Remember the 2003 draft? Remember who our top four picks were? You can be forgiven for not knowing that we drafted Sammy Davis, Drayton Florence, Terrance Kiel, and Courtney Van Buren. Aside from D-Flo, a pretty forgettable group. But none the less, it was one of the Chargers best draft days ever. Why? Because of the Undrafted Free Agents we signed (UDFAs are college players who were not drafted so they can sign with whoever they want). Look at this list:
Three pro bowlers, three starters, off the scrap heap of college football. In subsequent years we have signed Wes Walker, Antwain Applewhite, Jyles Tucker, and Mike Tolbert last year. UDFAs have been very, very good to the Chargers.
So it got me to thinking, who are the impact UDFAs going to be this year? Of course, it is impossible to say. But if you ask me, anything past the first 5 picks in the draft is borderline impossible to predict, so if we are willing to speculate on who the Chargers might draft at 16, then we might as well speculate on the UDFAs we might sign.
Here is the challenge: Suggest a potential UDFA the Chargers might sign. The only requirement is that there has to be a good chance they won't be drafted, so projected as a round 6 or later. Is there someone from your alma mater you want to point out? Someone you or your kids played against in HS or college? Someone who you vaguely remember from a late night Thursday night game who just took over a game?
Give us their name, measureables, and how they would fit into the Chargers. They should have at least a chance of making the team, even if it's only on the practice squad. Don't suggest a kicker or punter. If you're going to suggest someone who doesn't fit into a position on the team (like a classic run-block only fullback), you're going to have to point out how they might fit in. Sell us on your man.
I've got some resources and a potential UDFA to show you what I mean after the jump.
NFL Draft Scout with round projections
College Pro Days (wasn't Kathy Ireland the kicker for Texas Southern in Unecessary Roughness?)
So here is my pick, I mentioned him before in a fan post, but here is the run down:
J'Nathan Bullock, TE, Cleveland State University, 6-5, 240 - Bullock was a power forward on the CSU basketball team that played in the NCAA tourney. He has not played football since High School (where he was honorable mention all-state in Michigan). Ran a 4.73 at his pro day. Faster than most, but not real fast. Kellen Winslow Jr ran a 4.62, Shockey ran a 4.64. He has the power forward skills that we admire in Gates, uses his body to block out the defenders, good hands, and has the athleticism and balance to catch the ball in traffic. Has had private workouts with the Bills, Bucs, Bears, and Browns (all B teams...) Plus, he is graduating next month with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, so his wonderlick score should be fine.
I think there is probably a spot on the practice squad for a guy like J'Nathan. We've got Gates and Chandler with Manumaleuna if we need him. The jury is still out on Chandler, he hasn't really shown anything (due to inexperience and injuries) in his two years here. It would be nice to start grooming Gates' backup and eventual replacement.
If you don't know where to start, take a look at the players who have been visiting the Chargers.
I expect you SDSU alumni to point out a few. (Also, you use that link to find out who is available from your alma mater and what their "rank" is)