Instead of the usual mad dash to sign undrafted players minutes after the last pick is selected, team officials have had months to restack an undrafted players board and are super prepared to go after the right guys.
Three other factors entered the equation since the draft: 1. Time to regain health has become an issue for some players; 2. Rosters are now expanded from 80 to 90 players for camp; 3. Guys with off-the-field issues have had months to prove they are over their problems.
If I were still in the business, this would be the core of my target 40 undrafted players to go after with a special interest in players at a position of need. The objective would be to try and get at least five of these guys on my camp roster with the hope of one making the team and two others making the practice squad.
Brandt's top undrafted rookies
NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt ranked his top undrafted free agents, which features Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin filling in as the No. 1 option available. **More...**
1. Mark Herzlich, LB, Boston College -- He has overcome cancer and needed the time to get himself back to the level of quickness he had a few years ago when he was considered a first-round pick.
2. Kendric Burney, CB, North Carolina -- His 40 time is why he was undrafted, but he is a playmaker with very good anticipation in the passing game.
3. DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson -- Off-the-field issues kept him out of the draft but with no financial risk it might be time to take a guy with 296 tackles.
4. Pierre Allen, DE, Nebraska -- Disappeared at the Senior Bowl but had 184 tackles (36 for loss) and 14 sacks in college.
5. Jake Kirkpatrick, C, TCU -- After watching him perform at the Senior Bowl I was surprised he wasn't drafted.
6. Jordan White, WR, Western Michigan -- Check his knees, but he did have 166 receptions and 15 touchdowns in college.
7. Joe Lefeged, S, Rutgers -- He had a good Senior Bowl week and is a box safety. At Rutgers he had 238 tackles, 15 pass breakups, two interceptions, and eight tackles for loss.
8. Jeron Johnson, S, Boise State -- He's a bit tight-hipped, but he will hit you. He had 325 tackles in college with 25 passes defended and six interceptions.
9. Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware -- Probably the best quarterback left on the board. He completed 65 percent of his passes with 42 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. He was sacked 52 times.
11. Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia -- The little big man was too productive in college to ignore. He rushed for 4,317 yards at 5.9 per carry with 29 rushing touchdowns and 98 receptions.
12. Ugo Chinasa, DE/OLB, Oklahoma State -- With 26 tackles for loss and 13 sacks he might be a 3-4 OLB, but first he has to impress the special teams coach.
13. Cedric Thornton, DT, Southern Arkansas -- He was in over his head at the Senior Bowl, but at a lower level he did have 63 plays behind the line of scrimmage in 22 starts. He needs the practice squad.
14. Quentin Davie, OLB, Northwestern -- He needs a year on the practice squad, but he did have 10 pass breakups, four interceptions and 33 plays behind the line of scrimmage in college.
15. Darvin Adams, WR, Auburn -- He has size and caught 115 passes at 17.2 per reception and 17 touchdowns.
16. Mike McNeill, TE, Nebraska -- More of an H-back but with 82 receptions and 11 touchdowns. He has a chance to stick on the practice squad.
17. Kris O'Dowd, C, USC -- Lots of experience, smart and has an injury history. Strictly a center.
18. Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU -- Being labeled immature kept him out of the draft, but 126 receptions at 14.4 yards per and 12 touchdowns with very good size should get him into a camp. One false move, though, and he's gone.
19. Colby Whitlock, DT, Texas Tech -- A four-year starter with penetration skills who will give effort in camp.
20. Henry Hynoski, FB, Pittsburgh -- A tough player who should make camp interesting. He can catch the ball and could be a terror on teams at 257 pounds.
21. Derrick Locke, RB, Kentucky -- He had a good Senior Bowl with 4.4 speed.
22. Scott Tolzien, QB, Wisconsin -- Too many coaches have told me they like him too much to leave him off the list. He was 21-5 as a starter, completing 68 percent of his passes with 32 touchdowns and 5,271 yards.
23. Ryan Winterswyk, DE, Boise State -- He will give great effort in camp and had 47 tackles for loss and 22 sacks in college.
24. Detron Lewis, WR, Texas Tech -- A camp guy who had 238 receptions and 18 touchdowns in college, he can get work in the slot.
25. Dane Sanzenbacher, WR, Ohio State -- A late addition to the Senior Bowl, he reminds me of the kind of guy Peyton Manning helps to become a good player. He had 123 receptions at 15 yards per and is a good route runner.
26. Ian Williams, DT, Notre Dame -- Didn't show me much at the Senior Bowl, but camp bodies at defensive tackle are hard to find.
27. Alex Linnenkohl, C, Oregon State -- It's a good year to be a free-agent center. Don't let the bad body fool you. The former wrestler with 38 starts will compete.
29. John Clay, RB, Wisconsin -- Need to check his ankles, but this 230-pound back rushed for 41 touchdowns and averaged 5.4 yards per run.
30. Derek Hall, OT, Stanford -- More of a run blocker than pass blocker and just a one-year starter, but if he spends a year on the practice squad you might have a quality right tackle or guard.
31. Will Hill, S, Florida -- There are character issues that put him off draft boards, but with little financial risk someone will take a chance on this talented safety. If he's a problem, release him right away -- especially with a 90-man camp roster.
32. Chas Henry, P, Florida -- He's a big man with 68 punts inside the 20-yard line and never had one blocked.
34. Tori Gurley, WR, South Carolina -- Great hands, and he didn't drop a pass in 2010.
35. Willie Smith, OT, East Carolina -- He has health issues that have to check out, but he is an offensive tackle who has played on the defensive side of the ball. I once took a guy like that, and he played more than 10 years after two years on the practice squad.
36. Mario Harvey, LB, Marshall -- A run-and-hit type who played middle linebacker in college but more of a special teams guy now.
37. Josh Jasper, K, LSU -- Seven of 10 field goal attempts outside of 50 yards in college.
38. Adam Weber, QB, Minnesota -- I had a few coaches tell me they want him on their camp roster. He has an over-the-top delivery and is good at looking safeties off. His college coach told me he was good under pressure.
39. Brian Duncan, LB, Texas Tech -- A smart guy who has played three positions in college. He had seven sacks this past season and 216 tackles in college.
40. Jock Sanders, WR/KR, West Virginia -- He's little, but he did have 206 receptions and 14 receiving touchdowns. He also played some running back and rushed for 622 yards and six touchdowns.