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Finding the One UDFA

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, May 18, 2006.

  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There will be other threads on moves, and on each individual decision. I thought I would discuss this from a more global perspective.

    I think it is rare for a rookie UDFA's to be a major contributers. Even when it happens, it sometimes takes years. Neal is a good example. I think it likely that one UDFA will make the roster, and likely be inactive all year. Or perhaps there will be none or two. Sure, a couple could make the practice squad, the road to NFLE next year.

    ----------------------------------------
    So, when I do a projected roster I don't usually don't even include UDFA's as competitors. Barring two injuries at the same position, I don't expect any of them to make the team. BTW, I have the same expectation for NFLE players. There are many players in Training Camp. They will all be given their shot, but the reality is that we are looking for a needle in a haystack, and even then it is unlikely that the player will be a difference maker. Remember these players will be practicing with the scrubs.
    -------------------------------------------------------

    That having been said, I believe that we can afford to carry a couple of developmental players on the roster, and that Roach has a decent chance to take on of those spots; but he is the only one I expect to have much of a chance, except for Bramlet at QB.
     
  2. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I think Roach and Keon Jackson are going to be there right until the end. And if a vet QB isn't unsigned, it appears all Bramlett would have to do is outperform Mortenson. He has the clearest path.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2006
  3. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In general, you're obviously right.

    When Gay stuck, he had to beat out Morton, a low round draft pick, and there were a lot of injuries in the secondary. That won't happen every year.

    But my hunch this year is that Special Teams is going to play a big role, and it's possible that it could be decisive in getting someone a spot on the team in advance of a drafted player. Scouting Special Teams potential on the basis of college performance is obviously very difficult, given that someone who is going to be good enough to play ST in the NFL will almost certainly have been a valuable starter in college.

    This is a speculation, not a prediction -- we'll have to wait and see.
     
  4. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I like the overview look...but I have a slightly different look at it. It might be rare of a UDFA having a major contribution the first year, they nonetheless have more of an impact than was stated. If one looks at the players who played last year for the Patriots, a number of them were UDFAs....maybe close to an eighth of the players were Patriot UDFAs. Besides OG Neal, who was indeed quite a project moving from wrstler non-football player to offensive lineman, theres backup lineman Mruc and WR Childress. There's Dlineman Thomas and Wright, LB Alexander and CB Gay. Also in the mix is linemen Britt and S Ventrone. That is hardly a needle in the haystack. Granted, many were in place at the end of the year when many were injured, but they were there on the roster. But UDFAs do have other functions...to push and compete and that has to be something that helps in the long run. The PSquad also is importnat not only in developing players, but also as part of the team...for BB looks at the PSqd players as part of the team as a whole.
    (A much different look than most of even the fans...). Given that fact, I do agree it is a long shot to make the team, contribute..but is it that much MORE than a 6th..7th round pick???
    Looking at this year's UDFAs..I do think as a whole, they are a much stronger group than last year.. Where they MAY be able to make the team??
    Or have a real impact in who does??
    Many have said Roach and he MAY indeed have what it takes to make it at ILB...Bramlett as some have said may have an easy path, if it is obvious that Cassel is 3nd..and no vet is brought in. But there may be others....that will either come close OR make it to the PSqd. RB Patrick Cobbs...WR Erik Davis...
    OL Randy Hand and Brian Barthelmes...OLB Pierre Woods..Someone mentioned
    Keon Jackson and I think if he plays a strong game he could be a surprise.
    But on numbers alone, looking at it, I wonder if either NT Remi Ayodele or DE
    Kader Drame may be ones who could make the 53. I only speculate because there may be a place for a "project" player and/or a backup. There may be 2 spots on the DL open (if draftee Smith makes it)...2 possibly with 6 possibles.
    (Wright, Hill, Klecko and Thomas and the two UDFAs.) I think that is an easier path to the 53 than other positions where there is more competition.
    Drame seems to be closer to a Neal...than a Gay, but that will play out.
    I just think it may be shortsighted to overlook UDFAs as a group.
     
