There’s now a lengthy list of hall of famers who went undrafted and still made a star career in the NFL. Although an extremely small chance this happens, there’s players every single year that slip under the radar but go on to win roster spots and end up fantasy relevant. Here I identify some of my leading undrafted candidates who could defy the odds and become fantasy relevant.
Carson Strong (QB, PHI)
My Pre-Draft QB6, Carson Strong was a guy I never thought would fall out of the NFL Draft entirely. Sure enough, there were obviously enough injury concerns for no team to even take a shot in the 7th round and he ended up being signed after the draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles gave him quite a chunk of change in the end to the tune of $320,000 signaling their level of confidence in the Nevada product. Strong certainly has some nice traits including a big arm able to reach any area of the field. He takes good care of the football and works well in the pocket which is a key strength given that Strong is the opposite of the new preferred Konami style we fantasy players strive for when drafting QBs.
Strong now landing with the Eagles has a chance to build trust over his knee issues and go to work on the practice squad with the aim to show off his special arm talent. With it being a key year for starting QB Jalen Hurts and the only other QB of note on the roster as Gardner Minshew, Strong has a chance to work his way up the roster and is worth a pickup and stash off the waiver wire in Superflex formats.
Sincere McCormick (RB, LV)
Moving on to the first of my 3 undrafted RBs, Sincere McCormick out of the University of Texas San Antonio comes with plenty of production and a 3 down skill set. Unlike plenty of RBs who were selected in the NFL Draft, McCormick has shown the ability to carry a large workload and be a true workhorse which is a rare sight in today’s NFL.
McCormick is a physical runner who doesn’t win with blazing speed but powers through contact but also importantly has soft, natural hands meaning he offers plenty in the pass game. Running backs who can offer upside in PPR formats always peak my interest and McCormick has a possible pathway to playing time if he can impress on the Raiders who took a chance on him after the draft.
The Raiders running back room is full of question marks with starting back Josh Jacobs having his fifth-year option declined and backup Kenyan Drake being older at 28 and coming off a broken ankle in 2021. If you can pick up McCormick off waivers and stash him I think it’s worth the investment with the possibilities of openings heading into 2023.
D’Vonte Price (RB, IND)
D’Vonte Price is an interesting guy who smashed the 40-yard dash at the Combine with a time of 4.38. He is a taller back than most who ran in multiple long TD runs to finish off his successful college career. That home run speed is something that always interests NFL teams and the Colts saw enough to sign him as an undrafted free agent and I think he can compete for that 3rd RB role.
Marlon Mack left to go to the Texans and compete for the starting gig there leaving a hole to fill where he will do battle with the likes of Deon Jackson who’s seen very little playing time in the NFL. Price showed his ability to catch passes at Florida International and averaged an impressive 6.0 yards per attempt over his college career.
He’s been targeted for a role on special teams which will enable time on the field at the very least and if he can make an impression there’s a role to fill as the 3rd back from this season. In my opinion, he is a better prospect than some drafted RBs and I would happily stash Price if I had a big enough roster.
Kennedy Brooks (RB, PHI)
My final undrafted RB gem is Kennedy Brooks who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles after falling out of the NFL Draft which was a bit of a shock to some. Brooks was a productive running back in college that registered over a thousand rushing yards in each year he played. He ran in 31 TDs and impressively didn’t have a single fumble for the Oklahoma Sooners.
What teams knocked him for was not having the explosive burst or runaway speed they desire. Brooks instead is a patient runner whose excellent vision allows him to find holes to exploit and wrack up the yardage that way. At best we can hope for a role in a committee for Brooks but he seems to have landed on the perfect team, one that wracked up the most yards on the ground last season and has plenty of question marks at the position.
Miles Sanders hasn’t taken the next step and become elite like we thought he could. Behind him are Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott who neither secured the role when Sanders missed time last season. Brooks will enter camp aiming to battle with Jason Huntley for the 4th RB spot and certainly becomes interesting if he ended up beating him out.
Justyn Ross (WR, KC)
I couldn’t really feature anybody else as my first undrafted wide receiver gem. Justyn Ross has been the talk of the NFL and fantasy community this past couple of weeks since the draft, because of the shock of him not being selected but then seeing him landing on the Patrick Mahomes lead Chiefs.
I must admit I thought it was a mistake when I saw Ross not selected by any team, a guy who’s had the highest-graded season by a Clemson WR since 2014, oh, and by the way, he was a freshman! He led the team with exactly 1,000 yards and 9 TDs including 153 in the championship game against Alabama.
Recent injuries saw his draft stock plummet including spinal surgery that kept him out of the 2020 season but there’s no doubt there’s a hugely talented player in there. Ross now lands on a team that just traded away star receiver Tyreek Hill and doesn’t appear to have a set in stone WR1 with many changes coming at the position. Ross is worth a late-round selection in rookie drafts because when undenied talent meets the perfect landing spot then sometimes draft capital goes out the window.
Kevin Austin Jr (WR, JAX)
Jacksonville Jaguars are another team that lacks star power at the wide receiver position. The team splashed a huge amount on ex Arizona Cardinal Christian Kirk who took a big step in 2021 producing from the slot but is by no means a top NFL receiver.
Kevin Austin has been plagued by injuries right throughout his college career but when he was finally fully healthy he was able to produce terrific numbers for Notre Dame in the second half of last season. He was then able to show up to the combine healthy and ran a swift 4.43 as well as show off his physical attributes and that led to some experts predicting a late day 2/early day 3 selection for Austin.
He, unfortunately, slipped out of the draft entirely but the Jaguars signed him up and he now competes with the likes of Zay Jones, Marvin Jones & Jamal Agnew who flashed as a 5th-rounder last season. I believe Austin has a chance to fight his way close to a final roster spot and if he can he has a great chance of being fantasy relevant with ascending second-year QB Trevor Lawrence.
Tre Turner (WR, LV)
Tre Turner’s college stats won’t immediately impress you but his story of how he landed on the Raiders is quite funny. He was initially supposed to sign with the Minnesota Vikings after they registered interest following the draft, but they took the cheapskate route of offering a miserly $2,500 as opposed to the $40,000 the Raiders are giving him.
In the landing spot of the Raiders, he joins a packed receiver corp featuring new additions such as Davante Adams & Demarcus Robinson who also have 2021 star Hunter Renfrow’s return as well as depth guys such as Mack Hollins and Bryan Edwards. Turner will find it hard to nail down a roster spot early on with the hope he plays special teams and can build into a receiving role in 2023.
He certainly didn’t have the best QB play in college so he maximized his opportunities and produced consistently year after year (2,292 yards in 43 games) with his decent route running and splashy plays which he made look easy. He’s one that is sure to currently be on waivers and worth keeping an eye on if he can lock up a roster spot.
What do you think? Are any other undrafted gems coming out of the 2022 draft? Don’t forget, you can get prepared for your fantasy drafts with our Fantasy Draft Kit. Or you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Image Credit: Jim Dedmon – USA TODAY Sports