These are my favorite Undrafted Free Agents left out there for the picking. I’ll explain what I hope the eagles do after I list them all. This is a pretty long one. Any of these players would be nice gets for the Eagles.
Pat Devlin, 6’3" 225lbs, Delaware
I would like to see the Eagles get this guy as a developmental type prospect. Devlin, one of the nation’s highest-rated quarterbacks, was outstanding as a senior in 2010 as he completed 261 of 384 passes for 3,032 yards and 22 touchdowns with just three interceptions. He led the nation in pass completion percentage with a mark of .680 and ranked No. 5 in passing rating with a total of 151.64. He has arm strength questions and is much more accurate within 15 yards than after. He also played in a QB friendly spread offense which makes it harder to translate to under the center pro styles. He anticipates holes well and leads his man to the ball on crossing routes, seam throws and deep balls which is important in the west coast offense. Also I know this doesn’t mean anything about the football player he is but he was born around the area in Downingtown, not that that matters at all when it comes to being able to play football.
Jerrod Johnson, 6’5" 251lbs, Texas A&M
I watched a lot of Texas A&M this year and this kid just looked terrible. He was the reason they lost the three regular season games they did. So why would I want him. He was coming off a bad shoulder injury. He went from a Heisman Trophy candidate to being benched in favor of his second best WR who just also happened to be the back up QB. That just doesn’t happen for no reason. He came into the offseason with a bad shoulder. They tried to fix it but it never came back to form. When I watched him play I saw weak slow passes. You could tell something was wrong from the start of the season. He just didn’t have the zip on the ball. He is a super athletic guy, big and strong, had a big arm before he got hurt. He holds 24 Texas A&M school records including career total offense (8,888 yards), career passing yards (8,011), career completions (650) and career touchdown passes (67). Johnson also holds two Big 12 and A&M records for passes without an interception to open a season (225 in 2009) and an overall streak without an interception (242 pass attempts in 2008-09). He has Intangibles coming out the rear end. He is a mature, hard-working leader in the huddle and off the field. When benched halfway through his senior season after setting countless records and being a preseason Heisman candidate he didn’t complain or mope around like most players would do, he did everything he could do to help his team win by getting Ryan Tannehill as ready as possible in prep for games and doing anything else the coached asked of him. If he can get healthy he might be a great diamond in the rough in the UDFA’s and be an eventual starter in the league with some work with Andy Reid. He had all the talent when he was Healthy.
Derrick Locke, 5’8" 188lbs, Kentucky
Locke has been an electrifying game-breaker for Kentucky during the past four years as a runner, receiver and kick returner. During his UK career, Locke rushed for 2,618 yards and 22 touchdowns and caught 95 passes for 883 yards and three TDs. He also holds the school career record for kickoff return average at 27.1 yards per return, including a pair of 100-yard touchdowns. Real fast but also real small, and has significant injury risk with his size at the NFL. He missed 4 games last year due to injury. Could be worth a pickup because of his ability to return kicks or play that Chad Hall role of last year.
Noel Devine, 5’8" 179lbs, West Virginia
His track speed and innate ability to elude defenders in the open field makes him extremely difficult to defend. Devine finished his career ranked fourth on the BIG EAST's all-time rushing list with 4,317 yards. Devine's frame -- 5-7, 160 -- and nagging foot and toe injuries the past two seasons have caused his draft stock to drop. Again could be worth a pickup because of his ability to return kicks or play that Chad Hall role of last year.
Terrence Toliver, 6’4" 212lbs, LSU
Toliver's numbers have been pedestrian throughout his entire career, with his junior season (53 receptions for 735 yards and three TDs) ranking as the most impressive. There aren't many receivers with a better size/speed combination than Toliver. Because of his inconsistent production he fell but his upside is worth a invite. Also you have to think that the production issues might have ben based on overall offense issues. The team only had 10 receiving TD’s all season long in 2010 and Toliver had 5 of the 10.
Dane Sanzenbacher, 5’11" 182lbs, Ohio State
He was a team captain in 2010. He was named team MVP and was the recipient of the Bo Rein Award as the Buckeye's most inspirational player. He finished his career as a first-team All-Big Ten receiver, leading the team in receptions (55), yards (948), and touchdowns (11). The problem is he is not that fast and he is pretty small, which is not a good thing for an NFL receiver to be, extremely limited upside but good hands. He has high football IQ and good overall awareness so he may be able to add some depth.
Zachary Hurd, 6’7" 316lbs, UCONN
Hurd was a talented leader for the Huskies for the past three seasons, starting all 39 games and also making his mark off the field. He was not only named a team captain in 2010 and unanimously named first-team All-Big East by league coaches, but nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team as well. Hurd is a talented drive blocker who also owns surprising athleticism, but can play out of control according to some draft experts. He lacks football instincts, but hopefully with Howard Mudd, he can coach him up into becoming at least a solid backup if not more. He has the talent just needs the coaching and technique. He did block for both Donald Brown and Jordan Todman who both put up some pretty big numbers.
