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The 8th round: Best undrafted free agent fits for each team

The announcement of the final selection of the 2012 NFL Draft, given the title of "Mr. Irrelevant," at Radio City Music Hall last Saturday night did not signal the end of teams' attempts to improve their rosters.

There is, in effect, an eighth round of the draft where teams compete for the best players that didn't hear their names called over the weekend.

Last year, several "after-thoughts" made a mark as rookies. Doug Baldwin led the Seahawks with 51 catches for 788 yards and four scores. Byron Bell started 12 games at tackle for the Panthers because of an injury to Jeff Otah. The Colts found a valuable contributor in safety Joe Lefeged (31 tackles, two INT, 578 kick return yards). New Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey tied for fifth in the league in scoring after nailing 32 field goals.

The following prospects received a call after the draft (or more likely during, when teams thought they might be available Saturday night) because their new team couldn't address a need position over the three-day event.

Look for a few to overcome their anonymity, a medical concern or other issue to not only make a team -- but also make a difference.

Arizona Cardinals: Zack Nash, OLB, Sacramento State -- Nash intrigued me during the Battle for the Rock all-star game as a high-motor, agile 3-4 rush linebacker prospect who will contribute behind Sam Acho and O'Brien Schofield.

Atlanta Falcons: James Rodgers, WR/KR, Oregon State -- Bringing the Rodgers brothers together again (Jacquizz was a fifth-round pick last year) isn't just a good story -- the Falcons need a kick and punt returner with the offseason departure of Eric Weems.

Baltimore Ravens: James Carmon, OT, Mississippi State -- Carmon was originally brought to Starkville to play defensive tackle, and was compared to new teammate Terrence Cody because of his size (6-foot-5 ½, 330 pounds) and junior college background. The Ravens will continue his education as an offensive tackle with the hopes he flourishes.

Buffalo Bills: Aaron Corp, QB, Richmond -- Ryan Fitzpatrick led the NFL with 23 interceptions last year, and only injuries kept Corp from starting ahead of Matt Barkley at USC. He has the talent to lead an offense effectively, even if his arm and medical reports did not wow scouts.

Carolina Panthers: Jared Green, WR, Southern -- The son of NFL Hall of Famer Darrell Green combines the size and speed to contribute as a kick returner right away, and might work himself into the receiver rotation in time.

Chicago Bears: James Brown, OT/G, Troy -- Scouts aren't sure about his ability to handle the transition to the next level, and aren't sure of his best position fit. But if you ask opposing defensive ends, they'll tell you he's tough to beat; look for him to earn playing time sooner than later.

Cincinnati Bengals: Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State -- Wherever Burfict signed, he would have been one of the most interesting UDFA acquisitions. If Burfict can stay in shape (and out of trouble) to maximize his talent, he'll make an impact on special teams and attempt to become a thumper in the middle of the defense.

Cleveland Browns: Emanuel Davis, CB, East Carolina -- The Browns didn't address their secondary during the draft, but picked up three draftable prospects in the tough Davis, athletic Antwuan Reed (Pittsburgh) and versatile corner/safety Tashaun Gipson (Wyoming).

Dallas Cowboys: Ronald Leary, G, Memphis -- The Cowboys are happy with veteran free-agent guards Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau, but surprisingly getting the long, athletic Leary after the draft met their need for competitive talent.

Denver Broncos: Coryell Judie, CB/KR, Texas A&M -- Fans were happy the team added Arizona State receiver Gerell Robinson to help Peyton Manning, but if Judie stays healthy he can be a more impactful player because of his return skills and potential as a nickel back for the Broncos.

Detroit Lions: Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State -- He isn't going to win the starting job over former No. 1 pick Matthew Stafford, and Shaun Hill is a solid backup quarterback. But Moore's just an intriguing story, and a player out to prove he can run an NFL offense. I'm not going to bet against him.

Green Bay Packers: Dale Moss, WR, South Dakota State -- Moss only made the switch from basketball to football for the Jackrabbits in his senior season. His size (6-3, 213) and athleticism (41-inch vertical) give him enough upside to land on the practice squad in 2012, or maybe as the last receiver on the 53-man if he shows enough in training camp.

Houston Texans: Hebron "Loni" Fangupo, NT, Brigham Young -- The Texans brought in a slew of solid undrafted free agents, but Fangupo should use his girth and relatively quick feet to play a number of snaps at nose tackle in Wade Phillips' 3-4 alignment.

Indianapolis Colts: Micah Pellerin, CB, Hampton -- Pellerin's six-foot, 194-pound frame is a welcome addition to the Colts as they try to get stronger at nearly every position on defense. The Southern Miss transfer is talented enough to compete for playing time at cornerback or safety.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State -- The Florida native was disappointed to go undrafted after starting 49 straight games for the Buckeyes, but he'll eventually get his chance to take over for veteran Brad Meester.

