I firmly believe – and not just from watching “Hard Knocks” – that coaches have always wished they had larger rosters and are going to be especially paranoid about injuries this pre-season, as their hawk eyes have not been able to dissect their players’ developments nor monitor their conditioning. This could enact a rare opportunity for undrafted free agents – and the bottom fourth of the rosters if they get expanded – to get increased playing time in the preseason, specifically the first game.
Here I’ll attempt to predict where these top undrafted free agents will land, understanding that a lot of these players will get to choose from offers of 2-11 teams.
Kendric Burney, cornerback, North Carolina. Burney has a tendency to sit on routes and he struggles in press coverage but has the great closing speed and tackling you need for the Cover 2. Tampa Bay has shown an ability to get great returns from young players and build depth for when the older guys leave or get cut. Burney could learn for a year, then challenge E.J. Biggers and Elbert Mack for the chance to line up across from Talib when Barber retires. Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Adam Weber, quarterback, Minnesota. This guy is the epitome of a diamond in the rough. He has average arm strength but throws deep with a pretty good spiral. He has a quick delivery and good pocket presence. Minnesota is kind of the Big 10’s Vanderbilt, picked on by the rest of the conference. Weber had no stability around him and few playmakers to boost his confidence. He certainly has some developing left but I see his smarts and skills appealing to a team with an elite offensive mind like Andy Reid, Sean Payton or Josh McDaniels at the helm. It’s time for Payton to groom the eventual replacement for Drew Brees, and I think Weber defeats Daniel on arm strength. Prediction: New Orleans Saints.
Pat Devlin, quarterback, Delaware. No team has a thinner quarterbacking group than the one in Oakland (Campbell-Frye). No owner forces his love for arm strength on his employees like Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders. Prediction: Oakland Raiders.
Derrick Locke, running back, Kentucky. The top Bengals back, Cedric Benson, averaged just 3.5 ypc last year. They obviously need better blocking for him but he’s pretty much the opposite of explosive. Benson’s never averaged above 4.2 ypc for a season across six of them. Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals.
Also, I was a little disappointed to see Southern Arkansas DT Cedric Thornton go to the UFL because I think he would definitely get signed and have a great chance to prove himself. He’ll still have an opportunity when the UFL season is over.