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Devine posted huge numbers in his first three years with the Moutaineers, averaging over six yards per carry in each and racking up 1,289 yards rushing as a sophomore and 1,465 as a junior. He struggled a bit as a senior, however, and was slowed by a toe injury, posting just 936 yards for the year.
He's had a tough life - his parents both died of AIDS, and various adults (including, briefly, Deion Sanders, who went to the same high school as Devine) watched over him after that. As a teenager, he saw a friend of his be shot and killed. Despite the struggles, Devine found success on the field and in college at West Virginia.
He's very small, listed at 5-foot-8, 180 pounds (and he might be even smaller than that). But he has excellent speed, and he might be capable of helping the Eagles on returns and on third downs. At his size, he isn't likely to be a featured back, but it's not often that one expects to find that sort of player as an undrafted free agent anyway. At the time of the NFL Draft, Devine looked likely to be a late-round pick, so the Eagles have done well to grab him as a free agent.
For more on the Eagles, check out Bleeding Green Nation.
The undrafted free agent signings have been swirling in from Twitter fast and furious but there's one that needs to be corrected. It was originally reported West Virginia RB Noel Devine was headed to the Atlanta Falcons but, according to the latest report, he's actually not headed to Atlanta.
That means Devine is still available at the moment and free to sign with any team that wants him.
Devine is a smaller back so he offers a unique skill-set. He's perhaps best known for some of his impressive highlight tapes from his time in high school and at Weste Virginia.
The Falcons apparently never had him on their wish list so we're not sure how that rumor got starter. Some undrafted free agents will commit to signing with a team only to later change their minds and go in another direction so it's not unprecedented for these reports to ultimately be inaccurate.
The San Francisco 49ers are expected to add at least one more rookie quarterback to the training camp mix as league sources indicate they will sign former Ole Miss Rebel and Oregon Ducks QB Jeremiah Masoli. The San Francisco native started his college career at City College of San Francisco before transferring to Oregon. In 2009 he led the Ducks explosive offensive attack with a combined 2,815 total yards of offense and 28 total touchdowns.
Unfortunately for Masoli he was unable to stay out of trouble as he pled guilty to burglary and was suspended for the entire 2010 season. Following the suspension he was cited in June 2010 for marijuana possession and coach Chip Kelly quickly decided to dismiss him from the team. Masoli transferred to Ole Miss where he threw for 2,039 yards with 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
The 49ers have one project QB in Colin Kaepernick and find themselves possibly in the mix for veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck. Masoli will get some snaps in training camp, but it would be surprising to see him get enough to end up anywhere but the practice squad at best. It's also entirely possible the team considers trying to convert him away from quarterback as he brings fantastic athleticism but not much in the way of passing abilities.
At 5'11" and 182 pounds, he's not the biggest receiver but he's been productive in the Ohio State offense playing all four years in Columbus. He caught just 12 passes as a freshman but increased those numbers to 21, 36 and 55 receptions in his final three years. He had a career high 948 receiving yards in 2010.
Chicago is a good spot for Sanzenbacher because he has a legitimate shot to make the roster. The Bears receiver depth is so-so and Sanzenbacher, with plenty of experience at a big-time school, could contribute.
The negotiation period for undrafted free agent signings started on Monday night but deals couldn't be consummated until Tuesday morning.
Check out more on the Bears and Sanzenbacher at Windy City Gridiron.
Boston College linebacker and cancer-survivor Mark Herzlich will sign with the New York Giants and report to training camp immediately, spurning reported offers from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and others. As recently as Monday night, the Ravens were rumored as the destination for Herzlich. Nevertheless, in the end, it'll be New York.
Herzlich announced the news on Twitter, himself, saying: "Decision is made I will be a GIANT can't wait to get to NYC. Thank you for everything."
The decision is a big one, and for all the college stars floating around the free agent market after going undrafted this year, Herzlich's name might be the biggest of all. Projected as first-round pick in 2009, he surprised most scouts when he returned to Boston College to play his senior year.
