The Draft is over. Who knows when we can start to sign free agents. However, there is one thing that distresses me in the FA discussion. Because of a lack of cap space, it seems for every name FA we sign, we must let one of our present players go. Yet, for the last two years we have been in the AFC championship game, and I think we have a good team. I do not want to make any wholesale changes if we are not forced to. We are not perfect, otherwise we would have won the SB, but we have improved with the just completed draft which focused on our defensive line. I believe in our Safeties, and CB's and do not want any changes there. I do not want to upset the chemistry and balance of the team we presently have, but we must improve our pass rush. While our new DL may improve our interior pass rush, we must have a better pass rush from the outside. The following Undrafted Free Agents could offer the solution to our problem in the future, and would cost us nothing now.
Position: DE, Colorado School of Mines, HT: 6-2.5, WT: 252, 40 Time: 4.65
Few players in this draft class can match the production of Marc Schiechl, setting the Division II record with 46 career sacks and finishing fourth in the division's history with 70.5 tackles for loss.
Even though that production came against a lower level of competition, there is enough to like about his game to see why scouts are intrigued. This multi-year, multi-outlet All-American lacks the size to hold up at defensive end at the next level, but he displays all of the traits a 3-4 team would appreciate in a strong-side linebacker. The strength (38 reps) and overall athleticism he displayed for scouts after the season only cemented his status as a late-round prospect capable of having a long NFL career.
Positives: Situated all over the line, playing inside at three-technique because of his relative strength, as well as head-up and outside either tackle. Very good bull rush against larger tackles, carries them into backfield with strong hands under their pads and strong lower-body action. Also forces tackles upfield to get inside lane on occasion. Defeats two or three blocks to reach the quarterback at times, relentless when the ball is in his area. Quick hands at the line of scrimmage, rips hard enough to disengage from offensive linemen whether man-up inside or moving laterally on stretch plays. Nice hustle downfield. Intelligent player, sniffs out screen passes and stays home on misdirection. He is relentless. Strong (37-40 reps at 225). Fast (4.6s). Amazingly productive at a low level of competition. Self made man. Can really bend the corner, and his computer numbers are as good as most FBS DEs. Closes the deal on the pass rush. Uses hands to overpower blockers. Has some movement skills. Forces a lot of fumbles due to the violence of his collisions. Could be used as either a 4-3 DE or as a pass-rushing OLB conversion candidate. Good student both on and off the field. Character is solid as well.
Negatives: Does a lot of damage against lower-quality offensive linemen he won't see at the next level. Lacks bend or a variety of pass-rush moves, relies on bull rush and wide stances that won't be nearly as effective next season. Average closing speed for a pass rusher. Inconsistent defeating cut blocks with his hands. Only adequate anchor to hold the point against NFL tackles. Fair change of direction skills, but will need to prove himself quick and agile enough to track down NFL ballcarriers. Out-positioned or controlled at the point by blockers once engaged by linemen. Takes a lot of wide angles around opponents. Lacks an explosive closing burst. Still has a ways to go in terms of the finesses details of the DE position in order to be successful at the next level. A little small to stay at DE, and unproven as a LB. Slightly overaged, and may be maxed out.
Graduated from Bear Creek H.S. in Lakewood, CO, where he was all-conference and all-state his senior year in 2006. Wrestler and weight lifter in high school as well. Came in and played right away as a freshman at Colorado Mines in '07, posting 47 tackles, 17.5 TFLs, 13.5 sacks. In '08, he upped those numbers to 69 total tackles, 21 TFLs, and 13.5 sacks. Did it all over again in '09, posting 58-19-7. As a senior, he set the record for career sacks ALL-TIME in DII football when he picked up his 46th career sack late in the season. Also is 4th all time on the DII career TFL list with 70.5. His numbers in 2010 were 66-19-12.
Ended his college career as the NCAA Division II career leader in sacks with 46. Schiechl was a tremendous small school defender and has enough athleticism to play at the next level as a one-gap defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker. Probably won't be drafted but absolutely SHOULD be a late pick. If not, he will have an auction situation on his hand after the draft, and will have to pick his best situation.
Keith Darbut (Has been posted previously)
Position: DE, Baldwin-Wallace, HT: 6-4, WT: 229, 40 Time: 4.40
Team captain ran forty times of 4.38 and 4.40 with a 1.42 ten-yard split, recorded a 10-foot-6 broad jump and 38-inch vertical, benching 225 pounds 26 times, 4.45 short shuttle, and 7.28 3-cone. Fast and explosive. At 6’4" and about 230, he projects as an outside linebacker in 3-4 scheme. However needs to bulk up a little to play in the NFL.
Darbut was the D-3 Ohio Athletic Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2010, having 43 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, and 40-yard touchdown reception.
Position: OLB, Maryland, HT: 6-1.5, WT: 228, 40 Time: 4.58
At the Maryland Pro day, Linebacker Adrian Moten (6-1 3/4, 234) gave a complete workout. He posted 40 times of 4.60 and 4.55, a 32 1/2-inch vertical, 10-8 broad jump, 4.51 short shuttle, and 7.32 cone. "Two-year starter who posted 77/6/2.5, four interceptions and pass break-ups as a senior. Junior totals included 68/9/6."
