by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
Unlike past seasons where NFL teams could seek out undrafted players to fill out their camp rosters, rookie free agents have to sit and wait for the lockout to end.
Below we’ve listed some of those unpicked prospects whom we’d like to see get a shot in Foxboro.
Mark Herzlich, Boston College LB – Unbelievable that no team would spend even a seventh-round pick on this guy. He’s big (6-4, 245) and strong (29 bench reps of 225 pounds) and has been a stalwart on BC’s defense (65 tackles, four interceptions in 2010).
Having beaten cancer, you’d think he’d get a shot on his story alone. But Herzlich’s no pity pick: whatever team he decides to go to will be lucky to have him. Here’s hoping he finds a home at Foxboro this fall.
Jeremy Kelley, Maine WR/ST – Definitely something intriguing about this local athlete, a 6-6, 225-pound receiver who got on the field any way possible, from special teams to pass-rusher. His foot speed (6.60-second 3-cone drill) and suddenness (10-11 broad jump, 42-inch vertical) could get him into an NFL camp. We’d enjoy watching him at Gillette.
Marc Schiechl, Colorado School of Mines OLB – Schiechl gets the Dane Fletcher undrafted nod as the western school defensive end who absolutely killed at his pro day. The 6-2, 252-pound outside linebacker prospect had 38 bench reps and a 35-inch vertical, showing the athleticism that should get him an extra look from scouts.
Jeremy Ross, Cal WR – The Pats drafted his teammate Shane Vereen, and should take a shot at Ross. The receiver has good size at 6-0, 207 pounds, good speed with a 4.45 40, and good special teams prowess, leading Cal in punts. Productive, athletic and smart all have to be worth something, right?
Terrence Holt, Austin Peay RB/RS – We first called Holt’s name in our Superlatives column as the Lil’ Danny Woodhead Award winner. The 5-8, 185-pound pocketknife led the Governors in rushing, receiving and returning. At the very least, that kind of production could make him a versatile addition to New England’s practice squad.
Cedric Thornton, Southern Arkansas DT – Considering the Pats went through defensive linemen last year the way I go through movie popcorn (and believe you me, that’s quick), Thornton (6-3, 310) could bolster the D-line. In eight games last year Thornton had 52 tackles, including 13 for losses.
Jake Kirkpatrick, TCU C – He’s not huge (6-2, 300) nor Herculean (25 bench reps), but Kirkpatrick is consistent. His winning the Rimington Award for the nation’s best college center says all we need to know.
Jeron Johnson, Boise State FS – The 5-10, 212-pound Johnson led Boise State in tackles for the past three years and started 44 games over his Broncos career. Though not the fastest, he put up a respectable 4.5-second 40.
Darrin Walls, Notre Dame CB – Walls had the type of pro day that will get him onto an NFL practice field. Why not New England’s?
He submitted a 4.42 40, a 6.88 3-cone drill, and 10-2 broad jump. With the success of former Irish safety Sergio Brown coming onto the club as a rookie free agent last year, the Patriots must be looking Walls’ way.
Any players whose names went uncalled on draft weekend you’d like to see at Gillette? Please let us know below.
Email Chris Warner at email@example.com
Herzlich lost his edge since he was treated for cancer. He wasn’t drafted because he didn’t deserve to be drafted. At the Senior Bowl he looked lost. Good for him that he did well with his treatment, but he certainly would be a pity pick.
Mark, you’re right that he wasn’t the same in 2010, but isn’t that due to his treatment/recovery? Shouldn’t he be a better player next year?
I just have a hard time believing Herzlich isn’t better than anyone in the 7th round.
The two players that most intrigue me of the UDFA’s are Mark Herzlich,have to love those multiple mentions from NFL experts on his
SteveMike Vrabel like tendencies on the field and in the locker room. Sure, he didn’t perform his best at the combine, but he was among the leaders in the bench press among LB’s and appears to be both moving better and getting stronger everyday. Here’s hoping the Pats don’t sleep on this kid as many other teams seem to be eyeballing him as well.
Number two is Terrance Toliver, WR from LSU. Big at his position,raw, but with seemingly worth an invite with his potential.
Who is Steve Vrabel?
In addition to Herzlich, I’d like to see Jeff Maehl and Corbin Bryant
Ray, I like Corbin Bryant and have to think the Pats feel positive about him after working him out this spring.