May 6, 2024   8 MIN READ

Dreams Became Reality

Updating Fates Of "Draft Dreams" Prospects


In typical operating procedure, the three-day NFL Draft whizzed by, closing the books on what’s been another comprehensive evaluation process.

Not to be ignored, however, are the prospects who were featured on this season of ITB’s “Draft Dreams ” – a class that prospered, all uniquely positioned to pursue their NFL dreams.

The 13-episode YouTube and podcast series shared the eye-opening, and often inspiring, stories of prospects who were more than deserving of the coverage.

In this piece we’ll share the landing spots for the 2024 “Draft Dreams” alums:

Shon Stephens

GETTY IMAGES: Former Ferris State CB Shon Stephens earned an invite to try out at Eagles rookie camp.

Episode 1: Shon Stephens, CB, Ferris State (EAGLES)

Corralling 16 interceptions over his last two seasons, showcasing versatility and clocking a 4.3 40-yard dash at Michigan State’s pro day weren’t enough for Stephens to hear his named called on draft weekend. But the omission was hardly a conclusion for the steadfast Ferris State product, who didn’t land a free-agent contract outright but garnered multiple invites from teams to participate in rookie minicamps. Stephens, the nephew of former Steelers linebacker Joey Porter, attended the Eagles rookie minicamp last week. His story is still very much being written.

Episode 2: Trey Taylor, S, Air Force (Raiders)

Charismatic and articulate, Taylor, the rangy, heat-seeking missile from Air Force, was drafted by the Las Vegas Raiders in the seventh-round (No. 223). The cousin of Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed, Taylor worked hard to mold himself into a complete player, which affords Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham the freedom to deploy Taylor in many ways. Taylor, who turned in a career last season for the Falcons, will be in contention for the fourth or fifth safety role in Las Vegas. My thinking here is Taylor carves out a core special teams role early on, which would effectively cement his roster spot.

Episode 3: Michael Jerrell, OL, Findlay (Seahawks)

The only Division II player to hear his name called during the NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks drafted Jerrell in the sixth-round (No. 207). Seattle, who hosted Jerrell on a pre-draft visit, landed a moldable ball of clay who can play tackle or guard, a position he played during the all-star circuit at the Hula Bowl.  A 6-foot-5, 309-pound tackle from the University of Findlay in Ohio, Jerrell was a notable omission from the NFL Combine invite list. But it was his performance at the Ohio State Pro Day that garnered considerable attention and squarely placed Jerrell on more radars. An work in progress known for his athleticism, Jerrell could pay future dividends. The Seahawks landed a diamond in the rough.

Sione Vaki

GETTY IMAGES: The Lions took a flyer on S Sione Vaki in the fourth round as a potential running back.

Episode 4: Sione Vaki, S/RB, Utah (Lions)

Magnetic and insightful, with the perfect dose of swagger,  the multi-dimensional Vaki – who played running back and safety – was drafted in the fourth round (No. 132) by the Lions. Notably, Vaki was announced as a running back, and it’s worth noting teams were legitimately split 50-50 in terms of offensive or defensive preference, a source said. Vaki nicely complements a backfield that also includes David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs. In Vaki, the Lions are getting a tough, gritty and smart football player who is willing to do whatever is asked, as well as an A-plus person. Fantastic addition for the culture that head coach Dan Campbell has established.

Episode 5: Kyle Sheets, WR, Slippery Rock (Saints)

Humble, appreciative and wired for the moment, the 6-foot-4 Sheets – a virtual unknown to many during the pre-draft process – burst onto the scene at Temple’s pro day, turning some heads with his testing and position work, where he showcased strong hands, body control and his innate ball-tracking. Sheets, who reeled in 17 touchdown catches last season at Slippery Rock, proved he belonged. He didn’t hear his name called on draft weekend, but the Division II standout did land a free-agent deal with the New Orleans Saints. One of the more feel-good stories chronicled during the series.

Episode 6: Jaden Shirden, RB, Monmouth (Panthers)

The dynamic home-run hitter from West Haven, CT, exuded confidence and optimism, acknowledging his penchant for changing the game on a given play. Shirden, an NFL Combine invite who managed to lure representatives from 30 teams to attend Monmouth’s pro day in March, went unselected in the draft, subsequently signing with the Carolina Panthers as a free-agent. The path to the 53-man roster would appear to be an uphill climb for Shirden, who joins a backfield that includes 2024 second-rounder Jonathan Brooks, along with holdovers Chuba Hubbard, Miles Sanders and Raheem Blackshear. Shirden, however, is an explosive accelerator and open-field dynamo, which perhaps sets him apart from other depth candidates.

