"Hey! We made it to the NFL" (Photo by Mark A. Cunningham/Getty Images)
I'm stepping in for geeves because he's off doing some geeves-ey stuff. Hooray for guest writers! Anyways, while geeves is away, I'm here to cover the other parts of the Undrafted Free-Agent's column. I decided to split the 2nd part into 2 parts, and it should make it easier to follow.
But enough of this jibber-jabber, lets get right into the players. Today's feature? Offensive Linemen.
Derrick Dennis (OG, Temple) - (Miami) I picked the wrong guy to start with. Being that the guard spots are usually the last 2 you worry about on the O-Line, it makes it harder to look and value the spot. Ahh, but the power of research helps. The Dolphins apparently are trying slim down their line to make it more mobile. The guard spot seems to be the jobs up for grabs, so Dennis has hope. Being under 320 lbs and having a 6-5 frame helps. He will be fighting the likes of Richie Incognito and Artis Hicks for a spot, but since the Dolphins didn't draft an OG, he will have a fairly open chance under new coach Joe Philbin
Anthony Parker (OT, WMU) - (New York Jets) "Stacks" joins up with college teammate Jordan White in the greatest circus the world has to offer. Ok, so it maybe isn't that bad, but Rex Ryan is a crazy dude. Nevertheless, Parker comes into a decent situation. RT Wayne Hunter struggled last season for the Jets, but did get all 16 starts. Hunter was a decent back-up the year before, so it may be interesting to see how long a leash Rex gives him. D'Brickashaw Ferguson has the LT spot locked up, so Parker would be mostly competing for the back-up spot for both. Keep in mind, both tackle positions should be highly watched, as either could be the "blind side" tackle for the Jets. Tebow is a southpaw, Sanchez is a righty
Ben Bojicic (C/LT, BGSU) - (Cincinnati) Bojicic is listed as a general lineman, which is good because the Bengals drafted a good OG in Kevin Zietler. Bojicic will have to fight to make this roster, as the Bengals made a few moves to bolster their O-Line. Bojicic, however, is undersized, and for a team that likes to try to balance their game, that isn't good. He is right around 300 lbs, so he will have to bulk up to avoid practice team. However, if Bojicic can show his versatility, he might get one of the last spots on the roster.
Chris Anzevino (C, Kent State) - (Baltimore) Uphill battle for 'Vino, as the rough, tough Raven line already has Matt Birk starting and drafted interior lineman Gino Gradkowski to go along with Cecil Newton and Justin Boren as back-ups. Another undersized player, Anzevino will have to bulk up to compete with one of the grittiest lines in football.
Wayne Tribue (OG, Temple) - (Denver) Tribue comes into a system where the O-Line wasn't that great, so he should get a fair shot at competition. However, the interior linemen in Denver seem to be getting better, so Tribue could be forced to either fight for a deep back-up spot or switch to outside. Honestly, I have no clue what they are doing up in Denver to help protect Petyon Manning's neck, but the left side of the line appears to be the biggest weakness, and Tribue could make the move over to that side to help make his case as a back-up.
Jake Anderson (OT, Akron) - (Chicago) The Bears have been awful at times at not giving up sacks. Last year, they had more holes than swiss cheese to end the year, so Anderson should get a decent shot at a back-up spot at the minimum. The Bears didn't draft a lineman either, so if things get sour next year, Anderson (if he earns a spot) could see time to prove himself in actual games.
Mike VanDerMeulen (OT, Toledo) - (Tampa Bay) The only O-Lineman of the Tampa Bay buddies, VanDerMeulen enters a situation in Tampa where it seems like they are looking for back-ups only. The O-Line is ridiculously paid in Tampa, and did a decent job last year for young Josh Freeman. VanDerMeulen anchored the Toledo offensive line, which I think was pretty decent over the past few years, so his skill set shouldn't be overlooked when he fights for a roster spot.
Phillipkeith Manley (OG, Toledo) - (Atlanta) Staying in the same division is Manley, who probably has the best name of the bunch. Better situation though? Probably not. The Falcons drafted two O-Linemen with their first 2 picks in the draft so Manley has his work cut out for him. It doesn't help when the line already there includes Todd McClure and Justin Blalock, two beastly men, and the fact that the Falcons have said they only want to carry 9 linemen. Manley could get a spot on the practice squad though, where dreams can be won and lost. Otherwise, he might have to do the Manley Man Slam on everyone. (points to anyone who knows what I'm talking about)
Scott Wedige (C, NIU) - (Arizona) Arguably the top lineman in the group, Wedige has a lot of competition from the guard positions for the back-up center position. Lyle Sendlein has the starting role, but with the Cards getting crushed most of last year early on, who knows how long this line will stay before changes get made. The Cards did draft 3 linemen, but two were tackles, so Wedige mostly has internal competition to jockey with. He might get the back-up center spot, but he has a tough fight to get it.
Well that's it for today's feature. Tune in tomorrow (hopefully) for the 3rd installment where we look at defense. Ooooooo!