This past weekend's NFL Draft produced three new professionals from the Arizona Wildcats football program. On top of that, three others were signed as undrafted free agents in hopes of making someone's squad.
Each player faces his own unique set of challenges when it comes to cracking the rotation, but there is a chance for each player to leave their mark in offseason camps and potentially make the final roster in September. Here is what they are facing with their new squads:
Foles is in somewhat of a comfortable position in Philadelphia. The quarterback probably isn't ready to contribute on a consistent basis at this point and will require some grooming. He is currently slotted behind Michael Vick and the hope is that Foles will get a couple of years – at the very minimum – before being thrown in to action.
Prediction: Foles sees limited action as a rookie as Vick can't seem to stay healthy. He doesn't shine, but displays enough to infuse excitement towards his future. He'll start (or get traded to someone who needs a starting quarterback) by his third season in the league and become a solid quarterback.
Criner slid all the way to the fifth round after having a very productive career at Arizona. He slipped due to concerns with his speed and his reduced production as a senior, but the wideout possesses enough talent to be an impact receiver at the professional ranks. He joins a group of young, but talented receivers and should work his way into the rotation relatively early.
Criner's playmaking ability and strength are going to make him a tough player to defend in the NFL. He fits the Raider's system well because, even with his questionable speed, he has the ability to stretch the field.
Prediction: Criner works his way into the rotation and becomes one of the Raiders best wide receivers in a year or two.
Wade lasted until the seventh round when the Browns called his name. Wade enters a defensive backfield with plenty of young, developing talent and there is plenty of room for him to stick and potentially make an impact. Wade is deceptively strong for his size, but he is going to find matching up with NFL receivers to be a much more difficult task than what he faced in the Pac-12.
Given the lack of experienced depth in Cleveland's secondary, Wade should be able to make the final cut. He has the potential to contribute on special teams and in a backup role right off the bat.
Prediction: Wade makes the cut and plays mostly as a special teamer in his rookie year.
Douglas was signed by the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants and it isn't out of the realm of possibility that he makes the Giants' final cut. He will certainly face tough competition with what the Giants possess at wideout, but Douglas has all the makings of a solid possession receiver in the NFL.
Douglas wasn't drafted but that shouldn't prevent him from making it somewhere as a pro. He has great hands, runs routes very well and isn't afraid to go over the middle of the field. Expect him to play somewhere in 2012 even if he doesn't make the Giants.
Prediction: Douglas makes the Giants and makes a viable contribution by the end of the season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers always find players that seemingly come out of nowhere and make a big impact in the league. While UA fans know who Robert Golden is, not many outside of the Pac-12 may be completely aware of the defensive back. Golden had a solid career at Arizona that saw him play both safety and cornerback. He was productive in each role and was one of the Wildcats most reliable players for the past few years.
He will attempt to make a defense that is traditionally one of the best in the league. It won't be an easy task, but if Golden can make it, he has a chance to develop his skills while playing for a franchise that historically does well in churning out talented defensive players.
Prediction: Golden doesn't make the final roster, but is signed to Pittsburgh's practice squad.
The two-year starter at linebacker proved to be one of the Pac-12's most efficient tacklers and has the body of a NFL linebacker. The main concern with Vassallo is his athleticism. Some question whether or not he is fast or quick enough to thrive as a pro football player, but he excels in other areas that are essential to be a productive NFL linebacker.
Arizona has some steady young players at linebacker in Sam Acho and Clark and Daryl Washington but also has seasoned veterans in Paris Lenon and Clark Haggans. With the Cardinals searching for more young talent with potential, this could be an ideal situation for Vassallo.
Prediction: Vassallo gets cut, but is signed to Arizona's practice squad.
2012 NFL Draft outlook
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