No CBA, No Undrafted Free Agents

The Ravens have traditionally hit it big in the undrafted free-agent market.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Thursday, March 17th, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Categories: 2011 NFL Draft, Ryan Mink

The NFL has made it clear that there will be a draft in April, but if a young college prospect isn’t selected in the seven-round event, they will be stuck in limbo with about 500 other potential NFL free agents.

Traditionally, teams work the phones during and immediately after the draft to wrangle prospects who don’t get drafted.

But if there’s no collective bargaining agreement, free agency is also on hold.

It’s would be a shame because Baltimore has traditionally hit it big on the undrafted free-[add hyphen]agent market.

Starting inside linebacker Jameel McClain was undrafted out of Syracuse in 2008. His backup, Dannell Ellerbe, went undrafted in 2009 out of Georgia and turned into a part-time starter his rookie season.

Baltimore retained three undrafted rookies from the 2010 class last year, including starting long snapper Morgan Cox, practice squad defensive end Albert McClellan and practice squad running back Curtis Steele.

Two of the bigger-name undrafted free-[add hyphen]agent gems the Ravens have unearthed are now New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott (2002) and retired running back Priest Holmes (1997).

The rookie free agents will also be hurt because they typically benefit from a summer of offseason workouts and training camp. They would have to continue training on their own and will have a late start trying to learn any new system.

Under a lockout, teams would not be able to have contact with their rookies once the draft ends.

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