Blogs

Undrafted But Not Undeserving

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 30, 2012 – 6:03 am

It may be hard to believe, but after seven rounds of the NFL draft concluded and 253 players were selected, NFL-caliber players remain unclaimed and are looking to begin their pro careers. Going undrafted does not mean you are undeserving.

Two of the best players in franchise went undrafted, in fact, as Vikings Ring of Honor members John Randle and Mick Tingelhoff were both slighted by NFL teams during the draft; Randle is now a Hall of Famer. Furthermore, the following NFL stars were also initially judged as not worthy of being drafted: WR Miles Austin, S Ryan Clark, WR Victor Cruz, RB Arian Foster, TE Antonio Gates, LBs James Harrison and London Fletcher, QB Tony Romo and WR Wes Welker.

So who are the undrafted players this year that will soon become NFL stars? We don’t know that yet, but here’s a list of candidates to watch…

C Mike Brewster: An experienced, four-year starter for Ohio State, Brewster was a surprise undrafted player for me. He ranks second in school history with 49 consecutive starts and he’s known as a fiery and scrappy competitor.

LB Vontaze Burfict: The fall from prominence Burfict experienced over the past year is remarkable. He was once considered an elite LB prospect and potential 1st-round pick, but a rash of issues have since arisen and ultimately Burfict went undrafted this past weekend. Burfict was benched as a senior, committed several personal foul penalties, is considered a bad locker room influence and then bombed at the Combine and at his pro day. But he plays with aggression, physicality and passion.

CB Donnie Fletcher: Supposedly a subpar senior season and Senior Bowl performance hurt Fletcher’s draft stock, but he does have good size for the position (6-0, 201 pounds) and scouts like his ability to make plays (11 career INTs). Some say he’s pigeon-holed as Cover 2 player, so perhaps that caused him to slide?

CB Cliff Harris: An electric athlete with elite return skills, Harris is no doubt a better returner than defender. He did intercept Stanford’s Andrew Luck four times, though, and there’s nothing wrong with having great athletes on your team. Character concerns may have hurt his draft stock, as he had multiple run-ins with the law, multiple suspensions at Oregon and was ultimately dismissed from the program.

CB Leonard Johnson: A member of the North squad at this year’s Senior Bowl, Johnson was a solid-not-spectacular performer down in Mobile. A lot of scouts pigeon-hole Johnson as a Cover 2 CB, which could’ve hurt his draft stock. He’s also not an exceptional athlete, which is a tough label to overcome for a CB. I thought he’d be a mid-round selection at best, late-round selection at worst. But he went undrafted, and some team could find some good value in bringing him to camp.

CB Chase Minnifield: The kid has NFL bloodlines (father played), lots of experience, and moderate production while playing at the University of Virginia. He had 9 INTs during final his two seasons and has return experience as well. Minnifield is described as hard worker, versatile and a good character guy. Scouts say he’ll support the run, but he also needs to get stronger and tends to grab and clutch receivers down the field. Doesn’t have great athleticism overall, but is a smart player and could develop as a sub-package player with special teams ability.

QB Kellen Moore: If you look at his statistics and won-loss record in college, there’s no way to view him as an undrafted prospect. But there’s more to it than that, and as a result Moore was not chosen with a draft pick this year. He was also on the North squad at the Senior Bowl, and I saw first-hand that he doesn’t have a strong arm, has an awkward hitch in his delivery and doesn’t have the stature you associate with NFL QBs. But I would also say that you rarely see a QB get rid of the ball on time as consistently or with such an easy rhythm, and I was also impressed with Moore’s accuracy.

RB Chris Polk: Lack of production is certainly not the reason Polk went undrafted. He became just the third Washington player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season multiple times and he finished his career as the second-leading rusher in school history with 4,049 yards. Polk is also just one of seven Pac-10 (now Pac-12) players to rush for more than 4,000 yards. He took a medical redshirt in 2008 for shoulder injury and reports say he runs high and doesn’t have breakaway speed.


Tags:
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 23 Comments »


23 Responses to “Undrafted But Not Undeserving”

  1. By Mike B. on Apr 30, 2012 | Reply

    First

  2. By Mike B. on Apr 30, 2012 | Reply

    I believe all these guys are now signed by other teams.

  3. By Mike B. on Apr 30, 2012 | Reply

    I know some wanted the Vikings to pick Vontaze Burfict in the seventh round. I am glad they didn’t as we don’t need character issues on the team.

  4. By Cody C on Apr 30, 2012 | Reply

    James Harrison, London Fletcher and Vontaze Burfict all names go together

  5. By Rocksalt on Apr 30, 2012 | Reply

    Mike B is right…… this list is old news

  6. By Spencer on Apr 30, 2012 | Reply

    The thing I love about Josh Robinson is that it’s not just the speed, it’s the outstanding vertical leap as well – which is how you defend taller receivers in jump ball situations. It will be interesting to see how J-Smoove fares against Megatron, Brandon Marshall, and Alshon Jeffery.

  7. By Mike Wobschall on Apr 30, 2012 | Reply

    The list isn’t old news. These are undrafted players who could become good pros, not players who don’t have teams.

  8. By snowro on Apr 30, 2012 | Reply

    Really glad we got Kellen Moore! HE is super small, but the guy is a proven winner. Great Job Vikes!

