Monday, April 27, 2009

Arizona: In The Wake of The NFL Draft

Many thoughts spring to the top of my head on the heels of this weekends NFL Draft. This was supposed to be one of the best drafts in recent Arizona history. There were 6 legitimate Arizona Alums poised to hear their name called, with the majority of the 6 hoping for Day 2 call-ups PLUS the possibility of Arizona Power Forward, Fendi Onobun a.k.a Fen-Diesel making it a total of 7 possible Arizona draft picks.

But alas Junior Tackle Eben Britton actually slipped to the second round to the Jaguars due to footwork issues despite his size and "tremendous upside", I hate the phrase as much as you do. Eben was the only name called on day one and swore to avenge the slip against every team that passed on him. Atta boy EB.

All-Time Pac-10 WR record holder Mike Thomas slipped a bit to the 4th round despite many thinking he was a sure thing 3rd rounder. But the 4th round pick landed him in Florida alongside Eben for a reunion. Interesting side note this was the 7th time that two Arizona players were drafted by the same pro team since 1990. See Box at Right

But that was it for ringing phones on Sunday and there were more than a few Cats sitting on the sideline with questions remaining. So we'll try to keep you up to date. Updates will come so check back often. Remember each team will usually wind up signing between 5-15 Undrafted Free Agents to take roster spots going into training camps and practice squads. Among the possibilities:

QB: Willie Tuitma - NFL size and arm strength, sometimes labeled as a system Quarterback Tui rewrote the Arizona record books in his 3.5 years here as a starter. A DUI arrest in the weeks leading up to the draft almost assuredly knocked his name off a few possible draft boards but don't be surprised to see him show up on someones off season roster. Possible candidates include Denver, Chicago, Detroit, and anyone else looking for a back-up QB.

LB: Ronnie Palmer - Sources say that Palmer has already inked a 3 year deal with the Washington Redskins. Congratulations are in order for Ronnie following in the footsteps of other UA alums to head to the Nations capital.

DB: Nate Ness - There have been some rumblings that Nasty Nate is vying for a roster spot somewhere out there but nothing has been finalized yet. Don't be surprised to see Nate lining up somewhere in the preseason, there are more than a few teams with secondary issues. UPDATED: Ness signed a deal with the Cleveland Browns.

DB: Marquis Hundley - Hundley enjoyed his first season as a Starter in 2008 and grabbed 4 picks. Decent size and great athleticism should find him a spot in offseason workouts. UPDATED: Hundley signed on with the St. Louis Rams.

K: Jason Bondzio - Arizona's most accurate kicker of all time held out hope for a late round selection yesterday, but alas no call was made. Kickers are a commodity in the NFL and they can almost always find a tryout. There are only 32 openings for a kicker in the NFL so even if Bondzio can't ink a deal by the start of the season, there will always be an opening after a kicker starts slow. Bet on it.

OG: Joe Longacre - Longacre was a rock on the Arizona Offensive Line during the Mike Stoops tenure even though players were missing time left and right. He's a mammoth of a man, but lacks many of the needs to play at the next level. Might wind up on a practice squad somewhere.

DB: Adrian McCovy - Coming off his best season McCovy can only hope for the best. He's got the athleticism and came up with 4 picks this year, but if he sees action, it will probably come on a practice squad this year.

OT: James Thretheway - With only one year of starting on the line under his belt, it would be a bit of a reach for most NFL teams. He's got the size, but don't expect to see him on Sundays.

PF: Fendi Onobun - Could he possibly be the next Antonio Gates? At least 3 teams think so as they were able to bring him in for some workouts. Fen-Diesel was told by former Coach Kevin O-Neil NOT to hit the weights, he was already too big. He's got the athleticism and size of a good blocking TE and could develop the hands to match. It's too bad the former forward on the hardwood won't get a chance to take the field as a Kitty Kat because of a lack of scholarships. But who knows, maybe one of the incoming scholarship players won't make the grades and there will be a letter with his name on it from Mike Stoops.


Matt Randle "el" said...

Longacre is getting a tryout with the Bills this word on a camp invite yet