Raiders OL McClendon Curtis named one of NFL’s top undrafted free agent signees
Every year there are players who unexpectedly fall out of the draft who many thought would be drafted. But not all of them are created equally. Many of them are somewhat high profile prospects from big schools who, for whatever reason, led NFL teams to see them as undraftable.
McClendon Curtis wouldn’t really be the kind of player one would consider “high profile”. He didn’t play at a power five school, but rather Tennessee-Chattanooga.
He received an invite to the 2023 Scouting Combine and was considered by many to be a mid-round caliber talent. Which, for a small school player, is pretty good.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had him as the 12th best guard in this draft with a 5th or 6th round projection. Just behind Nick Broeker and three spots ahead of Andrew Vorhees — both of whom were drafted in the two spots ahead of the Raiders pick (231) in the seventh round.
Yet Curtis was not drafted and quickly received a call from the Raiders who signed him to an undrafted free agent contract.
TouchdownWire put together a list of players they deemed to be the top undrafted players and Curtis was squarely among them.
The 6-6, 324-pounder started 30 games at right guard the past four years at Chattanooga. Three of those years, he was named First Team All-SoCom and this past year, First Team All-American. He projects best in a power-gap scheme.
As it happens, the Raiders has a major need at right guard for their power-gap scheme, which could be part of the reason when the Raiders came calling, Curtis accepted.
Granted, none of this means the Raiders literally got a 5th round pick as an undrafted free agent. Or that he is legit contender for the starting right guard spot. But he may be in the best position to have a shot at grabbing a roster spot, which is a good first step toward that goal.