  5. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Let's use your list.

    Neal - took several years to develop
    Gay - beat out a 7th rounder after there were several injuries at the position

    It is my position that the following have contributed almost not at all. The fact that they sat at the end of the bench for part of a year doesn't mean much to me.

    Mruc
    Childress
    Thomas
    Alexander
    Britt (different because he is a 5th rounder, not an UDFA)
    Ventrone
    Wright (I don't think he was active much)

    Do UDFA's have less of a chance than 6th and 7th round picks? Yes, absolutely. Are you suggesting that the UDFA's have the same shot as Mincey?

    BTW, I'm OK with being called shortsighted because I don't see much value in UDFA's. As an aside, they get very little playing time with the first two teams, and have very little chance to catch on. I'm also short-sighted because I believe that the NFLE is a kiss of death by bb, and the Practice Squad is important for practice, but has little input on those players who actually play. Finally, I'm shortsighted in not bothering even to look at potential RFA's since we almost never sign any. So, yes I ignore lots of sources of potential players. I think that Pioli should spend more time searching for jag veterans, as he always has. For example, Gardner has a much better shot than any of the UDFA's.

    I agree that special teams are critically important, and the bb values them more than other coaches. However, it does NOT follow that he searches for special teamers among the UDFA's. Please list the UDFA's that have played significant time on special teams. bb and pioli look to veterans to come in and improve the special teams, guys like Jones and Mitchell.






     
  6. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Adam Vin*t*er* :D
     
  7. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Lonnie Paxton
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2005
  8. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    In building a club like Belichick & Pioli are doing, it is important to succeed in the little things and allow time to let the little things accumulate. If a single UDFA merely makes the PS every year and only one or two graduate to the active roster than the Patriots are that one or two players better than their opposition.

    But in fact we have seen Vinatieri, Paxton, Neal, Ashworth, Andruzzi, Gay, and Wright make the active roster. Six starters out of 25 is about 25% of the starters. IOW, the Patriots are 25%stronger than they would have been if Belichcik and Pioli took your advice and did not waste thier "time".

    The pats had 40 years of such common sense prior to Belichick's arrival. I'll take his approach, if you don't mind & even if you do, as I like the results of being 25% stronger...
     
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  9. flutie2phelan

    flutie2phelan Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    You make a very strong case, Stan ... supplemented by Mike and dryheat.

    Bramlet, yes. But of all the others, only Roach rose as far on my list as "PS-able".

    Dryheat, could you spare a sentence or two why Keon Jackson catches your eye?
     
  10. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    If you'll permit me a great draftnik cliche', "He's a football player."

    I had him as an under the radar, mid-major safety and ST prospect, but I don't remember exactly why. I'm sure it was some combination of excellence at a lesser level of competition, upside with coaching, leadership, willingness to do whatever it takes. I don't have my draft notes anymore.
     
  11. flutie2phelan

    flutie2phelan Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Library of Congress came to snatch 'em right afterwards, i bet.
     
  12. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    It isn't that I think the DLers are that great, but the dynamics of that position offer a real possibility. As far as the PSqd go, there are a bunch of the UDFAs. Drame could be a force if he strengthens himself and gets his body in shape. Has long arms, is athletic...sounds a bit like Hill...
    But if one looks at keeping 7 DLers..Seymour, Wilfork, Warren, Green.....add in draftee Smith. There are 2 positions left...and so far 6 competing...Klecko, Wright, Thomas, Hill and UDFAs..Drame and Ayodele. I just think that unless a vet is brought in, they have a chance..at LEAST for a PSqd. Shorter route....
     
  13. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Objection! Gay won the roster spot fair and square in Training Camp/Pre-Season. I'm having brain flatulence and can't remember the veteran who he bumped - I think he wound up on the Jets... I'll agree that his profile got a major boost from the injuries throwing him into play early, but that has nothing to do with Randall making the team over a vet and a 7th rounder (who is still in the league somewhere last I knew).

