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Tag:Ian Williams
Posted on: July 26, 2011 12:49 pm
 

Ten impactful UDFA signings thus far

Over the past 16 hours or so I've watched as veteran NFL reporters all over the country have taken to undrafted free agency with a feeding frenzy to try to capture the excitement that the scouts and fans all feel now that football is back.

As such, we're seeing undrafted free agents from Goofball State that have very limited chance at actually making an NFL roster being celebrated as if they were a team's first round pick. The reality is that many of the players being signed and celebrated today won't last long.

There are plenty of exceptions, however. These are the ten impactful free agent signings as I see them this morning.

NGs Ian Williams/Sealver Siliga -- 49ers: With incumbent starter Aubrayo Franklin likely to leave via free agency, the 49ers had a hole up front. Williams and Siliga were the two best interior run stuffers available in my opinion. In adding both of them, San Francisco helped themselves at this position as much as could be expected at this early point in the process.

WR Dane Sanzenbacher -- Bears: Sanzenbacher wasn't my highest rated WR available in undrafted free agency (Terrance Toliver was -- he reportedly signed with Houston), but he is a perfect fit for a Mike Martz offense due to his sharp route-running, toughness and reliable hands. Sanzenbacher can make this team and he'll do so by becoming one of Jay Cutler's favorite targets.

QB Adam Weber -- Broncos: Signing Weber almost surely means that the Broncos are going to attempt to move veteran Kyle Orton. I know that Weber was being looked at by a number of teams. He doesn't possess the ideal measureables as he's shorter and owns less of an arm than some talents available, but he's a gutty gunslinger who I could see sticking.

DE Brandon Bair -- Chiefs: I've been quite critical of several of the Chiefs' decisions with their 2011 draft class, but I love the signing of Bair as a developmental defensive end for their 3-4 scheme. Physically and mentally tough, he'll fit right in with this club.

TE Mike McNeill -- Colts: Colts fans saw how relatively easy it was for Indianapolis to continue to feature their athletic tight ends even after losing Dallas Clark to injury because Jacob Tamme is a receiver hybrid with good hands and athleticism. McNeill is cut from the same cloth.

RB Graig Cooper -- Eagles: It isn't that I think Cooper is going to wrestle away significant playing time from LeSean McCoy any time soon, but Cooper (when healthy) has shown starting caliber traits. Cooper is one of several nice signings by Philadelphia.

WRs Kerry Taylor/Tori Gurley -- Packers: The Packers are likely to get some competition for the rights to James Jones and love to push their incumbent receivers with young talent. Taylor and Gurley are each talented players who struggled with injury and inconsistency throuhgout their respective careers but could surprise.

LB Jeff Tarpinian -- Patriots: I spoke to several teams in the days preceding the draft that thought Tarpinian could go as high as the fifth round due to the relative lack of talent at linebacker in this class. Injuries pushed him to free agency. The Patriots could get rewarded for this gamble.

DE Pierre Allen -- Seahawks: Allen was viewed as a 4th-5th round pick by NFLDraftScout.com for much of the pre-draft process, but a nagging hamstring injury kept him from running prior to the draft. As such, he slipped into free agency. Seattle has a myriad of needs, but few loom larger than along the defensive line. Allen could be the crown jewel of what appears to be one of the better free agent classes in the league. 

RB John Clay -- Steelers: A perfect schematic fit, the bruising Clay would give the Steelers the interior power runner that they've often featured in Pittsburgh. If he's motivated (and he certainly should be), Clay could add a degree of size and physicality to this running game.

Posted on: May 17, 2011 12:41 pm
 

My five favorite undrafted free agent prospects

Following the draft, my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter released NFLDraftScout.com's list of the top undrafted prospects still available. In the article, Chad highlights his five favorite free agents, as well as a breakdown of the five best players per position likely to be signed by NFL teams once the lockout ends.

I focused instead on highlighting the schematic fits that teams may have found in Rounds one through seven. Now, with the Finding the Fits series finished, here are my favorite prospects that weren't drafted.

Players are listed alphabetically.

