It is hard to believe that after all of the research and time NFL teams put into the NFL draft, talented players could be missed. This past year 256 players were drafted, yet some team out there may have made their best pick in the days after the draft.
It is the days following the draft where teams go over their lists and see what players they were following and eventually went undrafted. Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez were supposed to be the sure quarterbacks of the '09 draft. But, who knows if ten years from now John Parker Wilson, undrafted out of Alabama, or Graham Harrell, Texas Tech, will be considered the best quarterback from the '09 class?
Who knows if the Denver Broncos will make Kestahn Moore, an undrafted running back out of the University of Florida, their next unheralded star player?
At this point in time it is truly impossible to know who the stars will be. That is what the past tells us.
Top draft picks could be the next Ryan Leaf or Lawrence Phillips. Undrafted players could be the next Kurt Warner or Rod Smith.
After months, possibly years, of tedious research no NFL teams thought Kurt Warner was worth drafting. The same year he went undrafted, Heath Shuler was the first overall quarterback taken.
Heath who? I have never even heard of this guy. Kurt Warner on the other hand, well I am well aware of his two MVP awards. I am well aware of his Super Bowl victory and the Super Bowl MVP award he won for his performance.
So that's one exception, but nobody thought Hall of Famer Warren Moon was worth drafting either. Rod Smith amassed over 10,000 receiving yards in his career after going undrafted.
I am not trying to make the argument that great players are being missed yearly. However, significant role players and the occasional gem are often available after the draft is over.
Having the Miami Dolphins as my home team has made me realize this.
First I saw them pick up Adewale Ogunleye. An injured defensive end out of Indiana University. Three years after they signed him, he would lead the AFC in sacks.
Their next diamond in the rough find was Wes Welker. The Dolphins gave him his first opportunity in the NFL and he proved a reliable receiver. I still do not know why the Fins let him slip away, but as we all know Welker has put consecutive 1,000 yard seasons for the Patriots.
Last year the Miami Dolphins made a miracle run to the playoffs. Three of their key players were undrafted.
Davone Bess was signed as a wide receiver after going undrafted in 2008. He would prove to be the Fins' most reliable receiver as he filled in admirably when Greg Camarillo was lost to injury. While starting only six games Bess had 54 receptions for 554 yards.
Dan Carpenter was signed in 2008 to compete with Jay Feely for the kicking job. Little did Feely know that Bill Parcells would go with the rookie out of Montana. Carpenter was perfect from inside 40 yards in 2008 and 9-of-13 from 40-plus yards. Pretty good if you ask me.
While the Dolphins were not responsible for the original signing of Lousaka Polite, they did bring him prior to their 2008 run. Dolphins' fans love Polite for extending several drives with his proficiency on third-and-one plays. Polite was seven-of-eight on third or fourth-and-one runs.
Anyone who follows the Dolphins knows that these undrafted players were integral to the Fins' success in '08. So what about you? What have undrafted players done for your favorite team?