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Undrafted, not unwanted: How passed-over players make teams

Discussion in 'NFL Draft Forum' started by ATVZ400, May 1, 2008.

  1. ATVZ400

    ATVZ400 Senior Member

    Mar 22, 2008
    parts unknown, NJ
    LINK to rest of story http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/20...4/30/undrafted.free.agents/index.html?eref=T1

    What do Antonio Gates, Tony Romo and Jeff Saturday have in common? Along with being significant contributors on playoff teams last season, the trio also went undrafted, which provides hope for hundreds of undrafted free agents arriving at NFL mini-camps this week.

    With the length of the draft steadily decreasing -- from 30 rounds in the 1950s to 12, then eight, and finally seven in recent years -- the importance placed on securing the best of the worst has grown. Player evaluation is an inexact science, so teams are well aware that a competent starter or role player may be available among each year's undrafted free agents.

    • The Process

    Most teams have a pretty good feel, even before the draft, which players they would like to sign, based upon the recommendations of their scouts and coaches. Naturally, some get drafted and become unavailable, but the others start getting calls as early as the first round and agreeing to a deal by the seventh round.

    Even though I suspected no team was going to select me when I came out of Princeton in 2001, I still had a virtual conniption when a coach from the Cincinnati Bengals called me during the first round. He was simply laying groundwork by letting me know that they were interested in potentially signing me should I not get drafted.

    The process is somewhat inefficient. Players and/or their agents often end up fielding multiple calls at the same time. For an agent with multiple undrafted players, it becomes a juggling act. He must balance the signing bonus money being offered with the potential opportunity available, and make split-second decisions due to the time constraints dictated by the clubs

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