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Dodson, Hall, Adams sign with NFL teams as undrafted free agents

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Tyrel Dodson

Dodson played at Texas A&M for three seasons. Here he is pictured in a game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

Several former Williamson County-area football standouts, including a pair of Centennial High School players, didn’t hear their names called during the NFL Draft this weekend in Nashville, but were signed by NFL teams as undrafted free agents.

Tyrel Dodson, who declared for the draft in January and skipped his senior season at Texas A&M, announced on social media that he has signed with the Buffalo Bills. The Bills drafted two outside linebackers over the weekend as well.

“If you know me, you know it’s beautiful in the struggle,” Dodson said on Instagram. “I took the different route.”

Dodson said he was never highly recruited in high school, but it took just one coach and one team to give him the chance and that was Texas A&M.

“Once again, same story, different opportunity,” he continued.

The 6-foot, 240-pounder Dodson collected 201 tackles with four interceptions and returned two of those for touchdowns in his time at Texas A&M. He was a Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Award winner in 2015 after leading Centennial in the school’s deepest playing off run by reaching the Class 5A state semifinals.

Dodson's former high school teammate at Centennial, Emanuel Hall – a 6-2, 201-pound wide receiver out of Missouri – announced on Twitter that he was signed by the Chicago Bears. The former Cougar wideout and state champion high jumper, was expected to be drafted after a big senior season and an explosive performance at the NFL Draft Combine.

He hauled in six touchdowns and had 828 receiving yards for 22.4 yards per catch in 2018 for Missouri. He was Tiger quarterback Drew Lock’s top target.

In early March, Hall also set a combine record for wide receivers with a broad jump of 11 feet, 9 inches. The leap tied for second-best in combine history overall.

Former Christ Presbyterian Academy standout and Hall’s teammate Missouri, Paul Adams, also signed an undrafted free agent. The offensive lineman joined the New York Giants.

Former Brentwood Academy star and Ole Miss tight end Dawson Knox was selected in the 3rd round with the 96th pick overall by the Buffalo Bills. Corey Fatony, a former Franklin and Missouri kicker, is still waiting to see if he gets signed as a UDFA or receives a rookie minicamp invite.

Despite not being selected as one of the 254 picks in the 7-round record-breaking draft weekend in Nashville, the local players have an opportunity to prove themselves with respective NFL teams.  

As an undrafted free agent signee, Dodson, Hall and Adams will receive a contract signaling an investment in the player. A standard rookie minicamp invite is essentially an unsalaried tryout with the odds stacked up against the player. 

Nothing is guaranteed in terms of landing a roster spot, but as an undrafted free agent, Dodson, Hall and Adams are likely to make it through the upcoming rookie minicamp and it to preseason and training camp. That’s where they can earn a contract by making the 53-man regular-season roster. 

Over the years, undrafted free agents have received offers with guarantees from $5,000 to $25,000 with players receiving as much as $45,000 as KD Cannon earned in 2017 with the San Francisco 49ers. Teams can fill up a maximum 90-man offseason roster. 

If a player makes the 53-man roster, a contract with the team will be worked out. Per reports from various news outlets, the average annual salary for an undrafted free agent was $570,000. 

Another option is to land on the practice squad for each team, which is allowed to sign 10 additional players. As part of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a yearly increase in pay for practice squad players was set at a $300-$400 boost each season from 2012 on, which means practice squad players this year will be paid $8,000 per week.

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