NFC South: undrafted free agents

The Saints just sent out their official list of undrafted rookie free agents they say they’ve agreed to terms with. Let’s take a quick run through the list.
  • Isa Abdul Quddus, safety, Fordham
  • Harold Beilby, offensive tackle, Marian (Ind.)
  • John Chiles, wide receiver, Texas
  • Ryan Colburn, quarterback, Fresno State
  • Jarred Fayson, wide receiver, Illinois
  • Harry Flaherty, tight end, Princeton
  • C.J. Gable, running back, Southern California
  • Michael Galatas, wide receiver, Millsaps
  • Josh Gatlin, cornerback,North Dakota State
  • Michael Higgins, tight end, Nebraska-Omaha
  • Jerimiha Hunter, linebacker, Iowa
  • Kolby Hurt, fullback, Missouri State
  • Carl Johnson, guard, Florida
  • Dexter Larimore, defensive tackle, Ohio State
  • DeAndre McDaniel, safety, Clemson
  • Josh Morgan, wide receiver, Walsh
  • Kyle Nelson, long-snapper, New Mexico State
  • Dwight Roberson, linebacker, Oregon State
  • Mike Smith, offensive lineman, Nebraska
  • Ryan Taylor, center, UCLA
We have touched on some reported agreements between teams and undrafted free agents. Reports continue to trickle out, but none of the NFC South teams have officially announced their list of undrafted players yet.

As soon as each team does, we’ll share it with you. I’ve talked to several teams and they said their lists will come either Monday afternoon or Tuesday.

In the meantime, I don’t want to rain on any parades because all undrafted free agents who sign will have a shot at making an NFL roster. But it’s a long shot. According to Elias Sports Bureau, recent history has shown the league average of undrafted free agents on opening-day rosters is somewhere between one and two per team. Here’s a look at how many undrafted free agents have been on opening-day rosters the past five years.
  • 2006 - 36
  • 2007 - 40
  • 2008 - 33
  • 2009 - 37
  • 2010 - 57
Word of various agreements between teams and undrafted free agents are starting to trickle out.

Keep in mind, none of these have been officially announced by teams. The news is coming from players, their agents and their colleges. It’s not unheard of for a player to agree with one team and end up signing with another. As soon as teams send out official lists of their signings, we’ll share them with you.

In the meantime, here’s what’s being reported.

Mike Triplett reports the Saints have agreed with Fresno State quarterback Ryan Colburn.

D. Orlando Ledbetter reports the Falcons are expected to add West Virginia running back Noel Devine and Boise State defensive end Ryan Winterswyk.

Triplett also reports the Saints have agreed with Texas receiver John Chiles, Walsh receiver Joe Morgan, Illinois receiver Jarred Fayson and Iowa linebacker Jeremiha Hunter.

Fordham safety Isa Abdul-Quddus said on his Twitter account that he has agreed to a deal with the Saints.

North Carolina defensive back Kendric Burney said via Twitter he’s signing with the Panthers.

Auburn receiver Darvin Adams and offensive lineman Ryan Pugh reportedly will join the Panthers. That should make former teammate Cam Newton happy.

The Saints reportedly will add Ohio State defensive tackle Dexter Larimore and safety DeAndre McDaniel.
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.

Remaining needs in NFC South

May, 11, 2011
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Football Outsiders has this Insider post on the top remaining needs for each NFC South team now that the draft is over.

They list defensive end as Atlanta’s biggest need and that one’s obvious. The Falcons got their explosive player on offense, taking receiver Julio Jones in the draft. They need a pass-rusher and depending on the rules of free agency, whenever it opens, guys like Ray Edwards and Charles Johnson could be possibilities. I’ve also heard Green Bay’s Cullen Jenkins tied to the Falcons a little bit. Jenkins has been a productive pass-rusher, but that’s not really his forte. He’s a big defensive end who can slide inside to defensive tackle in some situations.

Although the Panthers used to third-round picks on defensive tackles, defensive line is listed as one of their top needs. There’s even speculation that Ron Rivera’s ties to Chicago could lead him to pursue defensive tackle Tommie Harris.

New Orleans’ biggest need is listed as outside linebacker, even though the Saints drafted Martez Wilson in the third round. But Scott Shanle could become a free agent and Football Outsiders speculates that the Saints could pursue Buffalo’s Paul Posluszny, who could be a restricted free agent.

Tampa Bay’s biggest needs are listed as cornerback and defensive end. Although the Bucs just drafted Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers, they can use more defensive ends because they had virtually nothing at that position last season. There has been some speculation that the Bucs, who haven’t been big players in recent years, could make a splash and pursue Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency. Although I suspect Asomugha is headed for the NFC East, I’m not totally ruling this one out.

Speaking of ways to fill holes, Scouts Inc. has an Insider post on the top 40 undrafted free agents. Teams can’t sign these guys until the lockout is lifted, but you can bet that every team has a list of guys it is ready to contact the moment the doors to signing players open.
The Monday after the NFL draft usually is a day in which teams spend signing dozens of undrafted free agents. It’s not going to happen on schedule this year because of the lockout.

But, whenever there is labor piece or an end to the lockout, you can bet teams will move quickly to sign a bunch of players who were not drafted. Anticipating this type of scenario, NFL teams talked to agents for players who might go undrafted throughout the past few months. Many teams made it very clear to the agents they’d be interested in certain players if they went undrafted.

I know former Southern California and Cincinnati receiver Vidal Hazelton has been told the Atlanta Falcons might have some interest in adding him if he wasn’t drafted elsewhere. Hazelton, who is coming off a major knee injury, wasn’t drafted. The Falcons added Julio Jones in the first round, so that may lessen their need at receiver. But they still could look at Hazelton as a backup or special-teams player and other teams may have him on their lists.

He and a lot of other players will be waiting, but teams seem ready to scoop them up as soon as the rules allow.

Here’s a list of some of the top undrafted players.

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

The Falcons just sent out their official list of the undrafted rookies they have signed. They added 10 players, highlighted by Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson.

The rest of the list includes San Diego state receiver Darren Mougey, Clemson receiver Aaron Kelly, Colorado defensive end Maurice Lucas, Auburn long snapper Robert Shiver, West Virginia offensive lineman Ryan Stanchek, Arkansas offensive lineman Jose Valdez, Florida State linebacker Derek Nicholson, Northern Arizona punter/kicker Robbie Dehaze and Missouri linebacker Brock Christopher.

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Today's the day most teams sign their undrafted free agents and the names are starting to trickle out. Here's an early list for the Carolina Panthers.

The big name on here is Louisville quarterback Hunter Cantwell simply because he's a quarterback and they always generate excitement. Cantwell has decent size and that's an advantage over the last quarterback (Stefan LeFors) the Panthers had from Louisville.

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