WASHINGTON — The 2016 NFL Draft officially ended early Saturday evening, but that didn’t mean business stopped.
Immediately after the draft wraps up, general managers begin staking claim to undrafted free agents — players they can snag for a modest sum without using a draft pick. It’s an opportunity for teams to fill rosters and add competition in training camp without breaking the bank, and the best scouts in the business, such as Redskins GM Scot McCloughan, can find unheralded talent.
The Redskins, not surprisingly, were one of the most active teams immediately after the draft, adding 20 players, according to SB Nation. This list is not confirmed, nor is it believed to be 100 percent complete.
Note: The original story said 14 free agents. This number has been updated as the list has grown. It was later updated to 20, then former Arizona State cornerback Lloyd Carrington was added.
Washington added three receivers in the initial undrafted free agency period: 6-foot-3 Reginald Diggs from Richmond, 6-foot-2 Maurice Harris from California and 5-foot-11 Andre McCullough.
The Redskins also added a trio of offensive linemen in Alabama’s Dominick Jackson, East Central’s Kevin Bowen and Clemson’s Joe Gore, three running backs in Bowling Green’s Travis Greene, Prarie View A&M’s Johnta Herbert and Tulane’s Rob Kelley, and five defensive backs in Utah’s Tevin Carter, Alabama’s Geno Matias-Smith, Ashland’s Donzale Ashley, New Mexico Highlands’ Kenneth Springer and Arizona State’s Lloyd Carrington.
Carter is one of the prized signings, as he was expected by some to goes as high as the fourth or fifth round. He is riddled with question marks, as there were issues with his commitment to his various schools and whether or not he really wanted to play football, but he has plenty of natural talent and could be molded into a quality safety with the right coaching. He also measured 6-foot-1, 218 pounds and put up 19 reps on the bench press at the Combine, so he’s built to play strong safety.
The Redskins also needed additional help in the backfield, specifically a running back to complement incumbent starter Matt Jones. They selected Keith Marshall out of Georgia with their final pick in the draft, then they gave themselves three more chances to hit on a diamond in the rough with Greene, Herbert and Kelley.
Washington also signed tight end Michael Cooper (Indiana), linebacker Ejiro Ederaine (Fresno State), defensive end Shiro Davis (Texas), fullback Joe Kerridge (Michigan), defensive end Anthony Lanier (Alabama A&M) and long snapper Kelly Mason (Kentucky).
McCloughan stated numerous times that he wanted to add at least 10 players in the draft, and when it became evident he wasn’t going to reach that number — even though he made significant progress toward that number next year — thoughts immediately shifted to the post-draft frenzy.
If Washington does bring all these players into training camp, there should be a healthy competition in camp at just about every position, which is what McCloughan is after.