Though they don't garner the hype of marquee free agents or early draft picks, undrafted free agents can be critical to the success of NFL teams.
These unheralded prospects bolster depth at positions of need, raise the talent level on the bottom half of a club's roster and sometimes even play important roles on Sundays. They do this all while coming at a bargain-bin cost, making them an immense value for cash-strapped contenders.
Not all undrafted free agents are equal, however, as some have a much better shot of cracking a roster than others. Whether these players landed with a team that is thin at their position, weren't drafted because of injury concerns or have off-field issues, they have the skills to contribute.
This article will focus on the notable undrafted free agents who are most likely to make impacts. Every organization has signed at least one, so let's take a look at the most exciting acquisition for each.
Buffalo Bills: TE Quintin Morris
General manager Brandon Beane acknowledged the Bills were devoid of a playmaking tight end following the team's defeat in the AFC Championship Game, saying he'll "look into" the position.
Unfortunately for Buffalo, an opportunity to land an elite tight end never presented itself. The Bills didn't use any of their draft picks on the position and only signed one tight end in free agency in Jacob Hollister, a capable but unexciting player who projects to fill the shoes of Tyler Kroft, who signed with the Jets.
Buffalo may have something in Quintin Morris, however, a converted wideout who switched to tight end for his final season at Bowling Green. Morris still has a lot to learn about playing tight end—which is a famously difficult position for even the most polished prospects—but could be an asset for the Bills.
Morris is the type of playmaking tight end every team wants but few have. He's not the biggest player at 6'2", 252 pounds, but he's a quality athlete with great hands and a knack for making things happen. If he can improve his blocking and figure out how to play faster without having to drop too much weight, he has a chance to be an impact player.
Miami Dolphins: G Robert Jones
The Dolphins have become known for getting great production out of their undrafted free agents, with players such as wide receiver Preston Williams and running back Patrick Laird recently playing sizable roles despite their humble pedigrees.
Robert Jones, an offensive lineman out of Middle Tennessee State, may be the next prospect who not only catches on with Miami but also ends up making an impact. Jones played tackle for the Blue Raiders but is listed as a guard.
While he is 6'4" and 307 pounds, Jones isn't athletic enough to play tackle in the NFL. His frame will allow him to thrive inside, though, where he is strong and quick enough to hang with all but the faster pass-rushers.
Expect the Dolphins to give Jones a shot at a few different spots and find a place for the undrafted free agent on their roster. He may be only a rotational depth option early, but Jones has the potential to develop into a regular for the organization.
New England Patriots: K Quinn Nordin
Undrafted free agent kickers usually aren't much to get excited about, but Quinn Nordin is the only undrafted rookie with whom the Patriots have come to terms.
Nordin attempted kicks in 38 of 41 games during his time at Michigan, making 42 of 58 field-goal attempts and 119 of 124 extra points. He'll have his work cut out trying to beat out Nick Folk, however, especially after the veteran made 92.3 percent of his field goals last year.
Considering Nordin sent just two of his five kicks through the uprights in 2020, he is a long shot to make the roster.
New York Jets: TE Kenny Yeboah
Kenny Yeboah is arguably the best tight end in the 2021 class who was not drafted. It was a surprising development, even if the Ole Miss product is flawed.
The Jets haven't gotten much production out of their tight ends, but Yeboah is a standout. He's capable of making big plays with his plus athleticism and possesses the speed to torch linebackers.
The knocks on the 6'3", 250-pound Yeboah are that he isn't a great blocker and doesn't have the size to become a consistent in-line one, plus he tends to lose focus and had issues with drops during his time with the Rebels.
Regardless, Yeboah can contribute as a weapon in the passing game and should help rookie quarterback Zach Wilson move the chains and put some points on the board.
Baltimore Ravens: S Ar'Darius Washington
The Ravens brought in some of the best undrafted free agent rookies available, a crop of talent that includes a standout safety in Ar'Darius Washington.
