Vandy Undrafted Free Agents in Good and Bad Situations
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Vandy Undrafted Free Agents in Good and Bad Situations

After inside linebacker Oren Burks was the lone Vandy player selected in the 2018 NFL draft, there were many undrafted Commodores who entered free agency.

Six Vandy players were signed as undrafted free agents (UDFA), with two more being invited to participate in minicamp. But which players are in a good position to make a run at an NFL career? Let’s take a look:

Good situations:

Ralph Webb, RB:

Webb had a down year (to his standards) his senior year at Vanderbilt. He had the fewest rushes (192) and yards (831) of any of his four years in Nashville. With that said, he still averaged 4.3 yards per carry and is the 6th all time in the SEC for most yards with 4,173.

He signed with the New England Patriots, which may be a blessing for Webb. Bill Belichick loves to use multiple running backs. The Patriots currently have Rex Burkhead, former Georgia standout Sony Michel, Jeremy Hill, Brandon Bolden, James White, and Mike Gillislee on their roster. While Webb certainly has his work cut out for him competing against this loaded backfield, he fills a true bruiser role that the Patriots have missed since LeGarrette Blounts’ departure. Webb will likely be competing against Hill, Bolden, and Gillislee for a spot as a tough yardage running back.

Prediction: Practice Squad

Tre Herndon, CB

Tre Herndon had a solid season to conclude his collegiate career. Like Webb, he played football at Vandy all four years he was there.

He signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars after the draft. While the Jags have a great secondary, led by AJ Bouye and Jalen Ramsey, their depth has room for improvement. Herndon does still have an uphill battle, however.  The Jags signed Quenton Meeks, Dee Delaney, and Herndon as undrafted free agents, while also having Tyler Patmon, Dexter McDougle, Jalen Myrick, and Sammy Seamster on the roster. Herndon was third in the SEC with 11 pass breakups throughout the previous season. This alone should give him a chance to make the Jags secondary in a rotational role.

Prediction: Practice Squad

Emmanuel Smith, LB

Smith was signed by the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are an interesting fit. They have a high powered offense and have been steadily improving on defense since Dan Quinn took over as head coach. I could see Smith hanging on as depth as a weak-side linebacker in Quinn’s scheme. He will need a few years to learn the system, but he has a chance to be a backup LB with the Falcons, eventually.

Prediction: Practice Squad

Bad Situations:

Jonathan Wynn, DL

The Minnesota Vikings signed Wynn as an UDFA after the draft. Wynn may be in the toughest situation of all the Vandy UDFAs, however. Since Mike Zimmer became the Vikings’ head coach in 2014 his team has been very successful on defense. While the secondary that features safety Harrison Smith and cornerback Xavier Rhodes gets all the attention, the front seven in Minnesota is formidable. The team already has a scary defensive line with Everson Griffin, Linval Joseph, and Sheldon Richardson, among others. If there is an undrafted free agent to watch in Minnesota, it is former Washington St. defender Hercules Mata’afa, who is competing with Wynn for a spot.

Prediction: Practice Squad with a different team

Trent Sherfield, WR

The Arizona Cardinals picked up the Vandy wide receiver as an UDFA. However, the Cardinals also spent free agency and the draft beefing up their receiver corps. They paired their reliable threat, Larry Fitzgerald, with Christian Kirk in the second round of the draft and Brice Butler in free agency. They also still have JJ Nelson and Chad Williams on the roster, who have both been solid for the Cards in the past. While Sherfield had a solid year from a yardage standpoint last season, he only caught two touchdowns, and that just won’t cut it in the NFL.

Prediction: Released

Caleb Scott, WR

While Scott is in a better situation than Sherfield, he still has a very uphill battle. The Seahawks have had problems with their receiving core for years. Doug Baldwin has been one of the few positive signs for Seattle at receiver. However, Scott totaled a measly 18 receptions for 178 yards last season. While he did not play the full season, he did play seven games, which should have given him an opportunity to put up far better numbers than that. He is a camp body for the Seahawks.

Prediction: Released

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