NFL Draft 2011: 12 Undrafted Free Agents for the Seattle Seahawks Offense
23 undrafted players made the 2011 pro bowl; there are many players that were not drafted, but will contribute on NFL rosters next season.
Seattle took offensive lineman James Carpenter and John Moffitt in the first two days, but selected only one offensive player on day three, wide receiver Kris Durham, compared to six defensive prospects.
Given the nature of Seattle’s defense heavy day three, today we’ll take a look at twelve undrafted offensive players who can make an impact in Seattle. Midweek we’ll take a look at 12 undrafted defensive prospects available.
Matangi Tonga (6’2”, 290) DT, Houston
Tonga has taken a bumpy road to his undrafted free agent status. He played in 13 games for BYU as a freshman in 2006, transferred to Utah Valley State in 2007, didn’t play in 2008, was a Ju-Co All-American in 2009 and made his way back to D-I football in 2010.
He had 25 tackles, 5.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks during his only season as a Cougar.
Why is a 290 pound defensive tackle with little to no production listed on an offensive watch list?
Tonga ran through drills as a fullback during the 49ers local pro-day less than a week before the draft and he impressed, even as a receiver; the Seahawks were one of the teams to put him through fullback drills.
Tonga played running back in high school, but converted to defensive tackle in college. He has rare athleticism for a player is size: 4.72 and 4.81 40 yard dash, 4.1 second 20 yard shuttle, 7.1 3 3-cone drill and 32.5 inch vertical.
His brother Manese currently plays for the Raiders, and if anything is a sign Tonga understands what it takes to play in the NFL.
His rare athleticism for his size and two-way versatility makes Tonga a very intriguing option to provide unique size in the backfield and as a sub-package player; maybe he’ll play two ways in the NFL, Pete Carroll always looking to maximize his talent.
Adam Froman (6’4”, 220) QB, Louisville
A Ju-Co All-American that threw 40 touchdowns in 2008 before transferring to Louisville. He played part time in 2009 and started as a senior in 2010, but missed the last five games with a deep thigh bruise; he was in the midst of a four straight zero interception game stretch.
Froman is not on the radar due to his lack of experience and injury shortened senior season, but he has the tools to eventually be a successful NFL quarterback.
He needs to tighten his long delivery and continue to mature with experience. The concerns around a very lanky build and the 2010 injury could be eased by more time in the weight room and added functional strength.
2.Louisville offensive coordinator Mike Sanford—Froman ran a pro style offense at Loiusville--recalls Froman dragging his leg through practice in effort to play late last season, to the point it was comical.
3.He completed 60 percent of his passes both seasons at Louisville.
4. Ran a 4.55 at his pro day, and his 3 cone drill (6.6 seconds) and 20 yard shuttle (4.08) would have been first among quarterbacks at the combine.
5. Coordinator Sanford called him “right up the alley as far as Jim (Harbaugh) is looking for in a quarterback."
Intelligence, toughness, leadership, accuracy, footwork, arm strength and athleticism. Froman could be an absolute steal in the undrafted free agency pool, the type quarterback Pete Carroll is likely looking to develop as well.
Scott Tolzien (6’2”, 212) QB, Wisconsin
Tolzien didn’t have a flashy college career and has been an afterthought throughout the draft process.
However, it’s hard to ignore a 21-5 record as a starter, 72.9 completion percentage with only six interceptions his senior season in a pro style, play action heavy Wisconsin offense.
He won the 2010 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award, a two time Big Ten academic All-American and 2010 Wisconsin team MVP.
He has good footwork, but needs to work on his throwing motion; he is accuracy isn’t quite as good as his numbers suggest and he lacks downfield drive on his deep ball. His inefficient throwing motion will need to change to become an NFL starter.
He did, however, average 9.2 yards per attempt, a sign that he is efficient moving the ball downfield; partly due to Wisconsin’s success using play action.
Tolzien is a smart, proven leader that showed solid improvement in his two seasons leading a major college program.
He is the type of hard worker and competitor the Seahawks value, especially from the quarterback position, and Tolzien's experience in an NFL, smash mouth type offense make him an attractive developmental quarterback.
Derek Hall (6’4", 308) OT/OG, Stanford
Hall redshirted in 2006, and didn’t play a game as a defensive lineman in 2007. He eventually converted to right tackle, and started in 2010.
As a former defensive lineman, he has the instincts to understand the opposition. Long arms, athleticism and body control allows him to successfully move to the second level, either pulling or breaking down and sealing the lane.
His pass protection is extremely raw, and needs refinement. However, his struggles were not for lack of effort. Hall played his way into an offensive front five as the only new starter.
He needs coaching on the next level to play tackle, but he can be a very solid reserve guard; continuing to add muscle and refining his footwork will bode well to making an NFL roster, especially if he proves capable of remaining on the edge.
Unfortunately, he won’t have to go far from his college studies to keep developing in the NFL, if given the chance with his college coach Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers.
But, he is a versatile prospect that could develop into very strong right side depth under the tutelage of Tom Cable.
