The NFL held their annual amateur draft over the weekend and after three days, 256 picks, and a flurry of free agent signings, five former Hoosiers had become professional football players, let's take a look at where they ended up and how they got there. Also a disclaimer: UDFA signings aren't official yet so some of this information may change, but it's as accurate as it can be right now.
CODY LATIMER: (Selected with the 24th pick of the 2nd round by the Denver Broncos)
Latimer's stock rose throughout the draft process and was starting to look like a target for many teams on the back end of the first round, and while a first round selection would have been a great honor, he got a pretty incredible consolation prize by being selected by a Super Bowl-ready team being quarterbacked by one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. The championship performance aside, the Broncos had an incredible season last year and are primed to make another run at a ring and with Eric Decker gone to the Jets in free agency, Latimer will have the opportunity to catch the balls not going to Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, and Wes Welker.
While he may be fourth in the pecking order, at best, he has a quarterback that will gladly throw the ball his way when the others are dealing with increased defensive attention, provided he can gain Manning's trust over the summer. This is, easily, one of the best situations Latimer could be in to begin his NFL career.
TED BOLSER (Selected with the 2nd pick of the 7th round by the Washington Redskins)
Bolser will have an uphill battle just to stick on an NFL roster, as he lacks the speed and athleticism you see in the new breed of NFL tight ends. He's not a strong blocker, but has the size to improve in that area if he bulks up and works on his technique. That's probably his best shot to carve out an NFL career, as one of the "old-school" blocking tight ends that is more of an extra lineman who occasionally leaks out and catches a pass. There's no shame in that, this author experienced a lot of flag football triumphs doing just that over his 7 year academic career.
As far as his depth chart situation: the majority of the Redskins' TE production went to Jordan Reed, who missed a lot of time with concussion issues last year and the rest of the depth chart is about as forgettable as it gets. Reed is more of a "move" TE who behaves a lot more like a wideout than a traditional in-line TE. If there was a roster Bolser could find a home on, it might very well be this one.
KOFI HUGHES (Signed as an undrafted free agent with the Washington Redskins)
Kofi joins his teammate Ted Bolser in Washington. While Bolser enjoys a pretty wide-open depth chart for his services, Hughes' position is pretty crowded with old mainstays Pierre Garçon and Santana Moss, along with shiny new addition Desean Jackson. Furthermore, journeymen Leonard Hankerson, Andre Roberts, and David Gettis are also competing for snaps. Kofi has his work cut out for him if he wants to make it to the regular season with the Redskins.
STEPHEN HOUSTON (Signed as an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots)
Of all the UDFA Hoosiers in this class, Stephen Houston may have the best chance to stick in the NFL simply by virtue of the team he signed with. The Patriots have several players on their roster who began as UDFAs and always seem to add one or two every season or so. Specifically, the Patriots have a history of UDFA running backs contributing in big ways after getting some seasoning on their practice squad. Most notably, BenJarvus Green-Ellis (a one-time IU player) was signed by NE as a UDFA before becoming their lead back for two seasons and then signing a decent deal in free agency with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012 to be their lead back. More recently, Brandon Bolden was signed as a UDFA in 2012 and has contributed in a backup role over his two seasons in the NFL.
Houston can contributed as a runner and a pass catcher out of the backfield and has an NFL body. Bill Belichick values size and versatility, and with a penchant for UDFA making the team, Stephen Houston has the best chance of these three UDFAs to make a roster.
MITCH EWALD (Signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears)
The talented kicker was likely signed by Chicago as a camp leg to help manage Robbie Gould's practice reps. If he shows well, though, a kicker-needy team coming out of the preseason could give him a call.