2012 NFL Undrafted Free Agency: 12 Players Who Should Have Been Drafted
The NFL draft is always full of surprises. When teams reach for players like Bruce Irvin in the first round or DeVier Posey in the third, some good players can tumble down the draft.
In some cases, these players can fall right out of the draft. Players that have mid-round grades at the beginning of the draft process can tumble out of the draft for various reasons, like injuries or character for instance.
These 12 players that went undrafted have the talent to make major impacts, and they are players who certainly should have been drafted.
Chase Minnifield—Signed with Redskins
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Cover corners are at a premium in the modern, pass-first NFL, yet Chase Minnifield fell out of the draft despite his solid cover skills.
Maybe he fell due to his poor combine, where he didn't work out except to put up a pitiful seven reps in the bench press, or maybe his knee injury at the end of the 2011 season played a role. Regardless, these things do not take away from his solid tape.
Whatever caused his fall, Minnifield is a great pickup for the Redskins, and if he were healthy, he could have been a second-day selection.
Case Keenum—Signed with Texans
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Despite being one of the most prolific quarterbacks in NCAA history, Case Keenum still managed to fall out of the draft, mainly due to concerns about his durability and arm strength.
Even so, Keenum has the upside to at least be a solid backup quarterback in the NFL. He is a cerebral player with the intelligence and moxie to be a competent spot starter and backup.
The Texans made a great pickup in Keenum, but unfortunately, with T.J. Yates and Matt Schaub on the roster, Keenum will be hard-pressed to make the team.
Cordarro Law—Signed with Seahawks
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After a 2011 season in which Southern Mississippi defensive end Cordarro Law racked up 22 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks, Law seemed poised to move up draft boards in April.
Unfortunately, teams didn't seem to agree, as Law fell out of the draft completely for reasons that are difficult to completely understand.
He just recently signed with Seattle, which now gains a potentially dangerous pass-rusher.
Gerell Robinson—Signed with Broncos
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With elite size and college production, Gerell Robinson looked like a sure-fire draft pick in April.
Robinson has major upside as an NFL receiver. His combination of size and straight-line speed, along with his strong hands, make him a solid prospect.
He should be a great pickup for the Broncos, who could use a sure-handed possession receiver like Robinson.
Mike Brewster—Signed with Jaguars
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After being projected as one of the top center prospects in the 2012 draft, Mike Brewster tumbled down draft boards after a less-than-stellar senior season.
Still, the fact remains that Brewster was truly elite prospect his junior season, and his senior season wasn't as bad as generally thought. He has solid physical skills and great experience.
Even though the Jaguars don't have a major need along the interior offensive line, Mike Brewster is a nice pickup for them and should compete for a role early.
Matt Reynolds—Signed with Panthers
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BYU offensive tackle Matt Reynolds was a potential early-round pick going into the 2011 season, but he ended up falling down draft boards.
Unlike most late-round offensive tackles, Reynolds has the footwork and athleticism to man the left side in a pinch, which makes him an excellent prospect to bring in as an undrafted free agent.
The Panthers are the team that will benefit from Reynolds athleticism and experience, and Reynolds has a chance to make the roster and contribute as a solid backup.
Levy Adcock—Signed with Cowboys
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Like Matt Reynolds, Levy Adcock has the potential to play left tackle in the NFL, and that kind of talent shouldn't fall out of the draft, yet that is exactly what happened to Adcock.
Adcock seemed to be a hot prospect in the later rounds, yet nobody took a chance on the talented prospect.
In undrafted free agency, the Cowboys managed to get a solid prospect with the potential to make the roster as a future left tackle.
Vontaze Burfict—Signed with Bengals
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Only a few months ago, Votaze Burfict was considered a first-round prospect. After a brutal couple of months, he managed to talk his way out of the draft entirely.
Despite a marginal combine and poor attitude, Burfict showed tremendous talent in his time at Arizona State. He is capable of explosive, game-changing plays, and some team should have taken a chance on the talented, but troubled prospect.
A team with a strong locker room should definitely have added Burfict, but the Bengals were the team to finally add him. If they can keep him in check, he should make the final roster and be a solid addition.
Marquis Maze—Signed with Steelers
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Despite being instrumental to Alabama's national championship run, Marquis Maze just didn't measure up to scouts' expectations, mainly due to his diminutive size.
Despite his lack of height and straight-line speed, Maze has excellent burst out of his cuts and a strong frame that helps him pick up solid yards after the catch. This and his return ability make him a solid prospect.
The Steelers have picked up the talented receiver, and Maze should have a good chance to make the roster either on special teams or as a receiving option.
Cliff Harris—Signed with Eagles
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Like Chase Minnifield, Oregon CB Cliff Harris has the potential to be a solid cover corner in the NFL, but he fell out of the draft due to major character concerns.
Despite these concerns, he has excellent physical ability with tremendous speed, quickness and explosion that he showcases both on punt returns and defense.
The Eagles managed to sign Harris, and he should have a shot to make the roster if he can show his personal issues are behind him.
James Brown—Signed with Bears
Troy OT James Brown really opened eyes at the Senior Bowl with a strong performance, but unfortunately he didn't do enough to get drafted.
Despite a lack of size, Brown is a natural athlete with the physical ability to play left tackle. He has the strength, quickness and versatility that teams look for in a developmental offensive line prospect.
Brown is a perfect fit for the Chicago Bears, who need offensive line help desperately and signed the young man. He has a very good chance to make the roster and even find playing time at left tackle in his rookie year.
Chris Polk—Signed with Eagles
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By far the jewel of this class of undrafted free agents, Chris Polk had a tremendously productive college career despite playing with a marginal offensive line. He is a top-100 talent, and that he made it through the draft without getting selected is incredible.
Polk doesn't do anything incredibly well, but he is just a solid prospect who is a smooth, powerful runner with decent speed. He struggles with pass blocking, but that can be coached, and his instincts and size more than make up for his limitations.
While Polk might have fallen out of the draft because of injury concerns, the Eagles are getting an absolute steal by adding Polk, who should make the final roster and contribute early.