I have always been a believer that the best man should play. No favoritism or any of that crap. I don't care if he was the number one overall draft pick, if this sixth rounder we picked up later in the draft is outplaying him in practice and the preseason then he deserves to be the starter. It is because of this belief that I am a huge fan of coaches like Seattle's Pete Carroll. Coaches that use competition to build their team, rather than popularity.
I have sat back and watched rookie free agents get battered and beaten long enough, and I cannot do it any longer. It is time to put an end to this nonsense once and for all. UDFA's are ballers too, and deserve some damn respect.
I hate when people say "well the team just brought him in for camp and the practice squad." Complete BS, no one looks at a player and say "aw yea, he would look real good on our practice squad". Players are brought in with the belief that they can push someone to make the squad. And not just make it, but contribute. It's moronic to believe that coaches and scouts spend countless hours learning as much as they can about a player, while on the tightest of tight schedules, because they believe the player is a camp body that can keep their precious 15 expected starters fresh during camp (because its never a full 22 expected starters).
Guys are brought in because, while they may not receive a draftable grade, they are believed to have what it takes to develop into quality and sometimes starting caliber players.
The worst part is a lot of the people that has been hating on the UDFA's have been hating on them because they prefer another UDFA, who happens to be a vet now, and the person hating has no clue that he was never drafted. For example, I seen a lot of comments like this
"Or why go and sign this kid Reshard Hall, that no one has heard of, and went undrafted 'for a reason', when we could have brought back Mikell?"
I could really go on forever with the silly comments/statements I have read/heard.
So let's get educated. Quintin Mikell went to Boise State. He finished his career ranked 2nd all time in career tackles with 401. He 8 career interceptions. He weighed in at 5'10" 202lbs, and ran a 4.58. Mikell was NOT invited to the 2003 NFL Combine. He had no off field Character concerns whatsoever, and was a leader and captain.
Now lets fast forward to this day. Mikell has enjoyed a successful NFL career, going to one Super Bowl, voted into one Pro Bowl, voted to the All-Pro team twice, he has recorded 636 tackles, 8 sacks, 12 interceptions, 16 FF, 53 PBU, in his 10 year career.
Face it, sometimes the "so called" professionals that have brain washed people into thinking that because a player does not have a draftable grade that he is more than likely nothing more than a special teams player or less, are wrong.
Here are some facts for you non-believer's.
In 2012 on the opening day there were almost 50 percent more undrafted free agents in the NFL than first-round picks, a margin of 412-277. That means of 1,696 players to make the 53 man roster in the NFL on day one, 412 were not drafted (24%), an average of almost 13 per team.
No team had fewer than nine undrafted players on the opening day roster.
Every team in the NFL last year except for one had at least one undrafted starter. Which means you could build a team with 22 starters and have backups with just UDFA, and win games.
Here comes some even crazier facts for you all, proof that where you're drafted is nothing more than a status thing.
Players drafted in the fourth round outnumber the third round, while there are more players picked in the seventh in the NFL than there are from the sixth.
Only five teams had more former first-round picks on their roster than undrafted free agents.
All five of the Rams safeties after cut-down day last season were undrafted free agents.
20 percent of NFL starters entered the league as undrafted free agents.
Last year, teams signed 622 undrafted players and 98 of them (16 percent) made Week 1 rosters. Another 33 made practice squads, meaning 37 percent earned NFL jobs.
I was very excited about the Hall signing since I went on and on about him in the post. I had this to say about him;
"Rashard Hall FS, Clemson; Hall had an a very good career. He had 302 tackles, 10.5 TFL, one sack, 14 INT for 186 yards and a touchdown, five QB pressures, 10 PBU, two FF, and three recovered fumbles in 2,697 snaps over 53 games (40 starts) in his career. He is not the greatest athlete around by any stretch of the imagination. NFL.com had this to say about him "Hall’s on-field performance is enough on its own to garner NFL attention, as he’s been a regular in Clemson’s always-talented secondary for four seasons. But the fact he became just the second Tigers football player to graduate in just over three years also shows he has the intelligence and work ethic to become a starting strong safety, or at least a valued reserve and special teams contributor at the next level." Hall's Poor draft stock has nothing to do with a troubled past or present, it has nothing to do with production, it has nothing to do with anything but his athletic ability. He might not be the fastest, or the strongest, biggest, or even quickest player, but he is going to bring toughness, intelligence, and production. Like I said earlier the tape never lies. This kid is a FOOTBALL PLAAYER!!! And someone will give him his shot, I just pray that it is us. Because you can tell he has that certain demeanor that when he gets that shot, he is going to make everyone pay for passing him up."
When you see this resume, there is no question at the very least he deserved a late round flier. But I knew that front offices across the league would blow this one, I can even be quoted saying:
"I said predraft he would not get drafted, I didnt agree with it at all because I thought he had the production, smarts, and work ethic of a first rounder, but he had the physical skill set of a 6th rounder to undrafted free agent. So I felt like that averaged out to a late 4th-5th round grade.
But I am a realist and I knew in such a deep draft for safeties…he probably wouldn’t get drafted.
Which I thought was a blessing in disguise because we could address other needs in the draft and try to get him afterwards. Well 3 months later here we are
The issue here is that he was such a late addition to the team he is waaaay behind the others. But on the bright side this is his chance to show how smart he is to play catch up.
I am not saying that I believe every guy can blow up, so let me squash that silly ass statement before some clown decides to twist my words. All I am saying is that these guys deserve their chance just as much as the next. Just because they did not run some unbelievable 40 and did not get drafted means nothing to me. I am all about a players ability to play the game, not run a meaningless 40 yard dash in tights for no reason. We get caught up in this 40 hype and then get pissed when we are stuck with a player like Donnie Avery or Tye Hill. When will people learn. I am all about his mental approach and ability to produce.
Without UDFA's we could say bye bye to players like Quintin Mikell, Harvey Dahl, and Scott Wells. Actually you all might wanna head over to Bleacher Report to check out this insanely impressive list of the top 25 All-Time UDFA's, the Rams have more than their fair share of players on it.
Well that's going to do it for me, hopefully I was able to assist in opening some people's eyes and ending some of the hating going on. But being the realist I am, I know that, that is not going to happen with a lot people lol. Oh well, hope you enjoyed nonetheless!!!
Here is my personal ALL TIME FAVORITE UDFA!!!!!!
Warren Moon Highlights (via sports1marketing)