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UDFAs
NFL

UDFAs with Best Chance To Make NFL Roster

  • Justin Melo
  • May 6, 2022
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The 2022 NFL Draft and the signings of most UDFAs are behind us and eight teams are preparing to conduct their rookie minicamps this weekend. They include the Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, and Seattle Seahawks. The remaining 24 teams will soon follow suit as it’s full-steam ahead on the 2022 NFL season.

Rookie minicamp represents an excellent opportunity for first-year players to leave a good impression on their new coaching staff as they prepare to embark on their professional journey. It’s an especially important time period for undrafted free agents who are attempting to prove their worth at the next level and make a 53-man roster at the end of August. UDFAs unfortunately don’t have the luxury of attaching a draft selection to their predisposed reputation. It’s a situation that often leaves them with zero room for error. Building momentum prior to training camp and pre-season is of the utmost importance for a rookie UDFA. 

Several UDFAs seize their opportunity and earn a spot on the team on an annual basis. With rookie minicamp looming especially large, we’ve identified three UDFAs who have an excellent chance to defy the odds and make a roster.

MARIO GOODRICH, CB, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES


Philadelphia Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman entered the offseason with a sizable hole at the cornerback position. Although the Eagles have been extremely aggressive in search of improvement by acquiring the likes of A.J. Brown and Haason Reddick, Roseman has surprisingly ignored the need at cornerback thus far. Steven Nelson gave the team good snaps last campaign but recently signed a two-year contract with the Houston Texans. The Eagles weren’t players for a starting-caliber corner in free agency, nor did they draft a single cornerback in the 2022 NFL Draft. They can’t possibly move forward with the little depth they currently have at corner.
Roseman immediately signed several undrafted free agent cornerbacks at the conclusion of the draft, a telltale sign they have a need at the position. Former Clemson standout Mario Goodrich is the one that stands out. 

Goodrich signed a deal with the Eagles that includes a whopping $217,000 fully guaranteed money. Goodrich was stuck behind some NFL-worthy talent when he began his career at Clemson, but the four-year defensive back took full advantage of an increased role in 2021. Goodrich totaled an impressive 42 tackles, nine pass breakups, and two interceptions this past season. He possesses the size, physical mentality, and length necessary to carve out a role for himself in Philadelphia’s underwhelming defensive backfield. Goodrich routinely thrived as a press-man corner that prefers to get handsy with opposing receivers at the line of scrimmage.

PEYTON HENDERSHOT, TE, DALLAS COWBOYS

The Dallas Cowboys have gone through some changes at the tight end position. They released veteran tight end Blake Jarwin with an injury designation earlier this offseason after he underwent hip surgery. Dalton Schultz returns on a one-year franchise tag following a breakout campaign in 2021. Dallas has yet to reach an agreement on a long-term extension with Schultz, who could be testing the free-agency market for the second consecutive offseason in 2023. It’s a situation that indicates the Cowboys must start developing young players at the position as its future outlook hangs very much in the balance.

Dallas drafted former Wisconsin tight end Jake Ferguson in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but veteran Jeremy Sprinkle isn’t a lock to make their final roster, which indicates there’s room for two rookie tight ends here. Former Indiana standout Peyton Hendershot is a movable rookie tight end that is capable of lining up all over Dallas’ offensive formation. 

Hendershot often did his best work as a Hoosier when asked to impact the passing game as a strong route runner and yards-after-catch threat. A similar role in Dallas’ high-octane offense led by elite starting quarterback Dak Prescott leans favorably for Hendershot’s chances of impressing Dallas’ decision-makers throughout rookie minicamp and training camp.

OBINNA EZE, OT, DETROIT LIONS

The Detroit Lions roster a pair of impressive bookends in Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell at left and right tackle respectively, but general manager Brad Holmes has done little to address the depth behind his two starters. Former Oregon standout Tyrell Crosby had previously been a mainstay on Detroit’s roster but currently remains unsigned. Former undrafted free agent Matt Nelson out of Iowa remains on the roster and played more than 600 snaps at right tackle last season, but largely failed to impress in an expanded role while relieving the injured Decker.

The Lions must search for more adequate backups behind Decker and Sewell. Holmes didn’t draft a single offensive tackle in the 2022 NFL Draft despite making eight selections, the majority of which were utilized on the defensive side of the ball. Detroit also hasn’t signed a single offensive tackle in free agency. Enter Obinna Eze, an undrafted free agent out of TCU that was awarded with a healthy signing bonus of $170,000, and with good reason. 

Detroit has a clear-and-obvious need for a developmental offensive tackle on the roster and the 6-foot-6, 321-pound Eze is a massive blocker that will fit the hard-nosed culture Head Coach Dan Campbell has begun building in Detroit. Eze was excellent while manning the blindside for the Horned Frogs in 2021. He enters rookie mini-camp with an excellent chance to impress Detroit’s front-office brass.

Written By

Justin Melo