Then, after he was diagnosed with a rare, deadly form of cancer, his football career was thought to be over, and his life was in serious jeopardy. But he survived, and eventually thrived. After a year of treatment and intense rehabilitation, he made it back to the field this past season.
Now, he's made it to the NFL, and the New York Giants. In New York, he'll join former-BC standout Mathias Kiwanuka, as well as coach Tom Coughlin, who coached at BC in the '90s. All in all, it couldn't be a better situation, and you couldn't find a more deserving player.
Former West Virginia running back Noel Devine has joined the Atlanta Falcons, according to reports. The news was announced late Monday night. Devine reportedly will sign with the Falcons at 10 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.
Devine was considered by many to be one of the top undrafted free agents following the conclusion of the 2011 NFL Draft. Known for his dazzling playmaking ability and blistering track speed, the 23-year old amassed a vast highlight-reel throughout his four years at West Virginia. Devine peaked during an incredible junior season in which he compiled 1,742 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns, the former of which ranks fourth on the university's all-time records.
Despite his countless accomplishments, the Fort Myers native was snubbed by NFL scouts on Draft Day because of his slight frame (5-8, 180 pounds). Still, many are comparing Devine to a Darren Sproles-type all-purpose runner that can serve a valuable role on the right team. CBS Sports agrees, explaining:
Judging his NFL potential based on his size alone would be a major mistake. His track speed and innate ability to elude defenders in the open field makes him extremely difficult to defend.
A six-foot four-inch, 294 pound 22-year old from Richmond, Edwards played in 34 games during his three seasons at California, starting 18 at right tackle. In 2010 he was one of only two Golden Bear offensive lineman to start all twelve games, and was the winner of the University's Ken Harvey Award for special academic commitment and improvement.
After graduating to little fanfare from NFL scouts, Richmond worked tirelessly to add significant strength to his frame and reach 300 pounds by the eve of the draft. While he failed to hear his name called draft day, Richmond impressed enough with his combine performance and diligent work ethic to garner meaningful interest from multiple teams, according to sources.
Undrafted free agent and former Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin will join the Arizona Cardinals, according to reports. The news was announced late Monday night, and confirmed by CBS Sports.
Devlin is a unique case for an undrafted free agent. Orignally signed to Penn State, the 23-year old transferred to Delaware in 2008 after losing a battle for the starting quarterback position. Following in the steps of Joe Flacco, Devlin proceeded to light up the FCS, culminating in a spectacular senior season that saw him led the nation with a 68.0 completion percentage, while throwing for 3,032 yards, 22 touchdowns and just three interceptions in leading the Blue Hens to the championship game.
Devlin now lands in a perfect situation, within a Cardinals team that is without a single noteworthy quarterback. Arizona's pickup may be a good one according to NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock.
He's a really intelligent kid. He understands pass protections. He knows where and when to throw the football. He's going to be really good in the interviews. He's going to look you in the eye. He's going to spit out the protections and numbers, and he gets the game of football.
For more on Pat Devlin and the Arizona Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds.
Undrafted free agent and former Miami Hurricane running back Damien Berry will join the Baltimore Ravens, according to reports. The news was announced late Monday night, and confirmed by Baltimore Ravens beat reporter Aaron Wilson.
Berry enters the NFL on the heels a strong senior campaign in which he rushed for 899 yards and five touchdowns, while earning 2010 All-ACC Second Team honors. He also caught ten passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.
Leading into the draft, Berry was highly regarded, ranking as the 26th best running back out of a class of 160. Listing in at five-foot ten inches, 211 pounds, the Belle Glade native impressed scouts at the NFL combine with a top-rated performance in the 20-yard shuttle run.
According to projections at NFL.com, despite going undrafted Berry could become a significant contributor on the right team.
