In this week's Big 12 Take Two, we debate which Big 12 undrafted free agent pickup could thrive the most in the NFL:
Take 1: Brandon Chatmon — Eric Striker
The boisterous former Oklahoma linebacker signed with the Buffalo Bills and could be a perfect fit in a Rex Ryan’s defense. Striker is already making headlines off the field after questioning how much better chicken wings could be in Buffalo, but he has the mentality to make headlines on the field as well if he can make a great impression on Ryan during the offseason and training camp.
Striker was a core member of Oklahoma’s special teams as a freshman in 2012, so if he can transfer his ability to make an impact on special teams to the NFL, that would increase his chances of cementing a spot on the roster while giving himself a chance to impress and become an impact player on defense with a roster spot secured. Striker has shown he can be a handful in pass-rush scenarios against college linemen, but if he’s able to do the same at the next level, which wouldn’t be a surprise, he could become a valuable chess piece for a guy like Ryan. Going undrafted seemed like the worst-case scenario for Striker, yet he might just have ended up with the perfect team and perfect coach to change his nightmare start to a pro career into a joyous ending.
Take 2: Jake Trotter -- Trevone Boykin
I don't know if Boykin will start an NFL game, especially in his initial seasons in the league. But he could become a valuable backup to Russell Wilson in Seattle.
Tarvaris Jackson, who remains unsigned, has been Wilson's backup the last three seasons. Jackson could still return. But Seattle might be inclined to turn that position over to Boykin the way he looked in rookie minicamp.
"His versatility and his style of play is so similar to Russell’s," Seattle coach Pete Carroll told ESPN.com. "He’s got a big arm. He’s a very creative athlete. He’s got great instincts and great vision. His ability to run and make people miss and get out of trouble is very similar to what Russell does. I thought that the opportunity to have both those guys in the same offense, it gives us a chance -- if it works out, and we’ve got a long way to go -- if it works out, to maintain continuity with one of the backups."
Continuity with the backup is something often missing in the NFL. When a starting quarterback goes down, a team has completely rework the offense to fit the skills of the backup. Yet in this case, if Wilson went down, Seattle could insert Boykin and the leave the offense as it is.
That could make the Seahawks a better team.
And make Boykin a valuable piece for one of the best franchises in the sport.