2011 NFL Draft: 50 Notable Undrafted Free Agents
The NFL Draft has come to an end after 254 prospects heard their name called. They aren’t necessarily the 254 most talented players who were available, as there are at least 15 players that I was shocked to not hear their name called.
Undrafted free agents can make a big impact in their rookie seasons, despite not being drafted. LeGarrette Blount, Chris Ivory, and Sam Shields are three undrafted rookies who made big impacts as rookies in 2010.
So, let’s take a look at 50 of the more recognizable names who are available to sign on with teams as free agents. When they are able to sign with teams remains to be seen, but I’m sure that a few of these players will make the teams that signed them very happy next season.
CB Kendric Burney, North Carolina
Kendric Burney is a ball hawk who has excellent instincts. However, he doesn’t have great size or speed, which could be why he didn’t hear his name called. I had him ranked as a third or fourth round prospect, so I was shocked that he wasn’t drafted. He could have a Sam Shields-type impact next season.
OLB Mark Herzlich, Boston College
I get the fact that the cancer that he went through has affected his overall ability. However, he still had a pretty solid season in 2010 and he will only continue to get better as he continues to get his strength and agility back. He has excellent character too, and I’m disappointed in all 32 NFL general managers who didn’t take a chance on him. He is going to have a good NFL career as a starter.
S DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
Character concerns probably dropped him off of a lot of team’s draft boards. He was being talked about as a possible second round prospect at the beginning of the year, so he has great talent. He’ll be a highly sought after free agent.
RB Derrick Locke, Kentucky
Locke could make a solid third down back in the NFL. He has great speed, but concerns about his size could’ve led to him not getting drafted. He also has some injury concerns, but he has the chance to make an NFL team next season.
S Deunta Williams, North Carolina
Williams has excellent instincts from the safety position, but he is not very good against the run. He is another player who had both injury and character concerns. I do think that he’ll make an NFL roster next season, though.
S Jeron Johnson, Boise State
Johnson is the third safety on this list out of the first six players. He has good instincts and ball skills, but he also lacks size and he has suspect range in coverage. I’m really surprised at the quality of the safeties that weren’t drafted.
RB Darren Evans, Virginia Tech
Evans looked like he was going to be a star after his redshirt freshman season. He didn’t play well this season coming back from injury, and his speed and ball security is a concern. He does have nice size, and he could stick as a backup running back.
DT Martin Parker, Richmond
Parker is a very productive small school prospect who has an incredible motor. He is a great bull rusher, but he can get pushed around a bit. I thought he was a fifth round prospect, and he is a very underrated player who can be a solid rotational lineman.
WR Terrance Tolliver, LSU
Tolliver was highly thought of coming into this season, but he had a very unproductive year. He has great height, but he lacks explosion and has questionable hands.
DT Cedric Thornton, Southern Arkansas
Thornton is a small-school developmental prospect that could pay huge dividends for the team that signs him. He has excellent size, but is very raw and would need a few years before he’d make an impact.
QB Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin
In my opinion, Tolzien was very underrated throughout the draft process. I feel that his intangibles and leadership quality should’ve led to him getting drafted in round six or seven. He should develop into a good backup in a year or two.
C Jake Kirkpatrick, TCU
He was the third best center in this draft in my opinion, and he should make a nice addition to a team. He has great strength, and I think he could develop into a starter in a few years.
QB Pat Devlin, Delaware
Devlin is a small-school prospect who is a developmental player at this point. He has some good things going for him, and I think he will make a nice backup quarterback in the NFL.
LB Mario Harvey, Marshall
Harvey has a great motor and he will make an impact on special teams next season. He doesn’t have great size, but he makes up for it with hard work and the desire to be a good player.
WR Jeff Maehl, Oregon
I love Jeff Maehl’s ability and I had him rated as a fifth round pick. He doesn’t have great speed, but he has excellent hands and good route running ability. He’s a guy who I believe can develop into a solid backup receiver early in his career.
S Joe Lefeged, Rutgers
Lefeged doesn’t have any traits that stand out, but he is an all around solid player. He can make an NFL team if he excels on special teams.
WR Armon Binns, Cincinnati
Binns had a productive season in 2010, but his lack of speed probably is what led to him going undrafted. He does have nice hands and size, so he could make a team as a backup next year.
OG Jarriel King, South Carolina
King has the ability to make a team as a backup next season because he has some upside. Questions about his character and durability was his downfall.
ILB Josh Bynes, Auburn
Bynes will never be a starter in the NFL, but he has top intangibles and he is extremely competitive. Even though he isn’t a great athlete, he can be a great presence in an NFL locker room.
ILB Scott Lutrus, UConn
Lutrus was a four year starter and is very instinctive. He has durability issues though, and both his strength and speed are concerns.
WR Courtney Smith, South Alabama
Smith has excellent size and speed, but he doesn’t have experience against top competition. He has potential, but he is a long term project at this point.
DE Pierre Allen, Nebraska
Allen had a very disappointing season last year, and it caused him to drop off draft boards. He should catch on with a team as a backup, but he’ll have to make his impact on special teams.
