NFL Unlocked, check. Un-drafted Free Agents Signed, Check. Time for Camp and UB has a good set of players out there competing for a job Domonic Cook (Bills), Josh Thomas (Cowboys), Naaman Roosevelt (Bills), Mike Newton (Colts), James Starks (Packers), Drew Willy (Jets), Jamey Richard (Colts) Davonte Shannon (Redskins), and Trevor Scott (Raiders).
Of there players five have already seen time on their current squad one is a rookie draft pick (Thomas), one is a rookie Un-drafted free Agent and one has been on an NFL roster but has not yet played (Willy).
So where does everyone stand?
James Starks: Green Bay, Second Season.
The guys over at ACME Packing Company are high on Starks. Not only is he a young back with potential but he is a guy who has shown that he can, when needed, be 'the guy'.
Last years Superbowl run may have went off fine without Starks but having that back, the guy who almost always gets a yard or two while getting tackled sure helped their cause. It's almost a given that Starks makes the roster and likely comes out as part of a one two punch with Ryan Grant.
Trevor Scott: Oakland Raiders, Fourth Season
Scott, a lineman at UB, proved a bit too small to jump right to the NFL line. He had some moderate success as a pass rusher his rookie season but was not a balanced every down player. When the team moved him to a hybrid linebacker slot he blew up. He became the starter and tied for the team lead in sacks.
Through it all Scott has been getting bigger while maintain his speed. He is trying to get more to the size where he can be a balanced attacker on the line.
Scott enters camp six months removed from ACL surgery so he will probably go light for the first few weeks. That, and a shortened training season, means he will likely start the season as a situational player
Jamie Richard: Indianapolis Colts, Fourth Season
Over his career, entirely spend with the Colts, Richard has been both a starter and a guy kept for depth. Among some fans he has earned a reputation as a lack luster pass blocker who fits in well as a guy you keep for depth.
To be honest I don't get to watch a lot of Colts ball. But the guy has been there for years, knows the system, has been good enough to start and acquits himself pretty well on the occasions I have seen him play.
Richard probably does not come out of camp a starter this year but he will make the team and he will see some time.
Mike Newton: Indianapolis Colts, Second Season
Newton was signed as an un-drafted free agent after last seasons NFL draft. Like many guys in that position he worked his tail off to make the practice squad and hoped for the best.
When the Colts started having injury issues in the secondary they called him up and newton had a productive little season. The highlight was a fumble recovery that put the Bengals away for good. All told he had 8 tackles in 12 games and got himself placed on special teams.
This year he may end up on the practice squad again. That is according to Stampede Blue.
Naaman Roosevelt: Buffalo Bills, Second Season
Like Newton Roosevelt not getting drafted was something of a surprise. But it afforded him a chance to sign with the Bills, his home town team, and try to crack the NFL in front of his friends and family. Like Newton he ended up on the practice squad and like Newton he ended up with some playing time because of injuries.
Roosevelt caught nine passes in six games and returned a couple of kickoffs. Nothing earth shattering but he showed himself to be a competent rookie NFL receiver. Buffalo, however, has a lot of depth at the spot and are signing more. Buffalo Rumblings believes that Roosevelt will, once again, find himself on the practice squad come September.
Domonic Cook: Buffalo Bills, Rookie Season
Cookalso has a chance to break in to the NFL on his hometown team. Cook was signed within minutes of the lockout ending and will line up across from his former teammate during training camp.
Expect cook to land on the practice squad, at best. Buffalo is not hurting too bad at safety and if they really were high on Cook they would have drafted him. Like Naaman all Cook needs is a chance to catch up with the game at the next level and he will be fine.
Josh Thomas: Dallas Cowboys (aka the bad guys), Rookie Season
Thomas was the lone Bull drafted last season. A native Texan Thomas gets to go home and compete for a job with the Cowboys. Right now 'Blogging the Boys' believes Thomas will make the roster as the fourth corner back.
But before he does Thomas will actually have to sign first, something that has yet to transpire (I believe he may signed today). With a shortened camp holding out may not be the best career move for a mid round draft pick on a big money team.
Drew Willy: New York Jets (aka the other bad guys), Second(ish) Season
Willy was picked up by Baltimore in the moments after the 2009 draft. Then they went and picked up a few other quarterbacks. When Willy was let go he was signed, and the put on the practice squad at Indy. He was eventually activated as the third Quarterback but never got a chance to play.
After being cut by the colts Willy did a stint on the UFL including some starts with the UFL Champion Las Vegas Locos. He was signed by the Jets late last season and site on the roster going into camp. The thinking by some was "here is a guy who spent time with Indy and the Jets were playing the Colts"
The fact he is still there gives him a real shot of at least cracking the practice squad.
Davonte Shannon: Washington Redskins, Rookie Season
Shannon had to wait a bit longer than many had thought but recently he did land himself in an NFL camp. The Redskins picked him up. Last season Davonte Shannon broke the Buffalo school record for career tackles with 461 and was named to the All-MAC First Team for the fourth straight year. He became just the fourth player in the history of the Mid-American Conference to earn that distinction.
Shannon is perceived as lacking starter speed for an NFL safety but he is both intelligent and one of the hardest workers at Buffalo in recent years. The fact Shannon was as effective a player under three difference defensive coordinators (Inge, Reed, and Jackson) shows how fast he can latch onto a system and he will need to do just that with the Redskins.