In most years, going undrafted can be a blessing in disguise for fringe players. It allows those passed over in the seven round of the NFL Draft to pick their landing spot and find a team that best fits them, maximizing the chances of making an NFL roster. But this year, undrafted free agents will be stuck in limbo, unable to sign with a team until whenever the NFL lockout is lifted. Instead of the mad rush to scoop up free agents at the conclusion of the 2011 NFL Draft, players and teams will be stuck in a holding pattern as the litigation surrounding the lockout plays out.
And the worst part for those passed over is the uncertainty, which will only get worse as the lockout rolls on.
Unfortunately, coaches may end up forgetting about many of these guys. If the lockout affects training camp, there will be plenty of guys who would normally have a chance to prove themselves that will never get that chance
It may seem like a small deal, but these undrafted players do have a chance to succeed in the NFL, despite being passed up in the draft. In 2010, 23 Pro Bowl players went undrafted, It's a staggering number, but shows how successful some of these guys can be. But without the ability to sign right after the draft and, perhaps, a full training camp, the chances of even making a roster are significantly diminished.
It's just another way the lockout is severely hampering how the NFL operates. But in this case, promising careers of the undiscovered and under-the-radar talent in the 2011 draft class could be derailed thanks to the labor struggle.