FanPost

Longshot Vikings: Undrafted Free Agent Rookie Spotlights, Week 1

As of right now, the Vikings still have only 89 players on the roster. Of those 89 players, 18 of them are undrafted, free agent rookies. It's typically very difficult for an undrafted rookie to make the final 53-man roster, but it sometimes happens (see Henderson, Erin). And often times we fans know very little about them unless, or until they start to make some noise in OTAs or Training Camp. Arif put up an excellent overview of all the undrafted free agents about 3 weeks ago, so if you missed it, I highly recommend starting there. But, because I wanted to know even MORE about these players, and to fill the downtime between now and Training Camp, I have decided to put together this little article series. Each week I will research and highlight two players and pull together as much scouting information as I can about them to share. So, without further ado, here is the first weekly installment of Longshot Vikings!

I would have liked to have started with the position that many believe is still the weakest spot on the team: middle linebacker. Unfortunately, the Vikings did not sign any free agent rookie linebackers. So, in lieu of using any kind of team weakness as a starting point, I'll start with the arbitrary, but still common sorting method of "Alphabetical Order." So in this installment we'll take a closer look at tight end Colin Anderson and safety Brandon Bishop.

1. Colin Anderson, TE, Furman University

Measurables

Height: 6'4"
Weight: 231
Age: 23
Arm Length: 31 3/8"
Hand Size: 9 5/8"
40-yard Dash: 4.75
Bench Press: 17
Vertical Jump: 36.5"
Broad Jump: 9'06"
20-yard Shuttle: 4.32
3-cone Drill: 6.85
Grade: Late Round/FA
Contract: 3 years, $1,491,500

Furman Stats

Games

Receptions

Yards

YPC

TDs

2010

11

16

242

15.1

3

2011

11

40

696

17.4

7

2012

10

27

455

16.9

0


Here are what some scouting profiles said about Anderson prior to the 2013 Draft.

Positives:

From Draft Insider: Athletic pass-catching tight end coming off a disappointing senior campaign. Fluid releasing off the line into pass routes. Comes back to the ball out of breaks and displays good focus, concentration, and hand/eye coordination. Natural pass catcher. Easily adjusts to errant throws and possesses soft hands. Consistent hand catcher who makes receptions away from his frame. Solid route runner who stays low exiting breaks, then uses his frame to shield away opponents. When blocking, bends his knees, plays with good pad level, and gives effort.

From College2Pro: Tremendous work ethic. Sure-handed tight end. Finds open spots and works well with his quarterback. Can catch the ball outside the frame of his body.

Negatives:

From Draft Insider: Possesses marginal playing strength and gets minimal movement as a blocker. Not a true downfield threat.

From College2Pro: Is not the biggest tight end but uses his size well. Fluid for his size. May not be a draft pick but has shown enough to be in an NFL training camp competing for a roster spot.

Analysis:

Colin Anderson is a 3-year starter at a small school who excelled during his junior campaign, winning 2012 Preseason All-Southern Conference First Team honors as a result. He then took a small step backwards in his senior year and didn't help himself out as a NFL prospect falling short statistically from his solid 2011 season. CBS Sports had him ranked as the 36th best Tight End in the draft. He has some ability as a pass catcher, but he's a bit undersized and may not possess the strength necessary to be a good blocker. He also has some experience as a long snapper, and could find a way on the team competing with the 32-year-old Cullen Loeffler.

From Draft Insider: Anderson is a solid athlete with potential as a move tight end/H-back at the next level. He offers enough skill to make a roster and, at the very least, should be stashed on a practice squad for future development.

In my opinion, with the roster pretty well stocked with Kyle Rudolph, Rhett Ellision and John Carlson, and not to mention practice squad holdover from 2012, Chase Ford, he will have a tough road to climb to make the 53-man roster, let alone the practice squad. But if John Carlson continues to underperform, or if he can unseat veteran Cullen Loeffler for long-snapping duties, he may just find his way onto the squad.

For more info on Colin Anderson, I also highly recommend this pre-draft interview. Check out these videos of him as they show his flashes and potential.

Pro Day At Furman (via Furman26Paladins)

College Football Performance Awards - Colin Anderson (via cfpamedia)


Furman at Western Carolina Game Highlites (via Furman26Paladins)

2. Brandan Bishop, Safety, NC State


Measurables

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 205
Age: 22
Arm Length: 29 3/8"
Hand Size: 8 5/8"
40-yard Dash: 4.61
Bench Press: 22
Vertical Jump: 32"
Broad Jump: 9'5"
20-yard Shuttle: 2.72
3-cone Shuttle: 6.89
Grade: 7th Round/FA
Contract: 3 years, $1,493,000

NC State Stats

Games

Tackles

Tackles for Loss

Interceptions

Forced Fumbles

Passes Defended

2009

11

32

1

0

0

3

2010

13

66

1

4

1

4

2011

13

89

3.5

5

1

1

2012

13

103

3

3

2

7

Here are what some places around the internet had to say about Brandon Bishop prior to the 2013 Draft.

