While so much attention is paid to NFL draft picks, college free agents are often overlooked simply because they weren’t drafted.
Every year, one or two undrafted free agents seem to make each 53-man roster. I asked college prospect guru Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. to rank the best undrafted free agents who signed with AFC West teams. The Oakland Raiders have not announced their class, but several of the players who have agreed to terms with them have been reported, but still they remain unofficial at this point.
Muench appears to love what the Denver Broncos and Raiders have done in undrafted free agency. At the very least, perhaps we will see some of these players on practice squads come September. Here are Muench’s rankings:
1. Denver, Coryell Judie, CB ,5-11 190, Texas A&M
Judie has had problems staying healthy and he’s coming off a disappointing senior season but he flashed decent man-to-man cover skills and the potential to develop into a playmaker in 2010.
2. Denver, Jamie Blatnick, DE, 6-3 265, Oklahoma State
Blatnick doesn’t have the burst or closing speed teams covet in edge rushers and he needs to play with better pad level as a run stopper. He is, however, a hard worker who is strong enough to set the edge and can get to the quarterback with effort.
3. Oakland, Lucas Nix, OG, 6-5, 317, Pittsburgh
Nix is a mauler who makes up for limited athletic ability with tenacity. He is big enough to engulf smaller defensive tackles and strong enough to anchor in pass protection.
4. Oakland, Aaron Henry, S, 6-0 208, Wisconsin
Henry is a corner/safety hybrid who doesn’t have great cover skills for a corner and is an inconsistent tackler for a safety. On the other hand, he has the potential to develop into an effective sub-package safety that can line up over the slot. He is also physical in coverage making him a good fit for Oakland’s scheme.
5. Denver, Steven Johnson, LB, 6-1 237, Kansas
Johnson is a two-down linebacker at this point. He is an effective run defender who can shed blocks and shows decent range. He just doesn’t offer much as a pass-rusher and he can’t consistently match up in coverage.
6. Oakland, Conroy Black, CB, 5-11 185, Utah
Black’s recovery speed masks his average-at-best instincts and discipline. He flashes the ability to make plays in coverage and his ability to turn and run makes him a good fit for the Raiders’ scheme.
7. Denver, Anthony Miller, TE, 6-4 260, California
Denver has a number of quality receiving tight ends. They needed a blocking tight end and they may have gotten one in Miller. Miller gets into position, locks on and blocks trough the whistle.
8. Denver, Gerell Robinson, WR, 6-4 222, Arizona State
Robinson is a big bodied receiver with above average ball skills. While he’ll have some difficulty separating from man coverage, he is a zone buster who can shield defenders from the ball.
9. Kansas City, Tyson Hartman, S, 6-3, 206, Kansas State
Hartman doesn’t have great cover skills for a safety but he is a smart football player who steps up in run support and can contribute on special teams.
10. San Diego, Christian Tupou, DE, 6-2 289, USC
Durability is a concern and he doesn’t have ideal arm length for a defensive end prospect, especially in a 3-4 scheme. However, he has the low center of gravity and core strength to develop into a tough run stopper.
Denver, Jerry Franklin, LB, 6-1 245, Arkansas
Kansas City, Dexter Heyman, MLB, 6-3 238, Louisville
Oakland, Chaz Powell, CB, 6-0 203, Penn State
Oakland Dominique Hamilton DT 6-5 313 Missouri
Oakland, Thomas Mayo, WR, 6-1 207, Cal (PA)
San Diego, Jarrett Lee, QB, 6-2 208, LSU
San Diego, Michael Willie, WR, 6-2 218, Arizona State