” are not uncommonly used in reference to Johnson’s ability to pick up receivers.

Per Lance Zierlein, Jaquan Johnson has a chance to become an NFL starter (grade of 5.61). Zierlein’s player comparison is Budda Baker. Bills fans would be ecstatic if Johnson followed in Baker’s footsteps, being named All-Pro in his rookie season. The size comparison seems apt, but Baker profiled more positively in terms of athletic ability. Rafael Bush might be a more apt comparison. Bush currently sits at about 13 lbs heavier than Johnson per Pro Football Reference. It’s not out of the question that Johnson will add a little weight and close that gap. Buffalo’s zone-based defense and affinity for nickel formations are likely a good fit for Jaquan Johnson. Though his limitations may need to be worked around, the 2018 Bills thrived by using specialized packages based on opponent. It wouldn’t be a surprise for them to find a use for an aggressive defensive back who knows how to tackle.

Vosean Joseph Jersey

Though we were not able to snag our normal expert ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft, OnlyGators.com is here to take a closer look at the Florida Gators who could be selected from Thursday-Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee. And this year, there’s a ton of them.

Below are evaluations for the eight Gators available in the draft. All could potentially be selected, but Florida is likely looking at five or six being chosen and two or three moving on to be undrafted free agents.

Offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor (junior)
Projection: Round 1 (top 15 pick)
Analysis: The talent is there with Taylor. Though his weight will always be an issue worth monitoring — he was over 400 pounds in high school before slimming down throughout his collegiate career — he is a true road grader outside and is excellent in pass protection. He will need to improve in the running game, but teams believe they can teach that in a single training camp. Taylor will be a starter from Day 1 and should go in the front half of the first round on Thursday.

Safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (junior)
Projection: Round 2
Analysis: Gardner-Johnson can do it all, which will have teams interested in him at a variety of positions. Most will project him as a high safety, due in large part to his slower-than-optimal reaction time. Gardner-Johnson makes up for that with his athleticism and overall talent. He will get the opportunity to start right away or be a frequent contributor to a secondary — all depending on the rest of the team’s talent.

EDGE Jachai Polite (junior)
Projection: Round 3
Analysis: Depending who you ask, Polite may have had the worst NFL Combine performance of all-time due to his interview sessions. Some teams apparently took him off their boards entirely. Still, talent wins out in the end, and after a stellar college career, it has been surprising to see Polite projected as a third-round selection. Polite had a nation-best six forced fumbles last season with 17.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks … all despite not playing as many snaps as starters on the team. This is pass rushing talent, and he should probably be a second-round pick.

Linebacker Vosean Joseph (junior)
Projection: Round 3
Analysis: Athletic and talented, Joseph led the Gators last season with 98 tackles. He can pass rush, play coverage in the passing game and stop the run. The reason he will not be drafted higher is because he does not yet excel in any particular area, and this is a draft heavy weight linebackers and EDGE talent. Still, being a Day 2 selection is nothing to sneeze at.

Running back Jordan Scarlett (r-junior)
Projection: Round 6
Analysis: Most actually have Scarlett listed as an undrafted free agent, but all season I thought he would go in the fourth round. So I’m splitting the difference here, assuming a team sees his highlights from the 2018 season and realizes that Scarlett has many of the key traits — size, strength and quickness. If he can become a bit more decisive, you’re talking about an NFL starter (though perhaps one who needs an injury to get that opportunity).

Offensive lineman Martez Ivey
Projection: Round 6
Analysis: A long-time starter at Florida, Ivey just simply never developed the way coaches or fans expected. The former five-star recruit was supposed to be a three-year starter at left tackle who jumped early to the NFL as a projected first-round pick. Instead, his lack of lateral mobility and inconsistency cost him. Still, he’s been one of the top linemen in the SEC over his career, and that alone will ensure he is selected on Day 3, perhaps earlier than projected here.

Defensive lineman Cece Jefferson
Projection: Round 6 to undrafted free agent
Analysis: Similar to Ivey, Jefferson is a former five-star recruit who was expected to be a dominant three-year player for the Gators. That did not work out for him either. Instead, Jefferson will be hoping to catch on with a team in Day 3 or immediately after the draft concludes. It may be better for him to sign somewhere as a UDFA as he can pick his opportunity to potentially get on the field quickly.

Devin Singletary Jersey

The Buffalo Bills added another shifty running back to the backfield on day two of the 2019 NFL Draft with the third-round selection of Devin Singletary.

Here are five things to know about the newest Bill.

They call him ‘Motor’

Devin Singletary has never been someone to slow down. Singletary who has the same moniker as his father tore up the C-USA in his three years as a Florida Atlantic University Owl.

Singletary was a touchdown machine despite only standing at 5-foot-7. In his career he finished with 66 rushing touchdowns. In 2017 he led the nation with 32 rushing TDs, tied for the most carries in the nation with 301 and ranked fourth in the country with 1,920 yards. His sophomore season culminated in a second-team AP All-American notice.

He followed that season up with 261 carries for 1,348 yards and 22 rushing touchdowns making him a first-team all C-USA selection.
He makes guys miss

In 2017, Pro Football Focus marked that Singletary finishes No. 2 nationally in missed tackles forced on carries and No. 2 in total breakaway yards among returning FBS running backs with 917 yards gained on breakaway runs.

NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein noted his strengths as the first defender rarely gets him down, he has twitchy footwork for instant stops and starts, and he has instant acceleration after short-area cuts to avoid tacklers.

Part of his elusiveness is from his smaller stature at 5-7 and he can shrink even smaller to sneak in and out of creases between the tackles.
Motivated by lost friend

Singletary’s motor and motivation comes from the prospect of living out his NFL dream that his high school teammate and mentor never could.

Singletary vows to play for Greg Bryant, who died in May of 2016 after he was shot.

“That was my big brother,” said Singletary of Bryant, who was a senior and one of the nation’s most sought-after recruits when Singletary was a freshman with the Stallions. “Before every game, I say my prayer. I ask my grandmother to watch over me, and then I ask GB to play through me. I know if he was still here, he would still be in the league.”

Bryant was a mentor for Singletary as he transitioned to one of the top high school players in South Florida. Bryant was a five-star recruit who went to Notre Dame before transferring to UAB.

“I know that Greg was definitely an inspiration to Motor, and it’s awesome to see that he’s going to have an opportunity to live out the dream that Greg would’ve been able to,” said his high school coach Doug Socha.

He breaks records

Singletary tore up the record books for running backs at FAU and completely rewrote them.

Singletary is the career yards leader at 4,289 yards passing former NFL running back Alfred Morris who had 3,529 in his four-year career. Singletary also has the single season career at 1,920 yards, 500 more than Morris.

He also holds the top four highest single-game rushing performances in FAU history. His 2016 game against Rice he put 254 yards on the ground to set the current record.

Singletary also holds the most career touchdowns, single season touchdowns and most in a single game with 5.
“Heisman in Paradise”

FAU launched the Heisman in paradise campaign at the conclusion of Singletary’s junior season. Labeled a dark-horse for the trophy he ran for 22 touchdowns and was named to both the Maxwell and Doak Walker watch lists this past season.

“I think it is a big honor,” Singletary said. “It’s great for me, but more importantly, it is a team and family accomplishment.”