DT Ian Williams, Notre Dame
Williams doesn’t have great height, and he doesn’t offer a whole lot as a pass rusher, but he is very solid in the running game, and could make an impact on first downs.
OLB Steven Friday, Virginia Tech
I’m surprised Friday didn’t get picked, especially with so many teams needing a pass rusher. He isn’t very athletic, but he could make a good backup rushing the passer.
WR DeAndre Brown, Southern Mississippi
Brown has an excellent combination of size and speed, but his character concerns pushed him all the way down teams' draft boards. He can be a good player if he gets his act together.
DE DeQuin Evans, Kentucky
Evans would make a solid pass rusher, but he hasn’t had overly productive seasons throughout his career at Kentucky. He’ll get a chance to battle for a spot in training camp.
WR Darvin Adams, Auburn
Adams should have stayed in school, as he could have continued to refine his game. He’ll get a shot due to his ability to play on special teams, but coming out early will haunt him.
S Jerrard Tarrant, Georgia Tech
Tarrant is another player who should’ve stayed in school. He is pretty solid in coverage, but he lacks a true position. He has also had some off-the-field issues in the past.
S Will Hill, Florida
Again, Hill should not have come out of school early. He lacks instincts and his maturity is a question mark as well. He has a great combination of size and speed though, so he could challenge for a backup spot.
C Alex Linnenkohl, Oregon State
Linnenkohl is a very hardworking player who also has long snapping experience, which could be a huge plus when he’s looking for a team. He doesn’t have great athletic ability, and his strength is also a question mark.
RB Graig Cooper, Miami
Cooper has never been overly productive at Miami, but he has the skills to be a solid change of pace back in the NFL. His ACL injury is a concern for some teams though.
C Kris O'Dowd, USC
O’Dowd is a hardworking team player, but he will have trouble in the NFL against stronger and quicker defensive lineman. He’s another player who dropped due to injury concerns.
FB Henry Hynoski, Pittsburgh
It’s almost never a good idea for a fullback to enter the draft as a junior. Hynoski has the ability to be a good H-back, but he would’ve benefited greatly from another year in school.
ILB Alex Wujciak, Maryland
Wujciak is a classic overachiever who has excellent instincts. He isn’t very athletic, but I think he can gain a roster spot while working hard on special teams.
OG Bryant Browning, Ohio State
Browning has great size for the offensive guard position to go along with a hard working attitude. He doesn’t have great quickness, but he should earn a backup spot on some team's roster.
WR Dane Sanzenbacher, Ohio State
Sanzenbacher is someone who I didn’t expect to be drafted, but I think he can make an impact on a team in 2011. He’s a hard working guy who will be an asset on special teams.
DT Adrian Taylor, Oklahoma
Taylor was once a highly sought after prospect, but serious injuries have put his career in doubt. If he can come back strong from his injuries he can be a solid player in the NFL.
DE Ryan Winterswyk, Boise State
Winterswyk is another hard working player who will work his way into a roster spot. He’s not an exceptional pass rusher by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s another player who can be a solid backup/special teamer in the NFL.
TE Allen Reisner, Iowa
Reisner was only a one year starter, but he has the ability to be an asset both in the passing game and as a blocker. He’ll get a few looks this offseason.
OG Carl Johnson, Florida
Johnson dropped off of boards due to his character concerns and his penchant for mental mistakes. He does have solid talent though, and he could get an invite to training camp.
OLB Adrian Moten, Maryland
Moten is a hard working team captain. He doesn’t have great physical abilities, but he should be able to gain a roster spot with his hard working attitude. He's a personal favorite of mine, and I'm really rooting for him.
S Jay Valai, Wisconsin
Valai is another favorite of mine because he is a hard worker who can lay out some big hits despite his small stature. He would be an asset in run coverage for any team looking for a safety.
RB John Clay, Wisconsin
Clay is a big back who could be a great asset in the running game. He was thought of as a second round prospect heading into this season, but he lost some carries to the freshman running backs in 2010.
WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Iowa
I’m not shocked that he didn’t get drafted because of his character issues, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s a talented player. A team might take a chance on him if they look past his character concerns.
RB Noel Devine, West Virginia
Devine didn’t get drafted due to his lack of size. He has great speed though, and could get a look from teams for his return ability. He will need to bulk up more if he wants to win a roster spot.
QB Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M
I had high hopes for Johnson going into the season, but he was a huge disappointment. I don’t think he has a future as a quarterback, but he could transition to running back or wide receiver in the NFL.
TE Weslye Saunders, South Carolina
Saunders has a lot of talent, but there are big-time character concerns with him. He could catch on with a team in training camp, but most teams will be concerned with maturity.
OG Zach Hurd, UConn
Hurd has excellent size for an offensive guard, and he could catch on as a backup. I think he is someone who could become a starter down the road.
OG Thomas Claiborne, Boston College
Claiborne will likely never be more than a backup, but he has great character which could allow him to catch on with a team as a backup.
TE Schuylar Oordt, Northern Iowa
He is a personal favorite of mine who has excellent size and speed for the tight end position. He is extremely raw, but can develop into a solid player with the right coaching.
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