2011 NFL Draft:10 Household Names That Went Undrafted
After three days and 254 selections the NFL draft is over. Surprisingly it went off without a hitch, as many top players showed up in New York City to take part in the action, despite the ubiquitous lockout casting a dark cloud over the weekend.
While the draft has ended and many college stars have found a professional residence, there are still some household names that face a period of uncertainty. As is the case in every year, some pretty good players, whom most football fans are familiar with, did not get drafted.
This is not the end of the world, as the leading rusher in the NFL last season Arians Foster managed to avoid getting drafted as well. However, this year it is more daunting as there is an uncertainty as to when free agency will start.
Here are 10 guys who made a name for themselves on Saturdays who are on the outside looking in after the draft.
1. Wes Byrum, K, Auburn
If you watched the National Championship game, you have to be familiar with this kid from Auburn. Byrum's strike put the Tigers past Oregon in the epic matchup. Byrum was ranked the seventh best kicker coming into the draft by CBS Sports.
Reasons he was not drafted: Plain and simple, most teams do not use their draft picks on Kickers or Punters. This year only the Eagles drafted a kicker. Nebraska's Alex Henery, the No. 1 kicker available. With that being said Byrum failed to distinguish himself from the other kickers in the draft. The other reason Byrum was not drafted stems from his struggles with accuracy. He made over 90 percent of his attempts as a Junior but that was the only year he made over 80 percent of his field goals.
Teams he should try to sign with: Byrum should try to catch on with the first team that shows signs of kicking issues. Sadly for kickers, you only need one and teams rarely keep backups. Dallas, Miami and Washington should be his first stops as they all struggled making field goals last year.
2. Justin Boren, OG, Ohio State
Justin Boren is a solid guard who helped stabilize the offensive line during his time at Ohio State. He is known for being a tough customer and a willing blocker who is not afraid to speak his mind. He was twice named All–Big Ten after transferring over from Michigan.
Reasons he was not drafted: Boren sparked a bit of controversy in his "family values" comments in reference to Rich Rodriguez's tenure. Whether what he said was true or not, it never looks good to future employees that you might have issues with authority. This is coupled with the fact that after trash talking the program he transferred to their biggest rival. Moves like this are tough pills for any GM to swallow. Aside from these personal issues, it is likely Boren left something to be desired on the field despite his postseason accolades.
Teams he should try to sign with: Boren is a serviceable lineman and with many teams having issues in the trenches he should be able to catch on somewhere. As long as he keeps his act together, he should get himself over to Pittsburgh, Cleveland or Buffalo where he could provide solid depth or compete for a spot.
3. Taylor Potts, QB, Texas Tech
Potts is the next Texas Tech gunslinger that failed to catch on in the Pros so far. Despite his prolific numbers in college (over 30 TDs passing this year) , he was unable to get the attention of scouts. He has been very successful spreading the ball around the field over his career at Texas Tech.
Reasons he was not drafted: Lack of success of Texas Tech Quarterbacks at the Pro Level has something to do with his plight. Aside from that Potts struggles with pro-accuracy, which is more than just making a completion but rather ball placement. This, coupled with his below average arm strength, made it tough for teams to take a jump at him.
Teams he should try to sign with: Potts would do well to try to catch on as a third stringer somewhere. The Bills or perhaps the Rams or Cardinals might be worth a look. He is more of a ball control offense kind of guy rather than a shoot-out gunslinger at the next level. Think a poor man's Chad Pennington.
4. Deunta Williams, FS, North Carolina
Williams is a talented FS who spent his career making an impact at North Carolina, after coming in as a highly touted prospect. He started 46 games for the Tar Heels.
Reasons he was not drafted: Williams was suspended to begin the season as part of the scandal, but he only missed four games. Scouts were up and down on him, especially in regards to his nonexistent tackling (a major flaw for a defensive player to have). With all these issues aside, he is still recovering from a broken leg.
Teams he should try to sign with: Teams he should make a bee-line to include the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions.
5. Terrence Tolliver, WR, LSU
Big, strong and fast Tolliver came to LSU with big expectations and hoped to be the next Dwayne Bowe, but as has been the case over the last few years he failed to get untracked. After coming in as a top-rated prep it is hard to say that his career with the Tigers is not seen as a disappointment.
