We're in uncharted waters. The CBA situation is making most of the offseason rituals, particularly free agency, into one big question mark. We do know that the 2011 NFL Draft will happen no matter what. However, the annual ritual of signing undrafted rookie free agents, usually a spree that occurs as a draft sideshow in the hours just after the draft wraps, will not happen this year if the league does not have a Collective Bargaining Agreement by the draft.
And just because the players weren't drafted doesn't mean they don't enter into the picture as teams put together their rosters and practice squads. The St. Louis Rams most notable undrafted rookie free agent last year was Missouri WR Danario Alexander. The DX Missile wasn't signed in the usual period for those players; he signed a 4-year deal in August, after the Rams made sure his knee surgeries checked out okay. Still, it's an example of how undrafted players can make a difference to a team.
DT Jermelle Cudjo was signed by the Rams last year during the free agent signing immediately following the draft. He played 10 games and was a solid enough presence to stick around in the rotation. He arguably outperformed DT Darell Scott, who was a fourth round pick the year before. RB Keith Toston was another undrafted free agent the Rams picked up in their post-draft signings; Toston contributed on special teams and saw some work backing up Steven Jackson with Kenneth Darby out of action.