Two Beavers selected in NFL Draft

A PAIR OF BEAVERS were selected in the NFL Draft this weekend and one was a surprise after what the draftnicks were saying leading up to the event. Plus, the free agent signings started the minute the draft ended and a number of Beavers are expected to sign contracts with NFL clubs. But how many of those usually make a team?

Roy Schuening was, as expected, the first Beaver chosen. The offensive guard was selected by the St. Louis Rams, who traded up with Tennessee, through Washington to select Schuening.

Former Beaver running back Steven Jackson recommended to head coach Scott Linehan that the Rams draft the Oregon native.

“Steven knows what we’re looking for. It’s an organizational goal to get those kinds of guys in this program,” Linehan told

“There’s something about the makeup of an offensive lineman that can play through whatever and make 50 starts in college and not miss a game,” Linehan said. “That’s hard to do, and he still has an excellent grade as far as physical.

" It’s not like he’s beat up. He’s in really good shape, and he’s coming out of a great program.”

The second Beaver chosen, however, did not go according to form.

Dorian Smith was a potential fourth round pick according to one publication. Others though Yvenson Bernard or maybe Alexis Serna might go in the later rounds.

Instead, it was Joey LaRocque, picked in the seventh round by Chicago.

"He's a tough, instinctive outside linebacker who was very productive late in his career. He struggled with a hamstring injury during the predraft process, but he probably wouldn't have run much better than he did at the combine anyway. He lacks functional speed and is a marginal athlete," says ESPN in evaluating the Bears' draft.

Schuening, said the network, "doesn't have elite size, he can't change direction well in pass protection and occasionally loses his balance. It's also worth pointing out he's a relentless drive-blocker who plays with a mean streak and works to the whistle on every play."

Former center Kyle DeVan and defensive end Dorian Smith have signed free agent contracts with the Washington Redskins. DeVan started 38 games at center and was a 2006 Pac-10 Second Team honoree and honorable mention in 2005 and 2007. Smith was a Pac-10 First team honoree last season and ended his two year career (transferred from the College of the Desert) with 15 sacks, sixth all-time at OSU.

Running Back Yvenson Bernard signed a free agent contract late Sunday to join Schuening with the Rams. Bernard finished his career with 3,862 yards, sixth all-time in the Pac-10 record book. He was the 2007 Emerald Bowl Offensive MVP after a 177-yard rushing performance. Bernard is the seventh player in conference history with three 1,000-yard plus rushing seasons.

The trio of Beavs could be joined by a contingent of others -- K Serna, WR Anthony Brown, CB Gerard Lawson, LB Alan Darlin, LB Derrick Doggett, DT Gerard Lee, DT Curtis Coker, DE Jeff Van Orsow and RB Clinton Polk -- who could also sign.

How many free agents actually make a team? More than you might think.

Last year, the 12 playoff teams had a combined 167 undrafted free agents on their collective postseason rosters.

There was a downturn in undrafted free agent signings last year but it may have been an aberration tied to the perceived low quality of last year's draft. And NFL teams can still often save money with a free agent contract versus a player they drafted. Players can also potentially choose the most attractive situation for them to compete in.

As for undrafted free agents who became impact players, the list is lengthy. To name but a few:

QBs Tony Romo, Kurt Warner and Jeff Garcia; RBs Ryan Grant, Priest Holmes, James Allen, Mack Strong and Stacey Mack; WRs Ruvell Martin, Wes Walker, Terrence Wilkins, and David Patten; offensive linemen Jeff Saturday, Ryan Lilja, Stephen Neal, James Williams, Derrick Deese and Mark Dixon; DL Paul Spicer, Cullen Jenkins, Ed Johnson and Greg White, LBs Antonio Pierce, Ryan Nece and James Harrison; DBs Terry Cousin and Nick Jarper; Ks Adam Vinatieri and Olindo Mare; and punter Tom Rouen.

Go further back and you'll find Deron Cherry, Sam Mills, Wayne Chrebet and Joe Jacoby as more undrafted free agents who flourished in The League.

But any of the Beavs who were not drafted will be happy just to catch on with an NFL team and then spend the next few months in deep preparations to make the squad.

Meanwhile, the Arena Football and the Canadian Football Leagues also remain as other options.

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