The Bengals are going to give talented but troubled linebacker Vontaze Burfict a chance.
The reason these teams do so well is their ability to identify the players who might not be drafted and establish a relationship early. Signing undrafted players is all about recruiting them. You have to sell prospects on opportunity. You have to convince a player that he has a better shot with your team than anywhere else.
Where the Ravens and Steelers have an advantage is their track record. They can prove to players that they will be given a shot. All they have to do is tell them they could be the next Willie Parker or Bart Scott.
Here are the undrafted players to keep your eye on:
BENGALS: ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State. Maturity issues and a terrible NFL scouting combine caused him to free fall from a highly rated prospect to an undrafted one. He's still an explosive hitter who plays with emotion. There's a chance he could be backing up middle linebacker Rey Maualuga. Other to watch: RB Rodney Stewart (Colorado) is a small (5-foot-6) scatback who could catch on as a returner.
BROWNS: WR Josh Cooper, Oklahoma State. He already has a rapport with the starting quarterback after being Brandon Weeden's second-leading receiver last season. Cooper is a savvy route runner who lacks explosion. Still, he could catch on to a weak wide receiver group. Others to watch: CB Antwuan Reed (Pittsburgh) is an undersized but hard-working defender; C Garth Gerhart (Arizona State) is a smart three-year starter who has limited upside.
RAVENS: CB-PR Charles Brown, North Carolina. He's a tough three-year starer who plays aggressively despite being only 5-foot-9. Brown, who was projected to go in the fifth or sixth round, also has experience as a returner. Others to watch: FB Chad Diehl (Clemson) is a physical lead blocker who can become an impact special-teams player; NT Nicolas Jean-Baptiste (Baylor) is a stout space-eater with questionable endurance; G Antoine McClain (Clemson) is a physical mauler who was projected to go in the fifth or sixth round; TE Nick Provo (Syracuse) can stretch the field down the seam but is a below-average blocker; S Cyhl Quarles (Wake Forest) has good size but has been inconsistent as a playmaker.
STEELERS: P Drew Butler, Georgia. He has a very good chance at being the punter this year after the Steelers declined to re-sign Daniel Sepulveda. The only other punter on the roster is Jeremy Kapinos. Butler, who was projected to go as high as the fifth round, is a strong-legged and polished punter. He has good bloodlines as well. His father, Kevin, was the longtime kicker for the Chicago Bears (1985-95). The Steelers might have found their punter this year without wasting a third-round pick like the Jacksonville Jaguars. Others to watch: WR-RS Marquis Maze (Alabama) is a slippery slot receiver and returner who has to prove he can stay healthy; OLB Brandon Lindsey (Pittsburgh) is a speed rusher who fell down draft boards after a disappointing combine.