Why Undrafted?: Lynden Trail
Why Undrafted?: Lynden Trail, DE, Norfolk State
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell
Why Did He Go Undrafted: Lynden Trail
Norfolk State linebacker Lynden Trail was one of the intriguing prospects at this year's Senior Bowl. Trail started out his collegiate career at Florida before leaving the Gators for Norfolk State in 2012. He had some off-the-field issues, including an arrest for assault, and that led to his departure from the Gators. At Norfolk State, Trail got the better of the weaker competition and was twice named the Buck Buchanan Award winner for the FCS Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. The senior amassed 91 tackles with 11.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks in 2014.
In Mobile, Trail had a strong week of practice and looked like a natural 3-4 outside linebacker. He did well in the pass-rushing one-on-ones while showing the athleticism to play in space in pass coverage. The 6-foot-7, 269-pounder has excellent size for the position, and some evaluators think he has enough quickness and athleticism to get consideration at tight end. After his strong week at the Senior Bowl, Trail looked to have put himself in the conversation for a mid-round pick. However in the 2015 NFL Draft, Trail fell to the undrafted ranks.
Sources say the reason that Trail went undrafted was because of the off-the-field concerns. Teams didn't feel that Trail did a great job of answering their questions in the interviews before the 2015 NFL Draft and didn't make teams feel comfortable enough to gamble a draft pick on him.
Trail signed with the Houston Texans after falling undrafted. It was a great decision by Trail and his agent. The Texans didn't select an edge rusher in the 2015 NFL Draft with Brooks Reed leaving in free agency, and Jadeveon Clowney is coming off of a knee injury. With Clowney limited during OTAs and the mini-camp, Trail should see more practice reps to help himself make a good impression. Houston could use the pass-rushing depth, and Trail is a great fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker for Romeo Crennel's defense.
Houston also is one of the best organizations in the NFL for giving undrafted players a fair shot at making the team and receiving playing time. The offense is built around Arian Foster, who went undrafted out of Tennessee, and last season, the Texans played undrafted free agent A.J. Bouye as their nickelback with positive results. They also played a number of other undrafted free agents and late-round picks in 2014 like Alfred Blue, Andre Hal, Damaris Johnson and Darryl Morris. It wouldn't be surprising if Trail follows that pattern and contributes next season for Houston.
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