Last week, we identified the undrafted free agent most likely to make the roster of each NFL team. Those selections were based on a combination of situation, money and talent.

Here, we're taking a different approach. We're focused on each team's most exciting UDFA based on their talent, skill set or the promise they're already showing in rookie minicamps.

Undrafted free agents face an uphill battle to earn a 53-man roster spot since their teams didn't invest draft capital in them. But if they flash during the offseason program, they could make their coaching staff think twice about cutting them in August.

"The best players play, and the best players are the guys who play the best," Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said while recruiting Alabama wideout Slade Bolden after the draft. "And that's it. That's how we do it." 


Arizona Cardinals: RB T.J. Pledger

The Arizona Cardinals have a downhill power runner in James Conner, but their complementary piece in the backfield isn't quite settled. Chase Edmonds served in the role last season, but he signed with the Miami Dolphins this offseason.

The Cardinals drafted Eno Benjamin in the seventh round in 2020 and Keaontay Ingram in the sixth round this year. However, Utah's T.J. Pledger has a different level of explosiveness and versatility to his game. 

Two specific stats make Pledger an interesting option in the Cardinals backfield. 

According to Pro Football Focus, he led all backs in this year's class with an average of 4.90 rushing yards per carry on runs that weren't perfectly blocked. His ability to create when everything isn't perfect is a vital trait for the NFL, where vision and elusiveness are necessary. 

Pledger also displayed the fastest max acceleration of any offensive player at this year's Senior Bowl, per executive director Jim Nagy. He can make defenders miss and then blow right past them. 


Atlanta Falcons: LB Nate Landman

These days, NFL linebackers tend to be smaller, with a much greater emphasis on playing in space. Downhill run-stuffers don't hold nearly as much value as they did 20-30 years ago.

However, stopping the run remains a necessity at times, too. And Colorado linebacker Nate Landman is joining the Atlanta Falcons as an exceptional run defender. 

"I've played the game at a high level for several seasons now," the linebacker told The Draft Network's Justin Melo. "I have those instincts you simply can't teach. I have a superpower as a run-stopper. I do it better than anyone else in this draft class."

Landman certainly doesn't sell himself short.

Prospects can differentiate themselves by having a clear strength. For Landman, his run-stopping "superpower" coupled with extensive special teams experience make him an intriguing fit as a situation-specific talent with run-and-chase linebackers Deion Jones and Troy Andersen on the roster.


Baltimore Ravens: LB Zakoby McClain

Auburn linebacker Zakoby McClain showed consistent improvement during his time in college. McClain committed to the program as 6'0", 205-pound recruit and then grew into a 228-pound second-line defender, who displayed an evolving game with each passing season. 

Still considered undersized, McClain showed immense improvement as a run defender during his final season on campus. In fact, his run-defense grade led all SEC linebackers during the 2021 campaign, according to Pro Football Focus.

Keep in mind, the conference featured Butkus Award winner Nakobe Dean and six others who heard their names called during draft weekend. 

McClain accumulated an impressive 208 total tackles over his last 23 games. The second-team All-SEC selection's instincts, quickness, comfort level working in space and relentless motor make him an ideal weak-side linebacker and special teams contributor. He also improved his run fits and physicality last year. 

The smallish-but-tenacious defender should find a home with the Baltimore Ravens.