Positives: "Athletic weak side linebacker prospect who is effective making plays in space. Fast in all areas of the field, makes plays in every direction, and covers a good amount of space. Breaks down well, rarely gets knocked off his feet, and is relatively strong at the point of attack. Effective in pursuit, explosive, and flashes ability in coverage. Two-year starter at OLB is an athletic and versatile prospect who makes plays all over the field. Fast, has fluid hips, can turn and run with TEs and other receivers and has good ball skills. Quick first step, can run around blocks. Good form tackler, shoulder to chest, wraps. Lined up often against the slot receiver and had a lot of corner/nickel assignments as a SAM during the past two seasons. Played some WILL earlier in college career."
Negatives: Has just average instincts and is late to react. A bit stiff flipping his hips in transition. Lacks elite top end straight-line speed. Too often allows separation in coverage and is unable to close. Gets destroyed when colliding with OLs, and likely will have trouble handling the blocks of NFL TEs. Doesn't have a lot of sand in the pants and has real trouble beating blocks, and hence tries to dance around blocks. Small, narrow frame for NFL LB. Wrist injury in 2008.
Analysis: Moten has flashed ability the past two years and is effective as a pursuit linebacker that can also cover. He must polish his game but he has some upside.
Stanford, OLB, HT: 6-3 WT: 265 40 Time: 4.83
Keiser entered the draft after his junior season. After staring at defensive end his first two years at Stanford, Keiser made the switch to outside linebacker under the team's new 3-4 scheme for his third year. He started all 13 games as a junior in 2010, finishing ninth on the team with 38 tackles and tying for third with 4 1/2 sacks.
Smart, instinctive player. Good overall size and strength. Experience at both linebacker and defensive end. Decent athleticism. Plays faster than his timed speed; good initial quickness off the snap. Plays with good discipline, keeping his gap control consistently. Keeps his responsibility on the backside of runs well and squeezes down the lane for the ball carrier to cut back though. Good strength at the POA to anchor and play with good leverage. Strings out plays well to the sideline, and uses his hands well to sheds blocks consistently. Gives great effort as a pass rusher, constantly working after the QB. Has a good rip move and uses his hands well. Good balance turning the corner. Good redirect skills to work underneath once he's past the QB. Showed a steady improvement and his best football is likely still ahead.
A lunch-pail type player with adequate but not elite athleticism. Lacks the closing speed to make more plays. With his size, he may be restricted in pass coverage in his range with tight hips. A good pass rusher, but he doesn't have a go-to move and needs to improve his technique to be an effective pass rusher at the next level. Limited experience dropping into coverage. Only saw significant playing time for two years; made questionable decision to turn pro following junior year. Suffered a pulled hamstring during his pro day.
Analysis: Keiser is a developing defender who consistently makes plays behind the line of scrimmage. He can be used in a three-point stance or standing up over tackle and should get better as he physically matures. Keiser may lack the elite athleticism to be a starter at the next level but he has shown enough as a pass rusher to draw interest from teams looking to add depth at 3-4 linebacker. As a situational pass rusher he could be an immediate contributor. Keiser should play right away on special teams and be a solid backup. In order to see more playing time down the road, however, he’ll need to improve his ability to drop into coverage.It probably would have been smart for Keiser to have returned for another season at Stanford to improve his draft stock.
Mark Herzlich, Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 249, LB, Boston College
40 Yard Dash - 4.96, Bench Press - 29.0 Reps, Vertical Jump - 32.5, Broad Jump - 112.0
3 Cone Drill - 7.32, 20 Yard Shuttle - 4.46, 60 Yard Shuttle - 12.2
If Herzlich would have been available in the 2009 draft, he would have been a top 10 or 15 pick. He was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, and has 249 tackles in three years of play. As an outstanding athlete, he has speed, and can play in space. He had six interceptions in 2008, returning two for scores.
In May of 2009, Herzlich was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, and after missing the entire season, returned to the field in 2010. Herzlich participated in practice just three times before playing in Boston College's 2010 season opener. He's a strong player (29 bench-press reps at the combine), and is very good at diagnosing plays (his four interceptions are evidence of that ability). He's a special player as far as work habits, and appears to slowly be regaining his speed and quickness.
Herzlich has the physical tools, work ethic, character and toughness coveted by every NFL franchise. He displayed these traits not only in his triumph over cancer, but as a natural team leader on the field. He was a complete player against the run. Took on and got off blockers quickly and chased down plays all over the field. He could run with tight ends and backs, play in zone, and rush the quarterback. Some teams may continue to view his medical history as a red flag. Additionally, he needs a little polish with his tackling, and production was down post-comeback as a senior.
Herzlich possesses rare intangibles for an NFL Draft prospect. Is a highly-productive player who has a terrific blend of height, bulk and top-end speed. Plays with good awareness and discipline and doesn't stay blocked long. Can make plays from sideline-to-sideline and can stay with running backs in coverage. Can rush the passer and displays great closing burst.
Durability is still somewhat of a concern after his courageous battle to fight cancer. Could afford to improve his tackling consistency. Would benefit from developing a wider variety of pass rushing moves. Isn't a liability in coverage but doesn't show great explosion out of his pedal.
Upon his return in 2010 he lost a lot of quickness and speed. Struggles getting off blocks. Displayed a minimal burst. Had difficulty making plays with his back to the ball. Lost a step of speed and was not able to go sideline to sideline. If he can regain his former abilities he will be a good, multi-year starter, as an UDFA there is very little risk for a possible great reward.