Undrafted limbo

Posted by Darren Urban on April 24, 2011 – 5:00 pm

The draft comes in a matter of days — 5 p.m. Thursday night in Arizona — and every year, hundreds of draft hopefuls wait to get a phone call. This year, because of the current lockout and the uncertainty of when it will be resolved, there might be a little more stress come Saturday in those last couple of rounds.

Everything during the draft will be normal, generally. Players will be picked, players will  be interviewed. Assuming a player is still game, a first-rounder will still do some sort of press conference. Once Mr. Irrelevant is selected, however, and the draft ends, all the players drafted fall into the same spot as all the current NFL players, and contact with teams ends until a new labor agreement is reached. That has, of course, included new contracts (which is why free agency hasn’t begun). That means no rookies can sign a contract either. That doesn’t mean much for draftees — I mean, they already know what teams they will play for.

The post-draft stampede for undrafted rookies, however, won’t be happening. At least for now.

Last year, the Cards ended up keeping a bunch of their undrafted signees. Think of all the guys who made the team in one way or another last season who were undrafted: receivers Stephen Williams and Max Komar, cornerbacks A.J. Jefferson and Marshay Green and quarterback Max Hall. All left big enough marks in the offseason work to gain a foothold for training camp. Will such guys get that chance this offseason? They won’t even know what team they are playing for for the time being.

“Once the draft is over, that’s when it becomes very strange,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. “Not signing guys, not being able to coach these guys, having them in for OTAs, getting them accustomed to the playbook, that will hurt all these rookies and all these teams counting on these rookies contributing. The undrafted free agents, not even being  able to sign those guys until it is over … it hurts the percentages of those players coming in and making an impact.”

Again, we don’t know what the summer will hold, or when things are resolved. If a labor agreement is reached soon enough, things might not end up that different, other than adjusting what month things happen. In the meantime, this year’s Stephen Williams, whomever it may be, will have to wait and see. That can’t be easy.

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Posted in Blog | 19 Comments »

19 Responses to “Undrafted limbo”

  1. By AndyStandsUp on Apr 24, 2011 | Reply

    No questions or NFL related comments from me today, Darren.
    May you and your family have a blessed holiday.

  2. By Darren Urban on Apr 24, 2011 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: Easter

    I appreciate that, Andy. Truth told, it’s been a tough few weeks family-wise. I can use the blessing.

  3. By bluepitt on Apr 24, 2011 | Reply

    I hope every thing is ok at home, May you and yours have a Happy Easter!

  4. By drummer-1 on Apr 24, 2011 | Reply


    I don’t always agree with some of your comments, but i have to say, your comment to Darren and his family was pretty cool.. thumbs up…

  5. By CaptainDune on Apr 24, 2011 | Reply

    Sorry to hear that Darren. Hopefully things take a turn for the best for you and yours. Thanks for the constant insight to the world we love, even on our days off.

  6. By Skiptim on Apr 25, 2011 | Reply

    Darren –

    Wasn’t planning on saying I hope you have a good one (it just didn’t cross my mind), but I do, since you said you’ve been going through a tough time. So, eh, my best wishes (hope it works out, hope he/she is okay, whatever it may be).

    Regarding my question. I don’t know if you are the guy to ask, but if these players are all undrafted, then they are not a part of the NFL in any way. Teams are allowed to work out players that are going up for the draft. They are talking to them. They are meeting with them. They won’t be allowed after they are drafted. But isn’t that to say that if a player isn’t drafted, teams can still carry on conversations and workouts with the undrafted players? Couldn’t they kind of get a general idea of who they will end up signing? For instance, could a team say to this undrafted person that isn’t associated with the NFL in any way “so, here is an exclusive look at our playbook, an exclusive look at what we do”. Couldn’t they, in a way, coach them up on an unofficial level? I mean, they could probably get a general “wink wink” idea of these players and if they will sign with their organization. If they like a guy, and they know a guy likes their team, and they do a silent nod, couldn’t they essentially treat them as signed rookies because they aren’t associated with the NFL?

  7. By Darren Urban on Apr 25, 2011 | Reply

    Skiptim —

    RE: Undrafted players

    I see the logic, but no, it doesn’t work that way. Once the draft ends, there isn’t a way to talk to players, under contract or otherwise. They are associated with the NFL in one way, having declared for the draft and just not signed.

