The NFL draft may be over, but some former Oregon State players have another path to forge.
During the offseason process, there are 253 players that get drafted by the 32 teams. Unfortunately, that seemingly large number is only a miniscule percentage of the available college prospects. In order to search for other future stars like Arian Foster and Drew Pearson, teams generally sign 12-20 undrafted rookie free agents. While a spot on the 53-man roster isn't guaranteed, at least it provides another opportunity for a young prospect to make an impression.
So far, two former Oregon State players in Victor Bolden and Dustin Stanton have signed rookie free agent contracts with potential employers. The wide receiver/kick returner Bolden signed with the 49ers while Stanton signed with the Bengals.
As mentioned in a previous article, the Bengals are the perfect landing spot for Stanton. He worked out with the team a matter of weeks ago and has the experience to play multiple positions along the line. The Bengals are in need of both guards and tackle after free agency, and Stanton could quickly take hold of a starting job.
Bolden to the 49ers isn't a choice that screams logical at first, but it makes a little more sense once you examine the situation. San Francisco is in complete rebuilding mode, looking for franchise players at almost every position.
The receiver spot is especially in flux considering that only Pierre Garçon and Jeremy Kerley are established starters. Marquise Goodwin, Rashad Ross, and Bruce Ellington are all players still looking to fulfill their potential. Bolden should have a slight advantage in the competition with his solid hands and kick return ability. Plus, he strikes a similar figure to Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, who head coach Kyle Shanahan turned into a stud when last season when he was running Atlanta’s offense.
Both Stanton and Bolden will have a tough road ahead of them for sure, but they are used to fighting through adversity. Training camp will be quite interesting to track.
So far, the landscape is quiet surrounding Devin Chappell, Gavin Andrews, and Ricky Ortiz, but the draft has only been over for a matter of hours. There is still time for the trio to find a home.