2011 Undrafted Free Agents the Packers May Target when the Lockout Ends
On Monday, the up-and-down talk of the NFL lockout centered around a potential date—July 21st—for when this seemingly never-ending labor dispute will be over. Regardless of when it ends, however, there’s a couple of aspects I’m fairly certain about for when we see that fateful day.
One of the things I think the new agreement will likely allow is for teams to add a few more players to their roster than the previous number of 53. This would help counteract the effects of this lockout on the 2011 crop of undrafted free agents. The second is more obvious. As we’ve come to expect, GM Ted Thompson rarely adds veteran free agents, and I’d bet on that continuing once the lockout ends. It’s likely that the only chance for seeing new Packers (besides draft picks, of course) is via undrafted free agents, an avenue where Thompson has been wildly successful.
So while we’ve touched on the subject before here at AllGreenBayPackers.com, here is a revised and updated list of potential undrafted free agents the Packers might consider once the lockout finally ends.
Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin: He’s a smart and accurate quarterback who could help fill the void if Matt Flynn leaves in free agency next season. Would need to beat out current No. 3 Graham Harrell, but both McCarthy and Thompson were in Madison to see him at UW’s Pro Day.
Jeff Van Camp, Florida Atlantic: Van Camp is a big kid (6’5″), and he’s not afraid to use his feet to make plays when protection breaks down. He’d need considerably more work than Tolzein but might have a higher ceiling.
Adam Weber, Minnesota: Weber certainly has the arm and athleticism to warrant a look in an NFL team’s camp. And no college quarterback has the experience of Weber, who started a Big Ten record 50 games under center for the Gophers.
Graig Cooper, Miami: I raved about Cooper prior to the NFL draft as a potential late-round pick for the Packers, but they went ahead and picked a very similar player in Alex Green at the end of the third round. Even so, Cooper is a talented player who can contribute in several ways on special teams.
Darren Evans, Virginia Tech: If Evans doesn’t tear his ACL two seasons ago, chances are we could have been talking about him going in the second round instead of VT stablemate Ryan Williams. He’s also a high character guy who would make the most of his chance.
Shaun Draughn, North Carolina: He was a workhorse back at UNC, but Draughn started his college career as a safety. He’d have immediate value on special teams.
Isaac Odim, Minnesota-Duluth: He’s not the biggest or fastest running back on the market, but Odim was a monster at UM-D. Danny Woodhead proved that Division II backs can make a difference if given the opportunity.
Jarred Fayson, Illinois: Fayson has elite top-end speed and an NFL-ready body, but he never put together the kind of production you’d expect after transferring from Florida to Illinois. He could be a real steal down the road.
Darvin Adams, Auburn: He’s not the kind of athlete that Fayson is but is a much more polished technician. He’d need to prove a willingness to contribute somehow on special teams.
Armon Binns, Cincinnati: With James Jones on his way out of Green Bay, Binns could help replace some of the physicalness Jones brought to the receiving corps. He also has experience on several special teams units.
Dane Sanzenbacher, Ohio State: He lacks the size you want in a receiver, but Sanzenbacher could push Brett Swain for the No. 5 receiver spot. Playing on special teams would be one of his strengths.
OT Willie Smith, East Carolina: The Packers had a visit with Smith before the draft, meaning he could be one of the their top targets once the lockout is over. He’s an athletic tackle who is just starting to scratch his potential at the position.
G Zach Hurd, UConn: Hurd is a monster (6’6″, 320 pounds) on the interior of the line, and he plays with a mean streak. The Packers do currently have a surplus of young interior lineman, however.
G Ricky Henry, Nebraska: When you watch Nebraska’s running game on tape, Henry stands out immediately. He’s a tough competitor who just mauls people inside.
C Alex Linnenkohl, Oregon State: The scouting report on Linnenkohl: “Smart, athletic center who works hard in both the run and pass game.” Sounds to me like a young Scott Wells.
DE Cedric Thornton, Southern Arkansas: It’s still a surprise to me that Thornton didn’t get selected in April’s draft. For a defensive line that will need to replace Cullen Jenkins, Thornton seems like a natural fit.
DE Martin Parker, Richmond: I liked Parker before the draft as a potential five-technique, but the scouts I’ve read seem to think he’s more of a three-tech for a 4-3 team. Still, his size (6’2″, 305 pounds) and pass rushing ability are intriguing.
DE/DT Anthony Gray, Southern Miss: Gray visited the Packers before the draft but wasn’t selected. He’s body and skill set will remind many of Ryan Pickett and Howard Green, two players whom Dom Capers have used successfully.
DE Brandon Bair, Oregon: He’s a little bit undersized weight-wise (275 pounds), but his length (6’5″) makes him a potential fit. He’d likely need to add weight to his frame to contribute.
OLB Mario Addison, Troy: Could Addison follow in the footsteps of fellow Troy pass rushers DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora? He’s 250 pounds and had 10.5 sacks as an outside linebacker last season.
ILB Orie Lemon, Oklahoma State: Lemon has a solid frame and was one of the more productive linebackers in the nation in 2010. He’d be a capable backup and an instant contributor on special teams.
ILB Nick Bellore, Central Michigan: Bellore registered over 500 tackles during his career as a Chippewa, proving his instincts for the position. Like Lemon, he could be an impact special teamer right away.
OLB Marc Schiechl, Colorado School of Mines: His school got him a lot of pre-draft attention, but Schiechl can get to the quarterback. His 46 sacks are an NCAA Divison II record.
S Anthony Walters, Delaware: If I had to put money on any one player landing in Green Bay, Walters would be it. He’s a cornerback/safety hybrid who could add depth to the secondary and special teams units, and he worked out with the Packers before the draft.
CB Ryan Jones, NW Missouri State: Despite drafting Davon House, the Packers have struck gold with undrafted cornerbacks in recent years. Why not take a chance on finding another talented cover man?
S Deunta Williams, North Carolina: Safety is the one position I could see the Packers adding a couple of players. Williams was once a highly-touted prospect at UNC who fell off the map because of injury.
S Joseph Lefeged, Rutgers: Lefeged is widely considered among the best of the undrafted free agents. He’s a guy who could contribute on special teams before threatening for a starting spot.
S Mike Holmes, Syracuse: Holmes is another ‘tweener who wouldn’t have a problem playing special teams. He returned kicks and punts at Syracuse, too.
CB Antareis Bryan, Baylor: Bryan was another guy the Packers worked out before the draft. He’s fast and has the body type the Packers like in their cornerbacks.——————
Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.
You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.Follow @zachkruse2