By Browns Gab Columnist Derek McQuaid
Not every player gets to hear their name called on draft day, but that doesn’t mean they won’t find themselves on an NFL roster. When the draft is over, teams usually get to work right away finding and signing the undrafted rookies. Every once in a while, it pays off for both the team – and the player.
The NFL Hall of Fame is filled with undrafted talent. Dick “Night Train” Lane (14 seasons), Warren Moon (17 seasons) and Lou “The Toe” Groza (21 seasons) all went undrafted and found themselves in Canton. Antonio Gates (Chargers), Tony Romo (Cowboys) and Jeff Saturday (Colts) all received phone calls well after the draft and have all been named Pro-Bowlers for their current teams.
The Browns even have an undrafted star on their roster in Josh Cribbs. So here’s a list of potential stars the Cleveland Browns should extend phone calls too once the lockout is lifted…
1. Mark Herzlich, LB, Boston College
Everyone knows this kid’s story: Former ACC Defensive Player of the Year, who missed the entire 2009 season while battling cancer. He returned for the 2010 season, and finished the season with 65 tackles – 50 of those solo. The Browns need help at linebacker on the inside and the outside. Herzlich is a top 10 talent, who is only going to get better. He leaves Boston College with 314 tackles, 7 forced fumbles and 11 career INTs. The former All-American would at least provide depth to the Browns line backing unit, but has the potential to be a star.
2. Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, WR, Iowa
Koulianos has the talent to play in the NFL, but trouble off the field raised big concerns about drafting the former Iowa star. DJK was suspended for the Hawkeyes bowl game, when he was arrested on drug charges. However, his stats on the field are certainly worth a look. He leaves Iowa with 2616 receiving yards with 173 receptions and 17 TDs. He’s only 5’11”, but with Cleveland’s transition to the west coast offense, he could contend for playing time among the current Cleveland receivers. If the Browns were willing to take a fly on Greg Little, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos is definitely worth a look and has played the game more recently. Even if it’s just for depth, Holmgren and Heckert should consider signing Koulianos.
3. Nick Bellore, LB, Central Michigan
Again, the Cleveland Browns need depth at linebacker. Nick Bellore started the first 51 games of his career, and his 472 total tackles for the Chippewas ranks third in school history. Bellore plays the game with a certain toughness that could translate well into the NFL. He also earned All-MAC first team honors in three different years while in college. Bellore would bring a nice toughness to the Browns backing core, and has a worth ethic that could eventually find himself in the starting line-up.
4. Pierre Allen, DE, Nebraska
The Browns drafted Pitt DE Jabaal Sheard in the 2nd Rd. of this year’s draft, but they could still use a playmaker to add depth along the defensive line. Allen was pivotal in helping the Nebraska D return to glory over the pass two years, and tallied 65 total tackles with 11 of those tackles for a loss. The former First-Team All Big-12 selection has decent size (6’5” 265 lbs) but has a high motor when it comes to disrupting opposing backfields. Allen will most likely provide depth for his first few years in the league, but has the will and desire to be a star. He’s certainly worth a look.
Click HERE to read the rest