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Virginia's Undrafted Free Agents

With such a young roster, the Hoos had less than 10 players eligible for the NFL Draft. Three were drafted, which left just a few remaining. Of those, only 1 has signed a free agent contract. Jake Snyder signed with the Vikings. Furthermore, former Hoo Justin Renfrow signed with the Arizona Cardinals after spending his 5th year of college with the Miami Hurricanes. We'll take a look at both of them here.

Jake Snyder is facing long odds to make the Vikings opening day roster.
Jake Snyder is facing long odds to make the Vikings opening day roster.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing has changed since Brian wrote about Jake Snyder and Justin Renfrow signing free agent contracts. Those 2 remain the only former Hoos to sign after the draft. While there is still a chance that Tim Smith signs with somebody, he hasn't yet (or if he has, it isn't public yet).

As an undrafted free agent, both Snyder and Renfrow are facing long odds. But year in and year out, NFL teams fill their rosters with undrafted free agents. The biggest success story among recent Wahoo is Rodney McLeod who went from UDFA to starting safety in just 2 years. Let's take a quick look at Snyder and Renfrow's chances of making an NFL roster this year.

Snyder isn't in a terrible situation, but it's not great either. NFL fans may recall that the Vikings lost Jared Allen, who'd led the team in sacks for each of the past 6 seasons. The main reason the Vikings let him go was financial, but was made easier by the presence of Everson Griffen and Brian Robison, who combined for 16.5 sacks last year. Of course, having Allen around helped, because he was the one facing the double teams. The Vikings don't have a ton of depth behind those 2 at DE. They did draft a DE out of Oregon State (Scott Crichton) in the 3rd round, and they have a couple of other guys who've been mostly special teams player til now.

Special teams is where Snyder is going to have to excel to make the team. There's just too many bodies above him on the depth chart for him to expect any playing time at DE this year, barring injury. At 270 pounds, Snyder isn't really NFL DT material, and even so the Vikings are deeper at DT than they are at DE.

If we're honest, Snyder isn't likely to make the team. He isn't the type of player that teams generally keep around for special teams, because he isn't fast enough to be a cover guy, nor would he have much experience blocking. His best bet is likely going to be to make the practice squad and impress people there.

Renfrow may be in a slightly better position than Snyder. The Cardinals run a 3-4 defense, which is better suited to Renfrow's play. He's a huge DT, 330+ pounds. At a NT, his job would be to eat up two blockers  (at least) and allow the players around him to make plays. The Cards starter at NT is Dan Williams, who is solid though nothing special. They have only one other player on the roster who fits as a NT in their defense. If Renfrow can impress, he could make the team as a backup NT. He also may end up on the practice squad, but he could get called up if there is an injury on the DL.

I remain surprised that Tim Smith hasn't signed anywhere. He ran a 4.5 at the Virginia pro day, he's a solid route runner with good hands. He's not going to be a game-breaking WR, but he should at least make somebody's camp. He has experience returning kicks and could also be used in other special teams roles.