With the end of the lockout looking more and more like a real possibility, the resumption of business in the NFL promises to be a frenzy of activity. Based on the details of a transition plan leaked today, it appears that the first order of business for teams will be chasing after undrafted free agents, and the St. Louis Rams will be chasing some of those players in the hopes of rounding out their camp rosters and maybe finding a diamond in the rough.
Typically, UDFAs command a very small contract. This year they may get a little more money as teams chase them during a smaller window of time than usual, but that remains to be seen.
It's been awhile since we looked at some of the names among the UDFAs, so let's take a quick review of some potential additions for the Rams.
Running backs should be a high priority given the Rams' needs and the ability of that position to adapt to the NFL faster than others. Names of note include:
Derrick Locke, 5'9" 182 lbs, Kentucky - Locke is small and fast, a potential complementary type back.
Noel Devine, 5'8" 176 lbs, West Virginia - Very similar to Locke as another scat back type.
Mario Fannin 5'10" 230 lbs, Auburn - A big guy who runs a 4.38 forty...why didn't he get drafted? For one there wasn't much to see as he just didn't get many opportunities with Auburn. I would love to see the Rams sign this guy and give him a chance to take some of the between the tackles carries.
Brandon Saine, 5'11" 220 lbs, Ohio State - A disappointing senior season took him off the radar in a class deep with running backs. However, he runs a 4.43 forty which at least gives him the size and speed combo you like to see in a running back.
The Rams took two defensive backs in the final round of the draft, so it's unlikely they'll make a play for another safety. If they do, there are a couple names to note.
DeAndre McDaniel, 6' 212 lbs, Clemson - Has the tools that the Rams like vis-a-vis his versatility.
Deunta Williams, 6'2" 210 lbs, North Carolina - He missed the Combine and Senior Bowl and also a few games last year. Obviously, the Rams have scouted his team.
Interior linemen could also be on the shortlist for the Rams. Yes, we've talked endlessly about the need at guard, but remember, they need a backup center and prefer one who can play all three interior positions.
Tim Barnes, 6'4" 310 lbs, Missouri - Many were shocked that Barnes didn't get drafted. He may be more of a fit for a zone blocking team, but his instincts and athletic ability are top notch.
Kristofer O'Dowd, 6'5" 300 lbs, USC - Our SoCal contingent should be well aware of O'Dowd. Durability issues probably contributed to him getting left behind on draft day. He is explosive and an excellent pass blocker, which has been more the emphasis for the Rams.
There are some other solid guard prospects, including Arkansas' Ray Dominquez and UConn's Zach Hurd.
It seems like the Rams always pick up a few linebackers via UDFA.
Mark Herzlich, 6'4" 248 lbs - His story is very well known, but the question is whether or not he can pick up the high level of play he once had. Could be a real asset against the run. Might be more "four pillars" than anyone on the team.
Nick Bellore, 6'1" 245 lbs, Central Michigan - The Rams talked to Bellore during the pre-draft prospect all-star game circuit, doubtlessly attracted to his leadership and production. Is he athletic enough to play outside in 4-3?