Rising from the ashes

Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:00pm
By the National Football Post

It’s powerful to witness the raw emotion that takes hold in the moment a football player transforms from draft prospect into first round selection. Tears, smiles and bear hugs are unleashed upon anyone within striking distance, as what was once a dream has now become a reality.

At the other end of the spectrum lie the players who didn’t hear their names called during the seven-round NFL draft. Their dreams have just been crushed, their respective worlds sent into a tailspin of doubt. The tears, smiles and bear hugs are still present, but the tears are ones of sadness and despair, not joy. The smiles are forced in an effort to exude confidence to those around them, even if none is actually present within. The bear hugs are received instead of given.

Kellen MooreICONJust because he went undrafted this weekend doesn't mean that Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore won't make it in the NFL.

Whether we want to believe it or not, a player’s draft status is something that will stick with him for the duration of his NFL career. Never mind the fact that Matt Leinart is currently a man without a team. Everyone remembers that the former USC standout was a top-ten selection. And forget for a moment about the three Super Bowls that Tom Brady has won, because there are those who still look at the Patriots quarterback and see a guy who didn’t hear his named called until the sixth round.

But amongst the dejection and heartbreak that comes with going undrafted also lies opportunity.

I’d venture to guess that, if given the choice, just about every NFL prospect would opt to be selected during the seventh round instead of going undrafted. That’s the ego and the wallet talking. It may appear to be a better situation that offers a higher probability of catching on in the NFL, but often times that isn’t the case.

Undrafted free agents have a very powerful weapon at their disposal that seventh round picks do not: choice. Once the draft reaches its conclusion, teams begin the process of burning up cell phone minutes in an effort to sign as many quality undrafted players as possible. Several players will hear from multiple teams, giving them the opportunity to sign with the organization that offers the best chance for success.

Seventh round picks do not have this choice. If they don’t catch on with the team that drafted them, they’ll be sent packing and in search of another place to sign. And that could very well mean landing in a city and walking into a competition with an undrafted free agent who choose to sign with the same organization four months prior and is already very familiar with the team’s playbook.

Guess who has the leg up now?

I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating now that we’re just two days removed from the conclusion of the 2012 NFL draft.

In 2005 I was working as an agent for fellow NFP contributor Jack Bechta at JB Sports in San Diego. One of Bechta’s rookie clients was a talented linebacker out of San Diego State named Heath Farwell.

Heath FarwellAfter going undrafted in 2005, Farwell earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2009.

Heath was prepared for the very real possibility that he would go undrafted, but like anyone in his situation, that didn’t stop him from hoping for the best. And after watching fellow Aztec linebackers Matt McCoy (second round) and Kirk Morrison (third round) find new homes early in the draft process, Heath began to think that getting selected was more likely to happen than not.

Making matters worse was the fact that a team in need of a linebacker called us during the sixth round and gave the impression that Heath was their guy. Hopes were raised again, until the team pulled the trigger on a linebacker not named Farwell.

Shortly after that, the draft ended. Heath wasn’t selected and subsequently stormed out of Bechta’s house visibly upset. I felt terrible for the guy and I was just some dumb law student who needed to get home to study for final exams that I was in no way prepared to pass.

Heath returned a short while later to find out that at least four teams had called about signing him, but that didn’t bring any happiness. Heath had gone undrafted. His ego and confidence were shot. His dreams had been crushed.

After a twenty-minute discussion, everyone involved in the process decided that the Minnesota Vikings gave Heath his best chance to succeed in the NFL. The depth chart at the linebacker position was far from imposing and if Heath could make a name for himself on special teams, he stood a very real chance of landing on the Week 1 roster.

Seven years have passes since that day and Heath no longer plays for the Vikings. That’s because after five solid seasons in Minnesota, Farwell signed a free agent contract to play with the Seattle Seahawks. The former San Diego State linebacker—who was devastated after going undrafted in 2005—will enter his seventh NFL season this year and even boasts a resume that includes one trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.

Going undrafted may be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s not the end of the world. In some instances, it’s just the beginning of a career that could far exceed the expectations of simply hearing your name called during the seventh round of the NFL draft.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

Follow @footballpost on Twitter for the latest news

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Steve SmithOct 7 03:43p

Baltimore Ravens WR Steve Smith (back) is week-to-week with microfractures in his back, but he hasn't been ruled out for Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns yet, according to [ More ]

Davante AdamsOct 7 03:33p

Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 7.

Ronnie HillmanOct 7 02:03p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson is still considered the starting running back by head coach Gary Kubiak, but RB Ronnie Hillman has 'earned the right' to see more chances. [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsOct 7 01:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (calf) is not being ruled out for Week 5 against the Tennessee Titans despite missing practice Wednesday, Oct. 7, according to head coach Rex Ryan.

Julius ThomasOct 7 01:12p

Updating an earlier report, Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (hand) has not been cleared to play in Week 5, but he has been cleared to begin catching passes Wednesday, Oct. 7.

Dan CarpenterOct 7 01:03p

Buffalo Bills PK Dan Carpenter (knee) had a left knee injury last week, but head coach Rex Ryan said Carpenter is fine. PK Billy Cundiff was signed, and Ryan [ More ]

LeSean McCoyOct 7 12:53p

Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) is out of practice Wednesday, Oct. 7.

Lance DunbarOct 7 12:33p

Dallas Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar (knee) is scheduled for surgery Friday, Oct. 9, and his season is over.

Anthony DixonOct 7 11:23a

Buffalo Bills RB Anthony Dixon will likely be the main running back against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5, according to head coach Rex Ryan

Karlos WilliamsOct 7 11:13a

Buffalo Bills RB Karlos Williams (concussion) is out of practice Wednesday, Oct. 7.

Josh JohnsonOct 7 11:13a

Free-agent QB Josh Johnson (Colts) re-signed with the Indianapolis Colts Wednesday, Oct. 7. He'll serve as insurance if QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) isn't ready for Week 5.

Eric EbronOct 7 10:03a

Updating previous reports, Detroit Lions TE Eric Ebron (knee) said part of his knee ailment is a bruised knee that can take up to three weeks to heal, depending on the individual.

Denarius MooreOct 7 09:53a

Free-agent WR Denarius Moore (Bengals) and PK Billy Cundiff (Ravens) signed with the Buffalo Bills Wednesday, Oct. 7. PK Jordan Gay and WR Marcus Thigpen were cut.

Billy CundiffOct 7 09:53a

Free-agent WR Denarius Moore (Bengals) and PK Billy Cundiff (Ravens) signed with the Buffalo Bills Wednesday, Oct. 7. PK Jordan Gay and WR Marcus Thigpen were cut.

Andre EllingtonOct 6 10:23p

Updating a previous report, Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (knee) is expected to play in the Week 5 game against the Detroit Lions, head coach Bruce Arians said in [ More ]

Brandon PettigrewOct 6 08:13p

Detroit Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew (hamstring) will return to practice this week and could play in Week 5 if he doesn't have any setbacks.

Arian FosterOct 6 07:52p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) was limited in practice Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Andrew LuckOct 6 06:02p

Updating a previous report, Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) took the majority of snaps in practice Tuesday, Oct. 6, giving the indication that he will play in Week [ More ]

Andrew LuckOct 6 05:02p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) said he's better, improved and making gains. He did admit that he's not where he wants to be, however.

Gerald HodgesOct 6 04:22p

Minnesota Vikings LB Gerald Hodges was acquired by the San Francisco 49ers Tuesday, Oct. 6. The 49ers sent C Nick Easton and a sixth-round pick to the Vikings.

Latavius MurrayOct 6 03:32p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray still has the confidence of head coach Jack Del Rio, despite a rough outing in Week 4 against the Chicago Bears. Murray accounted for [ More ]

Andrew LuckOct 6 03:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) does not have a partial shoulder subluxation, as had been reported previously, according to a source. Head coach Chuck Pagano said he heard [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsOct 6 02:13p

Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley said WR Sammy Watkins (calf) will play in Week 5 against the Tennessee Titans 'fingers crossed.'

Dan HerronOct 6 02:13p

Free-agent RB Dan Herron (Colts) was signed by the Buffalo Bills Tuesday, Oct. 6. TE MarQueis Gray (forearm) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Daniel FellsOct 6 01:52p

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells (ankle) had surgery this week on his ankle and was diagnosed with MRSA, which is a very serious condition.

Roddy WhiteOct 6 01:42p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White could be open to a trade due to a declining role with the Falcons.

Devin HesterOct 6 01:32p

Atlanta Falcons WR Devin Hester (toe) was placed on the short-term Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Fred JacksonOct 6 01:22p

Seattle Seahawks RB Fred Jackson (ankle) is dealing with a high ankle sprain, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Eric EbronOct 6 12:32p

Updating an earlier report, Detroit Lions TE Eric Ebron (knee) had an MRI reveal no structural damage in his left knee. His status is to be determined for Week 5.

Markus WheatonOct 6 12:22p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton (ankle) looks dramatically improved from his ankle injury and has a good chance to play in Week 5 against the San Diego Chargers.

Eric EbronOct 6 11:52a

Detroit Lions TE Eric Ebron (knee) had X-rays on his left knee, which were negative. He'll have an MRI as well.

Connor BarthOct 6 10:43a

Free-agent PK Connor Barth (Buccaneers) has re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, Oct. 6, as he beat out other kickers to replace PK Kyle Brindza. Brindza was released.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group