Does undrafted free agent Kyle Sloter have what it takes to make the Denver Broncos 53-man roster?
The 2017 NFL Draft came and went with a total of 253 players selected. The Denver Broncos picked a total of eight players themselves. The players who unfortunately don’t get drafted end up signing with teams directly after the draft. Undrafted free agents are considered long shots to make an NFL roster, let alone make an impact for their team. Usually, UDFA players are just extra bodies to help the team get through training camp.
But sometimes a few UDFA players manage to carve a role with their team and latch onto the active roster or practice squad. Kyle Sloter, a quarterback from Northern Colorado, is one of the undrafted free agents from this year’s draft class. A total of 10 quarterbacks were selected in this draft over him.
The Broncos even made the decision in the seventh round to draft Chad Kelly from Ole Miss over him. This means the team initially favored Kelly over Sloter in their draft analysis, providing the notion that Kelly should receive more opportunities in training camp.
Sloter was a three-star recruit from Mount Pisgah Christian School which is located in Alpharetta, GA. He was ranked 66th in his recruiting class, according to 247sports.com. Tulane, Arkansas, Clemson, Coastal Carolina, Georgia and Iowa were some of the colleges that were interested in his talents before he decided to initially sign with Southern Miss.
He started his first two seasons of his collegiate career as a receiver at Southern Miss before transferring to Northern Colorado in 2015. He was the team’s backup quarterback for his first season before eventually earning the team’s starting quarterback role in 2016. Last season, he managed to pass for 2,656 yards and 29 touchdowns while averaging 8.3 yards per attempt.
What makes Sloter appealing is his athleticism and strong arm. He can scramble out of the pocket and tuck the ball and run to gain additional yardage if the play breaks down. He is also capable of hitting receivers from anywhere on the football field.
He’s a very raw prospect who only has 320 pass attempts in his collegiate career. Due to his lack of experience, his throwing mechanics are less than optimal. He has poor footwork while operating in the pocket and has trouble reading defenses. There’s going to be a huge learning curve, causing his transition to the NFL to be rather bumpy. He will need to adjust to the speed of the league and learn the terminology of the playbook on the fly during OTAs and training camp.
Kelly will not be ready to play or partake in any practices until August or September due to a wrist injury. This means Sloter has to immediately produce in training camp for him to have a chance to make the team, because the team might allow Kelly to have a roster spot without even suiting up in the preseason. In order for Sloter to bump Kelly, he must be impeccable in training camp and the preseason games.
Making the practice squad might be his best bet. He’s a developmental prospect who is very raw due to his limited experience at the collegiate level. Therefore, the odds are stacked against him at making the active 53-man roster. The team could easily stash him on the practice squad with the hopes that he eventually develops enough to promote to the active roster.
All undrafted free agents are long shots to make their team, which is one of the reasons why it’s fun to root for them during training camp and preseason. Sloter has a very steep uphill battle to climb and he’s going to need a flawless preseason in order for him to make the team.
He has a lot of talent and if the Broncos can find a way to stash him on their practice squad, then Sloter might eventually develop his skill set and carve a role as the team’s back up quarterback. But right now, his main goal is to get through the preseason without getting cut.