2018 Consensus Big Board: Who Signed the "Best" UDFAs?

Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, players that drop from the draft excite fans when they sign as undrafted free agents for their respective teams. Some of those players, like La’el Collins, Jason Peters and Nickell Robey-Coleman start quickly and play extraordinarily well. Other hyped undrafted free agents — Isaiah Crowell, Vontaze Burfict, Ken Crawley etc — become key starters. Many, like Anthony Harris, Corey Clement, Jeremy Cash and so on, end up as critical depth.

Most don’t do anything.

Recently, the top undrafted free agents include players like Adam Thielen, Malcolm Butler, Allen Hurns, Chris Harris and Damon Harrison — and they didn’t show up on any lists of the “top undrafted free agents available” in their respective draft years.

In many respects, it may seem as if using expert consensus to figure out who the best undrafted free agents will be is an exercise in futility. But, knowing that over 450 undrafted free agents sign with teams every year, it’s notable that the players at the top of these lists have a better “hit rate” — whether measured by Pro Bowls, starts or career length — than the players at the bottom.

With that in mind, we can figure out not only who the best free agents are, but which teams have the best free agent class. It’s just worth keeping mind that these carry a lot of uncertainty, and there’s not an enormous amount of evidence that the Consensus Big Board can predict the outcomes of undrafted free agents as well as it does drafted players.

For this exercise, we had to extend the Consensus Big Board to 848 players, and any players left unranked after that were given minimal point value. The same logarithmic function that guides the player values (where the top-ranked player is worth 3000 points, the second-ranked player is worth 2643 points and so on going down) was used to value the players going down, but 400 points were added to each player to prevent the scale from hitting negative values.

Because not every team has confirmed their free agents, we used the free agency tracker from SB Nation that has been constantly updating since the conclusion of the draft.

We know which players were the top available undrafted free agents, but first let’s look at who the top undrafted free agents were for each team (table is sortable):

Player Team Pos Consensus Rank Value
Quenton Meeks Jacksonville Jaguars CB 93 1082.6
Holton Hill Minnesota Vikings CB 101 1040.0
Jeff Holland Denver Broncos EDGE 116 968.6
Tarvarus McFadden San Francisco 49ers CB 126 925.9
Trenton Thompson Cleveland Browns DT 131 905.9
Quin Blanding Washington Redskins S 138 879.0
Josh Adams Philadelphia Eagles RB 157 812.5
Deontay Burnett Tennessee Titans WR 161 799.5
Tegray Scales Los Angeles Rams LB 169 774.5
Tony Brown Los Angeles Chargers CB 172 765.4
Godwin Igwebuike Tampa Bay Buccaneers S 180 741.9
Poona Ford Seattle Seahawks DT 181 739.1
Kurt Benkert Atlanta Falcons QB 184 730.6
Skai Moore Indianapolis Colts LB 185 727.8
Levi Wallace Buffalo Bills CB 186 725.0
J.C. Jackson New England Patriots CB 188 719.5
Mike McCray Miami Dolphins LB 189 716.8
Byron Pringle Kansas City Chiefs WR 190 714.0
Trayvon Henderson Cincinnati Bengals S 197 695.4
Dimitri Flowers New York Jets RB 210 662.4
Olasunkanmi Adeniyi Pittsburgh Steelers EDGE 212 657.5
Davin Bellamy Houston Texans DB 219 640.8
Taylor Hearn Carolina Panthers OG 221 636.1
Michael Joseph Chicago Bears CB 226 624.5
Nick Gates New York Giants OG 251 570.4
Jason Cabinda Oakland Raiders LB 258 556.2
JoJo Wicker Detroit Lions EDGE 266 540.5
J.T. Barrett New Orleans Saints QB 300 478.4
James Hearns Dallas Cowboys DE 325 437.1
Christian LaCouture Baltimore Ravens DT 327 433.9
Frank Ginda Arizona Cardinals LB 328 432.4
Jacob Alsadek Green Bay Packers OG 422 302.4

As for the team-level results, we can look at total value acquired, value per free agent signed and the value of the top five free agents each team acquired. We can combine all three results into one score, where the highest overall score is best.

Team Value Value/FA Top 5 Total Score
Minnesota Vikings 6489.2 381.7 3883.2 39.6
Jacksonville Jaguars 4523.4 348.0 3616.7 31.7
Philadelphia Eagles 5149.5 286.1 3301.8 24.5
Tennessee Titans 5409.9 257.6 3288.0 24.0
Washington Redskins 3463.8 216.5 3184.1 19.6
Seattle Seahawks 4509.1 237.3 2906.2 14.6
Denver Broncos 2854.6 356.8 2795.5 12.3
Pittsburgh Steelers 4002.4 307.9 2657.7 9.6
Los Angeles Chargers 3322.7 158.2 2759.0 9.4
Kansas City Chiefs 3297.7 253.7 2672.2 8.5
Houston Texans 3354.8 223.7 2564.7 5.9
Chicago Bears 3287.6 234.8 2488.6 4.3
Cleveland Browns 2645.9 176.4 2494.1 3.2
San Francisco 49ers 2639.0 203.0 2332.0 -0.1
Buffalo Bills 2758.7 229.9 2298.9 -0.4
Cincinnati Bengals 2636.7 239.7 2262.5 -1.1
Atlanta Falcons 3771.8 139.7 2273.2 -1.3
New York Giants 2425.1 269.5 2210.5 -2.1
New England Patriots 2289.2 228.9 2139.8 -4.3
Carolina Panthers 2273.8 324.8 2053.3 -5.0
New Orleans Saints 2875.9 221.2 2086.7 -5.1
Detroit Lions 2989.0 166.1 1985.1 -7.9
Dallas Cowboys 2517.1 139.8 1952.3 -9.4
New York Jets 2032.1 145.1 1909.5 -10.6
Oakland Raiders 1858.2 185.8 1755.0 -13.7
Arizona Cardinals 2542.9 106.0 1743.4 -14.4
Los Angeles Rams 1753.1 194.8 1709.3 -14.7
Indianapolis Colts 1717.5 171.7 1684.0 -15.5
Miami Dolphins 1727.4 157.0 1657.8 -16.3
Baltimore Ravens 1666.4 119.0 1594.2 -18.2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1474.5 105.3 1423.4 -22.3
Green Bay Packers 929.3 62.0 830.4 -36.5

The Vikings have, by far, the highest total value, the highest value per free agent and the highest value of top five free agents. Their total score is higher than any other team by a good margin, driven by Holton Hill, Hercules Mata’afa, Korey Robertson, Jake Wieneke and Tray Matthews.

Does it make up for an average draft class? Probably not, but it certainly is fun to imagine the possibilities.

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