Kansas City Chiefs: Dexter Heyman, ILB, Louisville -- If veterans Brandon Siler and Jovan Belcher don't watch out, the second-team All-Big East pick will find a way on the field to take on blocks and play the run next to Derrick Johnson.

Miami Dolphins: Kelcie McCray, S, Arkansas State -- Cutting leading tackler Yeremiah Bell left an opening at safety; if former Arkansas State and Minnesota second-round pick Tyrell Johnson can't win the job, then maybe McCray will.

Minnesota Vikings: Quentin Saulsberry, OG/C, Mississippi State -- The versatile Saulsberry started at right tackle, both guard spots, and at center for the Bulldogs. The Vikings could use his mobility and toughness up front, so he'll be a valuable swing lineman as a rookie and challenge for playing time in the future.

New England Patriots: Markus Zusevics, G, Iowa -- The Patriots signed Robert Gallery this year, but brought on Zusevics as a longer-term answer at guard because of his toughness. He went undrafted due to a pectoral injury suffered at the NFL Scouting Combine, so if he can spend a year on the physically unable to perform or injured reserve lists he might become a heavy contributor in 2013.

New Orleans Saints: Braylon Broughton, DE, TCU -- Broughton was never a full-time starter with the Horned Frogs, but the Saints saw enough potential in his play and exceptional pro day to pick him up as a formidable strong-side defensive end prospect.

New York Giants: Janzen Jackson, CB/S, McNeese State -- Despite his off-field issues and transfer from Tennessee, Jackson's agility and playmaking ability make him an intriguing defensive back prospect.

New York Jets: Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston College -- The Jets' secondary is greatly lacking in depth and the tall, lean Fletcher hopes to step in at cornerback behind the similarly built Antonio Cromartie.

Oakland Raiders: Dominique Hamilton, DT, Missouri -- A powerful run-stopper inside, Hamilton should become the first tackle off the bench to spell Richard Seymour or Tommy Kelly this season.

Philadelphia Eagles: Chris Polk, RB, Washington -- Polk's medical concerns kept him from being drafted, but Pac-12 opponents will tell you that his powerful running was no mirage. He should prove a worthy change-up to LeSean McCoy.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Adrian Robinson, LB, Temple -- Before the season I said that Robinson would make a perfect Steelers linebacker. Now he'll get his shot to earn a roster spot as a strong edge player, as will Pitt DE/OLB Brandon Lindsey.

San Diego Chargers: Jason Barnes, WR, South Carolina -- He caught just 10 passes over the last two years, but his 6-foot-3, 208-pound frame and 4.5 speed give him a chance to be the next undrafted surprise receiver in the Chargers' receiving arsenal.

San Francisco 49ers: Matt Masifilo, DE, Stanford -- The team did not address its five-technique defensive end spot in the draft, so they signed four free agents to see who will stick. The Cardinal's honorable mention All-Pac 12 player has good length (34-inch arms) and strength (38 reps) to be a force on the edge.

Seattle Seahawks: Rishaw Johnson, G, California (Pa.) -- The transfer from Ole Miss is a long, athletic guard who can work his way up the depth chart if he gets stronger -- and proves the troubles that forced him to leave Oxford are behind him.

St. Louis Rams: Alex Hoffman-Ellis, OLB, Washington State -- A fair number of undrafted players could make the team this year, as new general manager Les Snead tries to turn over the roster. Look for Hoffman-Ellis to push for a starting job because of his strong tackling and instincts -- as well as the team's lack of bodies at the position.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State -- Johnson might not be the biggest or fastest corner, but his competitiveness give him a shot to stick and he could move up the ladder in the future if Aqib Talib continues his off-field troubles and Ronde Barber retires after 2012.

Tennessee Titans: William Vlachos, C, Alabama -- Alabama's stalwart pivot man fits an immediate need because of the age of veteran starting center Eugene Amato. Though not quite 6-1 and only an average athlete, Vlachos' strength and tenaciousness inside give him a chance to succeed. Another player to watch is USC DT DaJohn Harris, who dropped out of the draft due to a heart abnormality but has the clearance from doctors to play.

Washington Redskins: Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia -- The team picked up two secondary prospects late in the draft, but the son of former NFL Pro Bowl corner Frank Minnifield is going to have a chip on his shoulder after going undrafted. His slight build and slow 40 time didn't impress scouts, but when healthy he didn't back down from challenges.

Follow Chad Reuter on Twitter @ChadReuter.

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