  9. By Frederick Jones on Apr 30, 2012 | Reply

    We are beginning to see a pattern in Rick Spielman’s drafting. It was fantastic to get the 13 picks (which reverted back to 10), and I think we did well with them.

    But…But…But…we seem to be AFRAID to scare our current players by drafting new players who would replace them.

    You might guess that I am talking about the OFFENSIVE LINE, and you are right. As I see it I am firmly entrenched in that role. NO ONE else cares enough to fight for what is right!!!

    We will be 8-8 this year, mainly because of the schedule.

    Maybe Schwartz or some other current Viking will emerge. If not we are in deep, doggy, doo for 2013!!

  10. By PurplHaze on Apr 30, 2012 | Reply

    Others HAVE to emerge, FJ … We lost two starting guards. Give the guys on the roster a chance, I say. Some have come on the field in backup roles and done well for us. I think there’s no arguing that our line will be MUCH IMPROVED over what we had to endure last season.

    As to the Undrafted Free Agents, there’s no doubt that there’s talent out there to be had. I hope some of the guys we’re giving a shot prove to be contributors to the Vikings roster. SKOL!!!

  11. By Anthony on Apr 30, 2012 | Reply

    snowro- This isn’t a list of players the Vikings have signed it’s just a list of players who went undrafted. Kellen Moore didn’t sign with us he signed withe the Lions. Some of these players have already signed with teams that I know of the other might have but I’m not sure but if Harris is still available I’d love to see the Vikes go after him ya he had some character concerns but with good coaching that can be fixed. I watched him a lot when he was with Oregon and he did awesome he was one of my favorite Ducks at the time so if he’s still available I’d love to see us go after him. Mannifield would be my next guy but I really want Harris. Go Minnesota Vikings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. By Rogerthevikefan on Apr 30, 2012 | Reply

    2013 draft prospects: DT Jesse Williams Alabama 6’4 320 llbs. Would be perfect for rebuilding the Williams Wall. MLB Manti Te’o Notre Dame 6’2 250 llbs. Would fit in with the rest of the Golden Domers. WR Da’Rick Rogers Tennesse 6’3 210 llbs. Really talented receiver.

  13. By Rick on May 1, 2012 | Reply

    Thirteenth!!!!

  14. By puckertrucker on May 1, 2012 | Reply

    To all The Minnesota Vikings Fans and Voters of MN: ITS TIME TO REFRESH THE MEMORIES OF THE POLITICIANS OF MINNESOTA THAT ARE HEMMING AND HAWING ON THE STADIUM BILL, REMEMBER THAT NOVEMBER IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER AND THAT THE POLITICIANS THAT WANT TO VOTE AGAINST THE STADIUM BILL, THEIR POLITICAL FUTURES COULD BE AT STAKE, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THEY DON’T HAVE THE STATES WELFARE, OR THE CITIZENS WELFARE AT HEART AND ALL THEY WANT IS WHAT THEY CAN STEAL FROM THE CITIZENS OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA. JUST REMEMBER IT’S THE VIKINGS THAT ARE THE STRONG COMMODITY FOR THE STATE, AND THE NEW STADIUM COULD CREATE ALOT OF JOBS THAT WE SORELY NEED AND THE INCREASED TAX BASE THAT THE VIKINGS WILL PROVIDE IS WHAT WE NEED. SO JUST REMEMBER CITIZENS THERE WILL ALWAYS BE POLITICIANS LOOKING TO GET VOTED INTO OFFICE, BUT THERE IS ONLY ONE MINNESOTA VIKINGS TEAM AND WE DON’T WANT THEM TO LEAVE OR COULD THIS STATE AFFORD TO HAVE THEM LEAVE. The One and Only PuckerTrucker!!!!!!!!!!Skol fans

  15. By puckertrucker on May 1, 2012 | Reply

    What happened to Dale Moss Wide out from South Dakota. if he’s still around pick him up and at least put him on the practice squad. The One and Only PuckerTrucker!!!!!!!!!Skol Fans

  16. By Rogerthevikefan on May 1, 2012 | Reply

    New stadium idea being flowted around in the legislater for a roofless dome. With the possibility of having a roof added later on. StarTribune has the full story.

  17. By VegasVike on May 1, 2012 | Reply

    A roofless dome?? What makes it a dome?? And where will the reindeer land?? Inquiring minds want to know. Haha, just kidding Roger, just build something!!

  18. By Rogerthevikefan on May 1, 2012 | Reply

    Vegasvike was in the middle of a thought then spaced out so it was really two thoughts in one sentence that I didn’t double check before posting. But glad it got a laugh.

  19. By Rogerthevikefan on May 1, 2012 | Reply

    Caleb King is now a former Viking. To bad could have scared the suits in the capital into building a stadium.

  20. By drew on May 2, 2012 | Reply

    We do this every year! We sign player that can’t play and wasn’t draft for a reason. We get them cheap and then we wonder why we only won three games.

  21. By bobrice2011 on May 2, 2012 | Reply

    How about a list of the undrafted player the Vikings signed?!

  22. By a on Jun 6, 2012 | Reply

    Will it blend?

    polldaddy rating=”5904239″

  23. By a on Jun 6, 2012 | Reply

    f

Post a Comment