Jerod Evans had a big season for Virginia Tech but went undrafted after declaring as a junior
Going undrafted does not close the door on an NFL career. Dozens of college football stars did not get selected in the 2017 NFL Draft because of factors ranging from injuries to concerns about size or other measurables. Several of these players are likely to prove themselves and earn a spot on an NFL roster as undrafted free agents.
Who were the most notable omissions in the 2017 NFL Draft? Here's a look at the best players (in alphabetical order) still left on the board once all seven rounds of the draft were in the books:
Ben Boulware, LB, Clemson
Boulware emerged as the heart and soul of the defense for the Tigers this past season. He is a bit undersized for a linebacker, at 6-feet and 236 pounds, but plays much larger than his frame. Boulware exudes toughness and leadership. He totaled 116 tackles for Clemson in his final year. Boulware has good field vision and instincts. He's the type of player who always seems to find the right angle to attack the ball.
Signed with: Carolina Panthers
KD Cannon, WR, Baylor
Cannon has some traits that suggest he'll be a capable wide receiver in the NFL. His speed and athleticism are major strengths and it showed last season when he totaled 1,215 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns on 87 catches. Cannon's route running is still a work in progress and that's the main thing that caused him to slip out of the draft. If he can get better in that area of the game, Cannon could make a mark as a slot receiver at the next level.
Signed with: San Francisco 49ers
Hunter Dimick, DE, Utah
Dimick is a lineman who played larger than his size during four years with the Utes. His small frame (6-3, 269) scared away some teams, but his production should not. Dimick totaled 29.5 sacks and 45 tackles for a loss at Utah. His motor is endless. Few players work as hard as Dimick does on the field. While he may not have the length some NFL teams want in a pass rusher, he knows how to get the most out of each play. That should translate well to the pro game.
Signed with: Jacksonville Jaguars
Travin Dural, WR, LSU
Playing with an elite quarterback and a productive offense may be just what Dural needs to show what he can do. Hamstring and shoulder injuries hampered him during his final two seasons at LSU and a mediocre passing offense didn't help either. Dural totaled 758 yards and seven touchdowns on 37 catches during his sophomore year in 2014. He has good wheels and can get plenty of yards after the catch, so Dural should fit well on most NFL rosters.
Signed with: New Orleans Saints
Jerod Evans, QB, Virginia Tech
Evans is fired up to prove doubters wrong after being passed over in the draft. He came out early after throwing for 3,352 yards and 29 touchdowns at Virginia Tech last season. Evans also totaled 846 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. He's a good runner and a decent thrower, but is raw in his mechanics and field position. Still, standing at 6-foot-3 and with 232 pounds on his frame, Evans has the size NFL teams look for at the position. Coupled with his mobility, it might be worth rolling the dice and letting him develop on a practice squad.
Signed with: TBD
Gabe Marks, WR, Washington State
Luke Falk draws the lion's share of attention for bringing Mike Leach's Air Raid offense to life, but Marks also played a valuable role in moving the chains the past couple of seasons. Marks set the Pac-12 record for career receptions. He totaled 2,086 yards and 28 touchdowns on 193 catches over his final two years. He didn't test well at the NFL Scouting Combine, which hurt his draft stock, but Marks can make up for it in on-the-field production.
Signed with: New York Jets
Joe Mathis, DE, Washington
A foot injury ultimately caused Mathis to fall out of the draft, but he could turn out to be a hidden gem for some lucky NFL team. He totaled 25 tackles and 7.5 tackles for a loss in six games as a senior. Mathis is physical and strong on the edge. His instincts and reads are above average. There's a possibility for Mathis to shift to outside linebacker, but average length and explosiveness could cause him problems in some defensive packages.
Signed with: Houston Texans
Tyler Orlosky, C, West Virginia
Orlosky is a bit undersized (6-3, 292) for a center. But he is tough as nails along the line of scrimmage. He is a tenacious blocker who can tangle up defenders and stop them in their tracks. He needs to add to his upper body strength, but he already has good awareness and power to carve out a role at the NFL level. Teams will love his ultra-competitive personality.
Signed with: Philadelphia Eagles
Artavis Scott, WR, Clemson
If you like smart and quick receivers, Scott is one player you will want to watch. He totaled 2,480 yards and 19 touchdowns on 245 catches over three seasons to become Clemson's all-time leading receiver. Scott attacks routes with precision. He has good hands and has tremendous potential as a slot receiver. He is a bit undersized at 5-foot-10, but his football IQ makes up for any limitations he possesses.
Signed with: San Diego Chargers
Channing Stribling, DB, Michigan
Stribling got lost amid a deep pool of defensive backs, but it probably shouldn't have happened. He enjoyed a breakout senior season with the Wolverines, totaling 28 tackles, 13 pass breakups and four interceptions. Stribling is good in press coverage, using his length and leaping ability to blanket receivers on sideline and comeback routes. Limited quickness hinders him in some routes inside the numbers, but he has enough tools to be an effective defensive back down the road.
Signed with: Cleveland Browns
— 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.