Michigan Undrafted Free Agents Have A Chance to Make it in the NFL


Nov 29, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (98) runs against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 42-28. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 NFL Draft is officially over and three former Wolverines were drafted. Devin Funchess and Frank Clark were taken in the second round by the Panthers and Seahawks respectively, and Jake Ryan was selected by the Green Bay Packers in round four. All three have an excellent opportunity to make it in the NFL. There are also a couple Michigan undrafted free agents who have already gotten the call that they will have a chance to live out their dreams of playing in the NFL.

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Former Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner has made the switch to receiver in his quest to make it in the NFL, and the New England Patriots have signed him as an undrafted free agent. The Patriots as an organization have had a lot of history giving former Michigan players a chance. Last season they drafted Jeremy Gallon (now with the Oakland Raiders) in the seventh round and signed Cameron Gordon as an undrafted free agent. Other former Wolverines currently on the roster include Alan Branch and, of course, future Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady. Gardner joins a receiving group that has some veterans, but there will be one or two spots up for grabs. He has a great opportunity in training camp and the preseason to compete for one of those spots.

Brennen Beyer is the other former Wolverine who has already signed as an undrafted free agent. He will be joining the Baltimore Ravens. Last season the Ravens signed former Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint as an undrafted free agent and he ended up appearing in four games for them. Baltimore runs a 3-4 defense so it will be interesting to see if they use Beyer as a defensive end or outside linebacker. The Ravens have a great defense and are fairly deep at the DE and OLB positions so it will be a tough road for Beyer to make the team, but he has the ability to do so. His best opportunity will be to impress on special teams.

One other former Wolverine who has been picked up is Thomas Rawls. Rawls transferred to Central Michigan University a couple years ago and was very impressive this past season. He will join former teammate Frank Clark in Seattle with the Seahawks. Other Michigan players who are still looking to get a call are Raymon Taylor and Delonte Hollowell. Hollowell may not get the opportunity but I’d be surprised if a team didn’t give Taylor a shot.

Rookie mini-camps start next week and I expect all of the former Wolverines, both drafted and undrafted, to impress their new teams. They are prepared for the opportunity and have a great chance to make it in the NFL. I’m sure they will all do the University of Michigan proud.