This post is for all of UDFA nerds out there. I love me some UDFA's every year because there's always one guy that we all fall in love with. The odds are stacked against the guys even making the practice squad but somehow I just watch the movie Rudy in my head when I think about UDFA's. With all that being said, here's a quick look at each of our UDFA's this year. First the two brothers that we got:
Fordham TE Stephen Skelton:The short story on Skelton is that he's a wide receiver in a tight end's body. He's got good hands, he gets in and out of his breaks well and opposing defenses have had to resort to putting a corner on him. He excels when split out and ran pretty well at his pro day (4.70). The negatives are though about what you'd expect from a pass catching TE. He doesn't block well and despite his good size (6'5, 250), he can get manhandled at the line of scrimmage. He too often strands straight up out of his stance and at times can't recover from getting bumped when lined up in a three point stance.
University of Miami SS Jared Campbell:Jared's lucky that his brother is a member of the Cards, because that's the only reason he was signed. Jared started six games as a junior but lost his job and didn't start at all as a senior. He's played alot on special teams but that's about his only strength.
Northern Arizona WR Daiveun Curry-Chapman:Chapman's a big wideout (6'1, 209) who got better every year in college. He's described as being more quick than fast (4.60 forty) and some suggest he'll be able to use his size and quickness to excel in the slot. A decent route runner who has some elusiveness after the catch and has at least some ability to run reverses and throw the ball. He'll have to get stronger and needs to improve his blocking as well as his ability to make the tough catch. I didn't see any report or stats that he's returned kicks or punts in the past.
Fresno State CB Desia Dunn: To be honest, I couldn't find a single scouting report on Dunn. He is a smaller corner (5'8, 191) but has pretty decent athletic ability (4.51 forty). He was a three year starter but didn't accumulate the kind of stats that impress anyone (3 picks and 18 passes defended in 38 games. I did find a lengthy highlight video and here are my thoughts based solely on that (disclaimer: I'm no NFL scout obviously, just a guy who's wife get's pissed that I watch too much football). He's a solid, aggressive tackler, especially for his size, who will fight through the trash to to find the ball carrier and he never gives up on a play. There were hardly any highlights that showed him running downfield with WRs and knocking the ball down so you have to assume he's not a great cover corner. His picks came off poorly thrown balls and at least one where the QB was crushed as he was throwing and the ball just fluttered up in the air. He did seem to have some instincts in zone coverage so maybe you could hide his limitations by playing him in zone packages. I really wish he was bigger because he looks like a safety when he tackles, but for now I can't see him being much more than solid special teams player. Oh and he started a blog to get some videos out there of him working out so maybe he'd be willing to come on ROTB and talk to someone.
Baylor P Derek Epperson: No offense to punters, but he's a punter, he can kick the crap out of the ball. What else do you need to know? He was all Big -12 and played for Baylor so he obviously punted ALOT.
Wofford S Tommy Irvin:Irvin has decent size for a safety (6'0, 209) but is pretty limited athlete (4.71 forty at Pro Day). We did bring him in for a private workout back in March so at least he seems like a guy we wanted all along. He's consistently listed as an "in the box" safety and everyone agrees he has tight hips and does not excel in coverage, but he does alot of things well regardless of his athletic limitations. He's a solid tackler and has a nose for the ball in both run (led his team in tackles last two years) and pass situations (4 picks last year and seven in his career). He's got a solid head on his shoulders and could certainly contribute on special teams. I think in an absolute perfect world he would turn into a mini-A-dub but he's most likely to top out as a special teams contributor.
Elon WR Sean Jeffcoat:Another guy with very limited info out there but, Jeffcoat has good size (6'1, 195) and reportedly good hands. He had a very strong senior season but doesn't have great quickness or seperation, despite running an impressive 4.48 forty. That's about all I could find on him, seriously not even a highlight video.
Florida LB Duke Lemmens:Despite playing at one of the biggest schools in the country, good luck finding a scouting report on Lemmens. What I have found is that he's played DE and LB while at Florida but didn't start until his senior year and he played primarily LB in 2010. He's not a great athlete (4.75 forty) and will absolutely have to get stronger (13 reps on the bench is pathetic (maybe he was injured or something)). He's probably going to get a shot at OLB but he hasn't shown a tremendous ability to rush the passer in the past (5 sacks as a senior) but he certainly got better last year.
Kentucky DT Ricky Lumpkin: Lumpkin seems like the kind of guy who has the potential to have a better pro career than college. He played DT at Kentucky but his size (6'4, 313) ensures he'll be a DE with the Cards. His weakness (inability to get off blocks and a complete lack of pass rush moves) won't be that big of a deal as a 3-4 DE. According to Wes Bunting of NFP, he's stout at the point of attack and is pretty solid against the run. He's battled some injuries in the past, but he has the potential to develop into a rotational guy at the DE spot, as long as it's not on passing downs.
Oklahoma T Eric Mensik: Mensik is the definition of RAW and unpolished. He's had exactly one season of experience at OT since being moved from TE so don't expect anything from him for a while. That being said, I love OT's who used to be TE. That normally means that they have the athletic ability to become good pass protectors and solid run blockers who can transition to the second and third levels. He'll certainly have to get bigger (6'5, 296) and stronger (23 reps on the bench), but I hope we stash Mensik on the practice squad and see how he develops in a year with professional coaching.