Kendric Burney, CB, North Carolina: I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for cornerbacks with ball skills who have starred at the major collegiate level and then plummeted on draft day when they raw slower than expected. Burney is a classic example of this phenomenon. The 44 game starter has 10 career interceptions, including two he returned for TDs. He ran slowly at the Combine (4.71) and his Pro Day (4.73), but his instincts, quick feet and reliable tackling are legitimately NFL caliber. In a zone scheme, Burney can be effective as a nickel or dime cornerback.

Graig Cooper, RB, Miami: Playing through his recovery for a torn ACL, Cooper was a shadow of his former self last season. Cooper, who had led Miami in rushing the three previous seasons, dropped to only 165 yards and one touchdown in 2010. The elusiveness and burst that he had demonstrated previously was coming back, however, as evidenced by Cooper's strong performance at the East-West Shrine Game and the fact that he ran the fastest 3-cone time of all running backs tested at the Combine (6.66 seconds). Poor medical grades pushed Cooper out of the draft, but don't be surprised if a team willing to take a gamble is paid back handsomely for their investment.

Willie Smith, OT, East Carolina: Smith has legitimate NFL size and athleticism. He is, however, very raw in his technique and prone to mental mistakes. An all-conference left tackle, Smith has the quick feet and long arms to potentially remain as a blindside pass protector in the NFL but doesn't currently possess the upper or lower body strength to play anywhere else on the offensive line. That fact pushed him down the board despite his obvious tools. Smith could surprise if given a year on to develop.

Adam Weber, QB, Minnesota: Weber wasn't surrounded by a great deal of talent while at Minnesota, but he left as one of the most productive passers in Big Ten history. One of the reasons why he wasn't invited to the Combine and slipped out of the draft, itself, was the fact that he came in so much smaller than expected. Listed at 6-3, 221 pounds, Weber instead measured in at 6-1 (and 1/8) and 209 pounds. He has enough arm strength to be effective in a traditional West Coast Offense and has a good feel in the pocket. His gutty play reminds me of former undrafted free agent Jon Kitna, who has carved out for himself a 15-year (and counting) NFL career.

Ian Williams, DT, Notre Dame: Williams may be last on my list alphabetically, but he certainly ranks among my top undrafted targets. Strong and stout at the point of attack, the 6-1, 319 pounder can play the nose in the 3-4 as well as in the 4-3 alignment. Like Cooper, Williams is coming off a knee injury (torn MCL) that limited his senior season. Even when healthy, Williams isn't going to dazzle anyone with flashy plays as he has only moderate overall athleticism. His ability to hold up at the point of attack, however, should make him one of the more eagerly sought-after free agents this year.

Posted on: April 3, 2011 12:10 pm
 

TE Rudolph, RB Jones last of the top Pro Days

The Pro Day "season" is coming to a close, but not before two of the more intriguing skill position talents get their chance to work out for scouts.

Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph , NFLDraftScout.com's top rated player at the position , will be among the former Irish players working out on campus this upcoming Thursday, April 7. Unlike many of this year's tight end prospects, at 6-6 and 259 pounds, Rudolph has the size to compete as a blocker, as well as be a security blanket over the middle.

Teams do have questions about his straight-line speed and upper body strength, however, making his Pro Day workout an important element to determining his final grade.

Rudolph missed the final seven games of his junior season after surgery to repair a hamstring avulsion (muscle tears off the bone). As such, he was unable to work out at the Combine.

Though Rudolph has the bigger name, there could wind up being just as many top decision-makers at Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones ' Pro Day a week later.

Unlike the Notre Dame Pro Day, in which Rudolph will be sharing the spotlight with underrated defensive tackle Ian Williams, among others, scouts will be coming to see just Jones at his April 14 workout.

Jones' workout, rather than be scheduled at EWU's campus in the tranquil but remote setting of Cheney, Washington, will take place at Los Medanos Junior College in Antioch, Calif ornia.

Though most athletes choose to work out at their school, prospects do have the option of working out in their home states. Jones was raised in Antioch.

Jones is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 9 rated running back. Some teams view the 6-0, 194 pound Jones as a possible converst to cornerback or wide receiver. Jones has struggled with durability throughout his career and has electric speed. As this video suggests , he may wind up being the fastest player in the 2011 draft.

There are 26 NFL teams already scheduled to attend his workout April 14. Jones will be doing all of the measureable drills and may be asked to do positional drills at running back, receiver and cornerback.
Posted on: January 27, 2011 4:12 pm
 

My All-Senior Bowl (practice) team

Today and tomorrow's practices at the Senior Bowl are essentially walk-throughs, making Monday-Wednesday's practices far and away the most important ones for evaluating prospects.

Prospects at every position stood out. Fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter and I put together an expanded Risers-Fallers article soon to be released on NFLDraftScout.com based on these practices. In the mean time, here is my All-Practice team.

QB: Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
RB: Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State
FB: Owen Marecic, Stanford
WR: Vincent Brown, San Diego State
WR: Jeremy Kerley, TCU
TE: Luke Stocker, Tennessee
OT: Nate Solder, Colorado
OG: Danny Watkins, Baylor
C: Kris O'Dowd, USC
OG: John Moffitt, Wisconsin
OT: Anthony Castonzo, Boston College

DE: Cameron Jordan, California
DT: Phil Taylor, Baylor
DT: Ian Williams, Notre Dame
DE: Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
OLB: Von Miller, Texas A&M
ILB: Casey Matthews, Oregon
OLB: Lawrence Wilson, Connecticut
CB: Johnny Patrick, Louisville
CB: Shareece Wright, USC
S: Da'Norris Searcy, North Carolina
S: Ahmad Black, Florida


Posted on: December 31, 2010 12:37 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 12:39 pm
 

History, prospects make Sun Bowl one to watch

In today's era of corporate sponsored bowl games often pitting "small school" teams, there is something refreshing about the Miami/Notre Dame matchup in this afternoon's Sun Bowl.

The Hurricanes and Fighting Irish have obviously had their on and off-field struggles this year. Randy Shannon's firing and the tragic death of Declan Sullivan, the Notre Dame student killed while attempting to film Irish practices, have dominated the headlines.

For NFL scouts, however, the story remains the same. Miami and Notre Dame, as always, feature plenty of NFL talent.

In fact, one of the most intriguing one on one matchups of the bowl season will be on display when Hurricane cornerback Brandon Harris and Irish wideout Malcolm Floyd, a pair of first round caliber juniors, face off.

They may be the most entertaining matchup, but there is plenty of other prospects to keep an eye on. The following is the list of top prospects in today's game to focus on, courtesy of my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter.

--Notre Dame DT Ian Williams (6-2, 305, 5.17): The wide-body nose tackle has missed the last four contests but expects to suit up in his last college game.

--Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd (6-3, 228, 4.52): If his leg is healthy and he's on the same page as freshman QB Tommy Rees, Floyd will use his big body against fellow junior prospect CB Brandon Harris.

--Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph (6-5, 265, 4.64): A hamstring tear ended Rudolph's season early and he won't be on the field today, but the junior could wind up as the first tight end drafted, whether he elects to leave school early this year or return for his senior campaign.

--Miami (Fla.) DE Allen Bailey (6-4, 285, 4.79): Excellent athlete who flashes pass rush (seven sacks) across from junior DE Adewale Ojomo, but needs to have a consistently strong effort against an average Irish line to impress scouts.

--Miami ILB Colin McCarthy (6-2, 240, 4.67): Heady, versatile, productive (106 tackles, 10 for loss) player scouts believe can play inside or on the strong side at the next level.

--Miami WR Leonard Hankerson (6-3, 208, 4.52): Tall strider who can stretch the field, but faces a strong corner in Notre Dame's Darrin Walls.

--Miami LT Orlando Franklin (6-7, 315, 5.30): Impressive just stepping off the bus, if Franklin's footwork begins to match his strength, he could become a starting NFL left tackle.

--Miami CB Brandon Harris (5-11, 195, 4.45): A highly touted prep prospect, Harris has emerged as the latest in a long line of Miami defensive backs worthy of first round consideration. Only a junior.

This game begins at 2pm EST and will be televised by CBS. 


As always, for the best in NFL draft coverage, check out NFLDraftScout.com.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com