- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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No one has lost more in this post-lockout NFL world than undrafted free agents.
Let’s take a moment and give some attention to the youngsters who face a serious challenge in making a roster. I enlisted Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. to list the top five undrafted free agents in the AFC West. Here are Muench’s thoughts:
1. Kansas City -- Oregon DL Brandon Bair: Bair has the long arms, quickness and bulk to transition from defensive tackle to defensive end in Kansas City’s base three-man front. He’s a hard worker who needs to improve his pad level and hand fighting to realize his potential in this scheme.
2. Kansas City -- Michigan State TE Charlie Gantt: The Chiefs have also done well to give Gantt a look in training camp. Gantt isn’t a game-changer or a dominant in-line blocker but he has the tools to develop into an effective short-to-intermediate target and wall-off blocker.
3. Denver -- Auburn RB Mario Fannin: Fannin put the ball on the ground too much and left too many yards on the field by missing seams at the college level so it came as little surprise that he didn’t get drafted. On the other hand, he could prove to be a steal for Denver. His size/speed blend is impressive and he can contribute on third down -- both as a receiver and as a blocker.
4. San Diego -- Wisconsin QB Scott Tolzien: Tolzien doesn’t project as the heir apparent to Philip Rivers in San Diego. He just doesn’t have the frame or arm strength to carry a franchise. Still he’s a strong signing because he has the work ethic, smarts and enough accuracy to develop into an effective backup and Billy Volek is 35 years old.
5. Denver -- Michigan State WR Mark Dell: Dell isn’t going to run away from NFL defenses after the catch or take the top of the coverage. He is however an effective zone buster with the toughness to make plays over the middle. Though he will have a harder time separating from man coverage he has the size and is a savvy enough route runner to produce against sub-package defensive backs. It’s also worth pointing out that Denver signed Fresno State’s Jamel Hamler who could also contribute as a No. 4 or 5 in time.
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