In 32 cities, colossal buildings have been used as nothing more than storage units for the last several months. It’s been a ghost town around these majestic structures. But there’s a whisper be heard down these hollow hallways, and what can be heard is the news of the occupants coming back; rumors of stadiums filling to capacity once again. The excitement is spreading out of these walls and throughout cities across the nation. The whispers will become shortly become roars. Paper work will be soon be replaced with film work. The overload of the wait will be replaced by the pounding of weights. We shall have football once again!
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. If this is true, then America’s favorite pastime just became more popular. I wrote back in June that NFL fans will feel the effects of emotional overload when the season finally comes back. Never before have we had training camp, veteran free agency, rookie free agency, and the preseason, all start at the same time. Well, for the fans who have been starving for NFL action, get ready to feast in the coming weeks. Many of you are excited to find out about succh thinks like if Nnamdi Asomugha will be going to the New York Jets as he seems to prefer, and if that then means that Antonio Cromartie will be going to the Houston Texans, but first we must deal with the undrafted free agents. As an appetizer for the coming meal, let’s check the Top 5 undrafted players at each position as I see them. I’m combined inside linebackers with their outside counterparts and I’ve also combined all defensive backs.
These are the players that you should be keeping an eye out for, in hopes of your team signing them this week. The players highlighted in Green are the 5 players that I would take if I was running a front office.
NOTES: Portis is talented but he needs to quit patting the ball before every pass. NFL defenses will key on this. Weber has excellent ball placement but like Devlin, arm strength is a concern. People like to point towards Pryor’s completion percentage but neglect the fact that his passes are mostly short or quick routes. He tries to aim the ball and has a pitchers follow through. I would like to have seen more of Mustain in college but he has zip on his ball and knows how to move an offense when given the chance. Jerrod Johnson was an elite passer before injuries sidelined him. He tried to come back too soon and I believe his injury never fully healed.
NOTES: Nobody is as high on Buckram as me. I have no problem stating that he’ll be the steal of the undrafted free agents, if he can stay healthy. Cooper is Devin Hester reincarnated as a running back. He just needs to change his upright running style or he’ll be laid out in the NFL. Locke is everyone’s running back of choice in free agency. The reason is because speed is “sexy” on film. He does too much with unnecessary jukes for my liking. Asiata will be on a team like the Eagles wish list. He’ll be a good value and can slide into the power back role.
NOTES: Jean is the best kept secret. He reminds me of Randy Moss in the way he stretches the field and torques his body to make the catch Lockette is more than a tall, speed guy. Sanzenbacher reminds me of Eddie Royal. Taylor suffered from bad quarterback play in college. He’ll excel at the next level, just like his uncle did (John).
NOTES: Saunders had issues at South Carolina that led to his suspension. Weight is also another issue with him. If he can keep his weight down and stay out of trouble, some team will end up with a great get. Pianalto has been injury plagued but is a producer when he’s healthy. Oordt looks the part but he didn’t face any defense at Northern Iowa that would resemble anything close to NFL defenses.
NOTES: Often there’s a fine between going drafted and undrafted. Any of the names on this list could compete for a roster spot with most NFL teams. Kirkpatrick is an NFL starter and I was surprised to see him still available after 7 rounds.
NOTES: The casual fans don’t really get excited for the offensive lineman but you should. These are the players that keep the quarterbacks healthy and pave the way for the running backs. Davis could fit in nicely with Seattle. King has the talent to play tackle but would be more effective on the interior of the line.
NOTES: Chinasa and Daniels will need to get bigger if they want to play defensive end. If they stay at their current weight they could fit into a team’s 3-4 scheme. Winterswyk is scheme diverse and would fit nicely into a 3-4 or a 4-3 defensive end. He has a knack for causing havoc.
NOTES: Thornton is another one of those 5 players that I would make sure to get under contract. He’s a difference maker and teams are lucky that he’s still available. Williams will have extra value for the 3-4 teams that need a pure nose tackle.
NOTES: While I love Herzlich’s story and I’m pulling for his success, he has a long pole inside of his leg! He’s nowhere close to the player he use to be. But, now there’s no risk in signing him. He can hang out on the practice squad for a year and if he gets back to his old level, then the team gets a steal. He still wouldn’t be my first choice though. Harvey is a starter and Bynes got a bad wrap for running an awful 40 time. Moten and Lemon both have a nose for the ball and make plays.
NOTES: It’s a weak cornerback market in the undrafted ranks. However, there are some really good safeties in the group. None more than McDaniel. He’s a ball-hawking safety that is good against the run. Williams is another safety that is known to have a nose for the ball. Torrence is the best corner on the list but he will need to be developed.
That’s what I see on film. These are the guys that could still make a positive influence on team rosters. Hopefully we will get the chance to find out later this week which team each player goes to. Are you ready for some football?
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Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports790.com. You can also catch Jayson on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew every Thursday at 10:30am ET. You may email Jayson directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock