Pictured: Michael Robinson and some guy re-enacting that part in "Gladiator" where Gladiator dies.
DK edit: I promoted this story again because I think it's funny. And to keep the UDFA posts semi-close-together.
Wow, what a day -- India has begun some astounding new upscale development, China heightened their crackdown on non-conforming journalists, and I had a a disheartening outbreak of acne. Oh yeah, and football stuff.
While it's granted that nothing is official for a couple more days, it appears as though the Seattle Seahawks made a cannonball splash in free agency while most of the league was tepidly dipping their toes in the pool. According to numerous reports, the 'Hawks cut ties with long-time quarterback (and lightning-rod among Field Gulls commenters) Matt Hasselbeck. That news was followed by the announcement of an agreement in principle with Brett Favre's butler, Tarvaris Jackson, and rumored flirting with the five-o-clock-shadowed one, Matt Leinart (but c'mon, who hasn't?). Free agent defensive lineman Brandon Mebane was at team facilities as well, and Seattle is supposedly crotch-deep in their pursuit of wide receiver Sidney Rice and offensive lineman Robert Gallery.
With all of that three-way-QB-battle, playmaking-WR, and burly-lineman talk, what could be more exciting than a look at the Seahawks' undrafted free agent signings? Nothing. No, hey... nothing, you hear me?
Life-changing analysis after the jump.
Perhaps nothing was more indicative of our collective thirst for football than the internet meltdown caused by the purported signings of players that weren't selected in the 254 picks of the draft in April. However, the world wide web is a harsh master and demands commentary on these suddenly relevant individuals*, and I am nothing if not the internet's faithful steward.
*Danny asked me to write on the following players, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to wait until after he does a write-up or if I can go just go ahead and post this whenever I want. I'd ask him, but a heated argument over whether Paul Allen looks more like John Clayton or a snow-globe has left us on non-speaking terms.
Below is either a partial list of the UDFAs that Seattle signed or a series of characters created by a "Write Your Own Novel" name-generator.
Mike Morgan (LB, USC) -- Morgan began his senior year at USC as a higher-rated draft prospect than he finished it as. After starting nine games at outside linebacker as a junior and leading the Trojans in tackles-for-loss (13), Morgan took a step backwards last year. His total tackle numbers improved from 50 to 57, but he could have had a lot more. The 2011 Trojan defense was full of poor tackling and Morgan's impressive 6'4", 220 lb frame was not immune to the problem. Perhaps the biggest reason he went undrafted, however, was that the one outstanding feature of his game -- getting into the backfield -- disappeared as he only notched three TFLs as a senior. Still, he received some late-round draft grades from various pundits and was near the top of most UDFA lists. Seattle probably isn't expecting a starting OLB to emerge from their UDFA signings, but Morgan makes for a nice project as his physical tools are impressive and he was his most productive when Pete Carroll was his coach.
Brent Osborne (G/C, Harvard) -- I won't lie to you -- actually, occasionally I will lie to you, but this is not one of those times. Trust me... -- I didn't know a thing about Brent Osborne when Seattle signed him and after some brief research, I still don't. He's a smaller offensive lineman (288 lbs) with an apparent mean streak. Other than that, he doesn't seem likely to stick, although OL depth is always appreciated if he can.
Here are some highlights, in which the quality-gap between Pac-10 and Ivy League filming becomes humorously clear.
Ron Parker (CB, Newberry) -- Ron Parker is a generically sized (6', 200 lbs) cornerback from Newberry, which apparently is a school and not a Mountain Dew flavor. He drew enough pre-draft interest to be worked out by the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers but not enough to actually be selected. Parker's outstanding trait is his speed, as he posted a seizure-inducing 4.36 40 time and a nimble 4.18 shuttle. The drawback, as it is with all small-school prospects, is the level of competition he faced. I just don't know how good the opposing QBs and WRs were in the Kellogg's Cereal Athletic Conference that Newberry probably won or placed well in.
Josh Portis (QB, California [PA]) -- Portis is the most interesting of these prospects, because he is a quarterback and quarterbacks are infinitely more fascinating than all other people. To merely call Josh Portis athletic is an insult to the cyber-kinetic borgs that constructed him; at 6'3", 211 lbs, he topped or nearly-topped all QBs in each combine event, including an offensively impressive 40" vertical jump. His junior-and-senior year stats are nice (59% completions, 69 TDs, 16 Ints) but the "against what competition?" question lingers like the fart someone let slip during Portis' Photo day pic. Athleticism is a currency readily accepted in the NFL and Clinton Portis' cousin has enough of it to warrant a low-risk investment from Seattle. Besides, Aaron Rodgers was also a quarterback at (a) California. Hey, the Seahawks just got their own Aaron Rodgers!
Ryan Travis (TE, West Liberty) -- From NFLDraftScout.com "West Liberty Head Coach Roger Waialae hopes Travis finds a team that can work around the fact he's shorter than most NFL tight ends and slower than most NFL wide receivers." I guess he did?
John Gold (P, Texas) --
What? He's an undrafted punter.