2007 NFL All-Undrafted Team: Offense
Posted by Mike on May 2, 2007
The draft is now over, and 255 players will now prove their worth in NFL training camps. But what about the players who went undrafted? Sure, they got rejected-255 times-but many of the game’s greats either were drafted late or not at all. The Rams won a Super Bowl on the shoulders of Kurt Warner, a player who went undrafted from 1-AA Northern Iowa. Jake Delhomme, Priest Holmes, and Wayne Chrebet all went undrafted as well, yet all have found success in the league.
This made me wonder: Who could be the next diamond in the rough? Which undrafted players eligible this year may end up on an NFL team eventually? What if some coach/GM were to develop a Bill Belichick-like hubris and compose an entire starting lineup out of undrafted college stars? Who would he pick?
This post seeks to answer that question. I will provide 22 players, 11 on offense (today) and 11 on defense (tomorrow), whom could stand a chance at an NFL career. Presenting the 2007 NFL All-Undrafted Team:
Quarterback-Jared Zabransky, Boise State.
- Why he wasn’t drafted: Zabransky has a throwing motion similar to that of a fish. He also isn’t comfortable in the pocket, and at a mid-major often did not play against good defenses.
- Why he could play in the NFL: Of all the quarterbacks in the draft this year, the southpaw ginger had the highest winning percentage of them all (33-5, 23-1 in the WAC). And while his throwing motion is suspect, Zabransky completed 66.3% of his passes for 2587, 23 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions. He had the 6th highest QB efficiency in Division 1-A (sorry, Bowl Subdivision), and the second best of any undrafted quarterback, behind Pittsburgh’s Tyler Palko.
- Other worthy candidates: Palko, Zac Taylor (Nebraska).
Running Backs- Jon Cornish, Kansas and Steve Baylark, UMass.
- Why they weren’t drafted: At 5’11” and
106206 pounds, the Canadian Cornish is slightly undersized for an NFL back. He didn’t compensate with speed, running a 4.62 40 (most top prospects ran in the 4.4 range). He also didn’t play for a collegiate powerhouse, obscured behind Mark Mangino’s fat ass. Had he achieve his same stats playing for a team like USC and the svelte Pete Caroll, He certainly would have been drafted in day 1. Baylark didn’t garner much attention because, well, he played for UMass, and unless you are directly associated with a school, it’s hard to keep track of Division 1-AA (sorry, Championship Subdivision). His 4.7 40 time was another strike against him.
- Why they could play in the NFL: Adrian Peterson’s injury affected this statistic, but Cornish led the Big 12 and all undrafted Bowl Subdivision (yech, that’s a mouthful) players in rushing with 1,457 yards and 8 touchdowns playing for the Big 12 North’s best rushing attack. Baylark led ALL of Division I with 1,960 yards in his senior year, and 5,332 yards over his career at UMass. Since most NFL teams must now resort to a two halfback system, both of these players could make excellent contributions even as secondary backs.
- Other worthy candidates: Darius Walker (Notre Dame),
Amir Pinnix (Minnesota)Josh Allen, Maryland.
Wide Receivers- Jerard Rabb, Boise State and David Ball, New Hampshire.
- Why they weren’t drafted: Like Baylark, Ball cut his teeth in 1-AA (that other name is too long). Scouts may also consider him too small (6′) to be an inside receiver and too slow (4.65 40) to be a deep threat. The third and final strike against him in NFL teams’ eyes, as silly as it seems, could be that he’s a white guy playing receiver. Despite having the right physical tools, Rabb began his career in community college before going to Boise State, which could lead to questions about his character, a big no-no in Roger Goodell’s new world order.
- Why they could play in the NFL: Ball set a new Division 1-AA record for career touchdowns with 50, breaking Jerry Rice’s old mark. Over his career he amassed 4,655 yards on 304 receptions. As for Rabb, I could describe his statistics, or his physical prowess, but all you need to see is this video:
- Other worthy candidates: Terry Moss (Ball State, highest yards per catch in NCAA).
Tight End- Joe Newton, Oregon State.
- Why he wasn’t drafted: The NFL wasn’t particularly interested in tight ends this year, only drafting three in the first three rounds, one simply by virtue of being a tall, fast TE playing for Miami. Newton missed the entire 2005 season due to injury, so scouts may have had health concerns as well.
- Why he could play in the NFL: The guy is 6’7″, for crying out loud! Even with an average 40 time for his position (4.9), his size makes him an easy target and a quarterback’s dream in the red zone (he had 14 TD catches in two full seasons as a starter). It also could help him develop into a great lead blocker.
- Other worthy candidates: Johnny Harline (BYU),
Ben Patrick (Delaware). All of the draft prognosticators have Patrick ranked higher among tight ends, but even though he finished his career at Delaware, he began his career at–and graduated from–Duke. This I cannot forgive.
Offensive Line- Nathan Bennett (G) and Marion Dukes (T), Clemson, Daniel Inman (T), Georgia, Eric Robertson (G, no photo), California, and Lyle Sendlein (C), Texas.
- Why they weren’t drafted: Since they don’t accumulate stats (except sacks allowed), very little is known about offensive linemen at first glance (or at all, for that matter).
- Why they could play in the NFL: I chose these linemen for three simple reasons: 1) they played for big programs and thus faced tough defenses; 2) their quarterbacks were among the least sacked in the nation; and 3) in the case of all but one (Inman), their teams had a formidable running game. Those metrics, while simple, are all indicators of a great offensive line.
- Other worthy candidates: Scott Smith (Cal), Matt Spanos (USC), Renardo Foster and Kurt Quarterman (Louisville), Dan Mozes (West Virginia).
BONUS! Kicker- John Vaughn, Auburn.
- Why he wasn’t drafted: Auburn vs. LSU, October 22, 2005. Vaughn was 0-4 on field goals, including a 39 yarder to win.
- Why he could play in the NFL: The rest of his college career. Since that game, he has been one of the best kickers in the nation, becoming a finalist for the 2006 Lou Groza Award.
- Other Worthy candidates: Vaughn’s backup at Auburn, Matt Clark. I base this on absolutely nothing.
There is your 2007 NFL All-Undrafted Team on offense. Do you know any undeserving players on this team or some blaring snubs? Let me know in the comments. Next: the 2007 All-Undrafted Team on defense.
UPDATE: I have now posted the Defensive All-Undrafted team!