    I was surprised by how much Wright did play, he was active most games because he could play Special Teams and all three DL slots.
     
  14. spacecrime

    spacecrime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Terrell Buckley
     
  15. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Buckley.....I was going to mention that in my reply and will..but Buckley was the last cut...actually, it was Morton, Moreland and Buckley who were cut..and who he beat out. yes..TBuck..and there were no big injuries then..it was after that DBs started to go down.
     
  16. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Gay beat out Terrel Buckley, I believe, and it wasn't even close. Even the beat writers were picking up on Gay after the first week of TC that year.

    I think Gay was helped tremendously by coming from a Saban coached team. He had a lot of the terminology and the assignments down before camp even started.

    Woods of Michigan is a career under acheiver and he may not be all that tough/strong, but I think he was miscast at Michigan and may be better suited to play OLB in a 3-4. I might be able to see him on the PS this year.

    With Roach running somewhere between 4.9 and 5.10, it's very hard to see him making it, even on the PS.
     
  17. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thankee Kindly!
     
  18. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Firstly Neal did take several years to develop...but again, his journey was more than unusual...from a college wrestler to an OL..quite far from typical.
    As was stated before, no injuries in camp and Gay beat out Buckley, Moreland and Morton. Britt was drafted nor a UDFA (realized that just after I posted..should have done a quick edit but..corrected). Actually Wright was active in all the games before his injury because of his ST play.
    As to whether some have a better shot at making the team than Mincey..did I say that?? Let's see...QB Kingsbury. TE Nead, OLB Banta-Cain, NT Ethan Kelley, QB Matt Cassel and TE Andy Stokes. Do I think some of the UDFAs have a chance to make it as much as a 6th 7th rounder?? Yes. Depends on the player, position and year, of course. After a certain point in the draft, I don't think it's as obvious as to who is better...a large gray area exists which goes deep into the UDFA pool, before there is a definite drop off. Ventrone was very close to being the last pick in that draft; the Patriots thought that someone was going after Stokes and they drafted hiim.
    As to whether the players listed have "contributed" or not, I think that discussion might be needed in a much larger context at another time. Which may have to do with the scope of one's view.
    There are some that will look at many sources of players and are interested in all of them. There are others who look at basically the team, the 53 an no further. Others will look at some of the team, just starters, and others, just the stars. Nothing wrong with that scope at all, from the simple narrowness to the widest points. There are many many draftniks who really study college football and the draft. BoxRcks is someone that does a great job of breaking down the NFLE players. On the other side of the spectrum, the BULK of Patriot fans may just know the stars or even just the starters. People have different interests and levels of knowledge. Nothing at all wrong with that.
     
  19. zippo59

    zippo59 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I don't think you can discount UDFA's because last years didn't make a huge impact. It is hard enough for a drafted rookie to make a significant impact, let alone an undrafted one. The Patriots have found some good players out of the undrafted pool, and for the most part they just needed time to develop. Troy Brown was drafted in the 8th round, which doesn't exist anymore, so he would have been an UDFA. You can find enough good players in the UDFA area that it is more than worth persuing. Putting real effort and stock into UDFA's is what separates the good teams from the rest of the NFL. The hidden gems are there, if you're willing to look hard enough.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2006
  20. Urgent

    Urgent In the Starting Line-Up

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    Wright was active more than second-year second-rounder Marquise Hill. Note that Seymour was out several games, giving Hill more of an advantage.

    Wright played in 13 games, with 13 total tackles. (Wilfork, by contrast, totaled 54 tackles in 16 games, or about 3.3 per game, so Wright produced about a third of Wilfork, about what a back-up DL should.)

    Hill, by contrast, was active for eight games with 3 total tackles.

    So Wright had some impact on the defense, more than just a UDFA benchwarmer.
     

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