Linebacker Will Compton started out as an undrafted free agent, working his way from the practice squad to the Washington Redskins' starting lineup. Chris Baker traveled that same route earlier. Dashaun Phillips has traveled from Division II Tarleton State to going undrafted to being the first team nickel corner. There's also Quinton Dunbar, who went from undrafted receiver to backup corner in one year. The point being, of course, is that there's often an undrafted free agent who sticks around and becomes a key contributor.
That said, here are some undrafted free agents who have jumped out this summer:
RB Rob Kelley: He’s challenging seventh-round pick Keith Marshall for the third running back position, though he’s far from a lock to earn a roster spot. He’s opened some eyes and while he’s had moments, it’s not as if all agree on where he falls in the pecking order. But he has a shot to make the roster. In two games, he’s carried 10 times for 48 yards and a touchdown. He also did a solid job picking up the blitz. The tough part for Kelley will be overcoming Marshall, whose speed is attractive to the coaches. If Marshall runs well, it’ll be his job. And, as of now, it’s doubtful they’d keep more than three backs. Both have a ways to go to prove they could be a reliable backup.
DL Anthony Lanier: He’s been consistent throughout camp and word started to spread more than a week ago he was one to watch. Lanier offers excellent length -- he’s 6-foot-6, 282 pounds. He was active against the Jets, but it'll still be tough for him to make the 53-man roster barring a surprise cut. However, he’s worth keeping around to develop on the practice squad if nothing else. Lanier starred at Alabama A&M where, in 46 games, he recorded 43.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. He’s also a former basketball player, so that helps with footwork. Keep an eye on him.
WR Valdez Showers: He caught three passes for 26 yards against the Jets and would make the occasional play in training camp, too, with some catches in traffic. At the University of Florida, he switched from defense so he’s still learning the position. He caught just 26 passes in college so he has a ways to go.
WR T.J. Thorpe: He was given a long look as a punt returner against the Jets, returning two punts for 17 yards and making a fair catch on another. He returned one kickoff for 17 yards. He showed good patience on his punt returns, an area where he must show he could help in a pinch. In two games, Thorpe has caught two passes for 21 yards -- a lot more will be needed to earn a spot. But he's physical and has caught their attention. Thorpe, who played at both North Carolina and Virginia, could be a strong practice squad candidate if nothing else.
WR Maurice Harris: He played in the first quarter Friday, a sign they are intrigued enough by him to use him against better players. Harris caught one pass for 19 yards after one catch for 4 yards in the opener. At Cal, he caught 81 passes for 1,004 yards.
FB Joe Kerridge: He's still a long shot to make the roster, but it's not hard to see him eventually landing on the practice squad. The Redskins just don't use the fullback a whole lot to where they feel the need to keep one on the active roster. Their tight ends can handle the duties for now. But they can see if Kerridge develops and can be a worthwhile addition down the road.