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8 UDFAs from 2001 vying for roster spots


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Looks like the crew last year did an exceptional job digging up raw talent after the draft. We have a whopping 8 guys coming to camp that the team picked up as undrafted rookies last year:

1. C/G David Brandt. This guy will eventually find his way into a starting spot on our line. At the very least will be a solid backup for us this season.

2. P/K Dan Frantz. Keep an eye on this guy as he could unseat Barker. He's the only kicker/punter the team brought in for camp, and can kick off and placekick.

3. TE Ivan Mercer. Put up some solid numbers in NFL Europe. He looks like an overgrown WR, which will hurt him in his competition with the other TEs.

4. S Ifeanyi Ohalete. This guy WILL be starting for us at some point. He's HUGE for a safety at 6'2" 220 and hits like Alvin Walton. He'll be pressing both Shade and Terrell for their jobs in camp.

5. LB Antonio Pierce. Last year's surprise starter will be riding the pine this year, but he's almost guaranteed a roster spot and valuable time learning his position under Jesse Armstead's guidance.

6. WR Justin Skaggs. Skaggs has obviously impressed everyone with his speed and versatility, but this time around he will have to focus on catching everything thrown at him to have a chance at making the final roster. I'd like to see him press the competition at punt returner in camp.

7. OT Ross Tucker. From what I can tell, Tucker may be our backup left tackle as we head into camp, with Vickers as the team's only other option. He should also make the final cut.

8. RB Kenny Watson. This was Marty's favorite in camp last year, but he didn't do much to impress me. He'll have to prove himself on all special teams squads to make the cut, and show a little pass catching ability when he gets offensive touches.

From this group, it looks like Brandt, Ohalete, Pierce, and Tucker are locks with Frantz, Skaggs, and Watson providing legitimate competition. Hopefully, Mendes and co. have done a comparable job digging up some young depth this year.

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Keeping Frantz frees up cap money.

Ohalete seemed to always be around the ball whether in the secondary or on ST last year.

Pierce should be replacing Jessie either next year or the following year.

Brandt was decent not great at guard but it gave him experience and I can see him becoming our center with work.

Skaggs is one of my hardworking faves hopefully he and D Mac will make the team and make significant contributions

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That really is a good group of UFAs....Marty or his staff had a decent eye for talent. I hope Spurrier's as good.

The only exception is Franz...he was horrible in training camp last year. I really expected to see a show from the punters, but I think we have high school kids who could compete (actually, the punter from my stepson's h.s. just got a full ride to Clemson, so he is good). If Franz wins, expect a lot of 33 yard line drive punts with long returns.

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It's a step in the right direction. I just hope we can keep it up. One of the biggest challenges to this rotating front office and coaching staffs, is the beating the scouting department takes. I remember comments taht Mendes had to re-build from scratch the whole scouting methodology.

Marty was in a unique position in that his previous job was watching tape. Argument can be made that SS is also in a unique position in that same regard - college recruiting.

We'll see.

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