Undrafted Free Agents 2012: 6 Players That Went Undrafted for a Reason
The NFL draft has come and gone, and some standout college athletes were disappointed when their names were not called.
However, when life closes a door, it often cracks open a window. Plenty of productive, and even star, NFL players have entered the league as undrafted rookies. Here are six players that were not selected, why they were left out of the party and who signed them afterward.
Why he went undrafted: Injury concerns, also does not have elite speed
Signed by: Washington Redskins
Chase Minnifield has great size to play cornerback at the next level but is not super-speedy. The Virginia product likely would have been drafted in the middle rounds—that is until it was discovered he needed microfracture surgery following his final college season.
Assuming he makes a full recovery, Minnifield could carve out a niche as a nickel back in the NFL.
Why he went undrafted: Lack of elite college production
Signed by: Miami Dolphins
Derek Moye is is nearly 6'5" and has the speed to play wide receiver in the NFL. He also never reached the 50 catch plateau in a single college season.
Sure, Moye was not an elite performer, but he never had much of a quarterback throwing him balls while at Penn State. Moye could easily become the third receiver and a great red zone threat for the receiver-starved Dolphins.
Why he went undrafted: Questionable athleticism, injury and alcohol history
Signed by: Oakland Raiders
At 6'5", 317 lbs, Lucas Nix definitely has NFL size and was expected to be drafted somewhere in the fifth round range. Nix' speed is below-average, but the real reason he slipped out of the draft was due to a lengthy sketchy college career.
A left pectoral injury prevented him from lifting during the NFL combine, and he also missed five games during his senior season. Nix suffered a dislocated left kneecap and stretched ligaments in 2011. The big lineman also has some issues with alcohol as he was charged with public drunkenness, criminal mischief and twice charged with disorderly conduct in his college career.
With experience at both guard and tackle, Nix could prove to be a valuable utility lineman for the Raiders.
Reason he went undrafted: Lack of NFL size, skill
Signed By: Detroit Lions
Kellen Moore is a poster child for an elite college athlete that likely will not cut it at the next level. Moore was a record-setting quarterback at Boise State, but did not hear his name called over the NFL draft weekend.
Moore barely scrapes six-feet tall and, unlike Wisconsin's Russell Wilson, does not have elite speed and athleticism to make up for it. His release point is a little low, and he does not have a big-time NFL arm. Moore is accurate on his short passes and has great intangibles, is a bright kid and set the NCAA record for wins by a starting quarterback with 50.
He should be a great locker room guy and could carve out a nice career as a backup quarterback. It's not glamorous, but hey, I'd take it.
Reason he was not drafted: Injury issues
Signed by: Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Polk was the seventh ranked running back on Mel Kiper's big board. With NFL size and speed, Polk rushed for over 1,400 yards in each of the last two seasons and had 21 touchdowns combined.
So why didn't anyone draft him in the third round (as projected) or later? He had two shoulder surgeries in his college career, one of the season ending variety, as well as a knee scope. Most disturbingly, there have been rumors that he has the same sort of hip injury that ended Bo Jackson's career.
Polk is a hard working, smart kid that graduated early. I hope the rumors are false and he can be a productive back in this league, as his talent would indicate.
Reason he went undrafted: Character/Combine issues
Signed by: Cincinnati Bengals
I have never seen a player plummet down draft boards faster or more dramatically than Vontaze Burfict. In Mel Kiper's first mock draft, Burfict was slated to go in the first round to the Baltimore Ravens. Instead, he went undrafted.
Everyone knew about Burfict's character issues entering the draft. In spire of that, he was looked at as an elite prospect. That is until he bombed his 40 time, running a lineman-like 5.0. It has also been said that Burfict failed his interviews.
Linebacker is a position where anger issues can be honed into a tackling, play-making machine. If Burfict's 40 time was a result of being lazy after his college season ended and going undrafted lights a fire under him, the Cincinnati Bengals could have the steal of the draft.
Remember, James Harrison was an undrafted player with character issues and he ended up being a Defensive Player of the Year.