Teams continue to sign their 2010 draft choices at a faster pace than the last two years, but Pro Football Weekly recently put into perspective the important role that talented rookie free agents play in the overall success of an NFL franchise.
“It might take longer for undrafted players to make their mark, but the bottom line is that in the end, teams don’t care where they’ve come from – only how good they become,” writes Pro Football Weekly writer Eric Edholm.
“Being undrafted was huge for me, a major part of my life,” says Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowl fullback Leonard Weaver. “It’s the foundation of who I am and where I came from. All I needed was an opportunity, an open door, and once I got through it, I was going to bust it wide open.”
Weaver is among the handful of All-Stars that comprise the Pro Football Weekly 53-man All-Undrafted Team. Players such as Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison and Cleveland Browns wide receiver/return specialist Joshua Cribbs are considered to be among the best in the league at their respective positions, but entered the league undrafted.
In addition, Washington Redskins linebacker and Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year finalist London Fletcher, New England wide receiver Wes Welker and San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates have joined the list of undrafted free agents that have reached a level of success approaching Pro Football Hall of Famers such as Warren Moon, Dick “Night Train” Lane, Willie Brown and John Randle, among others.
PFW 2010 All-Undrafted Team
|WR||Miles Austin, Macolm Floyd, Kassim Osgood||DLE||Tony Brown, Tommy Kelly, Jacques Cesaire|
|OLT||Jason Peters, Artis Hicks||NT||Pat Williams, Ma’ake Kemoeatu|
|OLG||Kris Dielman||DRE||Cullen Jenkins, Mike Wright|
|C||Jeff Saturday, Shaun O’Hara||LOLB||Cameron Wake, Pierre Woods|
|ORG||Stephen Neal, Harvey Dahl||LILB||Bart Scott, London Fletcher|
|ORT||Donald Penn||RILB||Gary Brackett, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Heath Farwell|
|TE||Antonio Gates, Daniel Fells, Daniel Coats||ROLB||James Harrison|
|WR||Wes Welker, Lance Moore, Davone Bess||LCB||Jabari Greer, Jacob Lacey|
|QB||Tony Romo, Jake Delhomme, Matt Moore||RCB||Leigh Bodden, Brent Grimes, Randall Gay|
|RB||Ryan Grant, Pierre Thomas, Fred Jackson, Mike Bell||SS||Quentin Mikell, Jim Leonard|
|FB||Leonard Weaver||FS||Ryan Clark, Melvin Bullitt|