(Nick Wass/Associated Press)

Maryland linebacker Marcus Whitfield, passed over during the NFL draft this week, quickly signed as an undrafted free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars shortly after the seven rounds ended, while teammate Isaac Goins latched onto the Miami Dolphins in the same capacity.

Last season, as a senior, Whitfield thrived as a weakside blitzer in defensive coordinator Brian Stewart’s 3-4 scheme, recording nine sacks, 15.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles, following the success of Darin Drakeford. Balancing fatherhood with his young son, Jeremiah, Whitfield was a stable force all season, a soft-spoken presence to led by example.

“I guess at that point you have to make a name for yourself,” Whitfield said last September. “You basically have another mouth to feed. It’s been a long ride for me, basically, in college.”




Goins slipped into a starting cornerback role after fellow senior Dexter McDougle, drafted 80th overall by the New York Jets, broke his collarbone against Connecticut in the third week, and junior Jeremiah Johnson suffered a toe injury during the opening week. He finished sixth on the team in total tackles (60), broke up four passes and intercepted two.

Last season, Terrapins defensive linemen A.J. Francis and Joe Vellano both followed similar routes, signing with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, respectively. Francis bounced around between Miami and New England but ultimately wound up in South Beach, while Vellano, due to injuries ahead of him on the depth chart, became a vital starter for Coach Bill Belichick.

Drakeford (Kansas City Chiefs), tight end Matt Furstenburg (Baltimore Ravens), tight end/fullback Devonte Campbell (Atlanta Falcons) all signed undrafted free agent contracts last season. Linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield, who spent last season recovering from a torn ACL, is still waiting to find a new home, though a source said the Green Bay Packers have maintained steady interest.