Photo courtesy of Colorado athletics
Although not every Colorado player was able to hear NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announce his name, some still received a call on NFL Draft weekend.
Three Buffs – Steven Montez, Tony Brown, and Delrick Abrams – were all signed to undrafted free agent contracts last weekend. While it is great to get more former Colorado players in the league, these UDFAs should have mild expectations about not just making an impact, but finding a way onto the roster.
Here’s a look at each UDFA and what to expect from them moving forward:
Steven Montez, QB – Washington Redskins
Ah, Steven Montez — a player that caused so many mixed emotions in Boulder.
While he holds the majority of passing records with the university, he also never was able to hoist any winning hardware. In his three years as a starter from 2017-19, he led the Buffs to a 5-7 record each year. The lack of postseason performance, combined with some inconsistencies, have left Colorado fans confused on Montez’s legacy with the team.
With that being said, Montez is still one of the most talented passers to play his home games at Folsom Field. He has great arm talent and surprising mobility that allows him to extend plays. Talent was never a question. What caused issues throughout his tenure as a starter was between the ears.
Montez lacked consistency in processing defenses and also lacked consistent confidence in his play. While he could make an eye-popping throw on one down, the next down could produce a questionable interception followed by an emotional reaction by the signal caller. This is where Washington needs to help.
Montez spent the draft process focusing heavily on his footwork. He spent time with quarterback guru Jordan Palmer in this process to help build his base and improve the consistency. While Montez could have a lengthy career around the league, it is still unlikely he can jump into a significant role this season.
Time on the sidelines, however, could be great for his development. One of the best games of his college career came in 2016 against Oregon. Montez was a backup with limited playing time to that point. Montez finished with 468 total yards and four total touchdowns to lead the team to a big 41-38 win. That win was a deciding factor in Colorado making its first Pac-12 Championship appearance.
With some time and development, Steven Montez could hang around the league and begin seeing meaningful snaps.
Tony Brown, WR – Cleveland Browns
Tony Brown is an NFL receiver.
During the 2019 season, Brown had several eye-opening grabs that made scouts and coaches turn their heads. In a game against Nebraska, he had the game-tying touchdown catch on an over-the-shoulder grab in the corner of the end zone. Next against Arizona State, with Laviska Shenault sidelined, he grabbed three touchdowns to lead them to the upset win. He does not lack the ability, and his downfield ball-tracking was truly one of the best in the class.
What derailed Brown’s draft status comes from his stature. While he can track the ball in the air, his 4.65 speed is not enough to break free consistently. At 6-foot-1, scouts were very concerned with the proportions of his arms. This, combined with his lack of special teams experience, caused him to fall out of the draft.
As an UDFA receiver, his best chance to make the 53-man team is on kickoffs and punts. Becoming an ace special-teamer is a great way to prove yourself and secure a roster spot. Whether it be as a returner or gunner, Brown needs to impress in this area.
Additionally, the Browns have a stacked receiver room. With top-level guys like Odell Beckham Jr., and Jarvis Landry controlling the headlines, the rest of the room is full of speedsters and athletes.
While it is tough to expect much production from Brown this season, he can begin improving his game and find a home in the future.
Delrick Abrams, DB – Atlanta Falcons
Delrick Abrams joins Isaiah Oliver as Colorado alumni in Atlanta.
The problem for Abrams is that the secondary room is huge. While they have five corners listed on the roster, the Falcons also six players listed as defensive backs and seven more players at safety. The numbers just do not scream optimism for a UDFA when the team has also invested capital at corner in first-round pick from Clemson, A.J. Terrell.
Abrams has a good size and speed for his position, but similar to Brown, needs to make a statement with a secular ability. Again, becoming a force on special teams is a great way to make a name in the NFL. For example, Matthew Slater has built an entire career around being a special-teamer in New England. The picks and cap space Atlanta has invested in the secondary makes this fit unlikely.
With that being said, Abrams can still improve his game in camp. Often times, UDFAs bounce around the league until they find a team and meet a need. While being a camp leg for the Falcons is not ideal, Abrams can keep building.