Not all successful NFL players are selected in the draft. Some take the long road of being an undrafted free agent and fight to make a roster.
The Los Angeles Chargers signed 15 undrafted free agents following last week’s draft. The Chargers have had as much success as any team in the league in finding talent through the post-draft process, as at least one undrafted player has made the team in 20 consecutive seasons. That is easily the top mark in the league.
Antonio Gates, one of the best tight ends in NFL history, went undrafted. Many other players have found great success, some even having Hall-of-Fame careers.
Have the Chargers found another hidden gem this year? This begins a series here on Bolt Beat as I will take a look at each of the undrafted rookies brought in this year, letting Chargers fans know about their background and what kind of chances they each have of making the squad.
We’ll start with arguably the biggest name the team signed, Artavis Scott.
Weight: 193 pounds
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
It’s a bit of a surprise that Scott wasn’t selected in the draft. NFL.com had a fifth to sixth-round grade on him, and he was good enough to go in that range. As a result, the Chargers may have found a nice little sleeper player here.
Scott will join first-round pick Mike Williams to give the Chargers two of the wide receivers that helped Clemson win the National title last year. He finished his college playing career with 245 receptions for 2,480 yards and 19 touchdowns. He had at least 76 receptions in each of his three seasons at the school.
Someone is going to get a steal in @ArtavisScott as an undrafted free agent.
— Ryan Bass (@Ry_Bass) April 29, 2017
Scott is a sure-handed target who could be a solid possession receiver at the next level. He also has experience returning both punts and kicks. He doesn’t excite you when you watch his tape, but he does show a level of consistency as well as a high football IQ.
He understands route concepts, but he lacks the speed to get open on a consistent basis in the NFL. A team that was needy at the receiver position could probably find a role for him, but that isn’t Los Angeles.
Even though the Chargers used their first-round pick on a new receiver, the team still has Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin in addition to the pick of Williams. Those four players are almost certainly safe for the roster, so that leaves one or two spots for Scott to squeeze into.
The rest of the receiving corps features Dontrelle Inman, Isaiah Burse, DaRon Brown, Geremy Davis and Jamaal Jones. For Scott, a roster spot could come down to him or Inman.
I’m not big on Inman and never have been. But he has managed to stick with the team and had a career-high 58 receptions last season.
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Odds of Making Team
I’d give Scott a decent chance to make the final 53-man roster and at the very least, he’ll get a spot on the team’s practice squad. I can see the rookie Williams pulling for his former college teammate and lobbying for him to make the roster.
If the Chargers keep only five receivers, it will go to him or Inman. If the team decides to go with six receivers, Scott will be part of the final roster.