While Washington is undersized for his position—standing a mere 5'8" and weighing 176 pounds—he didn't let that stop him from becoming an impact defender in college. At TCU, he teamed with second-round pick Trevon Moehrig to form one of the most potent safety duos in the country.
Washington possesses fantastic instincts and plays hard, qualities that allow him to overcome the limitations of his frame. He makes plays all over the field and has cited Tyrann Mathieu as an influence and whom he models his game after, even getting the same crown tattoo as the Honey Badger.
While it's unlikely Washington will be the game-changer Mathieu is, he should earn a rotational role behind starters DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark. Expect teams with larger wideouts to try to pick on him, but Washington has the tenacity to battle anyone and win.
Cincinnati Bengals: RB Pooka Williams Jr.
The Bengals parted ways with longtime running back Giovani Bernard this offseason, leaving them with few proven options behind starter Joe Mixon. One player who can fill the void is Pooka Williams Jr., an electrifying prospect out of Kansas who looks ready to be Cincinnati's new pass-catching back.
Williams posted back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons to start his career with the Jayhawks, finishing his three-year run with 2,382 yards and 12 touchdowns on 415 totes. He also chipped in 534 yards and four scores on 66 receptions.
While the 5'10", 170-pounder doesn't have the size to be an every-down back, he has the blistering speed and elusiveness to be an excellent third-down option. The Bengals have a huge need for that and should allocate plenty of touches to the rookie.
Cleveland Browns: DT Marvin Wilson
The Browns' incredible rookie class gets even better with the addition of prized undrafted free agent Marvin Wilson.
Wilson was one of the best interior linemen in terms of production in 2018 and 2019. He fell off in 2020, but the Florida State product clearly has the tools to succeed. The 6'4", 303-pound defensive tackle is incredibly strong and can be impossible to stop when he's on his game.
Cleveland will benefit significantly from having another disruptive weapon to deploy in the trenches, with Wilson having shown the ability to get into the backfield at will before he put on some extra pounds last season. The NFL.com scouting report noted that Wilson "wore excess weight in 2020, which slowed him and made him much less effective."
If he can get back into shape, the Seminoles prospect can make things difficult for opposing quarterbacks and blow up rushing plays before they can even develop.
Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Shakur Brown
One of the bigger offseason needs for the Steelers was cornerback, but the organization didn't do much in free agency or during the draft to address it. Because of the lack of marquee acquisitions, undrafted free agent Shakur Brown could end up playing a key role in the secondary.
Brown has the skill to start on the outside, but his 5'10", 190-pound frame may force him to mostly cover the slot. The Michigan State product is not exceptionally fast but makes up for it by being fundamentally sound with a motor that doesn't quit. He rarely gets beat and is a ballhawk, recording five interceptions in seven games last year.
While Brown started only 12 games with the Spartans, he looked incredible during them. He excelled in both man and zone coverage while matching up with top wideouts and winning most battles. Even if Brown isn't ready to be a No. 2 corner, he could be a Day 1 nickelback for a squad that doesn't have many alternatives.
Houston Texans: WR Marlon Williams
The Texans are in rough shape, needing help all over the field as they prepare for a rebuild. With little to lose, the club can see what it has in its many unproven prospects, including wideout Marlon Williams.
Williams made an immediate impact at UCF, catching 17 passes for 270 yards and a pair of touchdowns as a true freshman in 2017. He didn't explode until his senior year, however, when he reeled in 71 catches for 1,039 yards and 10 scores in just eight games. It was an impressive year for a player who doesn't have exceptional measurables or athleticism.
At 5'11", 209 pounds, Williams will likely be a slot option. He's quick enough to take advantage of coverage gaps, even if he doesn't have the speed to burn defenders. The Texans need a consistent pass-catcher to help their quarterback and should get plenty of production from Williams.
Indianapolis Colts: WR Tarik Black
The Colts came to terms with one of the most intriguing undrafted free agents this offseason. Tarik Black, a 6'3", 213-pound wideout, is an incredible athlete who looks amazing on paper but never put things together during stints with Michigan and Texas.
