The perception of undrafted free agents is pretty mixed. Some people view UDFAs as longshots to make an NFL team because they weren’t drafted or are just “camp bodies” for July and August. That perspective can hold some truth; however, the NFL generally holds UDFAs in much higher regard. For instance, according to a study from Joe Mahoney, 1,713 UDFAs signed to 90-man rosters in 2017-2020. 630 made the 53-man roster, which is a 37 percent success rate. Last year tight ends Curtis Hodges and Armani Rogers made the initial 53-man roster as they made names for themselves as early as Washington’s rookie minicamp. In 2021, Washington’s lone UDFA signing, running back Jarret Patterson, made the initial roster.
This year, five of the 12 UDFAs that the Commanders signed after the draft were wide receivers, the most UDFAs signed at one position under head coach Ron Rivera. From a business perspective, it benefits NFL teams to invest in its UDFA class, especially its priority-free agents, just as much as they do its day-three draft picks.
Signing five UDFA wide receivers should indicate that the Commanders are seriously interested in at least a couple of them and will give those players every opportunity to challenge Washington’s current receiver depth for a roster spot.
From a long-term perspective, Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson are the only receivers on the roster currently under contract for at least the next three seasons. In addition, Curtis Samuel will become an unrestricted free agent in 2024. While Dyami Brown and Dax Milne still have a chance to legitimize themselves in Washington, they are set to become unrestricted free agents in 2025.
In all, just three wide receiver spots are not up for grabs this year, but the remaining two or three are why these UDFA wide receivers are worth focusing on.
UCLA’s Kazmeir Allen looks to be the early favorite to earn a roster spot because of his versatility. Allen has lined up as a wide receiver, slot, running back, and was on kick return duty for the Bruins.
It will be interesting to see if Kazmeir Allen could be a productive punt returner on the next level. Washington will definitely give him a try back there. He's been solely on kick return duty at UCLA, averaging 27 yards per return & took one of them to the cribbo. #HTTC pic.twitter.com/LK43hD2Ax3— Jamual (@LetMualTellit) May 2, 2023
Who else has a chance to make the cut?
Listen to the latest Trap or Dive Podcast, where AJ, Dre, and myself discuss Washington’s draft this past weekend, along with some standouts from their UDFA signings.
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