Insider Notes: June 21st

The New York Giants might have found a gem in the seventh round of this year's draft. A few other teams also might have gotten lucky with some undrafted free agents.

Undrafted Free Agent Turning Heads; Another Sleeper Cornerback Could have a Job Soon

CB Tim Mixon is turning heads in Chicago.  

The former University of California Bear, who was rated higher than teammate Daymeion Hughes by NFL scouting services before tearing a knee ligament last August, gave up on his attempt for a sixth season of NCAA eligibility. 

Initially signing with the Seattle Seahawks, Mixon was cut loose by the team after refusing to sign a waiver for his injured knee. The Chicago Bears quickly swiped him up and originally planned to place Mixon on the PUP list while paying him a practice squad salary as he continued to rehab his knee. Mixon was recently cleared to play and has been told by the coaching staff he has a real chance to make the final roster.

Mixon's style of play is perfect for the system used by head coach Lovie Smith and his abilities as a return specialist could make him an inexpensive backup to Devin Hester. And it's worth noting that Chicago's two starting cornerbacks, Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher, are on the final year of their contracts.

Another cornerback on the mend who received good news is DeAndre Jackson.

The former Iowa State star, who graded out as a first day pick when his senior season began, also suffered a serious knee injury, though it occurred seven games into the 2006 campaign. 

Back to full health, the New York Jets have told Jackson the team will offer him a contract if he passes the team's physical in two weeks time. Jackson's skills coupled with head coach Eric Mangini's ability to develop secondary talent and the Jets lack of depth in the defensive backfield are all positive signs for the cornerback.

Edwards Getting off to a Good Start

Buffalo Bills rookie QB Trent Edwards has been receiving increased reps during recent practices and a league source has told us the third-round pick is looking good. 

The initial plan had Edwards third on the depth chart behind veteran QB Craig Nall. Some believe Edwards, who is expected to sign a four-year deal in the next two weeks, could surpass Nall and become the backup to starting QB J.P. Losman.

Late-Round Pick Could Have an Impact

It's rare that a seventh-round pick could have impact on a team's offense but New York Giants rookie RB Ahmad Bradshaw could do just that.

The former Marshall University product turned heads during their post-draft workouts and he looked very impressive. Team insiders believe Bradshaw could do more than make the final roster, he could eventually become their third-down back and also could be used as a change of pace to much bigger backs, Brandon Jacobs and Reuben Droughns.

Had Bradshaw not had off the field issues, he could have been selected several rounds higher in this year's draft.

Bradshaw will be competing for their No. 3 running back job against Derrick Ward who is built similarly to Droughns.

Supplemental Draft Update

In a published report late Wednesday, it was announced that University of Maryland OT Jared Gaither has been declared academically ineligible for the '07 and will not play for the Terrapins. 

There is speculation that Gaither could enter July's supplemental draft. Sources have told the early indications from the talented blocker is that he will sit out the season and concentrate on academics then return for one more year of college football before declaring for the 2009 draft. 

A true sophomore in '06, Gaither is three years removed from high school graduation as he spent one year at Hargrave Military Academy before entering Maryland. 

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