  8. By Mojo on Apr 25, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, I appreciate all the hard work you do.

    In my opinion the key to knowing what the Cardinals will do with that 5th pick on Draft day is directly related to how they feel about Skelton. If the organization feels strong enough about the progress he has made, then they can afford to pass on drafting a QB and wait for free agency to start knowing that if they do not get their guy (Kolb, Boulger, etc.) they can start Skelton and keep Fitz and the fan base happy.

    Q: What do you know about how they feel about Skelton?

  9. By Darren Urban on Apr 25, 2011 | Reply

    Mojo —

    RE: Skelton

    I know they aren’t tossing him to the side. Beyond that, I’m not sure. Do I think they think he could eventually become a solid starter? It seems that way. But I don’t know if that potential/timeline would be enough to preclude them from going after a QB. As I have said before, until you know for sure if you have a QB, you don’t have a QB. There is no way they know for sure on Skelton yet.

  10. By Old Man Riva on Apr 25, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks for all the good work this past season Darren and hope you had a happy Easter. With all the hype surrounding the draft almost over, news from the NFL front will consist of multi-billionaires vs. multi-millionaires battling it out in legal surroundings which equates to the MOST BORING news possible. The silence will become overpowering, particularly as summer approaches and we will experience no rookie camps, training camps or exhibition season. The reality of the possibility there will be a shortened season or no season at all will begin to set in. What a sad state of affairs we have gotten to in this country.

  11. By Jahstone on Apr 25, 2011 | Reply

    Darren –

    Always remember that you and your family always have a place in the house of the Lord. Keep up the good work as you are a huge piece of this organization. I look for your posts just as much as any news publication out there!!
    Happy Easter (resurrection day!!)

  12. By Jeff Gollin on Apr 25, 2011 | Reply

    Just wondering – What is the legal basis for not signing UDFA’s (or for that matter player-trades and FA’s in general)?

    What I’m driving at is: If both the League and players felt it would be in their common best interests for the League to sign UDFA’s, veteran FA’s or execute trades, is there anything to prevent them to put together a side-deal and make it happen?

    It just seems to me that both sides would benefit from more stability in personnel matters while they concurrently work on the money/benefits stuff.

    It’s a free country – is there anything to prevent them from doing this?

  13. By Darren Urban on Apr 25, 2011 | Reply

    Jeff —

    RE: UDFA

    I don’t pretend to know why the rules are what they are. I’m sure there are reasons.

  14. By SteveDCO on Apr 25, 2011 | Reply

    The undrafted players need to file a lawsuit against the NFLPA since they are hindering their ability to make money and join a team.

    Someone needs to ask Brees, Manning and Brady how they are going to help out the undrafted players who would have had a chance to make a team.

    Still haven’t decided if I’m going to watch the draft this year. May just check the updates to see who the Cards take and do my follow up research on each player once the lockout is over.

    Players keep stating that the fans are with them but every poll I have seen blames the players, then both and last the owners. The warm welcome for the folks on the lawsuit and vocal players like Jay may not be coming at the lockout end.

  15. By Skiptim on Apr 25, 2011 | Reply

    Darren –

    Thanks. I got to thinking after I asked that they might be associated because they would have had to declare for the NFL draft. Dag nabbit…

  16. By cards62 on Apr 25, 2011 | Reply


    If you were an NFL player making $ 400,000 a year would you be in a hurry to end the work stoppage and give an undrafted rookie or late round drafted rookie more of an opportunity to take away your job in 2011?

    If I am a current player I am working out, watching film and reviewing my playbook on my own so I can keep my job and enjoying my time at home and I am in no hurry to end this work stoppage any time soon. This is why my gut is telling me we will have a full season but a short preseason with only 2 preseason games.

    Do not panic there will be pro football in 2011 just will be a slow summer.

    Go Cards

  17. By AndyStandsUp on Apr 25, 2011 | Reply

    @ drummer-1,
    I don’t always agree with your comments, but when I do; I’ve drunk a ton of Dos Equis.
    Stay thirsty my friend.

  18. By Louisville Card on Apr 26, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    Does the recent ruling ending the lockout change things for the undrafted guys can they now be picked up after the draft or are things staying basically the same between players and the team until the appeal has been heard? Also will you be able to speak with the players to see how things are going with them and what they’ve been doing during the lockout when they come back to the facility and will they be able to get playbooks to learn the new plays?

  19. By Michael M on Apr 27, 2011 | Reply

    Stephen Williams was a good pick up, we need big receivers but the Rams signed the best undrafted wide receiver Danario Alexander. He is dangerous, wish we would of signed him.

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