Kristofer O’Dowd, 6’4" 304lbs, USC
Injuries are what have killed the reputation of O’Dowd. O'Dowd twice dislocated his right knee and underwent shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum after the 2009 season. He possesses very good size for the position and despite a slew of injuries, remains athletic enough to handle pass protection. Good technician but doesn’t have great power. He was considered one of the top 5 center prospects by most scouts. If he can stay healthy he could be a good center down the road.
Jake Kirkpatrick, 6’2" 302lbs, TCU
He's better than some of the centers drafted, and is one tough guy. This is another player from the Senior Bowl that teams missed out on. He only played one year of high school football. He won the Rimington Trophy as a senior for being the best center in college football. He is an unfinished project needing time to develop his abilities but has the talent to start eventually in the NFL and considering he only played one year of high school football he should have that much wear and tear on his body like Danny Watkins our first round pick. He played on a perfect 13-0 team as a senior so he knows what it takes to be a winner.
Ian Williams, 6’1" 319lbs, Notre Dame
Williams was playing well in 2010 before an injury took him out of action for the last four regular-season games. He made his 38th tackle of the season in the team's Sun Bowl win over Miami (Fla.), to go with 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks while eating up blocks inside. More of a nose tackle because he has the anchor and lower-body strength to hold up against double-team. Won’t really help the pass rush but solid player maybe like a Antonio Dixon type.
Colby Whitlock, 6’2" 302lbs, Texas Tech
In 2010 Whitlock set a career high with 57 tackles, 8.5 of which came for loss including two sacks, on his way to earning a spot on the coaches' All-Big 12 second team and the Associated Press All-Big 12 first team. He is a high motor guy but is nothing special in terms of his size.
Pierre Allen, 6’5" 273lbs, Nebraska
Allen received All-Big 12 accolades for his play in 2010. Allen had 65 tackles, 11 for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2010 after putting up 51-11-5 in 2009, starting all 28 games in two seasons. He could be the bigger D end we are looking for that can play the run and still get to the QB at times. He could be a solid role player down the line.
Mark Herzlich, 6’4" 245lbs, BC
He is my favorite UDFA. I would have used up to a fifth round pick on him but now that he is an UDFA he is a must get for the Eagles. Herzlich battled back from cancer in 2010. He is not 100 percent yet, but played well enough to be drafted. He could play Mike or Sam linebacker. He would have been a first-round pick, possibly top ten, if he came out before he got the cancer. Herzlich is a team leader. Apart from the obvious fighting cancer and beating it side he also was always known as a high character hard working guy. He is very instinctive with a high football IQ. He also has a non-stop motor and is extremely competitive. He sounds like a Andy Reid type of player.
2010: 65 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 4 INT, 4 passes broken up, 2 FF
2008: 110 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 6 Interceptions, 8 passes broken up, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 forced fumbles.
2007: 97 tackles 12 tackles for loss, 1.5 sack, 4 passes broken up, 1 INT, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 forced fumbles.
Also not like this really means anything about how the guy can play but he grew up right outside Philadelphia.
Scott Lutrus, 6’2" 240lbs, UCONN
Lutrus earned freshman All-American after starting all 13 games and finishing third on the team with 107 tackles. As a sophomore, he led the Huskies with 106 stops, making the All-Big East second team and developing a reputation as a serious ball hawk. Then injuries came into play and he missed 8 games with stingers. If he can stay healthy he could be a real good player that he showed he was becoming before his career got derailed.
Kendric Burney, 5’9" 186lbs, North Carolina
Burney was a first-team All-ACC performer in 2009 and a second-team selection in 2008. He came into the season as a second team preseason all American but after he played in just five games with much lower than expected production he seemed to be a disappointment. Burney ran slowly at the combine (4.69 40) and he small in stature but he seems to play faster and bigger on film. He was raved about all week at the Senior Bowl. He has a knack for being around the ball. He had 11 interceptions and he finished his career with 358 interception return yards, which ranks second all-time in the ACC. I think he could come in and give some competition for the nickel spot. Hanson is and has been great but he could be his eventual replacement.
