The 2019 NFL Draft comes to a close and while 254 talented young men saw their names called, many more went undrafted. Fortunately, the dream doesn’t stop here as many will sign rookie contracts with NFL teams.
Either due to flaws as a prospect, injury concerns or off-the-field concerns, several talented players wend undrafted. The most surprising of them all of course is Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson.
Whether your team is looking for skill players on the offensive and defensive side of the ball or to strengthen the trenches, plenty of options are available on the undrafted market.
Here are the eight best players who went undrafted in 2019.
Tyree Jackson, quarterback, Buffalo Bulls
While no one expected Jackson to be drafted highly, not seeing his name called at all is one of the most surprising things from the draft. He isn’t ready to take the field for an NFL team yet, but he offers more potential than several of the quarterbacks who were drafted.
Jackson’s arm is among the best in this class and he showed at Buffalo he can make all types of throws from a variety of platforms. He is just extremely raw mechanically and that greatly impacts his touch and accuracy.
A great quarterback coach can get the best out of him and a team could view him as a far cheaper version of Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who he might just now back up if he wins the job.
Preston Williams, wide receiver, Colorado State
Williams could have been a potential fourth-round pick off talent alone, but off-the-field issues ruined any chance of hearing his name called. Things were only made worse for him when he performed poorly during his athletic testing.
The tape on the young wide receiver feels similar to Martavis Bryant, who was raw but showed all the physical tools to be a playmaker in the NFL. He can have a similar impact on the field, but Bryant’s own struggles off the field show the dangers of risking it with a player like this.
There is essentially no risk with signing him as an undrafted free agent and that should make him coveted by plenty of teams.
Keelan Doss, wide receiver, UC Davis Aggies
Small-school players don’t tend to attract much attention to begin with and it’s only made worse for them when they don’t jump out of the building athletically. Both things hurt Doss during the draft, but it won’t at the next level.
Doss starred at UC Davis because he is so refined as a wide receiver with instincts, good hands, speed and route-running ability. He isn’t a burner and there are no “wow” traits, but his NFL-ready ability to step in and contribute in the slot will make him a compelling target for teams in need of wide receiver depth.
Gerald Willis III, defensive tackle, Miami Hurricanes
While pressuring quarterback off the edge usually gets much of the attention, it’s equally important to be a disruptor on the interior and get a quarterback off his spot.
That’s exactly what Willis III can do and it’s why his name not being called is so surprising. While he has plenty that needs to be worked on, like his inconsistent motor and poor technique, those things can be corrected by a good coach and turn a flashy player into a consistent stud.
If you get him with the right team and staff, he will be remembered as one of the best undrafted prospects in recent years.
Te’von Coney, inside linebacker, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
NFL teams understandably are looking for great athletes on defense and that’s one area where Coney absolutely falls short. That in itself hurt Coney’s profile and pushed him down draft boards and his lack of aggressiveness on the football field hurt him more.
Fortunately, going undrafted and learning through this entire process likely will be a lesson for him. He needs to trust his instincts because when he does, he can be very reliable as a run stopper.
A team that needs a two-down linebacker should look no further than Coney. While some might view him as a role player in that sense, he can be good in that role.
Emanuel Hall, wide receiver, Missouri Tigers
Hard came into the draft process labeled as a one-trick receiver. It’s true, Hall’s skills as a track star mean he is primarily just going to be a deep threat in the NFL.
That shouldn’t be too much of a red flag though. Players can make a career out of being a deep threat and when paired with a quarterback who can sling it deep, they become the next big thing in the NFL.
Hall averaged 20.5 yards per catch during his college career. His improving hands and developing ability on short, quick routes open the door for him to do even more. He is going to have a nice, lengthy career in the NFL when given the chance.
Beau Benzschawel, guard, Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers have a great track record of sending players to the NFL. Unfortunately, the collegiate reputation wasn’t enough for Benzschawel to overcome some questions.
There is no denying that Benzschawel can more than hold his own in pass protection, he just tends to get bullied in the run game. The NFL’s shift to a more pass-heavy league aids him, but teams clearly felt he needed to build a lot more strength and improve his technique.
He might need to start off on a practice squad with a team giving him a year to really develop and spend time in a weight room. Once he does that, we could be talking about a very reliable right guard in the NFL.
Jalin Moore, running back, Appalachian State Mountaineers
A late-season injury clearly seemed to hurt Moore’s stock as he missed a chance to run at the combine. What he showed on tape though should appeal to plenty of teams.
Moore could immediately step in on passing downs and be a reliable pass protector, something very few rookie running backs can say. The 23-year-old is still a good athlete with the patience to wait for holes, the explosiveness to shoot through gaps and the toughness to take on defenders.
The team that signs him will certainly need to be patient as he recovers from the ankle injury. As soon as he does, he could quickly earn reps in practice and earn a committee role in a backfield.