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The Tale of Two Pitt Panther UDFAs

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In 2017 the Jaguars boasted one of the most feared secondaries in the league with two consensus top 10 cornerbacks. Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye were outstanding last year on the field. Go back five years though and this tandem would’ve been incredibly unlikely. Jalen Ramsey was a five-star recruit committing to Florida State in 2013, meanwhile, AJ Bouye was finishing up his career at UCF, where he would soon go undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Bouye made a name for himself as a Texan, and the past few years there’s been some really impressive undrafted free agent signings. In 2016, New York Jets WR Robby Anderson and Atlanta Falcons CB Brian Poole went undrafted. In 2017, Houston Texans LB Dylan Cole, Philadelphia Eagles RB Corey Clement, and Jacksonville Jaguars WR Keelan Cole went undrafted. In 2018, former Stanford CB Quenton Meeks went undrafted before signing with the Jaguars, and same goes for former Washington DT Hercules Mata’afa who signed with the Vikings. There were also a couple lesser known undrafted players out of the University of Pittsburgh, both of whom signed with the Texans and have a serious shot at cracking the roster.

The Texans are likely to keep either 5 or 6 wide receivers on the roster, and that’s where the first undrafted free agent comes into play. Jester Weah’s production at Pitt wasn’t eye-popping, but he stands at 6’2 and ran an official 4.43. His route tree may be limited but he has very good body control and averaged just over 20 yards per reception as a senior. There are four receivers on the Texans who are nearly guaranteed a roster spot with Hopkins, Fuller, Ellington, and Coutee, and Braxton Miller is expected to crack the roster as well. The latter three names through all play primarily out of the slot, which could benefit Weah’s odds to crack the roster as a potential deep threat if the Texans should choose to keep 6 wide receivers.

The other undrafted free agent to keep an eye on is offensive tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith. The first unofficial depth chart of the season has Julie’n Davenport and rookie Martinas Rankin both listed at left tackle, and Seantrel Henderson is holding the right tackle starting position with Chad Slade as the backup, followed by Jones-Smith. Jaryd Jones-Smith is good in pass protection due to his length at 6’7 and his upside as a rookie is likely higher than that of Slade. Jones-Smith may not project as a starter, but expect him to perform well enough in the preseason to make the 53 man roster and maybe even play in some passing packages.

Neither Weah or Jones-Smith look the part of a starter on a team that could be in playoff contention, but they are both talented, with a niche that fits the Texans perfectly, and that can help them make the 53 man roster. Watch out for both of these players in the preseason games, as we may want to get used to hearing their names down the road.

Max Freedman

Twitter: @NFLDraftProSite