Undrafted Free Agents 2012: Where Tauren Poole and Top Remaining Studs Will Land
All of these standout performers on the gridiron began their NFL career with the shame of not being drafted. I think it's safe to say that moment didn't get in the way of them becoming great (and in some cases, legendary) players.
This year's draft was littered with talent, so it's no surprise that we're sitting here with a hefty list of future studs after every pick has been made.
With teams addressing numerous needs with their picks on the draft weekend, they often don't answer every problem on their roster. Then, they turn to the free-agent pool that is immediately overflowing with talent.
The perfect fit for these undrafted players makes all of the difference. Texans' beast Foster might be still on someone's practice squad had he not been on a team with RB turmoil who needed some fresh legs.
Here are just a few of the best remaining players left on the market and where they should land.
Tauren Poole, RB, Tennessee
Poole was one of the more surprising players to be left off the market after a breakout junior campaign with the Vols. He was assumed to be a mid-round pick until his senior year, where he boasted just 693 yards and a 3.7 yards per carry average on the SEC's worst rushing attack.
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Many attributed his struggles in 2011 to issues with the players around him on a Tennessee team that struggled with both injuries and inexperience. But it was evident that he wasn't always all-in, similar to former Vol Foster during his time with the orange and white.
UT beat writer Mike Strange says nothing is confirmed, but the Seahawks and Panthers both look to be in the running for Poole.
I think he'll have a better chance to succeed in Seattle. He'll be behind Marshawn Lynch, but the position is thin after him and Poole could get his big break if Lynch faces injury trouble.
Chris Polk, RB, Washington
I was shocked to see Chris Polk slip off the draft board this year. He has some questions with a nagging shoulder injury, but his potential is through the roof.
His 5'11", 222-pound frame reminds me of a Cedric Benson runner, who uses both speed and elusive strength to punish the defense.
Polk, who rushed for more than 4,000 yards in just three seasons, could very well become a starter in the NFL. The Philadelphia Eagles locked him down just moments after the draft concluded and he could make some noise behind LaSean McCoy in the future.
Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston College
Fletcher's size (6'1") as a cornerback gives him an unusual advantage to make quarterbacks pay for short throws. He combats that with speed you'd normally see in someone three inches shorter.
The New York Jets were smart to snatch up Fletcher just after the draft. They have the nation's best cornerback (until Morris Claiborne develops) in Darrelle Revis and could use some more depth to put behind him.
He had a standout performance at the Senior Bowl, which made him a sleeper to get drafted in the late rounds. We see cornerbacks flourish with time and development to become starters despite not being drafted highly, and this stud has that ability.
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