Berry's a potential backup who can also contribute on special teams covering kicks but doesn't possess the explosiveness or power to develop into a starter. Reads his blocks well but doesn't always have enough burst to the hole and lacks the top-end speed to take it the distance when breaking past the second level. Isn't a pile-pusher or a good fit for short yardage situations but does a nice job maintaining balance on contact and can break tackles when defenders fail to wrap up.
Considered by many to be the best undrafted free agent on the market, Williams fell from the graces of NFL scouts following a 2010 campaign mired with injury concerns. After suffering a knee injury in the Fighting Irish's late October matchup with Tulsa, the 21-year old was forced to miss four games before returning for Notre Dame's victory over Miami in the Sun Bowl.
Rated as highly as a fifth rounder by several teams throughout the league, Williams immediately lands into an advantageous situation in San Francisco. The Niners are likely to lose incumbent nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin to free agency, and expected starter Isaac Sopoaga potentially could be overtaken.
A four-year contributor to the Orange, Smith had high expectations after serving as Syracuse's co-captain during a senior season that saw him record 114 tackles, one-and-a-half sacks, and one interception. His eight career forced fumbles ranks second on Syracuse's all-time list. He finished his college career with totals of 270 tackles, nine sacks, and two interceptions.
According to reports, Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris personally called Smith to recruit him. The gamble may pay off, as CBS Sports clearly likes the 23-year old's professional prospects:
Tough between-the-tackles defender who find the ball by sliding through traffic to find the ballcarrier. Unafraid to take on blockers in the hole, occasionally holding them up then making a tackle. Keeps tabs on backs and tight end in coverage over the middle, wraps up consistently after the catch. Knows where the first down marker is when making his drop. Intelligent player with degrees in information management and marketing.
In Carolina, Pugh will be reunited with quarterback Cam Newton, with whom he won the NCAA Division I National Title in his final year at Auburn. At six-foot one-inch, 307 pounds, Pugh was selected as an AP Third Team All-American for his work during the Tigers' championship run. Throughout his college career, he was a mainstay in the Auburn lineup, starting every game throughout the last three seasons.
Pugh was projected as the 18th best center out of the 49 in the 2010 draft. Though he managed to impress scouts at the combine by putting up 25 bench reps at 225 pounds, while showcasing a 40-yard dash time of 5.46 seconds. Pugh will join Ryan Kalil as the only centers under contract for Carolina.
Former Alabama Crimson Tide tight end Preston Dial will be joining the Detroit Lions, according to reports. The 24-year old announced the news on his Twitter feed late Monday night, joining the oncoming flood of undrafted free agents to arrange deals with teams following the league issuing an official green light for discussions to take place.
A graduating senior, Dial measures well for a tight end, listing in at six-foot three-inches, 240 pounds. He made significant strides in his final year at Alabama, catching 25 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns, after amassing just five receptions over the prior three years.
Dial joins a Detroit Lions squad stacked with depth at the tight end position, and thus is likely to be jockeying for a spot on the practice squad against Joe Jon Finley and Richard Dickson. Incumbents Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler, and Will Heller are already anticipated to make the team's 53-man roster.
Many draft gurus, like Mocking The Draft, considered McDaniel to be a third- or even second-round talent before the draft, but he somehow went seven rounds without being picked. A wrist injury might have caused some teams to sleep on McDaniel.
"They felt like I was going to need surgery and miss (2011)," McDaniel said. "I got it checked at the combine, but when I went back for a recheck the weekend of (Clemson's) spring game, everyone was seeing that it was still fractured."
McDaniel's mediocre 4.6-second 40-yard dash also might not have helped, and then there's the fact that he was arrested for aggravated assault and battery a few years back. But based on some of the glowing scouting reports he gets, it sounds like the Saints might have gotten a real bargain here, given his instincts and on-field leadership skills.
For more on the Saints, check out Canal Street Chronicles.
Former University of North Carolina cornerback and current undrafted free agent Kendric Burney tweets that he's not going far - he'll be a Carolina Panther. The Panthers will probably officially announce the signing on Tuesday, which is the first day that post-NFL Lockout rules allow them to do so.
