- Donald Rumsfeld has ‘no idea’ if he paid taxes correctly
- Bradley Manning named honorary grand marshal of San Francisco Pride parade
- Look out PayPal: Facebook working toward mobile payments system
- U.S. rebukes Iran’s U.N. envoy pick over 1979 embassy attack
- Stoned mom avoids jail after driving 12 miles with baby on roof
- More than 100 ‘inappropriate’ encounters between NYC school staffers, students since 2009: report
- Joe Biden to Boston bombing survivors: ‘America will never, ever stand down’
- FBI failed to throughly vet Boston bombing suspect after Russian lead, report finds
- Atlanta Braves flooded with Hank Aaron hate mail: He’s a ‘scumbag’
- University: Help, our campus is too white
Undrafted rookies make their mark
NEW YORK (AP) - Hey, kid, too bad you didn’t get drafted by the NFL before it went back into lockout mode. Fat chance of being around for opening day.
So here’s a surprise: more undrafted rookies made NFL rosters this season than in any year since 2003.
They did so despite the 4 1/2-month lockout that was expected to limit their chances. With no offseason workouts, minicamps or training sessions in which they could be evaluated by coaching staffs, players not selected in April seemed longer shots than usual.
Yet 58 undrafted free agents made teams as of Wednesday. More roster movement is possible, even likely before the season kicks off in full Sunday. Last year, with no lockout, 57 were on rosters when the season began.
The last time there were more was when 63 stuck around eight years ago.
“The teams are getting smarter with who they are signing as undrafted free agents, and players are getting smarter where they sign,” said Gil Brandt, the league’s draft consultant and a former general manager with the Dallas Cowboys. “The players now look at it as: `Do I have a better chance with Dallas or with Seattle?’ And they go where they think they have the chance.”
This year, that’s Chicago, which has the most with five, followed by Dallas, Indianapolis and Seattle with four each.
Arizona, Tennessee and Oakland have none.
Chicago’s keepers are Purdue tight end/fullback Kyle Adams, Troy defensive end Mario Addison, Pittsburgh linebacker Dom DeCicco, Ohio State receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, and Boise State safety Winston Venable.
Sanzenbacher was second on the team in catches (10) and yards receiving (107) during the preseason.
“You never stop proving yourself or trying to get a spot, especially when you’re in my position,” he said. “So you can’t rest on anything.”
Rest actually is one reason so many undrafted rookies made it throughout the league. Teams were reluctant to push their veterans, especially their likely starters, when training camps opened after the lockout. So practice reps that would have gone to incumbents instead went to newcomers.
Coaches had more chance to identify rookies’ strengths in drills, too, as holdovers were held back from such work.
Suddenly, someone overlooked in April was making big impressions in August.
“As I analyzed these people that made it, it looks like the same thing appears,” said Brandt, who was known for his acumen for uncovering gems who didn’t get drafted. While with Dallas, he signed the likes of Cliff Harris, Cornell Green, Drew Pearson and Dave Edwards, all of whom helped the Cowboys win the Super Bowl.
By returning to goodness, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- Russian fighter jet buzzes U.S. Navy destroyer in Black Sea
- PHILLIPS: What did Harry Reid know and when did he know it?
- Atlanta Braves flooded with Hank Aaron hate mail: He's a 'scumbag'
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes