2012 NFL Undrafted Free Agents: 7 UDFA's That Could Make NFL Rosters
Undrafted free agents have a great history in the NFL. Guys like Arian Foster, Wes Welker and James Harrison have all made significant impacts on the league despite the odds of overcoming not being drafted.
The year, team's were fortunate to have a great group of athletes to select from following the 2012 draft. Almost every position had a recognizable name remaining on the board after the selection process had ended.
So which UDFA's have the best chance of making an NFL roster? Here are seven guys who could do it.
Chase Minnifield / CB / Washington Redskins
Minnifield was a consensus top 100 player following the college football season. But a poor pre-draft process, including knee surgery, drove teams away from the two-time All-ACC cornerback.
Shockingly Minnifield's name was still on the board following the conclusion of the draft and the Redskins wasted no time picking him up.
Apparently it was a good move.
Minnifield, reportedly, has been very impressive in the team's offseason workouts so far and has a good shot at making the team.
His chances are improved by the fact that Washington has a pretty unsettled cornerback situation with DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson and Cedric Griffin headlining the position.
A former Virginia Cavalier, the local product brings with him 13 career college interceptions and a chip on his shoulder that the Redskins could seriously use.
Jeff Fuller / WR / Miami Dolphins
Immediately following the 2012 draft, Miami scooped up 1st-round pick Ryan Tannehill's favorite college target in Jeff Fuller.
Fuller's fall out of the draft came from a poor output in his senior season. He failed to record 1000 yards after doing so the previous season and dropped a lot of balls thrown his way.
Regardless, Fuller has a really good chance of making the Dolphins final 53-man roster and for a couple of reasons.
One of them, as the Sun Sentinal's Izzy Gould points out, is that Miami has brought the entire Texas A&M band together in the pros. Not only did the Fins take Tannehill in the first round, they brought in former Aggies head coach Mike Sherman to run the offense. Fuller's familiarity with the system could bode well for his chances.
The other reason Fuller has a shot to make the roster is that the Dolphins' receiving corps is abysmal at the moment. It looks like they'll go with Davone Bess (also a former UDFA) and Brian Hartline on the outsides and that's nothing to write home about.
Fuller will have to prove he can play the way he did his junior season if he wants to see another pass from his former QB.
Chris Polk / RB / Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Polk was one of the most interesting stories of the 2012 draft.
He rushed for over 4000 career yards at Washington including two straight 1400 yard seasons and was seemingly a lock to be taken no later than the third round.
But after a few MRI's revealed concerns about his surgically-repaired shoulder, teams fell out of love with the 5-11, 220 running back.
In my opinion, the Eagles scored big following the draft.
Polk is a great option to have at running back and has been very eager to take as many snaps as he can during the Birds' offseason activities.
Polk has a good shot of making the Eagles roster if he runs like he did when he was a Husky. His chances have skyrocketed lately after back-up running back Dion Lewis was arrested and charged with pulling a fire alarm, an offense that is a felony.
There's no doubt that Polk's size and skill set makes him a great compliment to LeSean McCoy, but he'll have to stay healthy to play in Philadelphia.
Matt Reynolds / OT / Carolina Panthers
Age was a major factor in Matt Reynolds not getting drafted.
The 26-year-old former BYU Couger started all 52 games of his college career and was named to a watch list as a finalist for three different NCAA awards.
According to Andrew Sweat of Yahoo Sports, the Panthers scored big with this pick up.
Reynolds brings smart, effective, natural leadership to the Panthers' offensive line. He also brings great passion as portrayed in his famed "helmet-less block".
It's likely Reynolds will be bumped inside to guard to fit in Carolina's offense, but it's also likely we'll be seeing him in black and blue come September.
James Brown / OT / Chicago Bears
Every year there seems to be a big player whose fall is so great, it becomes legendary. Ten years from now, we may be talking about the fall of James Brown.
Brown was once ranked as the 54th best overall player by ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper, so it was pretty shocking to not see his name called at all during the draft process.
But have no fear. Brown will have a good chance to make a roster, seeing as he was added by one of the most offensive line-needy teams in the NFL, the Chicago Bears.
So far into OTA's, Brown appears to be shining at the Bears camp.
Brown, who played his college ball at Troy, reportedly fell because of issues with marijuana. But he'll bring 38 starts and a mean streak with him to Chicago.
Brown is another tackle that might grade out better as an interior lineman, but either way, the Bears need some serious help protecting Jay Cutler. Brown should be on Chicago's 53-man roster by the start of the season.
Kellen Moore / QB / Detroit Lions
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You had to know this name was coming.
One of the greatest college quarterbacks to ever put on the pads, Kellen Moore actually has a legitimate chance to make the Lions roster.
Among his many accomplishments at Boise State, one of his best has to be the ridiculous 142:28 TD:INT ratio he posted in his career with the Broncos, losing only three games in his four seasons.
The three-time MWC Offensive Player of the Year will have an uphill climb to make the Lions final roster, but has impressed one former Detroit player.
With Shaun Hill firmly in place as the team's backup behind starter Matthew Stafford, Moore would have to be the third wheel in Detroit. But it wouldn't be crazy to think the Lions would carry three QB's on their roster, given Stafford's injury history.
It's unlikely that even if Moore makes the roster, we'll get a chance to see him this year.
But one thing's for sure, Moore can win games.
And in the end, isn't that what this game is all about?
Drew Butler / P / Pittsburgh Steelers
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I know, I know, he's a punter.
But the fact of the matter is, Drew Butler has a very good chance to be punting for a Playoff team in 2012.
The former Georgia Bulldog and 2009 Ray Guy Award winner averaged over 45 yards in his 167 career punts and is the All-Time SEC leader in yards per punt average. That all led to the Steelers scooping him up following the draft.
It's been pretty clear the Steelers have been looking for an upgrade in their kicking game (both at kicker and punter) and Kapinos could end up being a cap casualty if the team feels they can go with Butler instead for a rookie minimum.
However you look at it, I'm pretty sure that by September, the Steelers will be looking to Butler in those fourth-and-long situations.