The Virginia Tech Hokies had four players selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, the most since 2010, with Chuck Clark, Bucky Hodges, Sam Rogers, and Isaiah Ford all being selected. However, there are other Hokies with NFL hopes who went undrafted but have signed free agent contracts in pursuit of making a NFL roster.
— Jawhar Ali (@soundslikejafar) April 30, 2017
Ken Ekanem, Woody Baron, Jonathan McLaughlin, and Nigel Williams all have signed contracts as undrafted free agents and will have the chance to compete for NFL roster spots this summer.
Ken Ekanem was seen as a guy who could end up being drafted but it didn’t take him long for him to find a new home out west in Denver. It will be interesting to see whether Ekanem ends up as a OLB or DE in Denver’s 3-4 defense as Ekanem seems more like someone who would fit much better in a 4-3 defensive scheme. Given his current size, OLB seems more likely though if he can get up to around 265-270 pounds, Ekanem could end up at DE which likely would be a better fit given his lack of experience playing coverage.
Woody Baron had one of the best seasons we’ve seen from a VT DT and the All-ACC First Team DT is joining the Dallas Cowboys. Baron may have to add some more weight on to his 6’2” 280-pound frame but Baron has rapidly developed into a quality defensive tackle over his time in Blacksburg and could provide some great depth on the defensive line. While there wasn’t much chatter about Baron being drafted, no one should be surprised if he makes the roster for the Cowboys.
Jonathan McLaughlin is headed to the desert to join former Hokie Bruce Arians and his Arizona Cardinals. McLaughlin is an intriguing prospect as someone who could use some development and may be better off moving inside to offensive guard where his below-average footwork may not be as much of a liability. McLaughlin has great size and could be a backup lineman that may have more upside as a guard than as a tackle.
Nigel Williams is headed north as Williams is joining the Buffalo Bills who fired their GM the day after the NFL Draft. Williams will make a relatively easy transition into a 4-3 defense though Williams definitely has the size and versatility to have been a 3-4 nose tackle as well. Williams will definitely have a big challenge but he is definitely someone who will be up to the task for fighting to earn a roster spot with the Bills.
The one man who is still surprisingly unsigned is Jerod Evans who was the only early-entrant quarterback to go undrafted. Evans may be weighing multiple free agent offers as a very intriguing developmental quarterback with a big arm who, in the right situation, could be developed. Evans will have a lot of work to do in the NFL but if he can find the right spot, he can have some sort of career in the NFL at least as a backup.