Over the last week, the NFL’s 32 teams were in Indianapolis for the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine in an effort to continue their analysis of this year’s class of draft-eligible players. While much of the attention from fans and the media is focused on the top-rated prospects who will be selected in the early stages of the draft, NFL teams must also concentrate on prospects who will be available in later rounds.
There’s no doubt that hitting home runs with 1st-round picks is key to success in the NFL. But if you do some research, you’ll see that selections in rounds 2-7 and also the signing of undrafted rookie free agents are just as important. We’ll have more on this in the next blog entry.
For now, though, I wanted to focus on one of those later-round selections who made an impact with the Vikings in 2010. G Chris DeGeare was a 5th-round pick (#161 overall) in 2010 and Spielman was quite complimentary of his performance as a rookie. DeGeare had a terrific offseason and training camp last year, but then dealt with an injury early in the season. Eventually, though, DeGeare got to full strength and found himself playing significant minutes in the second half of the season.
“Last year Chris DeGeare stepped in and after he got his feet wet and got his feet underneath him and started working,” Spielman said. “You’ve seen him start to move up the ladder a little bit and progress each game.”
Spielman went on to point out that DeGeare’s play was even more impressive when you consider that he switched positions after being drafted. DeGeare played a lot of OT in college, but he showed no hesitancy or resistance in making the change with Minnesota. Once he adjust to the speed of the game, Spielman said, DeGeare progressed well game-after-game.
“What I always look for,” Spielman explained, “is when you sit there and evaluate these young guys, ‘Are they continuing to grow? Are they continuing to get better? Are they going down?’ They’re going to have their ups and downs. They’re going to have some good games and some bad games. But as long as you see the progress there you can get pretty excited about what they potentially could bring.
“We felt very strongly with how he played at the end of the season.”
Tags: Chris DeGeare, Rick Spielman
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