2012 NFL Undrafted Free Agents: Ranking the Top 7 Remaining Players Available
As we enter the second week of May, teams continue to search for undrafted free agents who have the potential to come in and make an impression so they can stick around going into training camp late in the summer.
With most undrafted players landing a contract, there are very few players left, but teams have a chance at finding a player who could contribute to their franchise.
RB Victor Anderson, Louisville
Victor Anderson had a stellar freshman year in 2008, rushing for 1,047 yards for eight touchdowns on 183 carries. At this rate, it appeared Anderson was on his way to find a lot of success with Louisville and eventually carry that over to the NFL.
However, multiple injuries set Anderson back, as he compiled only 1,298 rushing yards in the next three years as a Cardinal. Excluding his freshman year, his best season was during his senior year with 115 carries, but only 539 yards and three touchdowns.
The potential is there, but Anderson must stay healthy if he is going to become an impact for an NFL team.
NFL Comparison: Michael Bush
Michael Bush and Anderson have a lot in common as both of them graduated from Louisville, but Bush also suffered injuries in college, making him a late-round pick.
K Will Snyderwine, Duke
Now that most undrafted free agents are on a team, it is not likely most of the players on offense or defense could make a realistic impact. Therefore, it is smart to play it safe by going after special teams.
Kicker Will Snyderwine of Duke has had some success as a kicker. He made 86 percent of his field goals in 2009 and 2010 combined, but slipped in 2011, going 8-of-17 and making only 47 percent of his field goals.
The former Blue Devil has made 46-of-61 field goal attempts in three seasons, giving him a 75 percent success rate of the 61 attempts. Snyderwine could find himself a job in the middle of the season if another kicker struggles or get hurt. If things don’t open up for him in the NFL, he is likely to land a job in another football league.
NFL Comparison: Lawrence Tynes
Lawrence Tynes has not been the best kicker in the league, but has been able to come through in certain moments, and Snyderwine has that ability.
RB Michael Shaw, Michigan
During Michael Shaw’s four years at Michigan, he earned 1,001 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on 190 carries. Shaw’s best season came in 2010 where he was active with 75 carries and 402 yards on the ground with nine touchdowns to help the Wolverines.
Shaw landed a job with the Washington Redskins, but was cut on the first day of rookie mini-camp.
NFL Comparison: Brandon Jacobs
Brandon Jacobs might not have been the top option for the New York Giants but could still remain active. Shaw could very well follow a similar path to Jacobs' career.
QB Dan Persa, Northwestern
During Dan Persa’s two years as an active starter at Northwestern in 2010 and 2011, he had 32 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Persa completed 73 percent of his passes in each of his two years as the Wildcats' starting quarterback.
Persa has never had double-digit interceptions in a single season and is known for running with the ball, compiling 519 yards in 2010.
Persa has never been known for having a canon arm but does a good job of keeping the ball away from the defense.
NFL Comparison: an undersized Tim Tebow
Interesting comparison, you might think. Tim Tebow is not known for having a great arm and is known for his running skills. However, one thing the Broncos liked about Tebow before trading him was his ability to avoid turning the ball over to opposing teams. If Persa is given a chance, he might have similar numbers to Tebow in a couple of games.
TE Cooper Helfet, Duke
Teams looking for a player that can contribute and add some depth at tight end should consider Cooper Helfet out of Duke.
In his two years as a prominent tight end for the Blue Devils, Helfet caught 77 passes for 775 yards and six touchdowns. He made a bigger impact during his senior season with 43 catches, falling five yards shy of 400 receiving yards, but doubled his touchdown total from 2010, catching four of them.
NFL Comparison: Randy McMichael
Randy McMichael did a good job filling in for Antonio Gates during the times he has done so as a backup tight end. He has also managed to contribute, even with Gates active. Helfet comes from a small football school better known for basketball, but Helfet can still contribute, like McMichael.
K Kevin Goessling, Fresno State
Very few teams might take a chance on Kevin Goessling, who was a very inconsistent kicker while prepping at Fresno State.
In his four years, Goessling has gone 15-of-22, 15-of-16, 21-of-26 and 10-of-17 in his field goals. His success percentage range from 59 percent for 93 percent in different seasons.
He left a bad impression on NFL scouts when making only 59 percent of his field goals during his senior year. Goessling will have to hope a team can look at his success from previous seasons and give him a chance because of those years.
NFL Comparison: Shaun Suisham
Shaun Suisham is not the greatest kicker and will have his ups and downs. Goessling is very similar in that perspective.
QB Dan Di Lella, Albany
Dan Di Lella had a strong senior season with Albany, but that was his only year as an active starter, giving scouts very little to look at when evaluating him.
Di Lella threw for more than 2,500 yards along with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He completed 60 percent of his passes in 2011 and could find himself contributing for another NFL franchise as a third-string quarterback.
NFL Comparison: Colt McCoy
Colt McCoy’s numbers have not been awful, but he has not lived up to expectations and might get a chance every now and then. Di Lella, if he pursues a career in the NFL, could follow the same path.