One of my personal favorite things to watch for during each NFL Draft is to see where my fellow Arizona State Sun Devils get drafted to. That was especially exciting this past year as I saw the team's quarterback and former star cornerback both get taken by the Broncos.
But now that the preseason is over, some of the undrafted Devils have found homes and others will have to keep working to do so. Let's look at those players after the jump.
As I mentioned, Brock Osweiler and Omar Bolden were drafted in the second and fourth rounds respectively by the Denver Broncos. Osweiler walks into the perfect situation, getting to sit behind a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Peyton Manning for the first couple of years before taking the reins. Bolden, on the other hand, can be an immediate contributor both as a corner and a kick returner.
Then there is their former teammate, Gerrell Robinson. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Broncos, but was cut after the final preseason game against the Cardinals. Ironically, the Cardinals have now signed Robinson to their practice squad. Robinson now gets to return to the place that helped make his career what it is today. I am excited to see what this big, fast receiver can bring back to Arizona.
Vontaze Burfict, after sliding all the way from a first round prospect to being an undrafted player, has found a home with the Bengals. He beat out some incumbents along the inside linebacking corps and has earned a place with their team. He always had the talent, but it just needed to be harnessed in a productive way. If coach Marvin Lewis can keep his head in check, he will have a very dynamic football player.
Troy Nolan, a former defensive back for ASU, has signed with the Miami Dolphins. He has bounced around the NFL a bit after being taken in the 7th round of the 2009 draft by the Texans. He has always been a decent ballhawk and should be a nice contributor for Miami.
Garth Gerhart, a former captain and center for the Sun Devils, was signed to the Browns practice squad. This will give him time to develop and hone in his skills.
After that, the news isn't as good. Eddie Elder and Colin Parker are still looking for homes after being cut by the Cardinals. Both of them spent nearly the entire preseason with the team. Parker, however, could still find his way onto the Cardinals' practice squad.
Lawrence Guy, a defensive tackle from Arizona State, was drafted in the seventh round by the Packers in 2011, but spent most of his time on injured reserve. He was recently released by the team and has yet to be signed elsewhere.
Dan Knapp, formerly an offensive tackle for ASU, has seen his time as a member of the Oakland Raiders come to an end. He was cut by the team on Friday.
The same goes for former Devils running back Dimitri Nance. Nance was undrafted as well, spending time with both Green Bay and the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons released him a couple of days ago and he, like Guy, has not found a team yet. I feel that he is a solid running back and still has a good chance to catch on elsewhere. Once injuries start taking their tolls, I think he gets signed.
Here are some other former Devils that did not make the cut, per Doug Haller:
Miami cut linebacker Shelly Lyons
Dallas cut quarterback Rudy Carpenter
Buffalo cut WR Derek Hagan
San Diego cut WR Mike Willie
New Orleans cut T Aderious Simmons
St. Louis cut DE Jamaar Jarrett, who slipped to undrafted because of some drug issues.
As Haller noted, some of these guys may still get signed to practice squads around the league, but that news has yet to be announced.
Like I said, it's always great to see former Sun Devils make it in the NFL, but it stings equally as much to see them get cut. Let's hope the university's presence in professional football can continue to grow.
For more on the Arizona State Sun Devils, head over to House of Sparky.