Patching holes with UDFA's

Bumped by Van. 

I think many of us can agree that this last draft was unlike what we expected.  Few could have guessed McDaniles would have as much of an influence as he did, grabbing three weapons for the offense in rounds 2-4.  Well we went into the draft with quite a few needs and walked out with quite a few needs not filled.  Since we are not sure what will come of the lockout or the FA rules, I have looked at the UDFA's as a possible solution.  Lets take a look at some UDFA's that could help fill holes or add depth:

Mark Herzlich OLB, Boston College


Herzlich was one of the top prospects after the 2008 season, where he had an amazing year always in the play.  He racked up 110 tackles, 6 ints, 2 FF's, 2 FR's, and 13 TFL.  Due to a battle with a rare bone cancer, he missed the 2009 season.  He beat the cancer, had a bone marrow transplant, and a metal rod inserted into his leg.  In 2010 he played/started in all 13 games  and even though he had a sub-production year for a guy that wasn't far removed from 206 tackles in two previous years...anyone would commend the guy for coming back and racking up 65 tackles, 4 INTs, 2 FF.  This coming from a guy that said he was operating as high as 85%.  He is not the best athlete, but he covers space very well, reads the run exceptionally...filling gaps and finding the ball.  He does well reading QB's eyes when in coverage.  He has ideal size and weight for a SLB.  More than anything I like his smarts, motor, and drive.  He is also a high character guy.  

Graig Cooper  RB, Miami U

Cooper tore his ACL in 2009, but came back this year and showed that he was still dealing with some lingering issues.  However, he did show flashes of his old self.  He occasionally showed his agile feet and and lateral explosiveness that allowed him to carrie the rock for over 125 times per year from 2007-2009.  He reads his blocks very well, showing good instincts finding holes and using his blocks.  He has shown excellent hands in pulling the ball out of the air with soft hands and transitions well up field.  He is not the best blocker, but he knows his assignments and can be effective.  

Noel Devine RB, West Vriginia

Devine's size and weight has been the main detraction for teams.  However, the RB has be incredibly successful showing that he can be a homerun threat on any run.  His lateral quickness and ability to hit top end speed very quickly make him dangerous.  He fits the scat back mold to compliment SJ.  He does come with some baggage though.  Had an assault charge in 2008 from a fight outside a bar.   He has 3 kids....Deion Sanders even tried to adopt him at one point, before he left Deion and moved back to Florida without telling him.

Kris O'Dowd  OL, USC

Center may not be a need on our list, but O'Dowd is an experienced OL with a great character and a high football IQ.  He knows all the line assignments and does well making line calls.  He has excellent technique and uses his hands and feet very well.  He is very good in Pass protection and picks up stunts and blitzes very well.  Even though he has experienced some injuries (dislocated kneecap in 2007 and 2009, torn labrum in 2008) he is very tough and plays through pain often.  He established himself as a leader early in his college career and was a constant on the offense starting his sophmore year (very uncommon at USC).  The reason I placed O'Dowd on the list is that he has the size and knowhow to play multiple positions on the interior of the line.  At 6'4" 304 lbs he is a little tall for a C, but he sinks his hips well to prevent from getting caught to upright.  Also, I remember a game where Greco wasn't even on the roster due to the fact that the coaching staff wanted someone that could play Center if Brown was to have gone down.  Problem solved.  


Justin Boren  OG, Ohio St. 


Boren is a name a lot of us who watch College football will know.  I mean, how do you leave Michigan to go to hated rival Ohio State, especially when dad played ball at Michigan?  He bashed Rodriguez for lack of family values and bounced the program willing to sit a year.  I orginally had Boren as someone on my late round prospect list, but the more film I watched the more I noticed his poor feet.  He is a very good run blocker, getting a strong initial punch and hand placement. He blocks through the whistle once locked on.  However, pass protection is where I have my concerns.  He does not move laterally very well, especially if he has to switch directions.  He has trouble reacting to Stunts and Blitzes, which will be exposed at the next level, and no one should know that better than Spags.  He is a bit shorter at 6'2" but that allows him to dig in and handle bull rushers adequately.  He has a great work ethic and a love for the game.  He didn't experience too many injuries that could keep him off the field which is nice when you look at durability.  In 2007 he was All Big Ten Honorable mention.  In 2009 an 2010 he was 1st team All Big Ten selection.  He was also a second team All American selection.  This kid was bred to play football, I just don't know how well he will do in a more athletic NFL.

Deuta Williams  Safety, UNC

Safety is a hard position for me to add on here considering the group that we have on the roster and the guys that were drafted.  However, it doesn't appear that we have a true Ball-Hawk ala Atogs.  With that in mind I wanted to place a guy that brings that skill set more than an in-the-box Safety.  Williams was one of the guys to be suspended this last year, but due to his limited involvement he was only suspended 4 games.  It's obvious that we tend to like players from certain programs, and UNC is one of those programs.  He is a high character guy that is really involved in the community.  This last year at UNC he really developed into one of the team leaders with some of the big names having to sit the year out.  He plays well in space and does a good job reading the QB's eyes. He breaks well on throws and does a good job to be in position to separate the ball from the receiver to prevent big receptions.  He has good height and speed, but his man to man skills need to improve at the next level otherwise he will struggle if asked to cover the slot.  He did have 6 Ints and 8 PBU's  in 2009.  One thing that concerns me with Williams is that he broke his Fibula in their bowl game and had surgery in January of this year, which means he will most likely not be available for the majority of this season.  


Honorable mention:

Zach Hurd  OG, UConn

Martin Parker  DT, Richmond

Ugo Chinesa  DE, Oklahoma St.

Will Hill  S, Florida

Mario Fanin  RB, Auburn


I would like to see DT filled with a FA that has experience under the belt.

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