Reasons he was not drafted: Tolliver had a buffet of reasons he was not drafted despite having great measurable and a pro body. He did manage consistency at LSU, the bad part was that he was consistently underwhelming. He was no doubt victimized by poor quarterback play, but even so, he never looked like a world beater. One thing that scouts had trouble with was his inability to find separation, perhaps he was too used to getting abused by Patrick Peterson at practice and thought being blanked by the coverage was a normal thing.
Teams he should try to sign with: Big-bodied receivers like Tolliver seem to get more shots than the smaller guys, especially when it comes to a guy with size and speed like him. It would be a good idea for him to check out the Carolina Panthers or Chicago Bears.
6. Jeff Maehl, WR, Oregon
Maehl was the part-man, part-spiderman receiver for the Oregon Ducks during their prolific season this past fall. A crafty solid receiver that makes you think of a poor man's Deion Branch. He is absolutely a clutch receiver.
Reasons he was not drafted: Maehl possess sub-par size for a pro receiver, he is simply too skinny to be appealing to many teams. This combined with his average speed made it hard for teams to take a stab at him.
Teams he should try to sign with: If I were Maehl I would be headed to the Kansas City Chiefs or St. Louis Rams; both these teams could use a sure-handed wideout like him.
7. Derrick Locke, RB, Kentucky
Locke is the kind of guy that gets you excited to see get the ball anytime he has it. He was originally a track athlete that wanted to play football and boy did he get his wish. His speed really stood out in college, and he ripped through SEC defenses from many different positions on the field, whether it was running, receiving or returning kicks.
Reasons he was not drafted: Small backs are becoming more and more the rage in the NFL, yet they still aren't everyone's taste. With that being said, Locke should feel optimistic about the fact that Jacquizz Rodgers and Dion Lewis both went in the fifth round. Another reason Locke was probably held back was due to his injury history which includes a torn ACL. This seemed to be the year where injuries were a deal-breaker.
Teams he should try to sign with: Many teams with needs in the backfield picked up help this time around. He could be a nice change of pace for the following teams: New York Giants, Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings. Most of these teams have great backs, but could use a game breaker like Locke.
8. John Clay, RB, Wisconsin
Clay was a steam roller, a guy seemingly destined to play running back for the Badgers. Sadly that means he was almost guaranteed to be a long-shot as a pro. The sturdy back was fun to watch as he plowed through the Big Ten to the tune of 3,400 yards rushing and over 40 touchdowns.
Reasons he was not drafted: Despite these amazing numbers the main numbers that held him back in the eyes of scouts is the 4.8 and 4.7 40-yard dashes he ran at the combine and his pro day. These numbers had scouts thinking of Ron Dayne and heading on to the next school.
Teams he should try to sign with: Clay's lack of speed and inability to catch and lack of creativity as a runner make him a good candidate for a position switch similar to Greg Jones of Jacksonville. If and only if he can make this transition, he can have an NFL career. I would stop by the Minnesota Vikings if I were him.
9. Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia
Noel Devine has almost every attribute you are looking for at the tailback position. He was a blur of talent at West Virginia. His nickname could likely be The Streak, because he possesses electric speed. He rushed for over 4,000 yards during his time with the Mountaineers and helped them get past the Steve Slaton era.
Reasons he was not drafted: Devine picked the wrong year to be an undersized back, and he also should have come out last year, based on his dip in production and nagging injuries. Despite his track speed, Devine also has a track body, measuring in at 5'7" and just under 180 pounds. This is too small for any team to take a chance on an injury-prone running back.
Teams he should try to sign with: Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and also the Cincinnati Bengals.
10. Mark Herzlich, OLB, Boston College
If you do not know Herzlich by now, you have probably at least heard his story. Rising Junior all-world linebacker guaranteed first-round pick, decides to come back for one more year of college. Never could he have imagined that he would be diagnosed with cancer and have to have a titanium plate inserted into his leg. Despite these challenges he came back and performed at a very high level.
Reasons he was not drafted: Despite beating cancer, the disease ate away at his production and has made him less of an athlete than he was before. There is also the concern that the cancer could come back. With these factors in play, no team was willing to take a chance on the tough guy from Boston College.
Teams he should try to sign with: Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots.