You may remember that receivers Doug Baldwin and Victor Cruz had pretty good seasons in 2011. And that Wes Welker guy? He's pretty good, too. Arian Foster is nobody to sneeze at, and London Fletcher is one of the most durable and productive linebackers we've seen in this era. You heard of Tony Romo? Antonio Gates? And we'd better include James Harrison, lest he lay us out with one of those brick-hard hits.
You may know where we're going with this -- none of the players named above heard their names called by any teams in their draft classes. With chips on their shoulders, and the desire to prove everybody wrong, undrafted players will often rise to a level few saw coming. Add in the historical guys -- Kurt Warner, Night Train Lane, John Randle, Rod Smith, Warren Moon, Priest Holmes, Adam Vinatieri, Larry Little, Sam Mills ... the list does go on and on. In that spirit, it's not a reach to assume that one of the players that went undrafted in the 2012 class will wind up making a lot of personnel guys look pretty dumb in time. Here are our favorite undrafteds this year on offense; our all-defense team can be found here.
Aaron Corp, Richmond: USC transfer who impressed me at the combine and had me going back to watch tape. Beat Matt Barkley out as a starter before breaking his leg, which makes you wonder what might have been. A Greg Cosell favorite.
Kellen Moore, Boise State: Great brain, popgun arm. In the right offense, could be a Chad Pennington/Ty Detmer type. Potential to be a coach on the field -- he's smart enough to do more with a clipboard than just hold it on the sidelines.
Austin Davis, Southern Miss: Davis also came on my radar with his combine throwing session. Played in an offense that had a lot of read-first or predetermined reads, but you could say the same thing of Brandon Weeden.
Chris Polk, Washington: Polk's positive is that he plays like he thinks he's 250 pounds. His negative is that he doesn't weigh 250 pounds. Incredibly physical runner with medical concerns. Underrated pass-catcher and a good kid who will work his butt off.
Davin Meggett, Maryland: Son of Dave Meggett. Bowling-ball runner who might have a Mike Tolbert-style career. Not explosive by any means, but gets through the pile with authority and could shine in a running back rotation.
Tauren Poole, Tennessee: Poole has speed that he doesn't always know what to do with. Outruns his protection, and he's inconsistent, but he's worth a shot as a project player.
Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky: Fast and agile player who might have seen an early third-day call if he was taller than 5-foot-7. Not that any short running backs have ever succeeded ... oh, wait! They succeed all the time.
Chris Owusu, Stanford: Multiple concussions prevented Owusu from becoming the fifth Cardinal to be drafted in this class. If he can check out medically (and we certainly wish him the best from that perspective), you'll see a real burner who can establish himself as an outside threat and kick returner.
Eric Page, Toledo: At 5-foot-9 and 186 pounds, Page looks like a waterbug, but doesn't always look like one. You'd want better than 4.6 combine speed from a guy his size, and he may lack the physicality to be an NFL slot man in some offenses. But he is a good glider and he's shifty in space.
[Shutdown Corner: Why some top prospects fell down the NFL draft board]
Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M: Good overall route guy, but man ... those hands. Those in the know who have charted A&M's games understand that Ryan Tannehill was unfairly dinged because his receivers dropped the ball as if it was the proverbial greased pig. Fuller's first challenge at the NFL level is obvious.
DeAngelo Peterson, LSU: Might be an H-back at the next level, but will need development coming out of a retro passing offense. Gives effort and could also surprise out of the flex. Not an old-school tight end in the blocking department.
Chase Ford, Miami: A Miami tight end with limited experience and one-dimensional ability at this point. Well, that's what they said about Jimmy Graham. Ford isn't that good, but he blew it up at the East-West Shrine game and started popping up on the radar.
Matt Reynolds, BYU: Reynolds served a two-year LDS mission at BYU, so he's coming into the league a bit older. But he started every one of the 52 possible game he could start for the Cougars, even when the offense fell off the cliff. Smart and clean on and off the field with interesting attributes.
[NFL draft winners/losers: Washington Redskins qualify as both]
Jeff Adams, Columbia: Another Shrine Game standout, Adams will have to develop weight, strength, and technique, but he's a good project for any team willing to wait.
Dustin Waldron, Portland State: He was part of an offense that led the nation in passing offense in 2008, and led the Big Sky Conference in rushing offense in 2010. Swing tackle potential. Perhaps this young lady would like to speak with him, given Waldron's conference affiliation.
James Brown, Troy: Underrated player -- tape mavens have a mancrush on him, and many gave him an early third-day grade. From a size perspective, a better zone guard, and there are concerns about the competition he faced.
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