While 31 (33) of their ACC cohorts were selected during this weekend’s NFL Draft, the festivities still left plenty of ACC players without an NFL team to call home yet. Of course, many have since signed as free agents with squads, however, it still doesn’t eliminate the questions about why they weren’t considered among the top 253 players available.
We’ve listed out our top 10 most puzzling undrafted ACC players for 2012 below. Also included are notes on their skill set, and if they’ve landed on an NFL team since.
Most Confusing Undrafted ACC Players for 2012
1. Dwight Jones, WR/North Carolina (signed as free agent with Houston Texans): Considered a top wideout prospect by most, it’s honestly baffling how Jones’s name failed to be called by Friday — nevermind the entire draft. Quick and physical, he’s a big-play guy who should make for the perfect pairing opposite Texans’ star Andre Johnson.
2. Chase Minnifield, CB/Virginia (signed as free agent with Washington Redskins): Some injury concerns scared off teams from drafting Minnifield this weekend — a shame, considering he was projected to be a fourth- or fifth-round pick. Given the pass-happy competition the ‘Skins face in the NFC East, the cornerback’s ballhawking skills will surely come in handy.
3. Lucas Nix, OG/Pittsburgh (signed as free agent with Oakland Raiders): From what we’ve heard, Nix was slightly perturbed that the hometown Steelers didn’t call his name during the last round. Irrational or not, what’s done is done, and he’ll head to Oakland. Nix received high scores on most boards, so it’s stunning how he wasn’t selected.
4. Matt Daniels, SS/Duke (signed as free agent with St. Louis Rams): Evaluating players before the draft, we were admittedly a bit higher on Daniels than most scouts, but knew he’d at least end up signing with a team before the weekend was over. Lo and behold, he found himself in a perfect situation by late Saturday — coming to rescue a Rams secondary in desperate need of secondary help.
5. Brandon Lindsey, LB/Pittsburgh (signed as free agent with Pittsburgh Steelers): Just like former teammate Nix above, Lindsey was passed up by the Steelers in the draft. Yet, he still ends up signing with them. The Steelers, as per usual, bring in a lot of defensive talent, and there are no guarantees this is Lindsey’s final landing spot.
6. Jarrett Boykin, WR/Virginia Tech (signed as free agent with Jacksonville Jaguars): Strange to see teammate Danny Coale selected, while Boykin did not get a call. However, it appeared that injuries weighed heavily on teams’ decisions this year, and that’s what really killed his chances. Lucky him, he’ll have an opportunity to make an impact early, since the Jags’ receivers were the league’s worst last year.
7. Marcus Forston, DT/Miami (FL) (signed as free agent with New England Patriots): One of several former Hurricanes who was passed up due to perceived maturity/conduct issues, Forston actually ends up in the perfect spot in New England. Coach Bill Belichick does have a reputation for putting players on the right track, so this could actually work out for everyone.
8. Phillip Thomas, FS/Syracuse (signed as free agent with Philadelphia Eagles): There’s some rumors that Thomas may have actually switched to the ‘Skins now, but with little credible info on the matter, we’ll go with the Eagles. Fixing the Philth’s defense was a main priority this offseason, and Thomas’s penchant for interceptions would assist that quite a bit.
9. Nick Provo, TE/Syracuse (signed as free agent with Baltimore Ravens): Could Provo be the next Todd Heap? It’s a stretch, but given how Provo excelled in college (in the flat), he could be a nice load off of Ray Rice, who is the Ravens’ main safety-valve in the passing game.
10. Blake DeChristopher, OT/Virginia Tech (signing as free agent with Arizona Cardinals): By all accounts, this isn’t a done deal yet, but DeChristopher’s physical presence could be put to use very early if he’s actually desert-bound. The Cards had trouble protecting the quarterback last year, and DeChristopher can make an immediate impact in that department.
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