Black recorded a pedestrian 50 catches for 747 yards and three touchdowns in 50 games.
If Black can improve his route running and ball skills, he could become the player his college teams were hoping for. At his best, the Colts will be getting a lengthy, fast wideout who can stretch the field and win matchups against smaller defensive backs. He has the explosion to burn his man and the elusiveness to make things happen after the catch as well.
Black possesses a litany of unteachable qualities that make him an exciting prospect, but he must find a way to use those attributes to generate in-game production if he is going to crack Indianapolis' roster.
Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Dylan Moses
The Jaguars have to feel lucky to have added an elite Alabama linebacker to their roster without having to use a draft pick. They landed Dylan Moses, a marquee undrafted free agent who could be a boon to a defense that was among the worst in the league last year.
Moses went undrafted mainly because of health concerns, as he suffered a torn ACL prior to his junior campaign in 2019 and injured his meniscus after coming back for his senior campaign.
But the 6'3", 240-pound Moses is a fast, explosive and fundamentally sound player who can do a bit of everything. He's great at stuffing the run and quick enough to go from sideline to sideline in coverage. He is also a rock-solid tackler and instinctive, assets that allow him to make plays on a regular basis.
The Jaguars already have a quality linebacking corps with Joe Schobert and Myles Jack, but a healthy Moses is good enough to push those two for snaps and eventually take over as a starter.
Tennessee Titans: DT Naquan Jones
As part of their defensive overhaul this offseason, the Titans did not retain DaQuan Jones. The decision cost them a starter who manned the defensive tackle spot for the last six years, and finding a reliable replacement will be difficult.
One option Tennessee has is undrafted free agent Naquan Jones. The tackle was productive at Michigan State, recording 77 tackles—14.5 for loss—and chipping in two sacks with a fumble recovery in 39 games.
Jones, listed at 6'3", 313 pounds, is nimble for his size. He tipped the scales closer to 340 pounds during his days in East Lansing but dropped a few pant sizes to get ready for the pros. It remains to be seen if that will impact his power, but it should help him be productive for longer since his stamina was an issue in college.
He has plenty of room for improvement—particularly as a pass-rusher—but Jones can offer value as a lane-clogging, run-stuffing nose tackle while he develops the rest of his game.
Denver Broncos: OT Drew Himmelman
At 6'9", 317 pounds, Drew Himmelman is one of the biggest offensive linemen on an NFL roster. He considered playing collegiate basketball but instead opted to suit up at left tackle for Illinois State.
There's no doubt Himmelman will play left tackle for the Broncos, as the three-sport standout in high school has the athleticism to translate to the pros. He still needs to add some power to his upper body and doesn't possess the long arms or huge hands you'd expect from someone that size, but those are traits he can overcome.
Denver recently released disappointing tackle Ja'Wuan James, opening up a spot on the roster. Himmelman is an excellent candidate to fill it and get snaps as a rookie, but he needs to improve his technique before he can become a dependable starter.
Kansas City Chiefs: QB Shane Buechele
The Chiefs learned just how important it is to have a quality backup quarterback after Chad Henne was forced into action during the playoffs. Superstar signal-caller Patrick Mahomes exited with a concussion during the divisional round against the Browns, but Henne was able to secure the W.
While Henne has been a fine backup, the 35-year-old's career is winding down. Shane Buechele is a promising undrafted rookie who could eventually fill the No. 2 quarterback role for the Chiefs.
Buechele was one of the top dual-threat prospects in high school and signed with Texas before finishing his collegiate career at SMU. He threw for over 7,000 yards with 57 touchdowns against just 16 interceptions in two seasons with the Mustangs.
While Buechele didn't make too many plays with his legs, he has displayed promising athleticism. Though he's undersized (6'0", 210 lbs) and has a mediocre arm—two of the bigger reasons he wasn't drafted—the 23-year-old possesses a high football IQ and feel for the game.
