Time and time again, it’s been proven that the NFL Draft is more of an art than a science. Year after year, there are players who go undrafted, only to become meaningful contributors, Pro Bowlers, and even Hall of Famers. There’s no question that will be the same with the 2021 NFL Draft class. The only question is who those players will be. Here are our picks for five players who went undrafted in the 2021 NFL Draft but will grow to become stars in the league.
Marvin Wilson, Florida State
The production wasn’t there for Wilson in 2020 after he was a first-team all-ACC selection as a junior in 2019. But he was a five-star recruit coming out of high school who has the size and physical traits to make plays in the trenches.
With a little coaching and the right opportunity, Wilson has tons of upside and could be something special in the NFL. He’ll get a chance with the Browns, who signed him after he went undrafted.
Jamie Newman, Georgia/Wake Forest
In fairness, few undrafted quarterbacks amount to anything. Even Tom Brady was a 6th-round selection. But Newman has all of the physical tools to be a starter in the NFL. He’s a good athlete and has more than enough arm strength.
The issue is that injuries derailed his time at Wake Forest and then he opted out of the 2020 season rather than play for Georgia. He needs some time to develop, but the potential is there, and so the Eagles made a good decision to sign him after the draft.
Jaret Patterson, Buffalo
Officially, Patterson is no taller than about 5’7’’, which is why teams passed on him during the draft. But this guy was unstoppable in college, albeit against MAC competition.
Patterson had three 1,000-yard seasons in college, including the 2020 season when he only played six games but still scored 19 touchdowns and averaged 7.6 yards per carry. Not too long ago, Phillip Lindsay was an undersized running back who went undrafted and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Patterson signed with Washington and could have a similar story.
Trill Williams, Syracuse
Williams played cornerback, slot corner, and safety during his time at Syracuse, so he’s versatile and can be useful in a number of roles. At 6’2’’, he’s got the size and physicality to match up against NFL receivers. Williams is also a great ballhawk with good hands.
In three seasons at Syracuse, he had four interceptions and three touchdowns, although two of those touchdowns didn’t even come on passes he intercepted. The Saints at the foresight to give him a chance in the NFL.
Dylan Moses, Alabama
Forget about the last couple of seasons. When Moses was a sophomore at Alabama in 2018, he was a finalist for the Butkus Award and had a promising future ahead of him. But a knee injury kept him out for the entire 2019 season. He didn’t quite get back up to full speed in 2020, although he was a First-Team All-SEC selection and a Third-Team All-American.
How no team took a chance on him in the late rounds is almost criminal. If he can return anywhere close to full health, Moses is good enough to be a starter in the NFL for a long time. The Jaguars signed him after the draft in a move that could pay off big-time.