Four gained entry the old-fashioned way - Gibson, Coleman, Worthington, Spitler - while eight others took a more circuitous route - Ballard, Cordle, Pettrey, Rose, Russell, Small, Thoma, Wilson. Here is the rundown:
|Thad Gibson||4/18/116||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Doug Worthington||7/35/242||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Kurt Coleman||7/37/244||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Austin Spitler||7/45/252||Miami Dolphins|
|Jake Ballard||Free Agent||New York Giants|
|Jim Cordle||Free Agent||New York Giants|
|Aaron Pettrey||Free Agent||Carolina Panthers|
|Robert Rose||Free Agent||Seattle Seahawks|
|Anderson Russell||Free Agent||Washington Redskins|
|Ray Small||Free Agent||Minnesota Vikings|
|Jonathan Thoma||Free Agent||Cleveland Browns (?)|
|Lawrence Wilson||Free Agent||Chicago Bears|
So, who are the good fits amongst the group? Which players are have a likely chance of success? Let’s start with the draftees.
It’s tempting to point to Gibson and say that he will thrive in the Steelers 3-4 blitz scheme but most would have said the same thing about Vernon Gholston and look how that turned out .
Kurt Coleman was the 18th safety taken in the draft. That is hard to believe. While Coleman has obvious shortcomings - he needs to bulk up for the League - he often seemed to find himself in the right place at the right time. The Eagles have been looking for a safety since the day Brian Dawkins left town, but Coleman does not seem to fit the physical, intimidating role that Dawkins pioneered in Philly. Of course, neither does Nate Allen, who Philadelphia took with their second round pick.
I was stunned that Austin Spitler was drafted, even if it was in Mr. Irrelevant territory. Their may be some room for him if the Dolphins play the 3-4, but his main opportunity for playing time is special teams. Similar to Coleman and Spitler, Worthington was drafted toward the event of the Draft. Considering the Steelers play 3-4 designed to attack the QB, it is hard to see Worthington making a serious impact.
Now, the rest of the rest.
- Jake Ballard has a very difficult task in front of him with Kevin Boss firmly in place as a starter and Travis Beckum hanging around after being the Giants third round selection in 2009 .
- Pettrey and Thoma are going to get an opportunity, but history is not on their side. Ohio State special teamers have been having a tough time recently. Despite successful and celebrated careers, only punter BJ Sander remains active in the League. Andy Groom and Kyle Turano had big legs in college, and AJ Trepasso was a 4-year starter but none of them has been able to catch on. OSU’s only place kicker kicking around the NFL is Mike Nugent, and he is on his fourth team in four seasons. The Nuge appears to be a backup PK at this point and that is tantamount to being unemployed in the NFL.
- Defensive linemen Rose and Wilson find themselves on Washington and Chicago, respectively, and those two team only drafted one defensive lineman between them. The Bears offseason acquisition of Julius Peppers settles their line but there looks to be room for Wilson as a backup. As it stands now, the Redskins d-line is ancient so Rose figures to have a chance, but he is going to need to improve significantly.
- Last but not least, Ray Ray finds himself on bus to Minneapolis. His only chance is staying out of trouble and replacing a relatively fragile Percy Harvin as the Vikes main punt returner. Good luck with that.