Well, they’re not really “draft prospects” anymore.
The 2011 NFL draft ended Saturday evening. The highest profile player not selected was Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich.
But here’s a look at other undrafted free agents with relatively big names and/or impressive college careers. Due to the league’s transactions freeze, these guys are probably currently fielding calls from the UFL and AFL. In a normal year, they’d already be signing with NFL teams:
1. West Virginia running back Noel Devine.
The pint-sized Devine was a three-time All-Big East pick after entering college as the nation’s No. 15 overall high school recruit. He averaged 5.92 yards per carry in his career and ran a 4.43 forty at the Mountaineers’ March 17 Pro Day. But perhaps 827 touches in college took too much of a toll on Devine’s 5-foot-7, 160-180 pound frame. His per-play production dropped dramatically as a senior.
2. Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin.
We’ve seen Devlin play quite a bit and were never impressed, but a lot of folks would’ve bet he’d at least get drafted. A former four-star recruit at Penn State, Devlin transferred to D-IAA Delaware and was hailed in some circles as “the next Joe Flacco” after throwing 22 touchdown passes compared to three interceptions as a senior. We suspect the same people who made the Flacco comparisons never actually watched Devlin.
3. Wisconsin running back John Clay.
Clay was smart to leave Wisconsin early because “backups” Montee Ball and James White are much better than him. (Remember the names: We’ll see Ball and White in the big leagues in a few years.) But let’s not forget that the bulldozing Clay was the 2009 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Even after shedding 30-some pounds after the Badgers’ season ended, however, Clay managed just a 4.87 forty time at the Combine. That’s way too slow for an NFL back.
4. Florida safety Will Hill.
Hill was a five-star high school recruit. We’re not aware of a single pre-draft visit or workout he was invited to aside from the Giants’ “local prospects day,” however, after this series of bad decisions was publicly revealed.
5. Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel.
McDaniel has an off-field flag in his background, but he was awfully productive at Clemson. He picked off 15 passes in his college career and led the Tigers in tackles last season. McDaniel was an ACC Academic Honor Roll pick in 2009 and 2010, so he’s no dummy. There are questions about McDaniel’s range as a safety. Some projected him to linebacker.
6. South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders.
A Mel Kiper favorite before not playing a snap in 2010 due to an NCAA suspension, Saunders was a big-time recruit out of high school. It’s probably not surprising he went undrafted because Saunders needs foot surgery and has numerous character flags. He also wasn’t very productive for Steve Spurrier, managing six career touchdowns.
7. Auburn running back Mario Fannin.
Fannin was a career backup for the Tigers, but seemed flier worthy because of his ridiculous size-speed combo. At 5-foot-10, 231, Fannin blazed the Combine track with a 4.38 forty. He also displayed plenty of passing-game value for the defending BCS Champs, setting Auburn school records for receptions and receiving yards by a running back.
8. Virginia Tech running back Darren Evans.
Evans left early for the draft after starting ahead of a banged-up Ryan Williams at Virginia Tech last season. Williams, of course, was the 38th overall pick. Evans is a bruiser at 6-foot, 227, and ran a very respectable 4.58 forty at the Combine. Perhaps his fall was medical-related? Evans missed the entire 2009 season with a torn left ACL.
9. Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell.
Chappell is an erratic thrower, but he has a big arm and certainly could’ve turned some heads in a camp. An annual Big Ten All-Academic pick, Chappell threw 24 touchdowns compared to just nine interceptions as a senior and weighed in at 6-foot-2, 224 during his March 20 Pro Day after playing a bit overweight at Indiana. He’s a gunslinger.
10. Stanford linebacker/defensive end Tom Keiser.
Something is up with Keiser. The four-year junior was a surprise early entrant into the draft. He was snubbed for a Combine invite, then reportedly didn’t have a single team send representatives to his April 14 individual workout. Keiser racked up 19.5 career sacks and 31.5 tackles for loss in three seasons under Jim Harbaugh and Vic Fangio. We suspect he’ll be on the 49ers’ short list if undrafted free agents are allowed to sign at some point.
Others: Baldwin-Wallace defensive end/outside linebacker Keith Darbut, Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts, Marshall linebacker Mario Harvey, Auburn center Ryan Pugh, Miami running back Graig Cooper, Syracuse center Ryan Bartholomew, Auburn wide receiver Darvin Adams, Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien, Notre Dame defensive tackle Ian Williams, UConn linebacker Scott Lutrus, North Carolina safety Deunta Williams, North Carolina cornerback Kendric Burney, Rutgers safety Joe Lefeged, Pittsburgh fullback Henry Hynoski, LSU wide receiver Terrance Toliver, Ohio State wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher.