2021 NFL draft’s best undrafted players: Cade Johnson, Jamie Newman offer big upside

All 259 picks of the 2021 NFL draft are in the books, but the work isn't done for 32 teams. 

With the completion of the seventh round on Saturday, teams turn their focus toward rounding out their class of undrafted free agents. It might be more difficult to discover contributors given the shallow pool of players that followed a tumultuous college football season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are still several promising pro prospects who didn't hear their names called at any point in the last three days.

Here are the 10 best undrafted players in this year's class:

Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State

The silky smooth slot receiver offers the speed and toughness to go toe-to-toe with NFL cornerbacks. Even if there's an adjustment period as he adapts to a higher level of competition, Johnson is worth bringing along.

Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State

After showing promise as a pass rusher in 2019, Wilson took a big step back as a senior. He might not rack up sacks consistently, but the 6-4, 303-pounder has the physical traits to be a productive part of a defensive line rotation. (Signed with Cleveland Browns.)

Ar'Darius Washington, S, TCU

Yes, he's only 5-8 and 176 pounds. But the ballhawk is a proven playmaker who deserves an opportunity to show what he can do in the slot at the next level.

Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

The former five-star recruit's career path took an unfortunate turn after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in 2019 and then struggled in his return to action last year. While he too often takes himself out of plays, Moses' athleticism is worth a gamble, even after the injury. (Signed with Jacksonville Jaguars.)

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Wake Forest Demon Deacons quarterback Jamie Newman (12) runs with the ball against the Syracuse Orange during the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. (Photo: Rich Barnes, Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

Jamie Newman, QB, Wake Forest/Georgia

He sparked some intrigue in 2019 before transferring to Georgia and subsequently opting out of the season. The 6-3, 234-pound signal-caller is plenty raw and can be spotty with his ball placement, but he has physical tools that should earn him a look as a developmental passer. (Signed with Philadelphia Eagles.)

Shakur Brown, CB, Michigan State

At 5-10 and 185 pounds with pedestrian speed, Brown might lack the athletic traits to stick with top-flight receivers. But he won't afford anything easy to opponents, deploying a fiery and physical approach on every down. (Signed with Steelers.)

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Charles Snowden, LB, Virginia

His frame (6-6, 243-pound) and agility are enviable for a pass rusher. If he can bulk up and hone his pass-rushing skills, there's room for him on an NFL roster. (Signed with Chicago Bears.)

Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo

With 52 rushing touchdowns in 33 career games, Patterson has already defied expectations for a 5-6, 195-pound back. He doesn't have the pure speed or receiving skills to be a third-down back out of the gate, but his vision and balance will give him a chance to be a contributor in the NFL. (Signed with Washington Football Team.)

Christian Uphoff, S, Illinois State

Any safety who stands 6-2 and 209 pounds and runs the way Uphoff does deserves a closer look. He has work to do to develop his instincts, but he could be an intriguing player for a patient coaching staff. (Signed with Green Bay Packers.)

Matt Bushman, TE, BYU

He's already 25 and missed last season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon. Bushman, however, easily reels in passes outside his frame and can rack up yards after the catch. (Signed with Las Vegas Raiders.)

Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.

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