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Warner leads list of undrafted in NFC West

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Len Pasquarelli's piece about undrafted free agents sent me diving into my league-wide roster database to see how many such players achieve Pro Bowl status.

I found 38 such players: 14 specialists, seven offensive linemen, four quarterbacks, four linebackers, four running backs, two receivers, two defensive linemen and one tight end.

Three of the 38 play in the NFC West: Quarterback Kurt Warner (Arizona), offensive lineman Mike Wahle (Seattle) and kicker Olindo Mare (Seattle).

Potential undrafted 2009 starters for NFC West teams:

Arizona: Warner, center Lyle Sendlein, tight end Stephen Spach

San Francisco: quarterback Shaun Hill, defensive end Demetric Evans

St. Louis: safety James Butler

Seattle: Wahle, safety Brian Russell, defensive tackle Colin Cole

I did not list 49ers tackle Barry Sims, Rams linebacker Quinton Culberson, Rams tackle Adam Goldberg or Rams defensive end James Hall as potential starters. It's conceivable but unlikely that they would earn starting jobs this season.

One thing stood out about the league-wide totals: Zero defensive backs among the group. That surprised me some. I figured a current safety or two might have broken through.

Cornerback could be a position where moxie, scrappiness and hard work do not translate as much. Those traits help, but to play that position, you had better be a phenomenal athlete with the ability to function under rules amended to favor passing games. And if you're one of those athletes, you're probably getting drafted. Just a thought.

Teams do not value specialists enough to draft them frequently. That probably explains why so many undrafted specialists earn Pro Bowl berths. Kickers, punters and snappers play in Pro Bowls regardless of how many are drafted. Offensive linemen were going to be well-represented on the list because five play at a time and [relatively] less athletic ones can sometimes play the interior positions at a high level.