Undrafted Rookie Free Agents – Jaguars
By David Johns
It happens every year with several NFL teams. Some undrafted free agent comes out of nowhere to make the team. I’m almost certain 2 or 3 of the undrafted free agents on the Jags roster could make the final roster.
When preseason rolls around and one of these unheralded rookies make a play, I want you to know exactly who that player is. Following is a very quick run down of the undrafted rookies signed after the 2012 draft.
Joe Banyard, RB, Texas El-Paso: A bit of a long shot to make the roster, but who knows? Maybe he gives someone a run for their money. Some quick hits: He ran a 4.46, had 25 reps on the benchpress, 35 1/2 vertical jump, and 10 ft. broad jump. He was selected All Conference USA Honorable Mention. He’ll be wearing #35.
Lee Barbiasz, OT, Northern Colorado: At 6’7 and 310 lbs., he is a very tall tackle. His strength concerns me. As big as he is he only totaled 24 reps. In 2010 Barbiasz was selected for All-Big Sky Honorable Mention. He’ll be wearing #72. To say he’s a long shot is an understatement.
Antwon Blake, CB, Texas El-Paso: I think this kid is from Jacksonville. Correct me if I’m wrong. He clocks a 4.39 40 yard dash which is promising. He’s quick-footed and has rare leaping ability according to profootballweekly.com. He recorded a 10 yard split time of 1.4 seconds and can keep up with receivers going deep. It’s hard not to root for a hometown kid isn’t it? According to the report, he will definitely need to be coached up but has the physical tools already in place. #38
Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State: This was the signing that made me jump out of my seat. He was a four year starter at Ohio State and was the only junior in college football history to be a finalist for the Rimington Trophy. He has a high football IQ, and doesn’t really have any holes in his game. He’s a better pass protector than he is run-blocker. Sounds great right? Then why did he go undrafted? Well…he does lack exceptional athleticism, his feet are bad, and his overall technique needs work. He is late seeing the second level, has trouble recognizing blitzing linebackers, and disengaging from his double team. Could he be coached up? I think it would be worth the investment. #60
Jeremiah Brown, S, Wagner: Maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places, but the only thing I could find on this guy are his pro day results. He ran a 4.40, 19 reps, 37 1/2 vertical, 10’5 broad, 4.08 20 yard shuttle, 6.95 3-cone drill. The only thing I saw is that he played cornerback in college and Jacksonville has him listed as a safety. Ya gotta love it when a workout player gets a contract though. #30
Mike Brown, WR, Liberty: Yet another workout player who walked out with a contract, I believe Brown played quarterback in college. According to his coaches he’s a very competitive, coachable, athletic football player. He also has good leadership skills having been named offensive team captain for two years in a row. He played both quarterback and wide receiver before making the full time transition. #12
Ryan Davis, DE, Bethune-Cookman: A lot of people here are very excited about this prospect, and I’m gonna have to jump on the bandwagon as well after doing research on his collegiate career. He was named Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference defensive player of the year. He racked up 21 1/2 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks in his senior campaign. In other words he can rush the passer. I think he has a very good chance of making the team. #49
Antonio Dennard, CB, Langston: He’s patient with quick feet and very fluid. You can be fluid all you want, but if you’re a cornerback who only runs a 4.55 you’re going undrafted. Maybe his” football speed” is better. #16
Kevin Elliot, WR, Florida A&M: He was a three year starter awarded all conference honors his senior season. He snagged 41 balls for 720 yards and 5 touchdowns. He’s an adequate sized receiver who is more of a possession pass catcher. He can make catches while swarmed with defenders and provides his quarterback with a good-sized target at 6’2 202 lbs.. He’s an aggressive downfield blocker on special teams and is willing to sacrifice his body to lay a block. One setback to his game, however, is that he had average production on the small school level. He lacks burst and only has one speed. #87
Chris Forcier, WR, Furman: We certainly signed a lot of wide receivers didn’t we? As referenced before, this will be the battle to watch. Forcier is yet another workout player to get a contract. He played two years at UCLA. He red-shirted in 2007 and played sparingly in 2008. Forcier is from St. Augustine. Is that considered local? #13
DJ Hall Jr., G, Texas State: He was an FCS All-American selection in 2010 and was a four year starter at Texas State. He earned All-FCS Independent first team honors in 2011 and was an All-Southland Conference First Team selection as a junior and sophmore. #61
Dontrell Johnson, CB, Murray State: Johnson has been nominated for several awards: 2011 Top FCS Special Teamers-Sports Network, 2010 FCS Punt Return Average Champion (22.80), 2010 College Football Performance Awards Elite Punt Returner, and 2010 All-OVC Newcomer Team…and those are just a few. Seems like we might be interested in his return ability? #43
Drew Nowak, DT, Western Michigan: He earned All-MAC Defensive Player of the year in 2011. He totaled 8.5 sacks and 20 tackles for a loss. He was also named third team All-American. #64
Odrick Ray, DE, Tulsa: He’s a bit undersized, but plays tough. He is aggressive at the point of attack and has the ability to knife through blockers. He’s quick and explosive in his overall game, but he doesn’t use his hands well and has a tendency to be engulfed by blockers. Was signed after his workout last weekend. #69
Donovan Richard, LB, South Carolina State: Standing at 5-11 he seems a bit short to be a linebacker, but the coaching staff must have seen something in him seeing as how he was signed after his workout much like Ray, J. Brown, M. Brown, and Folcier. He does have some speed running a 4.40. He finished his career at South Carolina State playing in 46 games, racking up 308 tackles, 15 pass break-ups, and 6 interceptions. #47
J.K. Schaeffer, LB, Cincinatti: He was selected to 2011 All-Big East Conference First Team. He is a tackling machine, ranking 3rd in 2011 having 8.8 tackles per game. He finished with 105 tackles, the 3rd time he’s broke the century mark. He had 12 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 6 pass break ups, 9 pass defended, and 3 forced fumbles and recoveries. Quite the senior season. #59
Julian Stanford, LB, Wagner: Recorded a 10 yard split of 1.44 seconds, a 42 1/2 vertical, 10 ft. 8 inch broad, short shuttle time of 4.14 seconds, and a 3-cone drill time of 6.71 seconds. His athletic ability alone earned him a spot on the training camp roster. #57
Matt Veldman, TE, North Dakota State: He visited Jacksonville during pre-draft visits. Standing at 6’7 he’s a very big target. He started all 15 games in the Bisons’ run to the NCAA Divison I FCS Championship. During their road to Division I FCS glory, he reeled in 26 passes for 331 yards and 3 touchdowns. Fun fact: Veldman earned MVFC Special Teams player of the week during the 2011 season for blocking a field attempt against Southern Illinois. #85
Kendrick Adams, DE, LSU: Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country did a write up on Mr. Adams. According to Mr. Crow’s report, Adams was rated in the top 5 for his position in the 40 yard dash running a 4.66. He was supposed to be a starter, but was a starter in “name only.” Apparently he’s a solid run stopper, but his versatility across the line stops there. He’s good at recognizing plays, but lacks the athletic ability to execute. He does, however, fit the “smart, disciplined, and smart” role which Gene Smith really appreciates. Not a bad flier to take coming from such a distinguished program as LSU. #66
So those are just some quick hits on the other rookies on the roster. In truth, all of them are a long shot to make the team, but ya never know right? If anything some of these players could push for a roster spot making the veterans entrenched in front of them work harder.
-David R. Johns