Zane Taylor (6’3”, 309) C, Utah
Not the most athletic lineman, but Taylor has the rest of the tools to fit on the interior for Seattle. He started his career at guard, before starting 38 games the past three seasons at center as a reliable and durable leader.
He excels in upper-body strength, registering 41 225 pound reps at his pro-day, bettering 33 at the combine. He is stout off the ball with a strong punch, sound enough hand technique to keep players in front of him. Taylor is an attitude player that plays with a chip on his shoulder and looks to punish people.
His upper-body strength is off-set by a slower lower body, as shown by a 5.61 40 yard dash and equally as underwhelming agility drills at the combine.
He often gets in trouble lunging due to his aggressiveness, lacking the athleticism and lateral movement to recover. Furthermore, he struggles on the second level reaching targets.
Seattle will need to figure out if there is potential to improve his athleticism. Taylor does have solid footwork, but his technique struggles because of his lack of lower body agility.
There is potential in Taylor's game if he can create a more solid base and learn how to play within his abilities. He has the attitude and intelligence to fit on Tom Cable’s offensive line.
Nic Grigsby (5’11, 199) RB/KR, Arizona
He was a four year player at Arizona that had a great start to his career and a somewhat disappointing ending.
However, 31 touchdowns, nearly 3,000 yards rushing and 75 career receptions prove his versatility. His most complete seasons were his freshman and senior years, 60 receptions coming in those two seasons combined.
His red flags are liability in pass protection, ball security and injuries that limited him his final two years.
Grigsby has the experience and versatility in the passing game to be a change of pace and a play making back. His athleticism, however, is what makes him stand out.
A 4.38 40 yard dash, 43.5 inch vertical, 6.65 three cone drill and 11’ broad jump show his athletic ability. If he can remain healthy, Seattle may find an insurance policy to Leon Washington.
Grigsby is a guy that can spend time on the practice squad to prove his worth, and eventually be a contributor as a change of pace back, returner and sub-package play maker in 2012 or 2013.
Darren Evans (6’, 227) RB, Virginia Tech
Evans was the ACC rookie of the year as a redshirt freshman in 2008 before tearing his ACL in 2009; he rebounded to start nine games sharing time with draftee Ryan Williams in 2010.
Evans had a solid bounce back season with 854 yards and 11 touchdowns, but still has another year before fully recovering his explosiveness.
He is a strong, north-south runner that takes on contact and gets yards afterward; Evans can get downhill in a hurry. He is also a strong blocker that plays with attitude and contributes on special teams.
There are concerns about his lack of polish as a receiver. Evans doesn’t have natural hands and can be stiff in his routes.
A 4.58 40 yard dash continues questions about his top end speed, but his knee injury is still a factor, to an extent. He needs prove his durability to compete in the NFL.
Evans is a hard working prospect with toughness that would fit nicely as a backup in the “beast mode” backfield.
If he can continue to bounce back and eventually show the form of his freshman season, he could be the next big name NFL running back to come out of the undrafted free agency pool.
David Mims (6’8”, 331) OT, Virginia Union
A small school left tackle with great size and upside, Mims fits as a developmental tackle prospect that can possibly play both tackle spots with coaching, strength training and experience.
His 86 1/8 wing span will certainly have coaches itching to work with his potential.
At the D-II level, he was a monster; but, he plays slowly and will need to prove he can play at a more aggressive pace; he is a capable pass blocker, but plays way too high in most phases of run blocking and struggles with footwork.
There is question as to whether or not he can play at the speed of the NFL. He trimmed down to 331 pounds, reportedly a 40 pound loss, proving he has the drive to try and make a roster.
He may be ideally suited for right tackle because he is so raw, thus primed to be molded into a system.
He has the size to replace Stacy Andrews for Seattle, albeit as a developmental prospect, behind first round pick James Carpenter.
He may be too raw for Seattle to take a shot on him, unless they are willing to place him on the practice squad for a year and see where his progress lies.
Four More to Watch
These players were previously highlighted in-depth before the draft. Please click the links for more analysis.
A unique versatility on offense, as he can play H-back, tight end, fullback, in the slot, wild cat quarterback and had two fake punt runs for touchdowns in 2010. He describes himself as a linebacker at heart, toughness and leadership standout on the field. His extremely unique skill set and blocking ability make him a potentially dynamic signing.
Lost 15 pounds for the combine to prove he’s not only an tight end/h-back, but a full field threat. He has the experience of playing in Steve Spurrier’s spread, west coast system. He fits potentially as a practice squad developmental player to compete with Kris Durham.
O’Dowd is a coach on the field, but unfortunately a twice dislocated knee, shoulder issues and various dings have put him on the sideline in his career. His field general ability makes him an appealing depth prospect that can potentially work his way onto the roster if he remains healthy; the talent is there, as he came into USC as a stud recruit. This would be a Pete Carroll move, given the familiarity.
Hynoski is a smart, well rounded player that can contributes in all phases of the game and can make an occasional play in the open field. Has experience in an H-back type role and can move throughout the offense. However, he doesn’t play with the consistency as a blocker that is ideal for an NFL fullback. Needs coaching, but his thick, strong build lends to his potential as a difference maker.