Syracuse CB Da'Mon Merkerson: Merkerson's an interesting prospect because he's only been a corner for a year and a half after volunteering to move from wide receiver, in fact he's only focused on playing primarily corner one full season. He's got good size (6'0, 191) and is a pretty decent athlete who certainly attacks the ball when it's in air (like a wideout instead of a corner). He'll have to get stronger (6 reps on bench) and he isn't much of a tackler but there is some raw skill here to work with, but much like Mensik, don't expect anything at all in 2011.
Oregon State WR Aaron Nichols: Good luck finding anything outside of stats or bio info on Nichols. He's a former walkon who started almost every game as a senior but still finished his senior season with only 31 receptions for 336 yards and a touchdown. He's got some speed (4.56) and size (6'0, 191) but other than that I don't see what makes him a pro prospect. But then again I said the same thing about a similar seldom use college reciever, Lance Long, a couple years ago and he went from UDFA to making the opening day roster so we'll see.
UMass G Greg Niland:Niland's another interesting prospect because he's played multiple positions on the OL. He spent his first three collegiate years starting at LT for NorthEastern but when their football program went belly up, he transferred to UMass and became their starter at guard. He's pretty athletic for a guard and has pretty decent technique. He'll probably have to add a bit of size to stay at guard (6'4, 302) but his versatility could be his best attribute. He could be a valuable backup in a year or two.
USC C Kris O'Dowd: We talked about O'Dowd in a thread the first night that there were UDFA rumors and basically he sounds alot like Sendlien at center. He doesn't have great size and he'll be pushed around by bigger DT's but he's smart, athletic and capable of getting to the second level. He's struggled with injuries and that's probably what kept him out of the draft. If he can stay healthy, he's got some serious potential.
Kansas State RB William Powell: Forget the RB in front of his name because Powell is a kick return specialist and little more. Last year he touched the ball 46 times and 21 of those were on kick returners. He averaged 34.5 yards per return and took one to the house from 100 yards out. He was a junior college transfer but didn't really do anything till he senior year. He's bigger than you'd expect from a returner (5'8, 211) and doesn't have blazing speed (4.63) but the Cards may be hoping to find gold like they did in another former backup RB with returner experience (LSH).
BYU S Andrew Rich: Rich sounds an awful lot like Tommy Irvin from above. He's an in the box SS who struggles in coverage but has a nose for the ball (9 picks last 2 years). He's bit bigger than Irvin (6'3, 220) and a bit faster (4.65) but just like Irvin, he'll have to start out on special teams and work his way up. Again the dream is probably that he develops into a poor man's Adub.
Florida State LB Kendall Smith:It'll be interesting to see what the Cards have planned for Smith. I assumed when I saw ILB that he was probably a two down run stopper who could complement Washington inside but he's basically the opposite of that. He's a rangy ILB who struggles against the run and get's pushed backwards too often. One report suggested he was better suited to play OLB in a 4-3 or even strong safety. He filled up the stat sheet at FSU during his two years as a starter. Everyone says he has great range but there's no doubt his pre-draft workouts hurt his stock (4.87 forty).
BYU T Jason Speredon:Speredon is listed as a OT but as far as I can tell has only played OG the past two seasons. He missed all of 2009 with a shoulder injury but won his job back and started every game at guard last year. He did come in for a private workout after his pro day and he said we were the first and most aggressive team after him once the lockout was lifted so he's clearly a guy that we saw some potential in. He'll have to add some size 6'5, 304) but you'd have to assume he's a pretty decent pass protector coming from BYU.
Kansas T Brad Thorson:Gotta be honest, I read several scouting reports and was scratching my head the entire time. He's played every position on the line execpt LT and started his career at Wisconsin (where he graduated in two years - yea you read that right). Because he'd already graduated, he was able to play immediately at Kansas after being asked to leave Wisconsin (apparently there's some history there about him injurying a teammate during a blocking drill or something). He started at Kansas as a backup center and eventually started his final two years at OG and RT, although most project him inside. He seems to be fairly good with his hands and can create some push in the running game, but is a limited athlete (hence the move to inside). One scouting report literrally started the "cons" section with: might be too smart for the game, so I guess there is some concern over whether or not football is his primarly goal.
N.C. State G Jake Vermiglio: For the life of me I can't understand why this guy wasn't drafted and his scouting reports don't seem to match up with his stats on the field. He's been a 4 year starter at LT for the Wolfpack and has only allowed 5 sacks in the past three years, including ZERO in 815 snaps last year. Despite that some still call his technique "raw" and some still think he'll have to move inside at the next level. He doesn't have great feet but his length helps him keep defenders on the edge and he has the size (6'5, 323) to anchor down and handle bull rushers. He's not a great athlete but there's gotta be something to his ability to keep pass rushers off his QB.
Michigan State T D.J. Young:Young is another raw prospect still learning from a position change (2 years ago he was a DT). He still brings that defensive mentality to the run game and he's a pretty nasty run blocker but as you'd expect his technique is raw all around. He's got good size (6'5, 315) and his only experience is at RT, although some suggest he'll have to move inside.
That's about all I've got and to be honest, there's not alot I'm excited about in there. There are some interesting OL prospects in there and some guys still very raw from position changes but most of the guys on this list were all expected to be undrafted and there are reasons why guys aren't picked in the draft. They have serious flaws in their game and it'll be up to Whiz and company to correct those flaws.