I did not get a free agent contract but the Lord blessed me with an invitation to rookie minicamp with the Chicago Bears this weekend. #GOG
— Marcus Trice (@BeGreat8) May 11, 2014
UNT safety Marcus Trice will be headed to a rookie mini camp with the Chicago Bears in the next few days, bringing the number of newly-minted Mean Green graduates who will get a shot in the NFL to three.
Brelan Chancellor signed a rookie free agent contract with the Chargers, while Zach Orr will go to camp with the Ravens. Here’s today’s story.
The reaction to UNT not having a player picked has been pretty strong.
The bottom line is this — NFL teams are in the business of talent acquisition. Chancellor and Orr have a great chance to make it in the NFL as free agents, but if you don’t have the measurables, it’s pretty tough to get drafted.
Chancellor is a little on the small side, as is Orr, who isn’t the tallest linebacker out there. And yes, I know that Wyoming wide receiver Robert Herron, who is 5-9 1/8, was drafted.
Remember UNT having the “smallest, slowest Division I team” Dan McCarney had ever seen. Well, this is just another time that fact came back to bite UNT.
I posted some quick thoughts on UNT’s situation yesterday.
Today, we delve into it a little more.
First off, while not having a player drafted again isn’t the end of the world for UNT. The Mean Green is still recruiting pretty well. Plus, Dan McCarney and his staff have shown the ability to develop talent from a variety of sources including the transfer market.
The Mean Green isn’t going to fall off the cliff and back into the post bowl run doldrums again any time soon.
What is hard to argue is that it certainly would help matters to have that draft drought end — the sooner the better.
The next big hope is offensive lineman Cyril Lemon. McCarney and UNT’s staff love him as a player and even more as a person. For what it’s worth, NFL Draft Scout has Lemon as the 17th best guard in next year’s draft.
There were 13 guards taken in this year’s draft.
Antonio Johnson is rated No. 32 among offensive tackles.
There were 22 offensive tackles selected this year.
It’s all going to come down to how Lemon and Johnson perform as a senior and what he does at next year’s pro day.
Orr is a terrific player and a had a pretty good pro day, but I wonder if only putting up 14 bench reps didn’t hurt him a little.
Another factor to watch is the NFL scouting combine. UNT hasn’t been noticeably absent over the years. Not having a chance to perform on the big stage the event provides likely hasn’t helped UNT much.
To be fair, not every major conference team has a player selected every year. Texas didn’t have a player picked this year — as amazing as that is. Conference USA members East Carolina, Florida International, UAB, UTEP, UTSA and Tulsa were also shut out.
I can still understand the frustration for UNT fans when players from Bloomsburg, Costal Carolina, Concordia-St. Paul, Lindenwood, Saginaw Valley and two from hated rival SMU are selected while a UNT team that finished 9-4 and won a bowl game is shut out.
I asked McCarney was the issue has been before the draft, even though he has only been around for a short time during UNT’s struggles to send players to the NFL through the draft. McCarney has pointed out several times UNT has had one player drafted in 17 years.
“It comes down to evalutation and developing guys once you get them,” McCarney said. “I have had guys who walked on and played in the NFL and guys who were recruited by everyone who didn’t start for us. I have seen both ends of it. What I hope is that we can continue to make really good evaluations of our guys, whether they have 25 offers or two. They can help us win, continue to build on the success we have had here and then — if their goal is to play on the next level — be evaluated and will have a chance. We are headed in the right direction.”