By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Throughout history the NFL UDFA phase has produced hidden gems and current/future Hall of Fame players such as Quarterbacks Warren Moon and Kurt Warner , Defensive Tackle John Randle, Tight End Antonio Gates and Center Jeff Saturday. The list goes on and on; which only goes to show you that even the experts let a few slip through the cracks. The 2021 draft class is arguably the deepest in recent years and probably over the past decade the talent level hasn’t been this deep.
With the current state the world is facing (Covid-19 pandemic) and the limitations all NFL teams must now adjust to with no combine; which has been the benchmark of fully evaluating the best of the best prospects entering the draft. All NFL teams would likely not gamble with their picks (projects) and look to go the safe route. The NFL did complete the Senior Bowl and they still have pro days approaching, but not being able to fully use their resources will affect the evaluation process. Therefore; could we see many talented prospects get overlooked and fall into the UDFA group?
I believe the answer to that question is an overwhelming “YES” and it’s not a reach to believe that we could see the best overall talent ever to be assembled during the UDFA phase to happen in this draft. GM Dave Gettleman has had success in evaluating talent during the UDFA signings and he will need to be at his best this year to ensure the Giants add depth and more importantly talent to their roster. This year’s draft should see three positions get a lot of attention in terms of the number of prospects taken overall and they are:
Wide Receivers: it’s being projected that roughly 16 wide receivers could be selected within the 1st 100 picks and an overall projection foresees possibly 35 wide receivers taken.
Offensive line: We could see at least 6 offensive linemen taken in the 1st round alone and overall through all 7 rounds; perhaps 30 linemen will be selected.
Cornerbacks: The cornerback position could produce at least 10 corners within the 1st three rounds and a total of 20 overall.
Note: The quarterback position could see possibly 4 taken within the top 10 picks, but after the overall total would be minimal.
With this abundance of talent, the draft board will have many prospects going much later than expected within all the rounds experiencing this trickling effect. So if you’re a draft guru, this year’s draft should provide you with lots of surprises and most of all a frenzy once the draft commences as the UDFA phase could be more intense and possibly more exciting than the actual draft itself.
Personally; I project this year to be the best UDFA signing over the last decade and possibly since it’s conception. It will not be a stretch to see a handful of UDFA prospects not only make the 2021 roster, but possibly excel in 2021 and become major contributors. With only 6 picks currently at their disposal, the Giants GM Dave Gettleman might need to have his best UDFA signing and maybe, just maybe there’s a future Hall of Famer in this group.