The Chiefs would be able to run a similar offense regardless of whether Mahomes or Buechele is behind center, making this a perfect pickup in terms of fit and one that could pay dividends down the line.
Las Vegas Raiders: DT Darius Stills
The Raiders have worked relentlessly to improve their pass-rush this offseason, splurging on free agent Yannick Ngakoue and drafting Malcolm Koonce in the third round to add a developmental prospect to the rotation.
With the edge shored up, Las Vegas can look to address its pressure rate via the interior. Darius Stills jumps out as an undrafted rookie who could not only make the roster but also contribute early.
The West Virginia product put up impressive numbers in Morgantown, accumulating 9.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss over the last two seasons. More impressively, that production primarily came from the nose tackle position.
While Stills almost certainly didn't get drafted because of his build (6'0", 278 lbs), he has proved he can hang in the trenches and has the athleticism to make up for the lack of heft. He should dominate against the run and can get into the backfield to disrupt against bigger offensive lineman.
Los Angeles Chargers: DL Jared Goldwire
The Chargers have a dearth of talent along the interior of their defensive line, but that could change with the addition of Jared Goldwire.
New head coach Brandon Staley maximized the defensive line when he was the coordinator for the Rams and their top-ranked unit last year. He's the perfect coach to get the most out of a 6'6", 305-pound tackle with long arms and nimble feet.
The biggest knock on Goldwire is his lack of strength, which plagued him in college. That made it difficult for him to shed blockers, an area of concern he'll need to improve if he's going to crack the rotation. It won't be easy since his height makes it difficult for him to manage his pad level, but he has unteachable traits.
Goldwire's size, athleticism and motor have gotten him in the NFL door. Now he needs to show improvement in the weight room and on the field to stick around.
Dallas Cowboys: LB Anthony Hines III
The Cowboys drafted one of the most exciting defenders in the class in No. 12 pick Micah Parsons. While Parsons will be instrumental in revitalizing a slumping defense, undrafted rookie Anthony Hines III can pitch in and play a role in the new-look linebacking corps.
Hines is a bit of a mystery, as he only became a starter at Texas A&M in 2019 and opted out of the 2020 campaign. His tape does show a player who makes strong reads, reacts quickly and has the athleticism to make plays all over the field.
While Hines' relentless effort helps him overcome his narrow 6'2", 230-pound frame, his coverage abilities left plenty to be desired. He is also not the strongest prospect and can get caught up by blockers, something that made it difficult for him to stop the run at times.
Dallas should find a place for Hines, most likely as a special teamer. He's too athletic and fast to keep off the field, but he has to work on his coverage abilities and get stronger before he can join the rotation.
New York Giants: C Brett Heggie
The Giants may have signed only three undrafted rookies, but they clearly are excited about center Brett Heggie. They came to terms with the Florida product immediately after the draft, indicating a deal was likely in place if Heggie didn't hear his name called.
Heggie is a versatile interior lineman, having started 31 games during his time in Gainesville at left guard, center and right guard. He had no trouble adjusting to the center position when called upon last season, giving up zero sacks and allowing just three pressures, per Jay Markle of Gators Wire.
New York will likely use Heggie as a center following that performance. He is strong and has good size for the position, coming in at 6'4", 310 pounds. He's susceptible against stronger defenders, however, which is likely why he won't play much guard until he develops his protection skills.
The Giants shouldn't need Heggie for much more than a last-resort depth option, giving him time to improve his game. The 23-year-old could even find his niche as a backup capable of filling in gaps at any interior position, similar to how he was used by the Gators.
Philadelphia Eagles: QB Jamie Newman
After trading back from No. 6 and making it clear they intend to give Jalen Hurts a fair shake as their starting quarterback by moving back up to draft wideout DeVonta Smith at No. 10, the Eagles still acquired another option under center.
