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FORGET ABOUT AUSTIN, OGLETREE, AND BAILEY....WHAT ABOUT THAT OTHER GUY?????

Yaaaaaayyyyyyy we got Tavon Austin, and Ogletree, and McDonald, and Bailey, hell we even somehow came away with Stacy. But what about the guys who were a little more unheralded? Since the end of the draft I have spent the last three weeks researching the hell out of our undrafted free agents. I've been digging up every piece of info I could find. Some guys I had already done plenty of research on leading up to the draft, and others either not as much, or none at all. After doing all of that digging and reviewing our current roster, I came to the conclusion we could see 8-11 UDFA make the final 53. I'm only going to list the seven I believe have the best shot, with some having relatively nice impacts.

BENNY CUNNINGHAM RB

Benny Cunningham vs Georgia Tech 2012 (via xuesac84)

WOW!!!!!! This kid is the truth. He looks like a true gem, and a hell of a steal to go undrafted. I'm not saying he is the next Arian Foster, but he has some serious potential, and it only proves that we have better skill at the RB position than we are getting credit for. Understandably so! Steven Jackson is gone, so all you hear now is who is going to fill the void??? Well, we certainly have some damn good options between Richardson, Pead, Stacy, and Cunningham. I do believe Ganaway will be the odd man out, seeing as how he is the least talented of the bunch. But Stacy has been my favorite for a while now. I was a fan before we drafted him. But after studying a lot more on Cunningham, he is going to give Stacy a run for his money. Cunningham has a really well built upper body. He is 5'10" 210, and they way he is built he resembles Ray Rice. He ran a 40 four days before the draft at a private pro day where only two teams showed up, one being the Rams. He was declared 75% back to his old form (tore his patella tendon) at the time that he ran, and still clocked a 4.51. You can see on film his burst and top speed is closer to a 4.4. I found a few things saying he ran 4.42 and even a 4.38, but none were concrete sources, although I wouldn't doubt the accuracy. But he is more than speed. The guy is a BULL. He is so well built and so fast, he is really hard to bring down. His bench total was 26 reps. I thought the Georgia Tech tape was his most impressive game because of who the 212 yds were against, but his best game hands down was against Florida International. The guy only played in 5 games before hurting his knee and was averaging about 120 yds a game with 11 td's. I'm not one to get excited about someone getting injured, but it may have been a blessing in disguise for us, because at the rate he was going and top notch workout numbers to match (I estimate him finishing the year with about 1800 yds 24 td's, and testing a 4.40 40, 4.35 shuttle) he probably would have been about a 4th rounder and we would not have gotten him. He is a nice blend of Stacy, Pead, and Richardson mixed in one. He has Stacy's power, patience, and vision, Pead's speed and agility, and Richardson's burst and decisive running style. Once he is 100%, probably will start out on the PUP list, look out.

Click here for an article covering his entire and impressive workout!!!!!!

Click here for footage of his workout!!!!!!

EMORY BLAKE WR

Emory Blake vs Georgia (via Aaron Aloysius)

Blake is one of the guys I wrote about before the draft for possible UDFA pickups. He was definitely someone I was glad we got to sign. I believe he is terribly underrated. He runs good routes, has good hands, tough, smart, NFL bloodlines, and a VERY good blocker (most underrated and over looked trait for a WR). He just played on a team that sucked and the QB was abysmal. Even when Cam Newton was there (his best season 33 rec, 554 yds, 8 td, 16.8 ypc) they didn't run an offense that feeds their WR the ball. Between Cam running and the RB getting nearly 1200 yds, they ran too often and when they did pass it was spread out. Nevertheless Blake was a nice pickup.

PHILLIP STEWARD OLB

Phillip Steward vs UCLA (2012) (via Aaron Aloysius)

Steward is a complete OLB. He is, dare I say it, prototype. Can someone please tell me what he can't do? He covers the slot, he covers the back, he covers the TE, he blitzs (very very well I might add), he gets sacks, he uses his hands when taking on blocks, he keeps his upfield shoulder free when engaged, he wraps up, he reads plays well (shows he is a film rat), he plays smart, he strips the ball, he gets interceptions, the list goes on and on. He is yet another draft steal, who I still can't believe went undrafted. I probably put more effort into him than any other UDFA, because he is the biggest mystery. I tried to find out what is it that we don't know, that caused him to not be a top 100 pick. I found nothing. He is 6' 237lbs. Ran a 4.6 40, and hit 26 reps on the bench. All numbers you would expect of an OLB of his size. Ogletree 6'3" 242 ran a 4.7, 20 reps on the bench. And let's be honest, his production was nowhere near as good as Steward's. Not to mention to play strongside LB he has to do something that he sucks at, but Steward excels at, and thats disengage blocks. So what caused, what appears to be, a legit top 100 player to go undrafted? I don't know, but two things are for sure. 1. I am going to keep searching until I find out, and 2. I am sure glad he ended up with us lol.

RAY RAY ARMSTRONG OLB

Ray Ray Armstrong vs Ohio State 2010 (via JMPasq)

Look we all know his story by now, no need to go over it once again. He is filled with untapped potential. Originally I was opposed to the idea of moving him to OLB, but when I took some time to think it over, I realized having him is like having two Ogletree's. Ex-safety, who hits hard, full of potential, could become a stud with the correct coaching, they literally are almost identical when you write down their skill set. I think he will be a special teams stud his first year. After that, well, we shall see.............

