Chase Minnifield's injury must have been worse than we imagined. Micro-fracture surgery is no joke, and it's still somewhat of an unknown in the NFL. Chase was a presumptive 3rd round pick, but NFL teams have all seen the medical reports that none of us have seen. Obviously, they show something, because Chase slipped completely out of the draft.
Cam Johnson has also had injury concerns, but I simply can't understand why he lasted until the 7th round. He's better than that. He was finally drafted by the 49ers, which is an interesting fit. The Niners are a 3-4 team that generates a lot of their pass rush from the DLs. Part of that is because they have guys like Justin Smith, who is a tremendous pass rusher from the DE spot. Johnson would fit there as a reserve OLB, playing behind former Virginia LB Ahmad Brooks. Brooks had 7.5 sacks last year from that role, and Johnson is arguably a better pure pass rusher than Brooks. It is a strange pick for the 49ers, because Johnson isn't a great fit, but in the 7th round, you can't fault them.
For some analysis of where our undrafted FAs have ended up, click the jump.
Chase has signed on with the Redskins, which seems like a pretty good situation for an undrafted CB. The Skins have one starting CB in DeAngelo Hall, and they signed Cedric Griffin from the Vikings during the offseason. The Redskins also used a 7th round draft pick on CB Jonathon Bernstein from Iowa. Minnifield will first need to prove that he is healthy, but he has a shot at making this team as a reserve CB and special teams player. If Minnifield is healthy, he is likely the 3rd corner for the Skins.
DE Matt Conrath has signed with the Rams, which seems like an even stranger fit than Johnson with the 49ers. I simply can't see Conrath playing in the NFL in a 4-3 defense. He isn't strong enough or explosive enough to play DT and isn't near athletic enough to play DE. The Rams' first round pick was a DT, but after him they aren't deep at the position. My guess is Conrath was brought in to help provide depth there during training camp. I don't see Conrath making the team.
S Rodney McLeod has also signed on with the Rams, and he is a better fit there. The Rams have only 1 safety on their current roster, and a lot of CBs. I think McLeod has a good shot to earn a spot there, playing special teams and backing up whoever the Rams can find to play safety. The Rams are still pretty bad, so McLeod can earn some real playing time if he works hard enough.
DB Dom Joseph has accepted an invite to the Packers training camp. Joseph has experience playing both CB and S, which gives him a leg up on most DBs. The Packers are well positioned at CB, but aren't too deep at S. Now, I don't think that Joseph is capable of playing S at an NFL level, but he'll get a shot.
OG Austin Pasztor has signed with the Minnesota Vikings, and he may well be the best bet of all the undrafted FAs to make the team (other than a healthy Chase Minnifield). The Vikings lost starting G Steve Hutchinson in free agency this year, and have just 3 Guards on their roster. They had a lot of trouble on their OL last season and while their first pick was an OT, they did not draft an interior limeman. I think Pasztor has a very good chance to be playing for the Vikings sometime this season.
Not exactly what I was expecting, and probably not what a lot of the guys were hoping for, but at least we've got a bunch of guys getting a shot at an NFL career.