Sixty-one undrafted free agents survived the cut to 53 this weekend. That number is probably close to average for any year, but this year it was supposed to be harder for undrafted players to make clubs because of the lockout. None of these players were signed until right before training camp and had no offseason program in which to impress coaches and prepare for camp. In my opinion it shows that these kids did a great job getting themselves ready for the rigors of pro football. It also shows that the vets they beat out may not have been as ready for camp as they should have been. It’s tough enough for an undrafted free agent to make a club but for this many players to make clubs after no OTA’s, mini camps and offseason programs is a testament to their character.
By my count, the Bears and Colts kept the highest number of undrafted players with 5. Minnesota had 4, as did the Dallas Cowboys. Looking at their rosters early today, I did not see Miami, Tennessee and Arizona with any undrafted free agents having made the cut. Of course that could change within the next few days.
The best story of an undrafted free agent has to be linebacker Mark Herzlich from Boston College overcoming the odds of defeating cancer and making the Giants roster. Going into the 2009 college season, Herzlich was looked at as a possible first-round pick before he was diagnosed with a rare cancer in his leg. He missed all of 2009 but came back to have a very solid 2010 season but because of his medical history all 32 clubs passed on drafting him. When the lockout ended, he was one of the first players the Giants called and signed as an undrafted free agent. He had a very good preseason and if he can eventually return to pre-cancer form the Giants got themselves one good football player.