Nearly every year, we hear complaints about the land rush for undrafted free agents, which reaches a fever pitch when the draft ends. Teams push for quick decisions, and players and agents don’t always have time to think things through before teams move on to the next option.
This year, the complaints have subsided, for one very good reason. Teams have started the process of talking to potential UDFAs earlier than usual.
Nick Nelson started his college career at Hawaii but transferred to Wisconsin. If I had a scholarship at Hawaii, no force on earth could get me to leave. Well, except maybe a volcano. Anyway, Nelson commits too many penalties and, despite return experience, rarely intercepts a pass. A case of the grabbies can be cured, but it’s hard to project Nelson as much more than a nickel or dime player. Another high-risk selection for Retro Riverboat Gruden, though at least this one is at a position of need. Grade: C-plus.
He’s perhaps best known this offseason for helping his brother through a weird naked bloody incident in Los Angeles.
Cayleb Jones will be eligible to participate in the offseason program and preseason games, but not the first four weeks of the regular season.
Lorenzo Carter, OLB, Georgia: At 6-5, 250 pounds, he’s built like another former Bulldog, Justin Houston. However that’s where the similarity ends as Carter hasn’t been nearly as productive a player as Houston. Still, he should plug in nicely on a new-look 3-4 front that will feature Olivier Vernon on the other side.
Chad Thomas, DE, Miami (Fla.): He bolsters the defensive line rotation beyond Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah, though Thomas only managed nine sacks over the last two years.
Justin Reid, S, Stanford: The brother of former 49ers S Eric Reid, he bolsters a pass defense that finished 24th in 2017. This is Houston’s first pick of this draft. Justin Reid is a versatile and savvy defender who is comfortable both up high and in the box.