Adonis Thomas #24 of the Toledo Rockets breaks the tackle of Anthony Wooding Jr. #4 of the Air Force Falcons for a rushing touchdown during the first half of the Military Bowl at RFK Stadium.
There was a hefty sum of MAC players who were not drafted, but will be heading to camp anyways as undrafted free agents. Tampa Bay did the most flirtation - Toledo's Eric Page was initially rumored to be heading there before choosing Denver, while the Rockets' Adonis Thomas wound up heading there instead...sort of.
There were a lot of players, so I'll start with the easy ones today (RB/WR/TE) and move on to the rest tomorrow. Let me explain below the jump...
Adonis Thomas (RB, Toledo) - (Chicago/Tampa) I originally had a nice blurb written up about him joining what appeared to be San Diego's new race to replace Darren Sproles (a race that he looked like the favorite to win). Instead, he reportedly chose to not sign there and instead just accepted tryouts with both the Bears and the Buccaneers. If that is truly what happened, Adonis will regret that decision. Working out for the Bears is a fool's errand - they already have both Matt Forte and Michael Bush, so he'd be competing with Wyoming's Alvester Alexander for "guy who sees the field when our two stud backs both get hurt". In Tampa, there's less roadblock, but the job is LeGarette Blount's to lose and the Bucs just spent a first round pick on Boise's Doug Martin.
Eric Page (WR, Toledo) - (Denver) This could be a good fit for Page. Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Brandon Stokley are the only proven commodities at WR for the Broncos; Stokley was a comfort add for Manning who is 35, and Decker disappeared at times last season. He also could immediately challenge Quan Cosby for return duties.
Kamar Jorden (WR, BGSU) - (Minnesota) Kamar will be competing with more established draft picks Jarius Wright and Greg Childs from Arkansas, though the only truly established and productive receiver on the Vikes roster is Percy Harvin. I would be surprised if he made it past fourth or fifth on the depth chart, but that's enough to make a roster if he dedicates himself on special teams.
Chris Givens (WR, Miami) - (New Orleans) Givens may also have a decent shot. The Saints are not shallow at WR, but they had four productive receivers last season (one of whom left in free agency and likely gets replaced by their one WR draftee, Nick Toon). Givens is good enough that a strong camp could sneak him into the back end of that rotation.
Marcus Rivers (WR, Buffalo) - (Green Bay) Rivers, like Givens, will be looking to sneak into the tail end of an established, productive rotation (Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Greg Jennings and a fast-aging Donald Driver). He's talented enough, but he's got a lot more competition than Givens with Randall Cobb already growing and other young receivers wanting a shot.
Nathan Palmer (WR, NIU) - (San Francisco) This one is likely a long shot. The Niners recievers weren't anything special last year, but their roster is swimming with them. Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams and Ted Ginn all return; Randy Moss and Mario Manningham joined in free agency; they used a first round pick on A.J. Jenkins, and also picked up Stanford's Chris Owusu as a UDFA. That's seven WR's that are more skilled and/or more experienced than Palmer.
Phil Bates (WR, Ohio) - (Seattle) Another deep team. The 'Hawks when healthy have Doug Baldwin, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Ben Obomanu in addition to the other two WRs they added as UDFA's. Again, this doesn't ruin Bates' chances, but he will need to not just be good, but good enough to stick out in a crowd.
Rod Streater (WR Temple) - (Oakland) Streater will have as good a chance as any other wide receiver the Raiders have - their corps last season was Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, and an occasional blip from Chaz Schilens or Jacoby Ford. With a good camp showing, Rod could easily make it as high as 4th (if not 3rd) on Carson Palmer's depth chart
Danny Noble (TE, Toledo) - (Tampa Bay) I have no idea what the Buccaneers have going on here, but the Rockets keep showing up. Kellen Winslow is the established starter, but next season will already be his ninth, and none of Tampa's other tight ends have shown anything of note thusfar that would put them clearly ahead of Noble in the pecking order.
Tomorrow, the rest of the crowd gets a gander...