NFL Draft 2011: Undrafted Free Agents the Washington Redskins Must Target

Josh McCainSenior Writer IMay 10, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: Undrafted Free Agents the Washington Redskins Must Target

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Ryan Kerrigan, #16 overall pick by the Washington Redskins, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chri
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    The 2011 NFL Draft has come and gone, and for a change, the Washington Redskins have done quite well for themselves. 

    They avoided their usual pitfalls of trading away picks and/or going for the sexiest pick out there.

    No, the team showed restraint, traded back and amassed more picks which they wisely used on areas of need.

    At this point in a normal year, teams would be competing with each other to sign several undrafted players.

    However, this isn't a normal year—this is an offseason where players are locked out. Even though these undrafted players are not a part of the NFLPA, they cannot be signed to any NFL roster.

    That, however, does not stop us from speculating who the Redskins should look to bring in once the lockout is over.

    In no particular order, here are 10 players the Redskins should look into bring into training camp this summer.

Mark Herzlich, OLB, Boston College

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Mark Herzlich #94 and Thomas Claiborne #78 of the Boston College Eagles lead the team out on the field before the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies on September 25, 2010 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachuse
    Elsa/Getty Images

    I imagine Mark Herzlich will be appearing in many articles about why a certain team should sign him.

    Not only was he a beast of a player at Boston College (in 2010 he had 65 tackles and four interceptions), but he also has the most heartwarming story amongst all rookies.

    In the summer of 2009, Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma (a rare bone cancer) and his college career was put on hold. Many thought it was over.

    Herzlich fought the cancer and trained hard to make his way back onto the field in 2010.

    Heartwarming story aside, the Redskins did not address the linebacker position (directly) in the draft. Many people speculate that the No. 16 overall pick Ryan Kerrigan will be moved to outside linebacker in the 3-4. But with the probable departure of Rocky McIntosh and the age of London Fletcher, adding a young and natural linebacker to the roster only makes sense from a depth stand point.

Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware

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    COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 25: Quarterback Pat Devlin #7 of the Penn State Nittany Lions hands off the ball against the Ohio State Buckeyes on October 25, 2008 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Pat Devlin is the top undrafted quarterback in this year's rookie free agent pool. This isn't saying much given the number of quarterbacks taken in this year's draft.

    However, the 6'3 225 lbs. quarterback from Delaware could provide needed depth to the Redskins' murky quarterback roster.

    In 2010 he had a passer rating of 151.64 and completed 22 touchdown passes with only three interceptions. 

    Granted, that came in the CAA, which is better known for basketball than football. But him being a third-string/practice squad quarterback under both Mike and Kyle Shanahan could help Delvin develop into a decent NFL backup—much like Frank Reich.

Ian Williams, DT Notre Dame & Cedric Thornton, DT, Southern Arkansas

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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

    Ian Williams started eight of 12 games in 2010 at nose tackle (a position the Redskins are in desperate need to fill), where he was second amongst tacklers on the Notre Dame defensive line.

    Cedric Thornton stands at 6'3 309 lbs. With his size and fierceness off the line, he could convert to NT or play 3-4 defensive end. In 2010, he had 52 tackles, 13 of which were for losses.  He will definitely garner the offensive line's attention and allow guys like Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan to get after the QB.

    Even though the Redskins drafted Jarvis Jenkins (No. 41 overall), who many believe will be converted to NT, and a natural NT in Chris Neild (No. 253 overall), NT was a concern for the team. Having extra depth going into camp will only make the two drafted ahead of these guys work that much harder.

Kai Forbath, K, UCLS

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    PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 06:  Kai Forbath #25 of the UCLA Bruins kicks a last second field goal to win the game 17-14 over the Oregon State Beavers during the fourth quarter at the Rose Bowl on November 6, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How
    Harry How/Getty Images

    To say Gram Gano let down the fanbase on numerous occasions would be an understatement. 

    It seems that, since the Redskins let Chip Lomiller go in 1994, there has been a revolving door of kickers at Redskins Park.

    Coach Shanahan has said that Gano reminds him of a young Jason Elam, which is high praise. But that doesn't mean he shouldn't bring in a little competition to try and light a fire under Gano's posterior.

    Kai Forbath is the highest ranked undrafted kicker and the only kicker to make many top-50 undrafted prospect lists.

    He has a college career percentage of 84.2 percent (Gano's NFL career percentage is 71.8) and he's second all-time in career UCLA scoring.

    This isn't to say that Forbath would unseat the young veteran, but like I said, a little competition can't hurt.

Zach Hurd, OG, Connecticut Carl Johnson, OG, Florida

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    COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 14:  Carl Johnson #57 of the Florida Gators looks on during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Zach Hurd was projected to be picked somewhere in the fifth or sixth round of the draft, but went undrafted.  Carl Johnson, on the other hand, is where he was projected to be: undrafted.

    In spite of all that, the Redskins need depth and youth on the offensive line. Last year was a step in the right direction by taking Trent Williams (OT). Now they must continue the trend by bringing in more young linemen to fill in holes, especially at the OG position.

    Also, many don't remember this, but future Hall of Fame Hog (hopefully) Joe Jacoby was an undrafted free agent, and in his day there were 12 rounds not seven.

Nick Bellore, ILB, Central Michigan & Jeff Tarpinian, ILB, Iowa

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    Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway celebrates a defensive stop against Florida in the 2006 Outback Bowl January 2 in Tampa.  Florida defeated Iowa 31 - 24. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Much like I said earlier with Herzlich, the Redskins did not draft a true linebacker in this year's draft.

    Much like at the safety position, linebacker, especially ILB, was not a huge need for the Redskins.

    That does not mean, however, that now that the draft is over they should ignore a youth movement there as well.

    Fletcher is getting old (I think. The man could be a Highlander for all we know), and Rocky looks like he is on his way out of town after last year's tender instead of offering him a contract.

    So, the Redskins are going to need depth there sooner or later, and given Fletcher's age, I would say the sooner the better.

Garrett Chisolm, OT, South Carolina

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    COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 30:  Garrett Chisolm #77of the South Carolina Gamecocks against the Tennessee Volunteers during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 30, 2010 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    If there is one thing we Redskins fans know about a Steve Spurier offensive lineman, it's that he better know how to pass protect because he's not getting any help from any running backs or receivers.

    Chisolm wasn't only a stand out (LG), making the All-SEC second-team in 2010, but he was also awarded the SEC Community Service award in 2010 and the Harold White GPA award in 2009.

    He could work out nicely on the opposite end of the line from Trent Williams, and skills aside, he's got great character—something this franchise can't get enough of right now.


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    ASHBURN, VA - AUGUST 06:  Head Coach Mike Shanahan (R) of the Washington Redskins talks with his son Kyle Shanahan (L) offensive coordinator for the team during Redskins training camp on August 6, 2010 in Ashburn, Virginia.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Im
    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    When it comes to undrafted free agents, you're not necessarily looking for a diamond in the rough so much as you're looking for role players who can contribute positively to the team.

    Sometimes, you can find a stand out skilled position player like a WR or RB. But it's a place where finding a very good blue-collar player (OL, DL, LB) is more likely as long as you do your due diligence. 

    I can't say for sure if the Redskins will target anyone on this list, but I looked at their biggest needs in these blue-collar areas, and I think this handful of guys (teams normally only sign five to eight undrafted players) could contribute to the 53-man roster, or at least to the practice squad.