DeAndre McDaniel, 6’0" 215lbs, Clemson
If Mark Herzlich is my favorite player DeAndre McDaniel is right there behind him. I loved both of these players in this draft and can’t believe neither of them where drafted even though I knew both of them had their own different issues. As a first-year freshman he earned First-Team All-ACC accolades from The Sporting News. In 2009 McDaniel had a 102 tackle, eight interception season that earned him consensus All-American recognition. The major flaw in his game is McDaniel is not very fast and because of that lacks the fluidity to cover the entire field. A hard worker and team player but comes with some character baggage, he is a natural playmaker with an excellent nose for the football. He is an intimidating presence over the middle. Also he has very good closing burst when the ball is in the air. He has good size and plays like he's 220 pounds. Sounds very familiar to a former Clemson safety that played for the eagles but with some major character concerns which has to be the reason he fell out of the draft completely. He had around a 4th round grade on him by most scouts. He had 285 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, 15 interceptions, 16 quarterback pressures, 20 pass breakups, and three caused fumbles in 2,683 snaps (eighth-most in school history) over 52 games (34 starts) in his career. In 2010 he was First-Team All-ACC again.
Deunta Williams, 6’1" 215lbs, UNC
Williams' season ended with a broken lower left leg in the Music City Bowl on December 31 so that may have been a major reason for his major drop down the draft boards. Another reason could be his drop in production now that he didn’t have such a great from line to cause havoc in front of him. He also was suspended for 4 games in 2010. So there are a number of things that may have lead to the fall of this once touted top prospect. He does still however posses great natural physical skills along with a pretty good frame. Coming out of high school he made the conversion from WR to safety as a true freshman so there is still some upside in that he is semi new to this position. He had a reputation as one of the best big-play defensive backs in the country coming into the year due to his already 14 career interceptions and All-ACC honors in 2009. Williams' size and athleticism make him one of the more intriguing free safeties in the country. He is worth a look to bring in and see if he can back up Nate Allen at free safety especially if he is hampered in the beginning of the year by his injury.
Jeron Johnson, 5’10" 210lbs, Boise State
He is an undersized safety that plays like a 250-pound linebacker and shows no regard for his body when catapulting himself at ball carriers. He has some similar qualities to Bob Sanders in that regard. You can’t ignore Johnson's physical style of play but he sometimes fails to wrap up on ball carriers. He lead the team in tackles as a sophomore, junior and senior. In 2010 he was first team All-WAC. He finished his career ranked 12th all-time in career tackles (318) at Boise State. He was most likely undrafted due to his size and the fact that he could be a major injury risk going forward in the NFL with his physical style of play also like Bob Sanders even though he has yet to run into those problems. Not having great range in coverage doesn’t help him either. I think he has some good tough qualities in him that would definitely be worth a look at in training camp and at the very least he would be an excellent special teams player with a chance to prove he can have similar success on the NFL level as he did in the WAC even with his size limitations.
Now what I would love to see happen:
I would love to see the eagles try and sign Mark Herzlich, Kendric Burney, DeAndre McDaniel, Deunta Williams, Ian Williams, Jake Kirkpatrick, Terrence Toliver, Derrick Locke, Jerrod Johnson. Simple thing here is they all have issues whether it be physical coming off injury or just doubts of physical characteristics like size/speed or whether it be off the field issues we may not know about. They all were not drafted for a reason but they all have been good football players at some points in their college careers or have the talents to play in the NFL if they can fix these problems that got them to be UDFA’s in the first place. Bottom line if they don’t get the problems corrected or can’t physically hold up in the NFL they can be released and we never even used a pick on them.
My reasons for each are:
Mark Herzlich: I just like the guy and his possible talent. If he can come back healthy and get his speed and strength back we get one of the biggest finds in the draft.
Kendric Burney: I think he can be a solid nickel corner in this league and with Hanson getting older and making some good money it might be time to try and groom his replacement and he would have time then to develop and learn under Hanson.
DeAndre McDaniel: He has talent no questions about that, the question is why did every team pass on that talent. He obviously has some sort of off the field issues that are scaring people away. At this point it doesn’t even cost a pick so sign him let him know the deal and if anything happens the eagles don’t like or if he gives off any wrong vibes let him go and move on.
Deunta Williams: He too has issues like a talked about but bring him in and see if they can’t straighten them out whether they be on the field or off. He seems to at least have the athletic ability to compete for a back-up role behind Nate Allen
Iam Williams: He could come in as a situational run stuffer on third and short possibly as he is said to anchor well. Maybe with Washburn he can be taught to collapse the pocket with this lower body push.
Jake Kirkpatrick: I like this guy a lot too. Has only played one year in high school so relatively fresh to the sport and might mean he has some upside to grow as a player. Also he was the Rimington Trophy winner and I feel like that at least warrants a shot to see what he has.
Terrence Toliver: He has the size and athletic ability to be a WR in the NFL. He just hasn’t put up good numbers. My question is was it because of a poor throwing offense and what could a much better one like the eagles do for him. Only one way to find out and that’s give him a chance.
Derrick Locke: = this years Chad Hall, he could also help in the return game as he was very good in college
Jerrod Johnson: this one is easy if his arm strength comes back then he can be a solid developmental player especially under Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg, if not he has no chance in the NFL
Let me know what you think. Who is your favorite UDFA?