Why Undrafted?: Charles Snowden, OLB, Virginia

This series was created a number of years ago in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

Snowden was a solid defender for Virginia over the past three years, putting together solid production. He first saw significant playing time in 2018, and he recorded 61 tackles with two interceptions, a forced fumble and 2.5 sacks on the year. Snowden built on that in 2019 with 72 tackles. He would close out his collegiate career with 44 tackles and six sacks as a senior. Many thought Snowden would end up as a third-day selection during the 2021 NFL Draft, but he surprisingly went undrafted.

Team sources say a variety of issues contributed to Snowden not being drafted. Two main items were he was grading out as a late-round player, and there were questions around an ankle injury. Some team sources aso were concerned with how he will mesh in the NFL given his demeanor in interviews. Another source said some were concerned that Snowden was not completely focused on football, as he had considered quitting to enter politics full time. All of those issues combined led to Snowden falling though the 2021 NFL Draft, but the ankle injury and the late-round grade were the largest factors.

Snowden has signed with the Chicago Bears an undfrafted free agent, and the team is a fine landing spot form him. Befpre the 2020 season, the Bears let Leonard Floyd go and replaced him with Robert Quinn. Floyd went on to a huge season for the Rams, while Quinn disappointed in his debut. Chicago also has to guard against wearing out Khalil Mack with too many snaps, so having rotational edge depth was a need. Jeremiah Attaochu is the Bears’ primary reserve, but Snowden could compete with Trevis Gipson, a 2020 fifth-rounder, for the fourth spot. If Snowden performs well in training camp, he also could earn a spot on Chicago’s practice squad. The Bears represent a good opportunity for Snowden to break into the league, and it will be up to him to make the most of this chance at an NFL career.

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