Philadelphia came to terms with former Wake Forest and Georgia signal-caller Jamie Newman, a prospect who wanted to boost his stock by transferring to Athens for his final collegiate season but ended up sitting out. While the decision cost him a chance to be selected during the draft, the Eagles must have been pleased to get a player who could have been chosen.
If Hurts doesn't pan out, Philly may have something in Newman. He'll be behind backup Joe Flacco, but the dual-threat option could climb the depth chart. He boasts a similar skill set as Hurts, meaning the offense wouldn't need to change much if Hurts isn't available or fails to live up to expectations.
With a big arm, mobility and athleticism, Newman is one of the most exciting rookie quarterbacks in the league and should stick with the Eagles while he develops the rest of his game.
Washington Football Team: RB Jaret Patterson
Washington was able to get one of the most dynamic running back prospects in the class without even using a draft pick. The team signed Buffalo's Jaret Patterson, coming to terms with a shifty player who is tough to take down.
Patterson made a ton of highlight plays during his time with the Bulls, shattering records while averaging 178.7 rushing yards per game last year. He ended up with 1,072 yards and 19 touchdowns despite playing just six games. In 2019, the elusive back went off for a career-high 1,799 yards and 19 touchdowns while guiding the program to its first bowl victory. In three years, Patterson finished with an incredible 4,155 yards from scrimmage and 53 touchdowns on 656 touches.
Because he stands just 5'8", weighs 195 pounds and ran a pedestrian 4.59-second 40-yard dash, Patterson slipped down big boards. While his measurables scared teams away, many will regret not taking this playmaker when he is making defenders miss and finding paydirt.
Patterson must improve as a pass-catcher—he had just 20 catches at Buffalo, including zero last year—but the Washington coaching staff should find a way to get the ball in his hands and be rewarded for it.
Chicago Bears: DL Charles Snowden
NFL teams can always use more edge-rushers, and while this wasn't a deep rookie class in that regard, the Bears may have found a diamond in the rough in Charles Snowden.
Snowden, a 6'7", 240-pound former basketball player, got on the field for Virginia as a true freshman, was a starter as a sophomore and became a team captain and earned second-team All-ACC honors as a senior. While an ankle injury cut his collegiate career short, Snowden could find more success in the NFL.
Expect Snowden to contribute right away on special teams, as he blocked one field goal and one punt with the Cavaliers. He has the length and athleticism to get off the ball quickly plus looks smooth in the open field and can drop into coverage. Snowden is a bit thin and lacks power off the edge, but he can add some bulk and hone his skills.
If he can find a way to consistently get into the backfield and disrupt, Snowden will be an asset. It's going to take some time, but the Bears can afford to bring him along while he plays special teams early on.
Detroit Lions: WR Jonathan Adams
There isn't a better team for an undrafted rookie wideout to end up with this offseason than the Lions. They are overhauling their receiving corps as part of a rebuild and let both Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay—their top two wideouts—leave via free agency.
Jonathan Adams, a 6'2", 210-pound prospect out of Arkansas State, could play a big part in the new-look offense. While he has only average speed, Adams is a great athlete with tremendous leaping ability.
He is relentless when going up to get the ball, coming down with a ton of highlight catches in college. He will make for an ideal weapon whom new quarterback Jared Goff can lean on in the middle of the field and in the red zone.
While he will have to compete for playing time with Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Kalif Raymond and fourth-round pick Amon-Ra St. Brown, Adams should have little issue making it past final cuts and getting on the field as soon as Week 1.
Green Bay Packers: LB Carlo Kemp
The Packers could use depth along their defensive line and are hoping to find some with the addition of Michigan defensive lineman Carlo Kemp.
Kemp started three seasons for the Wolverines, a testament to his athleticism and quickness. He was able to shed blocks and rush the passer from both the interior and edge, making him a versatile asset, and Green Bay listed him as a linebacker.
