Detroit Lions Undrafted Free Agents: Tracking the Latest Signings
Over the past 30 years, the NFL has turned what was just hours and hours of a bunch of old guys in suits in a hotel ballroom into a national prime-time red-carpet Radio City Music Hall gala event.
What happens after the fanfare fades and the Klieg lights go dark, though, hasn't changed one bit.
Across the nation, some college football players are glued to their phones, waiting desperately for a team, or their agent, to call. Others are wielding multiple phones, frantically comparing contract offers and depth chart outlooks and weather and tax rates and living situations, hoping they make the right choice for what might be their only shot to play football for a living.
On the other end of the line, teams like the Detroit Lions started working the phones during the final rounds of the draft, calling small armies of prospects trying to gauge interest, availability and contract demands.
Somehow, these players and teams settle on each other, and somewhere between a handful and a couple dozen undrafted free agents come to every NFL team's camp every season.
Here at Bleacher Report, we're keeping track of all of these crazy, quickie deals so you don't have to work your phone into overtime like the teams and players do.
If you want to know which NFL hopefuls are coming to Allen Park this season, just keep refreshing this signing tracker to find out!
Alex Carder, Western Michigan QB
Announced on Twitter by Western Michigan director of media relations Mat Kanan.
The Lions should be on the lookout for a developmental quarterback; the current third-string passer, Kellen Moore, has an NFL mind, but not an NFL body or arm. Shaun Hill won't last forever, and Stafford's finally old enough that he's older than *nearly* every rookie coming out. Backing him up with a well-groomed youngster would make sense; Carder may get the chance to be that youngster.
Austin Holtz, Ball State OT
Announced by Austin Holtz on Twitter. With the loss of two tackles off the top of the depth chart (retired Jeff Backus and free agent Gosder Cherilus), there'll be competition for open spots at the bottom.
On a personal note, Holtz played at Holt (Mi.) High School, your humble author's alma mater.
Joseph Fauria, UCLA TE
Reported on Twitter by Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
Fauria, the nephew of retired 13-year NFL veteran Christian Fauria, stands an impressive 6'7" tall but weighs just 259 pounds. His lean, athletic frame and big, 10 7/8" paws make him a big target perfect for short-yardage situations. He had 12 touchdowns his senior season, as UCLA exploited his size.
Fauria doesn't have the bulk or leverage to block inline effectively, and he's not a speed demon so isn't a downfield threat. He's definitely got some useful tools in his bag, though.
Martavius Neloms, Kentucky S
Emphatically announced by Martavius Neloms on Twitter.
The 6'0", 187-pound corner has an NFL safety's build. ESPN.com lists his 40-yard-dash time as 4.55 seconds, which isn't fast, but isn't especially slow, either. With big questions surrounding the ongoing health of Louis Delmas and the future of Amari Spievey, safety depth is a definite need.
Jon Morgan, Albany LB
Reported on Twitter by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Morgan, a 6'0", 220-pound inside linebacker, was a tackling machine at FBS University of Albany. He also returned a fumble for a touchdown in both his sophomore and junior seasons. Speculatively, Morgan could find a home on special teams.
Steven Miller, Appalachian State RB
Signed per a tweet by Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.
Miller, a small back at 5'7", 175 pounds, does have the speed and shiftiness to make up for it. Per Gil Brandt of NFL.com (via NFLDraftScout.com), Miller ran a 4.52 40-yard dash and posted a shocking 43" vertical leap at Appalachian State's pro day.
No wonder teams had Miller work out as a punt and kick returner.
Cody Wilson, Central Michigan WR
Announced on Twitter by Cody Wilson.
The 5'10", 195-pound Wilson is a Michigan native, who attended Rochester Adams high school in Rochester Hills. Wilson, while racking up a third-highest all-time CMU receiving yardage total (2,729) with a fifth-best all-time receptions total (230), also notched a record 42-game consecutive catch streak.
Of note: Wilson's father is the Lions' team chaplain.
Skyler Allen, Ohio C
LaAdrian Waddle, Texas Tech OT
Signed per a tweet by Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.
LaAdrian Waddle is a 6'6", 330-pound tackle from Texas Tech. The Lions have gone to this well before, having drafted monster guard Manuel Ramirez of out Texas Tech in the fourth round of the 2007 draft.
Waddle, though, played in a more conventional offense than Ramirez did, as a part of the wide-spaced Airraid line preferred by former coach Mike Leach. The Lions are in need of understudies at tackle, with the promotion of Riley Reiff to left tackle, and starting competition between backups Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard at right tackle.
Travis Tarpley, Delaware State WR/KR
Signed per a tweet by Justin Rogers of Mlive.com, citing family members' Twitter feeds.
UPDATE: Tarpley did not make the Detroit Lions' official list of signed UDFA, meaning Tarpley's camp invitation is likely just that.
Tarpley, at 5'7", 175 pounds, is a classic slot receiver/returner. According to NFLDraftScout.com, Tarpley ran a 4.52 40-yard dash at his pro day. The Lions definitely need to upgrade their return game this season; when it comes to competition, the more the merrier.
Trevor Marrongelli, Kansas C
Signed per tweet from Bo Marchionte of College2Pro.com, Kansas center Trevor Marrongelli is working out with the Lions. According to Kansas-Sports.com's Twitter feed, this is just a rookie camp invite; Marrongelli does not have a contract offer. In that tweet, Kansas-Sports.com claims to have confirmed this with Marrongelli directly.
Michael Brooks, East Carolina DT
Announced via East Carolina State head football coach Ruffin McNeill on his twitter feed.
At 6'3", 294 pounds, Brooks has the build of a pass rusher. His pro day results confirm his tools; according to NFLDraftScout.com Brooks ran a 4.99 40-yard dash. With the departures of Sammie Hill and Corey Williams, the Lions need bodies at defensive tackle.
Alex Elkins, Oklahoma State LB
Announced by Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy on his Twitter feed.
Elkins, a 6'3", 240-pound outside linebacker, has impressive athletic credentials. At his pro day, according to NFL Draft Scout.com, Elkins ran a 4.70 40-yard dash, broad-jumped 10'3", and bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times.
Elkins didn't play football until attending an open tryout for his juco Blinn College squad. According to Gina Mizell of The Oklahoman, Elkins' quick rise to Big 12 standout is the kind of story of which movies are made.