Positives:

From SB Nation writer Derek Leazer of Cat Scratch Reader: Intangibles like leadership and work ethic laid the foundation for all he would become, and it will continue to be his calling card as his career moves forward. What really sets Bishop apart, however, is the combination of all that he does well; not the least of which is his ability to diagnose plays. A student of the game, he rarely gets caught out of position and almost never bites on play fakes. Bishop also shows the ability to successfully audible coverage adjustments and takes excellent angles while playing in a zone scheme. Additionally, he isn't afraid to lay the wood, is an excellent tackler, and consistently looks to strip the ball. It's always a good sign when a prospect's numbers continue to increase with each successive season, and Bishop is no exception. Ultimately, he was able to turn that progression into being named 2nd team All-ACC.

From ChiScout.com: Bishop is a smart leader who can play within the framework of the defense and is seldom caught out of position. He shows up nicely on run support and as a hitter and tackler.

From Buffalo Bills Draft.com:

-Athleticism: Shows solid range, rolling laterally with ease; Stays with quicker backs and receivers who try and change direction or juke him.

-Intelligence: Extremely smart player, makes coverage adjustments on the fly and appears to be the leader of the defensive backs; Sees the whole field and rarely gets sucked in on play fakes; Stays true to his assignments and doesn't bite on route fakes or get caught out of position on misdirection plays.

-Leadership: Defensive Back Leader, will audible coverage adjustments; Leads by example, not afraid to lay the big hit or toss a WR around whose trying to block him.


-Zone Coverage: You can see a clear comfort level Bishop has when the play to stay in front of him; Is able to get a good break on the ball by seeing the route and watching the QB's eyes; Rolls laterally with the QB as he breaks the pocket; Heady player who is aware of where WR's are as they enter and exit his zone

-Run Support: Has experience playing up in the box; Knows how to stay small in traffic and avoid getting engaged by a blocker; Attacks the LOS downhill when asked; Strong tackler who wraps up well, but can also deliver the big shot; Always looking to rip the ball loose.

Negatives:

From SB Nation writer Derek Leazer of Cat Scratch Reader: Brandon Bishop is one of those players who was able to thrive at N.C. State despite limited athleticism (relatively speaking). However, physical ability was never what defined his game anyway. His backpedal isn't particularly smooth or fast when transitioning into full acceleration ,and that shows when matching up with slot wide receivers and tight ends in press man coverage. As a result, he is a liability in man schemes at times.

From ChiScout.com: He's better as a zone defender than isolated in coverage and struggles some in transition.

From Buffalo Bills Draft:

-Athleticism: Only average speed and leaping ability, has to play farther off the line to give him extra cushion; Looked slow in his transition from backpedal to sprint, looks like WR's could get behind him; Relies mostly on instincts and diagnostic ability to stay ahead of plays

-Intelligence: Is more read and react that instinctual, he makes the play but often makes it after a catch is made or after the RB has gained some yardage

-Leadership: At times is too over aggressive and probably should have been flagged for throwing players down after the whistle

-Man Coverage: Not an ideal slot cover option on WR or TE; Slow transition time will cause him to get eaten up

Analysis:

Brandan Bishop was the starting safety opposite David Amerson, who was selected by the Redskins in the 2nd round (51st overall). He may not be as talented as Amerson, but he's a smart player who progressed every year he was a member of the Wolfpack. CBS Sports had him ranked as the 13th best free safety in the draft. With Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford the presumed starters, Bishop is a longshot to become a starter. Mistral Raymond has improved and looked good in limited action last season, but Robert Blanton and Andrew Sendejo are not locks for the roster, and Bishop could compete against those two for backup and special teams duty. He'll also have to compete against fellow undrafted rookie Darius Eubanks (who will be covered soon!).

From Buffalo Bills Draft: Bishop is a prospect with good size, and great production. Those numbers though are a bit deceiving as a lot of his INT's have come from tipped passes. We do want give him some credit though because you still have to be in the right place at the right time to make those picks. We project Bishop to be a versatile SS in the NFL who can play deep in coverage or come up into the box. He tackles extremely well and when the play stays in front of him he's very good at getting after the ball. Bishop's best quality though may be his Football IQ and how hard it is to fake him out or make him take false steps. He's clearly a student of the game and does more than his share of film work to identify how his opponents run their fakes.

There is plenty of scouting coverage on Brandan Bishop, and for more I would direct you to this excellent Bleacher Report article, as well as this Wolfpack Pre-Draft Interview. He was also recently interviewed by the folks at NC State after signing with the Vikings, which you can read here.

I found these highlight videos on youtube, so check them out!

Brandan Bishop NC State #30 FS All ACC Honorable Mention (via D. Colem)

NC State vs. Maryland 2012 Highlights (HD) (via Stephen Morton)

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

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