One of the biggest concerns regarding Kemp is his lack of a traditional fit. He has the frame to be a three-technique lineman but performs better when going directly against a blocker. If Green Bay can find a way to utilize him properly, it will have an undersized (6'3", 281 lbs) but potent weapon who could add a unique dimension to the trenches.
Minnesota Vikings: LB Tuf Borland
If the Vikings are looking for a future leader on defense or special teams, it would be tough to find a prospect better than Tuf Borland. The linebacker was a three-year captain at Ohio State, a testament to how hard he worked and how consistent he was.
Borland is a natural who has a great feel for the game. He has a knack for making smart decisions, a quality that will translate to the next level.
While he's not an every-down linebacker, he could shine situationally and as a backup. He'd also add value as a special teamer with his strength and ability to shed blocks. That, coupled with his relentless motor, could make him a Pro Bowler.
Atlanta Falcons: QB Feleipe Franks
The Falcons opted to continue the Matt Ryan era for at least a few more years by restructering the quarterback's contract and passing over some of the top prospects at the position with the No. 4 pick.
But the post-draft addition of Feleipe Franks could be a shrewd one, as the signal-caller looked strong during his lone season with the Razorbacks last year. He showed major improvements from his up-and-down performances during three seasons with Florida, where he lost his starting job in 2018.
Yet Franks is coming off an impressive campaign in which he connected on 163 of 238 passing attempts for 2,107 yards and 17 touchdowns while throwing just four interceptions in nine games. He has prototypical size for an NFL quarterback, standing at 6'7", 234 pounds, and a cannon for an arm.
If Franks can find a way to read defenses at a higher level, take advantage of gaps in coverage and go through his progressions—his tendency to lock in on a receiver will lead to a ton of turnovers in the pros—he will be successful. He has all the physical tools, including the ability to get outside of the pocket and run, to be a starter one day.
Carolina Panthers: G David Moore
The Panthers needed to rebuild their offensive line and have done a decent job at giving new quarterback Sam Darnold a chance to succeed. The training camp battle for starting guard jobs should be interesting, especially after the post-draft acquisition of David Moore.
Carolina should give Moore a fair shake to earn a big role right out of the gate. The Grambling State product is a 6'3", 320-pound bulldozer who can dominate in the running game. While he needs to boost his pass protection, he should be able to rapidly improve in that area with pro coaching after being a two-year starter for the Tigers.
Should Moore's footwork and leverage get brought up to speed, the Panthers will have a powerful guard who plays with a coveted mean streak. There are few prospects as strong as Moore, making him a welcome addition to an up-and-coming offensive line.
New Orleans Saints: TE Dylan Soehner
The Saints parted ways with Josh Hill this offseason, cutting the veteran tight end to save a few dollars against the salary cap. While the move freed up $2.6 million, the organization needs to find a way to replace the production Hill offered as a block-first tight end.
New Orleans may be able to get that on a budget after coming to terms with Iowa State's Dylan Soehner following the draft. The 6'6", 270-pound prospect was deployed mostly as a blocker for the Cyclones, catching just 26 passes for 312 yards and one touchdown during his collegiate career. Soehner was a big factor in the success of his school's offense, though, which ranked No. 16 last year in Football Outsiders' OFEI ratings.
The Saints likely won't expect Soehner to be a regular target in their passing attack and instead should utilize him similarly to Hill, who saw action on 32 percent of the team's offensive snaps last year. Given Hill only caught eight balls in 14 games last season, the team won't be expecting big numbers out of the undrafted tight end but should get impressive blocking from him in formations that call for extra bodies.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K Jose Borregales
After winning Super Bowl LV and bringing back nearly every key free agent that contributed to the championship, the Buccaneers didn't have too many needs. They drafted for value when they were on the clock and seemed to take the same approach with their undrafted rookie signings.
One of the team's most notable pickups was kicker Jose Borregales, who could have been a Day 3 pick following a stellar 2020 campaign. The Miami product earned first-team All-American honors and won the Lou Groza Award as the top kicker in the country. He made 20 of 22 field goals and connected on all 37 extra point tries during his lone season with the Hurricanes following his transfer from Florida International.