Episode 7: Josh Proctor, S, Ohio State (Jaguars)

A six-year Buckeye, Proctor’s leadership, positive energy, self-awareness and gratitude for the experiences that shaped his draft journey were evident throughout the episode. While I’d pegged the veteran defensive back as a mid-Day 3 selection, Proctor ultimately went undrafted, though he was in high demand post-draft. Proctor, who appeared in 53 career games at Ohio State, including 11 in 2023, signed a free-agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars hours after the draft ended. A gifted artist who recently rekindled his passion for the trade, Proctor showed off his many sides during our chat.

Episode 8: Nate Lynn, EDGE, William & Mary (Lions)

Sharp-minded, soft-spoken and measured, Lynn’s hyper-active and disruptive on-field play landed the small-school product a free-agent deal with the Lions, which hosted the 6-foot-3, 260-pound edge rusher on a 30-visit late in the process. While the team seemingly has a logjam at Lynn’s position, if one thing was learned about the Charlotte, N.C. native in this episode, it’s to never underestimate how much he hungers to make an impact.

Episode 9: Jeshaun Jones, WR, Maryland (Vikings)

A favorite offensive sleeper of mine. Jones, who overcame two ACL injuries in College Park and finished his Terrapins career tied with Stefon Diggs and Dontay Demus Jr. for fifth all-time in career receiving touchdowns, signed a rookie free-agent deal with the Minnesota Vikings. The 6-foot-1, 188-pound Jones, a smooth and savvy route runner and wizard navigating the second level, will be competing among a crowded field of wide receivers. It could be Jones’ return ability, however, that sets him apart.

Mark Perry

GETTY IMAGES: Former TCU S Mark Perry will have a chance to make the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent.

Episode 10: Mark Perry, S, TCU (Dolphins)

A favorite defensive sleeper of mine. Despite boasting scheme and positional versatility between his time at Colorado and TCU – to go along with tantalizing athleticism – Perry was bypassed in the draft and  signed a free-agent contract with the Miami Dolphins. Perry, a Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native  who came up alongside a slew of future NFL players – such as the Texans’ C.J. Stroud, Panthers’ Bryce Young and Eagles’ Eli Ricks – will have a terrific opportunity to earn a roster spot. His primary challengers figure to be fellow undrafted safety Jordan Colbert and 2024 sixth-rounder Patrick McMorris.

Episode 11: Jalen Coker, WR, Holy Cross (Panthers)

A projected mid-Day 3 selection, Coker was among the more perplexing names that failed to hear their names called on draft weekend. The big-bodied wideout, who collected 164 catches for 2,715 yards and 31 touchdowns as a collegian, wouldn’t have to wait long to land on his feet, signing with the Carolina Panthers as a priority free agent. Aside from 2024 first-round pick Xavier Legette, offseason addition Diontae Johnson and 2023 second-rounder Jonathan Mingo, Coker seemingly has a clear path to the 53-man roster.

Episode 12: Michael Barrett, LB, Maryland (Panthers)

Barrett, the active, albeit undersized, linebacker who appeared in 64 career games (35 starts) for the Michigan Wolverines, was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the seventh round (No. 240). In Carolina, Barrett will join fellow draftee, Trevin Wallace, in infusing the room with developmental youth. Barrett should greatly benefit learning behind veterans such as Shaq Thompson and Josey Jewell.

Episode 13: Mason Pline, TE, Furman (49ers)

The 6-foot-7 converted basketball player overcame a pre-draft knee injury sustained at the East-West Shrine Bowl, holding a private workout merely weeks ahead of the draft. Athleticism and upside notwithstanding, Pline would ultimately go undrafted. He did, however, sign with the San Francisco 49ers after the draft, where he’ll compete for a reserve role behind starter George Kittle.

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for

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1 Comment

  • Grace DiCecco

    I love this! They all have their hopes alive to make it in the NFL. Thanks for closing the loop and letting us know where they landed! I’m rooting for Shon. Sounds like he’s doing well so far with the Eagles.