Undrafted Doesn’t Mean Unimportant

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 13, 2010 – 9:29 am

Later this month, former Vikings DT John Randle will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Any Hall of Fame career is remarkable, but it’s especially remarkable when a player – such as Randle – turns out to be a Hall of Famer after entering the NFL as an undrafted player.

For as much attention as the NFL draft receives annually, it’s easy to forget how important undrafted players are to every NFL team. With teams required to fill out 53-man rosters and also limited by the salary cap each season, there is only so much room for high-priced players with 1st-round pedigree. This is where the importance of finding productive undrafted players comes in.

With that in mind, Pro Football Weekly recently pointed out some of the league’s best undrafted players currently on NFL rosters. And 2 Vikings made the list – LB Heath Farwell and DT Pat Williams. If you click on the link above it’ll take you to a page that lists PFW’s 2010 All-Undrafted Team.

Making the Vikings roster this season as an undrafted rookie is a tough task, largely because the Vikings return 22 starters from last year and also selected 8 players in this year’s draft. But let’s take a quick look at 3 undrafted players currently on the Vikings roster who might have a shot at coming out of training camp with a job.

OT Bill Noethlich – A 6-7, 308-pound OT, Noethlich will enter camp as 1 of 14 OL, but the Vikings will be looking for versatile players who can fulfill reserve rolls. If Noethlich can display an ability to play both LT and RT, perhaps he’ll carve a niche for himself on this roster. Noethlich’s story of making the roster would be a good one because he’s a native of Doland, SD and he played college football at Southwest Minnesota State.

S Terrell Skinner – College football fans may find this name familiar because Skinner played for the University of Maryland, beginning his career there as a redshirt freshman in 2005 and playing all the way through his senior season in 2009. I’m not familiar with his injury history and I haven’t spoken in-depth with any coaches or scouts regarding Skinner, but he strikes me as a player with a chance. He was converted from WR to DB at Maryland and stands at 6-2, 214 pounds. So his size is great and his ball skills should be solid. But if Skinner is going to make the Vikings coming out of training camp, his best bet might be to prove his worth as a special teams contributor first.

WR Ray Small – The Vikings have 3 solid starting WRs and because of the NFL’s graduation rule Small was unable to attend much of the Vikings offseason program. But even given all of that, Small should come to training camp with an ambitious mindset. Although the top 3 spots on the WR depth chart are locked up, there could be a couple more openings on the roster AND I believe Small will have a chance to win either the kick or punt return job.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “Undrafted Doesn’t Mean Unimportant”

  1. By Carl K on Jul 13, 2010 | Reply

    Ray Small is a great prospect. 4.44 speed with good hands and was one of the top 10 in the country as a punt returner. However, his last 2 years at Ohio State he was always in Coach Tressel’s Dog house. He has been suspended and benched multipal times for missing meeting and skipping class. Coach Childress seems to have a knack for turning these types of players around. What happened to undrafted WR Kelton Tindal? I heard he was the fastest player in the NCAA.

  2. By Pat the Viking on Jul 13, 2010 | Reply

    I think Tindal got cut -

    John Randle deserves to be in the Hall of Fame – he had a motor and kept it Rev up all game.

    I hope these 3 undrafted players turn out to be a great asset as John Randle was to the Vikings

  3. By Rogerthevikefan on Jul 13, 2010 | Reply

    Hope the big man Noethlich is as good as his size suggest. Hopefully Skinner pushes johnson and williams. The undrafted guys always seem to work harder then high draft picks so good luck boys.

  4. By Carl K on Jul 13, 2010 | Reply

    Mike good pick with Terrell Skinner. I am finding some predraft scouting reports that say he has potential to develope into a quality NFL safty. Big guy with some quickness and likes to tackle. Some reports had Terrell possibly being drafted as high as round three. He played very good in the senior bowl. Wow, sounds like the Vikings got a steal.

  5. By PurplePeopleEater on Jul 13, 2010 | Reply

    Carl – if your news is accurate, WOW. I’m definitely rooting for this guy. If he excels into a quality player it will help to solidify the weakest portion of our otherwise stellar defense.

  6. By matt w on Jul 14, 2010 | Reply

    im with you rodgerthevikingfan. I hope bill noethlich is good, maybe he will push mckinnie. For skinner that would be awesome and it could explain why the vikings didn’t pursue a safety in the draft. If skinner turns out to be that good, we can put williams on special teams if he plays the same way he did this last year

  7. By Carl K on Jul 14, 2010 | Reply

    It is fun to google some of these kids and see what you find. Here is one report on Skinner
    They have him ranked 157 over all and a fourth round grade.
    I probably need to get a life. Too much time on my hands I guess.

  8. By Rogerthevikefan on Jul 14, 2010 | Reply

    Skinner can tackle rbs something m.williams and johnson seems unable to do. In the senior bowl he crushed multiple rbs. I think he’ll be better the williams with out a dout.

  9. By Carl K on Jul 14, 2010 | Reply

    Great story behind Bill Noethlick. Played nine man football in highschool, persevered through family tragedy, started 40 consecutive games at Southwest Minnesota State.

    Mike – This kid would be a good interview for you. I would love to know what nine man football is all about. Hear more about his personal story… maybe interview one of our scouts to see what they like in this kid from a football standpoint.

  10. By Mike T. on Jul 14, 2010 | Reply

    Tindal did get cut he was actually cut after the first few Minicamp practices

  11. By John Tillmann on Jul 15, 2010 | Reply

    I have been a fan since’61′ when fran beat the Bears in game one. This is our year to howl! Keep Randall Cunningham in your thoughts, as he recently lost a son in a tragic drowning! JCT Las Vegas NV

  12. By Carl K on Jul 16, 2010 | Reply

    I was curious about Tindal because of his elite speed – and had him ranked higher as a wr than Ray Small. I think Mike Wobschall is right that Ray Small has strong value as a punt and kickoff returner. I also believe he was significantly under utilized at Ohio State, which hurt his NFL draft stock. If Ray can show the coaches he is mature and has a great work ethic… He just might turn out to be a gem.

  13. By shep on Jul 16, 2010 | Reply

    My fave player brett favre second lito sheppard third adrin peterson

  14. By Brian on Jul 17, 2010 | Reply

    Here’s the link on what Bill Noethlich has overcome throughout his life

  15. By Rogerthevikefan on Jul 18, 2010 | Reply

    Bill has a good story hope it works out for him

  16. By vikesfan#1 on Jul 21, 2010 | Reply

    rogerthevikingfan, i agree with u. hope skinner and sanford can push johnson and williams for starting job.

  17. By vikesfan#1 on Jul 21, 2010 | Reply

    love noethlitch’s story

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