Burney was one of the top-rated undrafted free agents available. Big Blue View has compiled some scouting information on him here. Basically, he's very small at 5-foot-9, and he's not incredibly fast. Those factors might make him a liability against the run, since he struggles to get around blocks by bigger, stronger players. However, he might wind up being useful in nickel and dime defenses, since he plays his position well, has good instincts and does a good job reading opposing quarterbacks and wideouts.
As expected for a player who made it through the entire 2011 NFL Draft without getting picked, Burney isn't a perfect player. But he's a nice addition for the Panthers, and he stands a decent chance of helping.
While teams reportedly aren't allowed to sign undrafted free agents until Tuesday morning, reports are flying all over the place of players earning tentative deals with teams. Some players are confirming the reports via Twitter. Perhaps the biggest name on the board is spoken for, at least according to several of the more well-known outlets: the Baltimore Ravens will reportedly acquire former Boston College Eagles LB Mark Herzlich.
Update: Herzlich says the deal isn't done.
Herzlich was named the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year. In 2009, Herzlich was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. He announced his intention to beat the disease and return to the field, which he did. He started 13 games, accumulating 65 tackles, four interceptions and 3.5 tackles for loss.
The Ravens have been the talk of the day, having released four of their most well-known players, but this story ensures they'll at least end Monday on a high note. Now we'll just have to wait and see how many of these reported signings actually go down on Tuesday.
I follow a few undrafted free agents on Twitter and I've noticed a couple of these guys have been tweeting that teams are calling them. I didn't think teams were allowed to contact and sign undrafted free agents until Tuesday so I thought that was a little odd.
And then ESPN reported that, actually, the league gave teams the go ahead and talk to undrafted free agents on Monday night, which means the negotiations are underway right now. Teams can't sign these players until Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. (ET) but this gives everyone a head start.
This is actually a good move for the NFL, i think, because it gives teams some time to focus on undrafted free agent signings before things get really crazy the rest of the week. It'll also make for a busy night (and week) for general managers as they'll likely be working into the night.
Undrafted free agents can sign with any team, usually for the minimum, with varying signing bonuses.
Now that the NFL lockout has ended our focus turns to 2011 NFL free agency, specifically undrafted free agent signings. These are the guys that weren't picked in last April's 2011 NFL draft and, because of the lockout, have yet to find a home.
According to the latest timeline (which is still unofficial), teams can start signing undrafted free agents at 10:00 a.m. (ET) on Tuesday. For Fort Valley State WR Ricardo Lockette, the process has already started. Lockette tweeted this within an hour of the announcement that the players had agreed to the deal:
4 offers already
So this process is going to be very quick.
In some ways, UDFAs are in a better position than late round draft picks because they can choose where they sign. That's better because they can find a place where they have the best chance of making the roster.
For Lockette, there are apparently four teams that already want to give him a shot.
Once the NFL lockout ends, one of the first orders of business will be to start signing undrafted free agents. Those are the players that weren't selected in the 2011 NFL draft last April and, because of the NFL lockout, they haven't been able to sign with anyone.
They're the ones that are arguably hurt the most by the lockout. When training camps hit, teams will likely be more worried about preparing the top 53 players in such a shortened offseason instead of looking for diamonds in the rough through undrafted free agency.
That said, some undrafted free agents will be signed and some of them will contribute in 2011. It happens every year.
Some of the big names available this year include Louisville QB Adam Froman, Texas Tech QB Taylor Potts, West Virginia RB Noel Devine, Ohio State WR Dane Sanzenbacher, Fort Valley State WR Ricardo Lockette, USC C Kris O'Dowd, Oregon DT Brandon Bair, Boston College LB Mark Herzlich and Florida S Will Hill.
There are plenty of other players that will be signed and, if all goes well, we'll see some of those guys on the field in 2011. As hard as GMs try, they can't identify the best talent out of the crop of draftable players each year. Undrafted free agency is useful for those guys who slipped through the cracks.
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