Every year across the NFL, undrafted free agents beat the odds and earn a position on a team's final 53 man roster. Some of those players even go on to star for the team, such as Victor Cruz and Arian Foster (sometimes propelling themselves into stardom within a year of being passed on by 32 teams, seven times).
The Miami Dolphins were fortunate enough to rake in a quality crop of UDFAs, so who will be that player who earns a roster spot and keep his NFL dream alive?
Hoskins is quickly becoming one of my favorite low-profile players on the Dolphins current roster (which is funny because, even as my interest grows, I have yet to see a live snap of Hoskins).
Hoskins, who I dubbed Charles Clay Jr. in a previous article for how similar the two look while playing, is an absolute touchdown machine. In 38 career games at Marshall, Hoskins has 28 touchdowns. Hoskins has an incredible ability to play much bigger than his listed size of 6'2", 244 pounds.
Hoskins has gotten touchdowns by jumping over/ boxing out defenders, running past defenders and, most impressively and Clay-like, bowling over a trail of defenders who got attempted to make the tackle. Hoskins plays with a physicality that will transition well to the NFL game.
Hoskins biggest challenge will be in-line blocking and, but a knack for scoring touchdowns is a good equalizer. If Hoskins continues to get noticed during training camp and score a few touchdowns in preseason (which is a safe bet considering his past) then it is very likely that this former Marshall standout could leapfrog his was up the depth chart and onto his first 53-man NFL roster.
Johnson is probably the most highly-touted UDFA on this list. Johnson was considered by most to be a mid-round pick before a failed drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine plummeted his draft stock and sent him into an eye-opening spiral of which he came out a UDFA and clinging to his NFL hopes.
Well, "clinging to his hopes" may have been a bit far because as soon as the draft ended, Johnson's agent was getting plenty of phone calls because Johnson was a "priority free agent" (score one for GM Dennis Hickey). Even so, Johnson is fighting to earn a roster spot in his first NFL training camp.
Johnson is a ferocious defender who plays strong and with a lot of leverage. Johnson has the ability to beat offensive lineman and blow-up a play in the backfield, but Johnson also has a tendency to overrun things and play off-balanced.
Johnson faces fierce competition for the fourth DT spot from one of my favorite Dolphins from last year's preseason, AJ Francis. Francis is an athletic, promising defensive tackle, but if he doesn't outplay Johnson then it's likely that the coaching staff will choose to keep the younger guy.
It's very possible that Dolphins' defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers can fix the fundamental errors in Johnson's game, but it's up to Johnson to fix his disciplinary issues if he ever wants a chance at an NFL roster.
Wooten has by far the toughest road to making the Dolphins' roster, but he's a popular name amongst the fan base. Wooten, a Glades Central product, has 11 touchdowns in his collegiate career at Georgia, most coming on plays where he had beaten a defender deep.
Wooten's best chance of making the roster is as a deep threat. Though Wooten doesn't have blazing speed, he has a quickness that allows him to separate and get past defenders. Wooten has good hands and is tough, but his size is very limiting (5'9", 175 pounds).
Wooten must prove he can beat press and run every route effectively in order to earn a roster spot and playing time. If Wooten cannot do either of these things then he will be a liability and will not stick on this roster that is packed with talent at the wide receiver position.
Wooten will need to improve his separation skills if he sticks with the team because NFL cornerbacks will swallow him whole at his size and take him away as a receiving option.
My prediction is that this underdog won't earn a roster spot, but good work in training camp and the preseason could change the minds of the coaching staff or encourage another team to give him a chance.
Larsen has an excellent chance to make the roster for one reason: Mike Pouncey's hip. Pouncey, the Dolphins starting center, is expected to miss at least the first month of the season.
This opens the door wide open for Larsen, or fellow UDFA centers Evan Finkenberg or Samuel Longo, to earn a roster spot and maybe even a starting gig for a month.
One of these centers must step up and not only show the ability to move NFL defensive tackles, but also identify blitzes, diagnose defenses and be able to communicate what he sees to the rest of the offensive line.
The Dolphins already had weak depth at the center position before Pouncey's injury. Now that arguably the best offensive lineman on the team has been lost for the foreseeable future, Larsen, or another UDFA center, has an excellent opportunity to make the roster.
In fact, it would be extremely shocking and even a bit disappointing if Larsen or another UDFA center wasn't able to earn a roster spot. The Dolphins currently have only one guy with NFL experience listed at center (Sam Brenner), and he gained all his playing time at left guard last year as the Dolphins tried to cope with the effects of the infamous "bullying" scandal.
Williams is one of my favorite UDFAs out of this batch. Williams, like Anthony Johnson, went undrafted due to disciplinary reasons. Williams was kicked off the Oklahoma football team halfway through the 2013 season (Williams' senior year) due to multiple violations of team rules.
Williams, who I gave a scouting report of last week (which you can read here), fits the Dolphins' new offense better than any other running back on the roster. Williams is five hundredths of a second slower than the speedster Lamar Miller, and because of this speed he will thrive on the outside "wide" zone runs that this offense will run frequently.
On top of this, Williams also has very soft hands out of the backfield. Passes to the running back, both designed and as checkdowns, will be a staple of the Dolphins' 2014 offense.
Williams also has good vision as a ball carrier and plays with a physicality that was absent from the 2013 Dolphins' backfield. Williams sets up defenders at the second level and can break tackles by running through or juking past a defender.
Williams is a home run threat who could take it to the house on any play (such as the 95-yarder in the 2012 Cotton Bowl), but, unlike most home run threats, can also run between the tackles effectively and be an every-down back due to his size and toughness.
Williams is one of the best talents in the entire 2014 UDFA class, but Williams doesn't come without his warts. Williams has a habit of running himself into negative gains due to trying to do to much (not unlike Barry Sanders and, most recently, Chris Johnson).
While Williams isn't anywhere close to perfect, this UDFA may be the best back for this team. However, he must first make the team in order to have a chance to prove me right.
The Dolphins will likely carry four running backs in 2014. With Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller likely safe, can Williams beat out Daniel Thomas, Mike Gillislee or Orleans Darkwa for one of the final two spots on the roster?