DAREN BATES SS/OLB

Daren Bates - WLB, #25, Auburn - Auburn vs. Alabama 2011 (via ETLNYC)

I'm sure no one wants to watch this whole game but I did. He played extremely well.

Bates is undersized there is no way around it. At 5'11" 215lbs, he certainly is not what you expect your OLB to look like. But he has good reason for it, he is a converted safety, and not one of those oh he just kept growing guys (Ogletree), but a true safety who was extremely productive at the position. Bates is an IDEAL SS. He ran a 4.53 40, and vert of 34". He brings the thunder when he hits, and he is a decent cover guy as well. He was moved simply because of need, and he performed so well they decided to keep him there especially since they had no depth at OLB but plenty at safety. I believe he makes the squad because of his versatility, he would play the in the box/nickle safety role perfectly. His skill set and athletic ability makes for a special package and special teams dynamo. And did I mention he was ridiculously productive, 49 games, 313 TT, 17.5 TFL, 12 PBU, 3 INT, 5 SACKS,2 FF, 4 FR, 1 TD.

JONATHON STEWART MLB

Jonathan Stewart - LB, #11, Texas A&M - Texas A&M Defense vs. Florida 2012 (via ETLNYC)

He has all the tools, but sometimes I really hate his effort. If he actually went hard every snap, he probably could have been a 3-5 rd pick. Stewart is a big talented MLB, who plays the run well, but lacks the physicality that his size would indicate he has. He is talented, but you can't play LB for Fisher if you won't be physical. If he can change that about his game, he could be a lock to make the team. Because no one is going to question his skill set that goes well with his impressive measurements. If he gets his act together and plays consistently hard this preseason, Josh Hull will most likely be out of a job, and Stewart will be Laurinaitis' new back-up.

CODY DAVIS FS/SS

Cody Davis vs West Virginia (2012) (via Aaron Aloysius)

What's there not to like about Davis. This kid is a technician. I watched a lot of film on this draft class, and I can honestly say he might be the best and most sure tackler of the entire class. The guys tackling technique is flawless. He is very physically gifted as well. Athletically he has every safety on the team beat, and his signing is going to put someone out of a job. He plays really smart, and has some damn good skills when it comes to taking angles. I like this kid a lot, and I would not be the least bit surprised if he got a lot more playing time than some are expecting. He kind of reminds me of Earl Thomas. Not his skill set or style of play, but his demeanor. He doesn't draw attention to himself. He is very quiet and reserved, never celebrates or anything. Just consistently makes the play, then goes back to the huddle. Might have been the most efficient tackler in college football last year. That's something I might look into actually. Really like this kid, and he may ultimately push McDonald into the box, and Stewart out of a job.

Other Players that could make the 53 man roster:

PHILLIP LUTZENKIRCHEN TE

BRADEN BROWN OT/OG

CANNON SMITH FS/CB

ANDRE MARTIN CB

Projected 53 Man Roster/Depth Chart:

QB:

  1. SAM BRADFORD
  2. AUSTIN DAVIS

RB:

  1. ISAIAH PEAD
  2. ZAC STACY (I MAY FLIP 1 AND 2, GIVING PEAD THE UPPER HAND FOR NOW)
  3. DARYL RICHARDSON
  4. BENNY CUNNINGHAM

TE:

  1. JARED COOK
  2. LANCE KENDRICKS
  3. MIKE MCNEIL

WR:

  1. CHRIS GIVENS
  2. BRIAN QUICK (THIS TOO MAY CHANGE)
  3. TAVON AUSTIN
  4. STEDMAN BAILEY
  5. AUSTIN PETTIS
  6. EMORY BLAKE

OT:

  1. JAKE LONG
  2. ROGER SAFFOLD
  3. JOSEPH BARKSDALE
  4. TY NESEKHE

OG:

  1. HARVEY DAHL
  2. ROKEIVIOUS WATKINS
  3. BARRETT JONES (ALSO THE #2 CENTER)
  4. SHELLY SMITH

C:

  1. SCOTT WELLS

DE:

  1. CHRIS LONG
  2. ROBERT QUINN
  3. WILLIAM HAYES
  4. EUGENE SIMS

DT:

  1. MICHAEL BRROCKERS
  2. KENDALL LANGFORD
  3. JERMELE CUDJO
  4. MATT CONRATH

OLB:

  1. JO-LONN DUNBAR
  2. ALEC OGLETREE
  3. PHILLIP STEWARD
  4. SAMMY BROWN
  5. RAY RAY ARMSTRONG
  6. DAREN BATES (SS TWEENER)

MLB:

  1. JAMES LAURINAITIS
  2. JONATHON STEWART

CB:

  1. CORTLAND FINNEGAN
  2. JANORIS JENKINS
  3. TRUMAINE JOHNSON
  4. BRANDON MCGEE

FS:

  1. T.J. McDONALD
  2. RODNEY MCLEOD
  3. CANNON SMITH (SAFETY CB TWEENER)

SS:

  1. DARIAN STEWART
  2. CODY DAVIS (POSSIBLY THE #2 FOR BOTH SAFETY POSITIONS)

SPECIALISTS:

  1. GREG ZUERLEIN (K)
  2. JOHNNY HECKER (P)
  3. JAKE McQUAIDE (COULD LOSE HIS SPOT TO JORGEN HUS, FISHER LOVES TRICK PLAYS ON SPECIAL TEAMS AND HUS IS A TRICK SNAPPER)

As always thanks for reading. Looking forward to all comments or any suggestions.

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