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10 Best College Football Players Not Taken in the 2016 NFL Draft

Author:
Trevone Boykin

Trevone Boykin

Talent does not always guarantee becoming an NFL Draft pick. Dozens of college football stars did not hear their name called during the 2016 NFL Draft. Many of these players have now signed with teams as undrafted free agents and will be competing with draft picks to make an opening-day NFL roster.

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Who were the most notable omissions in the 2016 NFL Draft? Here's a look at the best players (in alphabetical order) still left on the board when all seven rounds of the draft were in the books:

Jack Allen, C, Michigan State

Allen is a former high school wrestling state champion in Illinois. Those grappling skills translate well in the trenches. He shows great toughness and leverage in making blocks. Allen has strong hands and can force defenders away from gaps. His smaller frame, along with average athleticism and flexibility caused him to fall out of the draft. But Allen's aggressiveness and tenacity will earn him a chance to prove himself.

Signed with: New Orleans Saints

Dominique Alexander, LB, Oklahoma

Speed kills in the NFL and Alexander has it in spades. He totaled 210 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss and three sacks over his final two seasons with the Sooners. Alexander has enough foot speed and lateral quickness to zero in and bring down running backs and dual-threat quarterbacks before they take off in the open field. He has some size and strength limitations inside, but could flourish on the outside.

Signed with: Cleveland Browns

Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU

Few quarterbacks can match the dazzling playmaking ability Boykin displayed over his final two seasons with the Horned Frogs. During that two-year stretch, he threw for 7,474 yards and 64 touchdowns and rushed for 1,319 yards and 18 scores. Boykin is an accurate passer and an elusive runner. He's a bit undersized and NFL teams are understandably nervous about his maturity following an arrest for punching an officer in a bar fight led to him being suspended from the 2015 Alamo Bowl.
Signed with: Seattle Seahawks

Devon Cajuste, TE, Stanford

Freakish athleticism and an ability to move the chains helped Cajuste carve out a role as a two-year starter for the Cardinal. He is an underrated pass catcher who could find a niche as a slot receiver or tight end at the next level. His size and muscular frame helped him haul in contested catches and he has potential as a blocker.

Signed with: San Francisco 49ers

Jeremy Cash, S, Duke

In a draft where defensive backs flew off the board, seeing the ACC Defensive Player of the Year remain unselected feels odd. Cash certainly has a good enough skill set to stick on an NFL roster. Cash has an outstanding first step and possesses strong enough vision to adjust his coverage on the fly. He is equally strong in both run and pass coverage. Cash has a strong chance to carve out a niche playing a safety/linebacker role.

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Signed with: Carolina Panthers

James Cowser, DE, Southern Utah

Cowser's age (26 years old) scared away some teams, but he has enough drive to turn into a fearsome NFL defender. During his time at SUU, Cowser set FCS records for career sacks (42.5) and tackles for a loss (80). He was a four-year starter who used strong hands and an even stronger motor to consistently make big plays. His maturity, strength and production level should translate well to the NFL.

Signed with: Oakland Raiders

Keyarris Garrett, WR, Tulsa

After being plagued with injuries early in his career, Garrett led the nation with 1,588 receiving yards on 96 catches as a senior. His length and ability to build up speed are assets on longer and deeper routes. Garrett hauled in 28 catches of 20 or more yards in 2015. He isn't as quick going on underneath routes, but his length and production will earn him a shot to make an NFL roster.

Signed with: Carolina Panthers

Jonathan Jones, CB, Auburn

What he lacks in size, Jones makes up for in athletic ability. He totaled seven interceptions for Auburn over his final two seasons. Jones can match quickness with most receivers and has good enough foot speed and fluid hip movement to shadow receivers on most routes. Injuries are a concern with Jones suffering a broken ankle, a hamstring injury and undergoing foot surgery during the last three years.

Signed with: Jacksonville Jaguars

Tyvis Powell, S, Ohio State

One of 30 early entrants who did not get drafted, Powell has a nice combination of size and speed to be an effective defensive back. He led the Buckeyes with three interceptions as a junior and also finished last season with 71 tackles. Powell's ability to make big plays in big games could get an NFL team to give him a second look.

Signed with: Seattle Seahawks

Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma

Striker (above, right) set himself apart as one of the top pass rushers in the nation last season. He is explosive in getting to the ball and lives in opponent's backfields. Over three years as a starter with the Sooners, Striker totaled 46.5 tackles for a loss and 23 sacks. His versatility and excellent pursuit speed will help him overcome being undersized

Signed with: Buffalo Bills

Other players of note not drafted (alphabetical order): Vernon Adams, QB, Oregon; Briean Boddy-Calhoun, CB, Minnesota; Quinshad Davis, WR, North Carolina; Trae Elston, S, Ole Miss; Jason Fanaika, DE, Utah; Josh Ferguson, RB, Illinois; D.J. Foster, WR, Arizona State; Darrell Greene, G, San Diego State; Tom Hackett, P, Utah; Byron Marshall, WR/RB, Oregon; Jalin Marshall, WR, Ohio State; Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor; Nelson Spruce, WR, Colorado; Landon Turner, OL, North Carolina; Antwaun Woods, DT, USC.

— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.