A few days have passed since the conclusion of the NFL Draft and players who did not hear their name called on the stage in Philadelphia have had time to settle on signing with a team as an undrafted free agent.
While there are rarely any superstar names in the batch of free agents following the draft, there are always some impact players to be found and year-after-year a new batch of UDFA's make the leap into a starting lineup.
The same applies to Division 2, where handfuls of players have now signed on to try and continue their football careers. Take a look at all of the signings below and see who your favorite team picked up that might be a potential impact player in the future.
Also noted will be players who have been invited for tryouts at rookie mini camps, designated in their own section below.
Note: If there are any players you notice missing on either list, please feel free to leave a comment below and let us know. We want to make this list as complete as possible.
Undrafted Free Agents
|Collin Bevins||DT||NW Missouri||Arizona|
|Deron Washington||S||Pittsburg State||Atlanta|
|Marcus Sayles||DB||West Georgia||Buffalo|
|Zach Voytek||OL||New Haven||Buffalo|
|Harold Brantley||DE||NW Missouri||Cincinnati|
|Jason Carr||DE||West Georgia||Cincinnati|
|Nate Theaker||OL||Wayne State (MI)||Dallas|
|Donatello Brown||DB||Valdosta State||Green Bay|
|Dee Virgin||DB||West Alabama||Houston|
|Keelan Cole||WR||Kentucky Wesleyan||Jacksonville|
|Corin Brooks||OL||Texas-Permian Basin||Kansas City|
|Anas Hasic||WR||West Florida||Kansas City|
|Austin Ekeler||RB||Western State||Los Angeles Chargers|
|Kenny Moore||DB||Valdosta State||New England|
|Connor Harris||LB||Lindenwood||New York Jets|
|Anthony Kukwa||LS||Lake Erie||Oakland|
|Ethan Cooper||OL||Indiana (PA)||Pittsburgh|
As you can see above, 19 players from D2 were immediately signed to contracts following the draft which is a healthy number for D2. With the addition of the six players drafted, D2 has had 25 players officially listed on NFL rosters now.
The biggest standouts to the list are among the defensive side of the ball, including Connor Harris from Lindenwood who ended his collegiate career as the all-time leader in tackles for the NCAA. I thought he was a sure-thing to get picked in the draft, but he slid out as teams focused on offense late in the draft. The Jets got an absolute steal, and he should make the roster based on his special team value alone.
On the offensive side, the player who I think has the best chance to continue their career on an opening day roster is Billy Brown for the Eagles. A giant receiver at 6-4 and 255 pounds, there were some scouts who thought it would be best for him to move to tight end. But reports were coming out that Brown wanted nothing to do with the move, likely forcing his slide down the draft boards. The Eagles need weapons for Carson Wentz to continue growing, and Brown could be a great red-zone threat for the second year QB.
Last year, three players were able to make starts for their professional teams after signing as free agents following the draft. While that may seem like a small amount, the odds are stacked against these players.
But just because they come from a different path than the big name draft picks does not mean they are any less talented and potentially impactful to an NFL roster.
Mini Camp Tryouts
|Jac'Que Polite||OL||Winston-Salem State||Buffalo|
|Ed Vinson||DL||Emporia State||Chicago|
|Donte Carey||DE||Grand Valley State||Cleveland|
|Rodeshawn Joseph||DB||Virginia Union||Denver|
|Jordan Herdman||LB||Simon Fraser||Detroit / Kansas City|
|Luke Papilion||QB||Sioux Falls||Detroit|
|Daquan Holmes||DB||American International||Green Bay|
|Matt Davis||K||UNC-Pembroke||Green Bay|
|Willie Mays||DE||Tiffin||Green Bay|
|David Talley||LB||Grand Valley State||Houston|
|Mike Ford||DB||American International||Kansas City|
|Titus Howard||DB||Slippery Rock||Kansas City|
|Sydney Omameh||DE||Grand Valley State||Kansas City|
|Jordan Bowman||DB||California (PA)||New York Jets|
|Garry Brown||WR||California (PA)||Oakland|
|Brady Sheldon||DE||Ferris State||Oakland|
|Paul Butler||TE||California (PA)||Pittsburgh|
|Aaron Terry||DB||California (PA)||Pittsburgh|
|Aaron Cox||OL||Grand Valley State||San Francisco|
|Marquez Gollman||DB||Grand Valley State||San Francisco|
22 players have try outs with NFL teams in the coming weeks, an astounding total given how many players have already been signed as free agents.
Ironically enough, most of the players going for try outs all come from the same schools, with Grand Valley, California (PA), Tiffin, and American International each having at least two players making their way towards mini camps. GVSU leads the way with five players getting a shot at the pro level.
When looking through the talent pool presented to us, there are a couple of names that stick out on each side of the football. For the offensive side, Tiffin quarterback Antonio Pipkin will be a name to follow after he was a Senior Bowl invitee earlier this year.
Though the former Dragon has seen his stock drop rapidly, he is still getting a shot with one of the best quarterback gurus in the game, Bruce Arians. The Cardinals must see something they think is moldable to bring the GLIAC stud out for a potential signing opportunity.
On defense, I look at a player like Titus Howard for the Chiefs. Howard is a former player at Pitt before going to Slippery Rock, and actually declared early for the draft. But nothing was really ever publicized about the stud defender from the PSAC, and that caused him to be forced into a tryout situation.
KC has some great corners on their roster already, but depth is a question mark. Howard can bring some takeaway ability to the fold, and give the Chiefs a solid option down the road if one of their top corners is to be lost for some reason.
With the 22 tryout players added to the already 25 on rosters, that gives D2 Football 47 fresh faces entering the league, and there are already a good amount in the pros.
This rise in the numbers is just a sign that D2 Football was truly great in 2017, and we hope this is a trend that continues as we start the path toward the 2018 NFL Draft.