INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - AUGUST 19: Tyson Bagent #17 of the Chicago Bears looks on during the second quarter of the preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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NFL's Biggest Undrafted Free Agent Surprises

With training camps nearing a close, these undrafted free agents around the NFL might have earned spots on 53-man rosters.

As the NFL preseason sprints to its conclusion with the regular season opener between the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions right around the corner, it's final-audition time for undrafted free agents fighting for starting jobs and roster spots across the league.

The final joint practices and exhibition games of the preseason mean more for undrafted free agents and players on the bubble than anyone else.

That's especially because even if a player's current team is too deep to carry them onto the 53-man roster and into the season, these waning days of summer represent a last chance for players to make an impression on coaches, scouts and front offices of teams across the league soon to be scouring waiver wires for diamonds in the rough to fill their pressing needs.

Here's a look at some of the most impressive performances from this spring's crop of undrafted free agents who just might be on the cusp of making rosters and making an impact this season:

Brenton Cox, EDGE, Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, WI - JULY 26: Green Bay Packers linebacker Brenton Cox Jr., (57) works out during Packers Training Camp at Ray Nitschke Field on July 26, 2023 in Ashwaubenon, WI.

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Brenton Cox's instincts and explosiveness as a pass rusher have been on display all summer, and the former Florida standout could make any final decision about his place on the roster an easy one for the Packers' coaching staff and front office.

Cox only had two sacks in 2022, but so far this preseason he has logged four pressures, along with a vast repertoire of pass rush moves — including a nasty swim-move — that make him a nightmare for opposing offensive tackles. Not only does Cox seem earmarked to make the roster, but he could go down as a true steal for the Packers' brass.

T.J. Bass, RG, Cowboys

The Cowboys' offensive line has experienced some significant struggles this summer, but T.J. Bass has been a bright spot thus far.

After Jerry Jones revealed in a recent radio interview that the Cowboys could keep up to four undrafted free agents, Bass has made a strong case to be one of them. The former Oregon stalwart hasn't allowed a pressure through his first 58 snaps this preseason. According to Pro Football Focus, Bass only allowed one sack last season, while garnering a 78.1 overall grade and 73.4 pass rush win rate. Given the current state of the Cowboys' interior, Bass has a very real chance of making the team.

Julian Hill, TE, Dolphins

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 19: Miami Dolphins tight end Julian Hill (89) warms up during the preseason NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans on August 19, 2023 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

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The Dolphins will unveil a new-look tight end room following the departure of Mike Gesicki via free agency this offseason, and Julian Hill is proving worthy of a chance to be part of it.

Hill really showed his value as a blocking tight end on several occasions, which will go a long way toward earning playing time in the Dolphins' zone-run scheme. Against the Houston Texans, Hill even showed that he can be counted on to produce some yards after the catch as well.

Elijah Dotson, RB, Chargers

Austin Ekeler spent the offseason requesting a trade, and this summer the Los Angeles Chargers have been offered a glimpse of what a cheaper future without Ekeler might look like, thanks to explosive rookie Elijah Dotson.

So far this preseason, Dotson is averaging a whopping 9.4 yards per rushing attempt with a pair of explosive runs. Those were powered by a dominant performance against the Rams, where he logged six carries for 92 yards with a pair of touchdowns. During his final season at Northern Colorado, Dotson rushed for 933 yards with six touchdowns while also adding 300 receiving yards and two more scores. Dotson's versatility makes him a tailor-made fit for Kellen Moore's offense and Justin Herbert's supporting cast. With or without Ekeler, expect Dotson to carve out a role as a rookie.

Connor Galvin, OT, Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions offensive tackle Connor Galvin (76) is seen during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Saturday, August 19, 2023.

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Connor Galvin has shown that the transition from big-time college football to the NFL can be a smooth one.

Last season at Baylor, Galvin produced the second-lowest pressure rate in the nation, and he has been rock solid for the Lions so far this summer. Through 39 snaps, Galvin has surrendered no sacks, allowed only one pressure, and has a dominant 71.2 run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus. Penei Sewell and Taylor Decker are stalwart tackles, but Galvin is playing like the kind of quality depth piece that teams covet along the offensive line, and he could just steal a job out of camp.

Tyson Bagent, quarterback, Chicago Bears

The speed of the preseason NFL game certainly has not overwhelmed Tyson Bagent. He has looked every bit capable of emerging as Justin Fields' primary backup quarterback, having completed 15 of 18 passing attempts for 13 yards and rushing for a touchdown.

The former Shepherd University standout has ridden the wave from an impressive performance during the Senior Bowl last winter into a steady showing throughout the summer. Perhaps Bagent's emergence shouldn't be all that surprising. After all, he completed 68.6 percent of his 2,040 college passing attempts and boasts an impressive 159-to-48 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Bagent's collegiate experience has him positioned not only to make the team but perhaps be a snap away from becoming the Bears' quarterback at any given moment.

Jeremy Lucien, S, Baltimore Ravens

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - AUGUST 21: Jahan Dotson #1 of the Washington Commanders runs with the ball against Jeremy Lucien #31 of the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL preseason game at FedExField on August 21, 2023 in Landover, Maryland.

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Jeremy Lucien made his presence felt in the Ravens' secondary — and flashed his nose for the football — when he recovered a fumble in Baltimore's preseason opener against the Eagles. However, it's been Lucien's consistent play both during the exhibition games and on the practice field throughout training camp that has his name buzzing in the front office.

The former Vanderbilt star produced 49 total tackles with 2.0 tackles for loss along with five pass breakups in 2022, and he has already racked up eight total tackles this summer. Given the Ravens' sudden outbreak of injuries in the secondary, a strong performance in the preseason finale could go a long way toward Lucien locking down a roster spot.

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