2011 NFL Draft Results: Ranking the Top 10 Best Available Undrafted Free Agents

Mihir Bhagat@mihirbhagatSenior Analyst IIIMay 2, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Results: Ranking the Top 10 Best Available Undrafted Free Agents

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    AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  DeAndre McDaniel #2 of the Clemson Tigers against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The 2011 NFL Draft has come and gone this past weekend. A total of 254 picks have been made all the way from Auburn QB Cam Newton to Rice DE Cheta Ozougwu.

    However, that's not to say that those were the only talented players out there. In fact, chances are that a few eventual NFL superstars are currently undrafted free agents. In NFL Network's ranking of the Top 100 active players in the league, 11 of them went undrafted.

    With that said, let's take a look at my ranking of the Top 10 undrafted rookie free agents available. Who knows? Maybe one of them will be the next Kurt Warner.  

    Do note, however, that with the lockout currently underway, no teams are allowed to contact let alone sign free agents which includes undrafted rookies as well. 

10. Oregon DE Brandon Bair

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    EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 6: Defensive end Brandon Bair #88 of the Oregon Ducks looks over the offense as he stands at the line of scrimmage in the third quarter of the game against the Washington Huskies at Autzen Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Eugene, Orego
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    Brandon Bair has the build to possibly be a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defensive scheme. Despite being one of the deepest defensive line classes in a while, that's a position that's highly coveted by teams so expect them to go after him.

    He's got long arms, violent hands, and a plethora of moves which he uses to disengage himself from opposing blockers and get pressure on the quarterback.

    Note, he is 26 years old which may be a turn-off for some teams but I think he's worth the risk. 

9. North Carolina FS Deunta Williams

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 22:  Deunta Williams #27 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates on the field during the game the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Kenan Stadium on November 22, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Ge
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Deunta Williams isn't the greatest athlete ever but he takes risks and has keen instincts which can lead to playmaking opportunities. Moreover, he comes down in the box from time to time and can make open-field tackles with proper technique. 

    While WIlliams isn't sharp in man coverage, he does a nice job while dropping back in the zone so a team that runs a Cover 2 scheme could target him. 

8. LSU WR Terrence Toliver

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    ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Terrence Toliver #80 of the Louisiana State University Tigers points to the crowd during pregame before playing the Texas A&M Aggies during the AT&T Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on January 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Phot
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Surprisingly fluid athlete for such a big body standing tall at 6'4" 211 lbs. With that said, he's got the potential to be a productive player at the next level if given the right training.

    That's going to be the key because at the moment his technique is far below par. 

    On a side note, he does have some serious character issues. He was arrested last year for getting into a fight at a bar and then argued with the police officer. Not exactly the type of distraction you want in your organization

    So no doubt it's a risk, but it may be worth it. 

7. Auburn WR Darvin Adams

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    AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 06:  Wide receiver Darvin Adams #89 of the Auburn Tigers stretches for a touchdown with a pass against the Chattanooga Mocs November 6, 2010 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Darvin Adams is another receiver with good height at 6'3" who can take advantage of those smaller defensive backs and win virtually all jump-ball situations. In that sense, he reminds me of Larry Fitzgerald who has the tenacity to reach up and grab the ball at its highest point.

    As for his hands, however, he's not very reliable and simply drops too many passes. He's not physical enough on the line of scrimmage to get off press coverage. 

    But if you can work on that then he could be a solid receiving option. 

6. North Carolina CB Kendric Burney

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    TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Cornerback Kendric Burney #16 of the North Carolina Tar Heels warms up before play against the University of South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium on September 22, 2007 in Tampa, Florida.  USF  won 37-10.  (Photo by Al Mes
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    A 4.71 40-yard dash time for a 5'9" cornerback is exactly what you don't want: short and slow. So how could he be so high up on this list? Well, as I'm sure we all know, the NFL is about a lot more than measurables and to be good you must have technique and instincts and in that category, Burney shines.

    He's experienced, can read and react quickly, and is active in run support as well. Not to mention, he's returned two of his ten career interceptions for touchdowns. 

    If it weren't for the lack of physical tools, he could be a defensive back draftee.  

5. Boise State SS Jeron Johnson

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 04:  Jeron Johnson #23 of the Boise State Broncos reacts in the first half against the TCU Horned Frogs during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 4, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christ
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Unlike a lot of players in the NFL today, Jeron Johnson likes contact and always tries to get himself in the mix. For a guy his size, he displays tremendous power at the point of attack and can shed through blockers at ease. It doesn't seem like there's anything that will stop him from getting to the ball and making a play.

    Not only does he play with a fearless style, but he's smart and can read offenses well.

    The one downside is that his small frame and aggressive nature could lead to a career filled with injuries. Remind you of someone? Perhaps a poor man's Bob Sanders 

    What isn't similar to the former Defensive Player of the Year though is that he lacks top-end speed so when he takes risks and misses then he can find himself out of position.

4. Southern Arkansas DT Cedric Thornton

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    Cedric Thorrnton is a typical three-technique defensive lineman who can provide a pass rush up the middle and collapse the pocket. 

    He's got a lot of room to improve, can be inconsistent due to poor conditioning, and has some serious character issues involving a drug-related arrest. At the same time, he's got the ability to be flat out dominant when he gets going. 

    A risky draft choice, but when it comes to free agency I'd take a shot at it and see what happens. 

3. Rutgers SS Joe Lefeged

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    EAST HARTFORD, CT - OCTOBER 31:  Joe Lefeged #26 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights returns a punt in the second half against the Connecticut Huskies on October 31, 2009 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. Rutgers defeated Connecticut 28-24.  (
    Elsa/Getty Images

    If you're searching for a guy who can stop the run from the safety position, Joe Lefeged is your guy. 

    He comes up hard in pursuit and will fight with determination until he takes the ball carrier down. He's a sure-fire tackler and when he gets there he can lay you out with a punishing blow. 

    He's still working on pass coverage but can assist with his recognition skills to read the quarterback's eyes and act accordingly.

    So even though he's one-dimensional, you may want to take a long look at him to fit in your specialized packages. 

2. Notre Dame DT Ian Williams

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    SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 04: Ian Williams #95 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish encourages the crowd during a game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium on September 4, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Purdue 23-12. (Photo
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    I actually had the San Francisco 49ers drafting Ian Williams in the 5th round so I'm really surprised he went undrafted.

    With so many teams running 3-4 defenses, that massive nose tackle who can occupy multiple blockers and clog up the middle is becoming increasingly in demand.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see one of those teams jump on him once this lockout ends. 

1. Clemson SS DeAndre McDaniel

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    AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  DeAndre McDaniel #2 of the Clemson Tigers against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Very instinctive which makes him a pro-ready prospect who can step in and immediately impact a team who's ready to win now.

    He can come up and guard slot receivers or drop back in the zone. And once he locates the ball, he's able to close in and make the stop with an powerful hit.

    Frankly, the talent is there and I was rather surprised he wasn't drafted in the later rounds.

    What probably impresses me the most is that he's really matured over the past few years. He grew up with a tough childhood and at Clemson he won a Vickery Hall award which goes to the student with the most academic improvement.