Best NFL Undrafted Free Agent Players of 2018

By 105.3 The Fan

DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) -- At the end of seven rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft, there was Mr. Irrelevant: UCLA tight end Caleb Wilson, who was selected by the Arizona Cardinals. After that comes Mr. Unlikely -- the undrafted free agent who climbs onto an NFL roster and makes an unexpected impact. 

Take Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay, who in 2018 became the first undrafted offensive player selected for the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

Lindsay signed with his hometown club after playing four seasons at Colorado. He had 71 yards rushing in his debut and 107 yards in his second game. Lindsay moved into the starting lineup in Week 8 and finished the season with 1,037 yards, an average of 5.4 yards per carry and nine touchdowns. He also had 35 catches for 241 yards and one TD.

Two other undrafted running backs put up 1,000 yards as rookies: Dominic Rhodes (1,104 in 2001) and LeGarrette Blount (1,007 in 2010).

"At one point, I was just trying to make the team," Lindsay said. 

"His first day with us, he was the sixth halfback on the depth chart," Broncos coach Vance Joseph added. 

Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards, Philadelphia Eagles running back Josh Adams, New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Holton Hill also made huge contributions in 2018 after all 32 teams passed on them several times over. 

Here's a look at 2018's best undrafted players, who give hope for 2019's crop:

Edwards (Miami, Rutgers) began the season on the Ravens practice squad, played his first game in October and got just 15 carries in his first five games. Then Edwards had back-to-back 100-yard games as Lamar Jackson took over for Joe Flacco at quarterback. Edwards averaged 5.2 yards per carry. He'll have competition in 2019 after Baltimore added former New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram in free agency.

Adams (Notre Dame) earned a spot on the Eagles practice squad and made his NFL debut in Week 3. Adams got his chance after starter Jay Ajayi went down for the season and Darren Sproles and Corey Clement were sidelined. He emerged as the team's leading rusher with 511 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Adams will have to prove himself again in 2019 after the Eagles traded for Jordan Howard and drafted Penn State running back Miles Sanders in the second round.

Jackson (Florida Riverside Community College) is the latest Patriots undrafted rookie in a lineage that includes Malcolm Butler and James Develin. Jackson appeared in 13 games in 2018 and hauled in three interceptions. In Week 15, Jackson held Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to four catches for 40 yards on 10 targets. He played in each of the Patriots' three postseason games en route to a Super Bowl title.

Hill (Texas) played a lot on special teams and started two games for the Vikings. He had one interception and seven pass breakups.

Robert Foster, a wide receiver out of Alabama, had 27 catches for 551 yards and three TDs for the Buffalo Bills. In the final weeks of the season, he had three 100-plus-yard performances. 

Frankie Luvu, out of Washington State, had three sacks in 14 games for the New York Jets.

Sharif Finch, a linebacker out of Temple, had 27 combined tackles, 1½ sacks and two tackles for loss, plus two forced fumbles for the Tennessee Titans.

With AP