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NFL Draft Preview: Minnesota Gophers Probable Undrafted Free Agents

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Who could sign a UDFA deal after the draft ends?

Minnesota v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Other than the four Minnesota Golden Gophers players who will hopefully hear their name called by the end of the NFL Draft on Saturday, there are several others who have been working out and will try to have a chance at earning their NFL dreams. Here is some information on some of the Gophers who have a good chance at signing a undrafted free agent contract on Saturday or Sunday and may have a chance to make an NFL team in training camp...whenever that may be.

Rodney Smith-RB

Smith is one of the best running backs to ever play for the Gophers. Over the course of just over four seasons Smith rushed 879 times (third all-time in school history) for 4,122 yards (second all-time in school history) in 52 games. His 5,441 all-purpose yards ranks first in school history and his 29 rushing touchdowns ranks sixth in school history. He also has two kickoff returns for a touchdown in his career.

Smith is hampered by the fact that a. he is old. Smith is already 24 years old and has plenty of miles on his spending six seasons with Minnesota. Rodney redshirted his first season and then missed all but a game and a half of his initial senior season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee. Smith runs balanced and always seems to have a plan for his next move to escape. Smith is a physical pass blocker as well and can help in that aspect of the game. If Smith can stay healthy he can fight for a NFL roster spot.

Sam Renner-DT

Renner started his career at Minnesota as a walk-on and ended it as a starter in the center of the defensive line blowing up his senior year. Renner was one of the smartest players on the Minnesota roster who was named an Academic All-American. At 6’4 and 264 pounds, Renner is a bit small for a typical NFL defensive lineman in the NFL but he should get a chance to go to a NFL training camp and fight for a roster spot.

Chris Williamson-CB—

—-UPDATE— Williamson selected by the New York Giants wth pick 247 of the 7th round!!

Williamson transferred to Minnesota from Florida and played two years for the Gophers. Williamson fit in well playing the nickle corner spot and would end up making 91 tackles (58 solo) in 24 career games. He also was a good blitzer for Minnesota which ended up in him recording 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He would record two interceptions as a Gopher including a huge one in Minnesota’s win over Wisconsin in 2018, and added 9 pass deflections and a forced fumble. Williamson challenges routes and plays physical early in the down to disrupt the offensive timing, but that aggression can hurt him as well. He missed double-digit tackles in 2019 and will need to improve upon that to nail down a NFL roster spot. Williamson will need to improve his cover skills to end up a corner back in the NFL, but could earn his way on a roster by being a special teams stud as a punt gunner or another position.