Targeting some rookie free agents

July, 23, 2011
7/23/11
2:30
PM ET
One of the first things that will happen when the NFL lockout is over will be teams filling out rosters by signing rookie free agents. Most teams set the wheels in motion on this process back in April at the draft.

In the late rounds, when teams could still contact rookies, it was smart business to reach out to prospects and let them know there was still interest even if those prospects weren't drafted.

With this in mind, here are five rookie free agents who could be on the team's radar based on the pre-draft scouting process:

Tim Barnes (Missouri) -- A center for the Tigers' spread offense, he was part of a line that surrendered just 20 sacks in 13 games.

Corbin Bryant (Northwestern) -- A sturdy defensive lineman who has received recognition from his peers for overcoming adversity and being a team-first player.

Vidal Hazelton (Cincinnati) -- Big receiver who had transferred from Southern Cal, but tore his ACL.

Chris Matthews (Kentucky) -- Another big receiver who had 61 receptions and six touchdowns in 2010.

Marc Schiechl (Colorado School of Mines) -- Became the all-time NCAA Division II leader in sacks (46) in 2010. Could be another Danny Woodhead-type story, but on the other side of the ball. High-effort defensive end who would likely project to outside linebacker in the 3-4.

EXTRA POINT: Gil Brandt of NFL.com lists his top 20 rookie free agents.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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