5 Free Agents Most Likely to Play in the UFL in 2011

Eli NachmanyCorrespondent IIIJune 3, 2011

5 Free Agents Most Likely to Play in the UFL in 2011

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Caleb Hanie #12 of the Chicago Bears runs out of the tunnel to take on the Green Bay Packers during the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    As the lockout rages on, many talented—yet fringe—NFL talents wait in the wings and mull over playing in the UFL right away or waiting for the NFL.

    While certain players like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady aren't going to the UFL, for other guys, the line is not as clear.

    Here are five free agents who could end up in the UFL.

Brian Westbrook

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    SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 12:    Brian Westbrook #20 of the San Francisco 49ers runs against the Seattle Seahawks during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on December 12, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    No one is totally sure just how much of an NFL player Brian Westbrook still really is.

    Certainly, the running back is a great pass-catcher out of the backfield, and could do invaluable work on third downs, but teams still need to see the complete package out of Westbrook.

    In the UFL, this former NFL star could show teams that he still has fight left in him, and Westbrook can also showcase his ability to run the ball between the tackles.

    If the former Eagle has a chance to give teams a reason to give him a deal over a Darren Sproles-type of player, the UFL is it.

Tanard Jackson

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    NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 27: Tanard Jackson #36 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers moves on the field during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on December 27, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    With a tarnished image and an alarmingly low lack of interest in his services, Tanard Jackson needs to re-prove himself to many an NFL team.

    The former Buccaneer safety has to show NFL teams that he is committed to football on and off the field.

    If he posts a strong showing and keeps his mouth shut in the UFL, a team or two could become intrigued with the young athlete.

    The alternate league may be his one shot at returning to the game he loves on the grandest stage.

Jason Snelling

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    ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 15:  Jason Snelling #44 of the Atlanta Falcons walks the sideline against the Green Bay Packers during their 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Georgia Dome on January 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Packers won 48-21.  (Photo by
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    When a player explodes in performance for a certain amount of time, then regresses back to normalcy, it is common for many a scout to be skeptical of the player.

    In Snelling's instance, a few good games he compiled last year won't earn him anything on the free agent market, and in an opportunity-fostering environment, he could show NFL teams what he's made of.

    Instead of sitting behind Michael Turner, Snelling could go out and start, showing teams that he is capable enough to be a cheap workhorse in the backfield.

    Snelling could parlay a UFL appearance into more NFL playing time.

Caleb Hanie

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Caleb Hanie #12 of the Chicago Bears looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers in the second half in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The story is well-known how Jay Cutler left the game with an injury, Todd Collins came in and was ineffective, and Caleb Hanie then entered.

    Hanie almost led the Bears to an unheralded comeback against the Packers in the NFC Championship Game—for one game, this signal caller had ice water running through his veins.

    This quarterback needs a chance to show that his performance was no fluke; he needs the UFL.

    With teams considering players like Marc Bulger and Matt Hasselbeck to be a starting quarterback, Hanie could easily charm a few teams.

Matt Light

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    HONOLULU - JANUARY 30:  Matt Light #72 of the New England Patriots stands on the field during the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 30, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
    Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

    After a disappointing 2010, Matt Light's ability to be an NFL starter has been called into question.

    The Patriots drafted Nate Solder, and if Light is ineffective out of the gate, New England could let Solder play early on.

    Light needs to show that 2010 wasn't his best effort, and that he is a better blocker than he showed himself to be last year.

    The Patriot lineman needs a chance to give his team, and himself, a reason to believe in him. The UFL represents that chance.