One of the first things teams will do after the lockout ends will be to sign undrafted free agents.
Those are the college players who were passed over in the April draft. Those guys are at a distinct disadvantage compared to other years because the lockout prevented them from having offseason time to impress the coaching staff. They’ll have to really stand out in training camp to have a shot at a roster spot.
You can bet that teams already have lists of guys they want to pursue and many teams told agents before the draft that they might be interested in their clients if they went undrafted.
Let’s go back to this Insider post from right after the draft in which Scouts Inc. listed the top 40 undrafted free agents. We can’t share the whole list here, but we’ll give you the top five.
In order, they are Rutgers safety Joe Lefeged, North Carolina cornerback Kendric Burney, Southern Arkansas defensive tackle Cedric Thornton, Auburn wide receiver Darvin Adams and Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel.
I could see any of those guys possibly landing in the NFC South. Lefeged might have a shot at a roster spot in Tampa Bay where there is uncertainty at safety with Tanard Jackson suspended through at least late September. Thornton’s a defensive tackle and Carolina and Tampa Bay could be in the market for depth at that position. Burney, Adams and McDaniel could be options for Carolina and Atlanta because the Panthers and the Falcons have shown a past tendency to sign guys from their own backyards.