Borregales could push to be the starting kicker for the defending champions. It won't be easy to usurp Ryan Succop—the 34-year-old who connected on 28 of 31 field goals and 52 of 57 extra points last year—but the organization dished out a three-year, $12 million contract for the incumbent this offseason and may want to save some cash by going with the rookie if he shines in camp.
Arizona Cardinals: CB Lorenzo Burns
The Cardinals have the team's smallest undrafted free-agent class in a decade, one that includes just four players. There will still be fierce competition for roster spots on a team preparing for a postseason push, but the cornerback position is one of Arizona's weakest and could result in an UDFA seeing significant snaps this season.
Because of how thin this secondary is after losing both Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick in free agency, the Cardinals may need Lorenzo Burns. The former University of Arizona player will join fourth-round pick Marco Wilson and sixth-round selection Tay Gowan in contending for a cornerback role, with Burns representing a serviceable option as a playmaking defensive back.
Burns began starting for the Wildcats as a redshirt freshman in 2017, securing five interceptions in 13 games. He also had four picks in 2019 as a junior, finishing his career in Tucson with nine interceptions while adding 191 tackles, two sacks and two fumble recoveries in 41 games.
Although he's a bit undersized at 5'10", 183 pounds, Burns can handle the slot and works hard in coverage. He may struggle against the fastest receivers but projects to be a rotational option if he can continue to play physical defense while avoiding penalties that plagued him at times in college.
Los Angeles Rams: WR Landen Akers
The Rams have gotten a ton of mileage out of 2017 third-round pick Cooper Kupp, so it should hardly be a surprise that one of the squad's undrafted free agents could play a similar role in the passing attack.
Landen Akers, a wide receiver out of Iowa State, is an intriguing prospect who didn't produce any eye-popping numbers—finishing his career with 38 catches for 593 yards and a touchdown—but contributed as a steady presence.
While Akers lacks game-breaking speed, he is a crisp route-runner with good size (6'0", 191 lbs) for a slot receiver and can help in the return game. He returned 14 kicks for the Cyclones, generating a respectable 293 yards. He likely won't be a regular returner for the Rams, but could pitch in on special teams coverage while working as a depth option behind Kupp.
San Francisco 49ers: LB Justin Hilliard
Linebacker Justin Hilliard was one of the most highly regarded high school prospects in the 2015 recruiting class, but he didn't live up to those immense expectations at Ohio State.
The biggest problem was his health, as he suffered three torn biceps, a torn meniscus and a torn Achilles over his six years with the Buckeyes. During the rare times when the linebacker was at full strength, he showed he could both stuff the run and drop into coverage with equal proficiency.
Had Hilliard been able to stay on the field, he could have been a Day 2 pick. The 24-year-old is capable of doing just about everything that an NFL team would ask from his position, proving as much during the 2020 season. He finished the campaign with a career high 33 tackles, including five tackles for loss, and recorded a forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and an interception in six games.
San Francisco may be getting one of the biggest steals of the offseason. If Hilliard remains healthy, he could end up starting and would be a massive return on the tiny investment.
Seattle Seahawks: CB Bryan Mills
The Seahawks secondary is getting better this offseason and should have the team contending again in 2021. While Seattle did part ways with top cornerback Shaquill Griffin in free agency, the team made several moves to not only replace him but also improve at the position.
Getting Ahkello Witherspoon on a one-year, $4 million deal shores up the top cornerback spot, while fourth-round pick Tre Brown should also compete for a prominent role. One defensive back who could play some snaps is undrafted rookie Bryan Mills.
The North Carolina Central product measures in at 6'1", 174 pounds, with the perfect length for an outside cornerback in the Seahawks' zone-based scheme. He's able to jam his man at the line of scrimmage and take opposing wideouts off their routes, as well as make plays on the ball when dropping back into coverage.