After the 2021 NFL Draft ended with only two Bulldogs hearing their name called, the race was on for the rest of the senior class to sign UDFA deals with teams of their choice. While not being drafted had to disappoint these very talented former Bulldogs, the dream is still within their grasp. The work begins now to earn a roster spot and make a living playing the game they love.
List of Bulldogs who signed UDFA deals
Seven former Bulldogs have signed UDFA deals or been invited to a rookie minicamp to vie for a roster spot. While these former Bulldogs have a tough hill to climb to make an NFL roster, Mississippi State has a history of Bulldogs who have taken this route to a successful professional football career. Please take a look at this year’s list and how I feel they fit their new team.
Atlanta Falcons: Erroll Thompson, Kobe Jones, Marcus Murphy
I expected Erroll Thompson to be drafted. Thompson was not the only UDFA ILB signed by the Falcons, as Louisville’s Dorian Etheridge also signed. The Falcons return both starters at ILB in Deion Jones and Foyesade Oluokun.
Thompson will have to beat out Etheridge, Brandon Copeland, and top reserve Mykal Walker. Erroll will have to make his presence felt on special teams to earn a roster spot. Once he shows his worth on special teams, Thompson can be a valuable run-stopping ILB for the Falcons.
Size-wise he is bigger than both Jones, and Olukon but the Falcons like to use them in coverage. Thompson worked hard to reshape his body and is now a lean 239 lbs. My NFL comparison to Thompson is Vontaze Burfict.
Kobe Jones has the motor that most teams look for in a player. What Jones lacked in production at Mississippi State, he makes up with his leadership and character. The Falcons drafted OLB Adetokunbo Ogundeji in the 5th round and added former LSU Tiger Barkevious Mingo in the offseason, which hurts Kobe Jones’s chances of making the roster at OLB.
I would like to see jones pick up some weight and become a true defensive end. I do not feel he has the foot speed to be a successful OLB in either scheme in the NFL. Jones is familiar with his hand in the dirt, so his best bet is to switch positions and battle in the trenches.
I cannot hold my joy at the excitement of seeing Marcus Murphy join an NFL team. I wish Murphy would have transferred and played a full season somewhere, but I understand he has a family to provide for. Murphy now has a chance to earn a roster spot and also audition for other teams.
Murphy is very raw as a defender, but he has the athleticism to help a team somewhere. Murphy, along with his Bulldog teammates, made a list of the UDFA’s that have the best chance to earn a roster spot. This list has Murphy listed as a CB, but he played safety in college.
Could Murphy switch positions and find a way to earn a roster spot?
I will take a shot here and say yes, Murphy should switch positions and sides of the ball. In high school, Murphy was an offensive weapon for West Point. I think using his athleticism and his natural ball skills on offense is the best way for Murphy to earn a living in the NFL.
Osirus Mitchell joins former Bulldogs Dak Prescott and Stephen Guidry on the Cowboys roster. Guidry opted out of the 2020 season due to covid and will now compete with Osirus Mitchell for a roster spot. These two know each other very well from their time in Maroon and White.
It would be a Bulldog fan’s dream for Mitchell and Guidry to both make the Cowboys roster and have a Bulldog-to-Bulldog WR combo for Dak Prescott. Mitchell is a possession receiver that can use his length to snag overthrown balls. I sure hope Osirus the Virus can catch on with the Cowboys like a cold.
The Cowboys’ top three receivers are Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb. The Cowboys also drafted Simi Fehoko out of Stanford in the 5th round. The Cowboys need depth at the WR position, so there is no reason that depth can’t be maroon.
Could we see Dak use his influence to help Mitchell and Guidry become mainstays on the Cowboys? Perhaps that dream of Dak to Guidry or Mitchell could happen this season.
Greg Eiland & Dareuan Parker
The NFL has made a living of drafting and signing former Bulldog offensive linemen. So far, there are eight Bulldog linemen on NFL rosters after Greg Eiland signed with the Seahawks and Dareaun Parker signed with the Bears.
Eliand is the most intriguing prospect. He has played both guard and tackle positions and is a very large human, standing at 6’8″ and 335 pounds. Eiland will be on the same offensive line as former Bulldogs Gabe Jackson who signed with the Seahawks in the offseason, and Tommy Champion.
The Seahawks have a definite Mississippi connection with former Bulldogs backer KJ Wright, DK Metcalf, Damien Lewis, Aldon Smith, and Robert Nkendiche as former college players in the state of Mississippi or natives.
Parker joins the Bears, and he is a longshot to make the roster. Parkers strength is his run blocking, and with the Bears adding a dual-threat QB to run their offense, Parker’s run blocking ability is a plus.
KJ Costello would have been a favorite to win the Heisman trophy if the season ended after the LSU game. Unfortunately for Costello, his season took a turn for the worse, and he was benched after getting injured. Costello made his return against Missouri and promptly threw an interception.
Costello has some tools that NFL scouts like as he was once hailed as a potential first-round pick. Costello was invited to the Chargers minicamp. Standing 6’5″, Costello has a rocket arm, and perhaps he can develop as a third-string QB and maybe move up to become a capable backup in the NFL.