Among the biggest losers of the 2011 NFL Draft are the hundreds of undrafted free agents whose phones didn't ring in the hours after the end of the seventh round.
In a historic situation, players who weren't drafted can't be signed until the labor mess is sorted out and player transactions can take place.
Typically, teams are on the phone with their top undrafted free-agent targets throughout the final day of the event, trying to convince them to sign on. And many negotiate bigger signing bonuses than late-round draft picks as agents review each team's draft picks and seek the best fits for their clients.
There is a fair number of talented players still without a team after Mr. Irrelvant, new Houston Texans linebacker Cheta Ozougwu (from Rice University, which is located in Houston), was selected with the 254th pick. The following five players could have easily been drafted as early as the fourth or fifth round, but now will have to wait until the league and players - or the courts - finally works things out.
1. DT Ian Williams, Notre Dame
Williams fought through injury in 2010, missing time with a knee injury, but his toughness and hustle from the interior could allow him to contribute for a long time as a solid, if not overly flashy, 4-3 nose tackle/one-technique.
2. WR Terrance Toliver, LSU
Toliver's tape isn't superior, but his size/speed combination still typically earns an SEC receiver some sort of draft slot. He also looked good at the end of the season and at the East-West Shrine Game. He should latch on with a team interested in a vertical route-runner with enough size to create mismatches against smaller cornerbacks.
3. QB Pat Devlin, Delaware
The Penn State transfer did not impress scouts with his arm strength at the East-West Shrine Game or his pro day, but his performance was not so poor that most didn't expect him to be drafted late. Though he ran primarily out of shotgun for the Blue Hens, he came out from under center at Penn State and has the size, athleticism and intelligence to stick on a roster as a backup or potential spot starter.
4. CB Ryan Jones, Northwest Missouri State
It was surprising that a solid cornerback who produced for a powerhouse Division II program and who blew up his pro day (40-inch vertical, 4.46 40 at 5-11, 198 pounds, 19 reps of 225 pounds) went undrafted. He is raw in his coverage and tackling techniques to be sure, but it won't be surprising to see him stick as a nickel back with potential as a starter down the line.
5. DT Martin Parker, Richmond
Another small-school prospect, Parker showed up big-time at the East-West Shrine Game, but teams didn't appreciate his film enough to select him even late in the draft. Given time and coaching, Parker could be an interesting three-technique prospect who provides pass rush as a high-effort wave player.
Draft boards still have meat on the bone
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