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Undrafted Free Agent Signings Punctuate the Conclusion of the UW Draft Class

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OL Coleman Shelton, RB Lavon Coleman, and DB Ezekiel Turner will get the opportunity to chase NFL dreams

Utah v Washington
UW RB Lavon Coleman signed with the Houston Texans
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The 2018 NFL Draft went to the Dawgs.

Just hours after UW placed a PAC 12-leading five draft selections (tied with UCLA) into the main event, two more Huskies were signed to NFL teams in the undrafted free agent signing scrum that happens immediately after the draft.

Here is a full summary of the Draft from a Huskies point of view.

1.12: Vita Vea, DT - Tampa Bay Bucs

2.44: Dante Pettis, WR - San Francisco 49ers

4.120: Will Dissly, TE - Seattle Seahawks

6.216: Azeem Victor, LB - Oakland Raiders

6.217: Keishawn Bierria, LB - Denver Broncos

UDFA: Lavon Coleman, RB - Houston Texans

UDFA: Ezekiel Turner, DB - Arizona Cardinals

UDFA: Coleman Shelton, OL - San Francisco 49ers

Washington failed only to place versatile offensive lineman Coleman Shelton onto a pro team after the NFL draft. Ranked by CBS as the 125th best prospect in the draft, Shelton fell into that very large cohort of “next tier down” prospects that play on the interior line. He may still get an opportunity to sign in the coming weeks as dust settles on rosters all around the league

Update: Coleman Shelton has signed with the San Francisco 49ers.

Here is a rundown of UW’s UDFA signings:

Lavon Coleman, RB - Houston Texans

Washington Running Back Lavon Coleman has signed a free agent contract with the Houston Texans.

The 5’11”, 220 lb Coleman is a big bruiser of a running back who has that prototypical size NFL dreams salivate over. He was a productive runner and pass catcher in college who also happened to be Washington’s best pass blocking back during his tenure.

Despite his size, Coleman never shined as a tackle-breaking, pile-moving big back. His productivity came when he was able to make cuts or catch passes out of the backfield. After posting a remarkable 2016 season when he set a UW record with 7.5 yards per carry to go along with seven scores, Coleman seemed to regress his senior year. His lack of productivity was certainly a factor in not getting drafted.

Coleman posted good numbers at the NFL combine, going 4.65 in the 40 and posting 23 reps on the bench press. He has the prototypical NFL size and is a proven commodity on special teams. Those attributes are sure to lead to him getting a chance on Houston’s practice squad if not more. The Texans did not draft a RB in the draft and have just four regulars on the full roster including starter Lamar Miller and key backup D’Onta Foreman.

Ezekiel Turner, S - Arizona Cardinals

Washington defensive back Ezekiel Turner has signed a free agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals.

Zeke, as he is known to UW fans, teammates, and friends, came to UW by way of transfer early in his career. During his tenure, he developed a reputation as an enforcer as part of the famous “Death Row Defense” and a rotational player in coach Jimmy Lake’s defensive backfield.

The 6’2” 215lb prospect is a very versatile player. He projects in the NFL as a strong safety who has the versatility to play a few snaps at linebacker if needed. He is also an accomplished special teamer which, if he is to get a shot, would likely be his exclusive job at the next level.

Turner will have to overcome having played in the shadow of more celebrated talents such as Kevin King, Budda Baker, and Sidney Jones during his tenure at Washington. Despite a productive senior season that included 55 tackles, an INT, and two passes defensed, Turner did not even get an invite to the NFL draft combine. That he was targeted as a free agent immediately after the draft indicates that a few scouts had seen the hidden gem in the Husky defensive backfield.

Zeke will be reunited with his former partner Budda Baker in Arizona. The Cardinals are reshuffling the deck chairs in their defensive backfield this season after having parted ways with the Honey Badger Tyrann Mathieu. Turner will get a chance as a special teamer, but the road looks long. Including Baker, Arizona is loaded with young safeties and running backs - Turner’s primary competition for special teams roles - and drafted Penn State defensive back Christian Campbell in the sixth round of the draft.

Coleman Shelton, OL - San Francisco 49ers

Washington Offensive Lineman Coleman Shelton has signed a free agent agreement with the San Francisco 49ers.

As a four-year starter, Coleman Shelton has been one of the steadiest and most versatile linemen to ever play at Washington. Shelton can boast having started games in every single position along the offensive line. But it was the center position where Shelton found his groove. The Husky star racked up All PAC 12 team honors in both his junior and senior seasons, playing most of the time at center.

Shelton will go into the NFL as one of the most astute and technically sound offensive linemen coming out of this draft class. What he might lack in sheer size or strength, he makes up for in consistency and execution. While athletic enough to play guard, Coleman projects as a center at the next level.

According to his family, twenty teams put in similar bids for Shelton’s services. After careful consideration, Coleman selected the 49ers where he will be reunited with fellow All PAC 12 star Dante Pettis.

The Niners are a great destination for Shelton. While they can boast a pair of pretty good tackles in Joe Staley and Trent Brown, they are a mess on the interior of their O-Line. This offseason, they’ve turned over two guards and two centers while adding just one free agent guard in return. Hardly the kind of situation the Niners want to expose QB Jimmy Garoppolo to in his first full season. The only other lineman picked by San Francisco was first-round pick LT Mike McGlinchey, the future replacement for Staley.

This is a great situation for Shelton.