Just because the 2022 NFL Draft is over doesn’t mean teams have finished adding players to their pre-training camp rosters. For as many players as there were drafted (262), there were as many—if not more—undrafted free agents (UDFA) available to sign after the draft ended.
While many of the guys who have already signed may not end up having an impact on their team, there are also guys like Malcolm Butler and Victor Cruz who end up being big-time contributors after being a UDFA.
Of the many undrafted free agents that have signed on with teams in the days since the draft ended, these five guys have been the best additions so far.
- UDFA JoJo Domann – LB, Nebraska (signed with Indianapolis Colts)
Linebacker JoJo Domann was a draft prospect that could have gone as early as Day 2, especially with his abilities in pass coverage. He clearly has above-average football IQ as well, with his experience playing in the secondary really shining in his skill sniffing out routes in zone coverage.
Domann showed plenty of versatility during his time at Nebraska, too. Not only was he impressive when flexed out to the hash and playing in sub packages but he showed off his talent crashing from the outside when he walked up on the line of scrimmage.
There are a few worries with Domann that likely dropped him from a third-round valuation to ultimately being an undrafted free agent. First among those is his age. The Nebraska product will be 25 when he joins the Colts at training camp. After six years playing in college, teams might have been worried about his durability and the natural slow-down that happens as players get older.
Second, Domann had a history of injuries during his time at Nebraska. He suffered multiple ACL injuries in his first few years with the Huskers, then missed two games when he required surgery on his hand last season.
Still, the Nebraska standout should make the 53-man roster and could make a real impact with his new team as early as year one.
- UDFA Justyn Ross – WR, Clemson (signed with Kansas City Chiefs)
Once upon a time, former Clemson receiver Justyn Ross was one of the scariest offensive weapons in football. He likely would have had a first-round tag on him if he was draft-eligible back in 2018.
Alas, he was not. After a solid 2019 season, Ross missed the entirety of 2020 after he discovered a congenital fusion of his neck and spine that required surgery. He wasn’t nearly as productive as he once was when he returned to the field in 2021, his season also cut short by stress fractures in his foot.
Signing the Clemson standout was a bit of a risky move for the Chiefs, who hope they can get more of Ross’ 2018-19 self than the 2021 version of the receiver. Given his drop in production after his neck surgery, even making the roster may be a tall task for Ross.
But, man, if he’s able to return to form as the receiver he once was with the Tigers, this could be a real steal for the Chiefs. Kansas City needed additional wide receiver help before the Tyreek Hill trade and partly filled that need with Western Michigan receiver Skyy Moore. Should he make the team, Ross’ big play ability paired with quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ arm could be a deadly addition to the high-flying Chiefs offense.
- UDFA Dare Rosenthal – OT, Kentucky (signed with the Atlanta Falcons)
The Falcons’ biggest needs this offseason were building up their trenches as they embrace a rebuild and a future without Matt Ryan. In the first couple of days in the draft, they selected a couple of edge rushers—Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone—but only addressed the offensive line with one pick and took a guard.
In TDN’s own Kyle Crabbs’ words, “Dare Rosenthal has the opportunity to become one of the biggest steals of the 2022 NFL Draft.” He has the versatility to fit in any running scheme and the athleticism to give him a high ceiling in pass protection when given the time to develop.
Rosenthal has a ton of natural athleticism but is still a raw player. As an undrafted free agent though, he’s a steal and the Falcons could have gotten a cornerstone of their offensive line on the cheap to pair with the two Day 2 edge rushers they secured.
- UDFA Kevin Austin Jr. – WR, Notre Dame (signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars)
Wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. has a very high ceiling given his natural athleticism. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash to pair with a 39-inch vertical leap, a 132-inch broad jump and a 6.71 three-cone.
The issue with Austin is the lack of experience at the college level as well as some issues off the field. He was suspended for the 2019 season due to a violation of team rules then suffered foot injuries in 2020 that kept him out for much of the season. He broke out in 2021 with 888 yards and seven touchdowns on 48 catches.
Like many of the other players on this list, Austin would be a massive steal if he hits the ceiling of his potential he showed in his last year with the Irish. The only problem is he has a grand total of 17 games on tape from his college career, so it’s hard to tell what he can bring. It’s also clear that lack of experience will make him more of a project in development for the Jaguars should he make the team.
- UDFA Mario Goodrich – CB, Clemson (signed with the Philadelphia Eagles)
The second Clemson product on this list, cornerback Mario Goodrich was like the Tigers’ Coby Bryant to their own version of Ahmad Gardner or Andrew Booth Jr. He was often overlooked thanks to the accomplishments of the guy on the other side of the field but is a very impressive player in his own right.
Goodrich won First-Team All-ACC honors in his final year at Clemson thanks to his skills in both press-man coverage and zone. He’s also an excellent tackler and willing run-defender. With good length, a strong competitive motor and solid ball production, Goodrich has all the tools to be a real contributor at the next level.
However, like the others on this list, he’ll need a little bit of time to develop. Given his potential though and the skills he showed off in college, he should have a real chance to make an Eagles team in need of a cornerback. That’s especially the case after the team didn’t try to fill that need in the draft.
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