NFL Draft 2011: 3 Household Names Who Could Be Headed To the UFL

Joseph HigginsContributor IIApril 7, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: 3 Household Names Who Could Be Headed To the UFL

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    The NFL isn't for everyone. Players are quickly shipped in and out either because they don't have the talent, or they'd rather play in another league to get themselves fully seasoned.

    NFL Europe, the CFL and UFL have all provided homes for "misfit" football players in the past. Some examples are Kurt Warner (Europe), Jake Delhomme (Europe) and Ricky Williams (CFL).

    While the surrounding players in these different leagues aren't of the same caliber, getting starts and extra reps in is what some past or former NFL players did with their change of scenery.

    With the draft coming up in exactly three weeks, which popular collegiate players won't be seeing time with the NFL, but time with a league like the UFL?

Shane Vereen—California

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    Vereen isn't your Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson, as he's more of the other Adrian Peterson or any running back on the Patriots. He's a good starting running back in college, but won't be more than a third-down back in the NFL.

    So why go to the NFL if you won't get as much playing time as you want? Money? Well, until the labor talks are over with, there's no guarantee he'll be getting paid as a third-down back.

    Why not go to the UFL then? A starting role and a paycheck are almost a lock.

    Besides all that, Vereen isn't a big-play running back with explosiveness or top-end speed. He can burst through the hole at the line of scrimmage but won't go past the first-down marker and then some. 

    What he strives at being is an all-around back blocking, running and receiving. 

    With the NFL still debating about next season, it almost seems like a better bet that Vereen should go to the UFL.

Ronald Johnson—USC

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    Johnson has room to grow. His speed and acceleration are polished, but he is raw in other places. 

    He's 5'11", which is the size of some great NFL receivers like Greg Jennings and Percy Harvin.

    He possesses a big-play threat and third-down clutch capability, but his durability is also in question. Five games were missed in 2009 because of a broken collarbone, and he suffered from wrist and elbow injuries in 2010.

    Scouts say Johnson needs to improve his blocking the most, but with other questions being asked around him, who knows if he'll make it to the NFL?

Noel Devine—West Virginia

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    The little guy. Devine certainly won't be making moves like he did back in high school on a team in the NFL. 

    Yes, Darren Sproles has made himself an NFL career at the size of 5'6", but he started off as mainly a return man, laying in the shadows of LaDainian Tomlinson. Devine might not be so lucky.

    He has the ability to keep the play going and make players miss, but the transition to the NFL might not be what he intended. He'll need to take the game at a new approach, because NFL players are going to be as fast, if not faster, than he is and much, much bigger than players he faced in college.

    There's no doubt in my mind that Devine can make it to the NFL and find a team to stay with, but the success rate is my only question.

    The UFL seems like a place for him in his first two years out of college, where he can get seasoned and make the jump from league to league when ready.