NFL draft: Players drafted last week in limbo

2011-05-03T00:00:00Z 2012-11-30T19:11:55Z NFL draft: Players drafted last week in limboRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 03, 2011 12:00 am  • 

Ricky Elmore has a new home but can't visit it yet. He has a new team but can't sign a contract yet.

He has a Green Bay Packers roster spot but, because of the NFL's ongoing labor strife, no jersey number.

"Can't leave a guy wandering around without a number," Elmore retweeted Monday afternoon. "That's like not knowing your name!"

The NFL lockout has left the Arizona Wildcats' three draft picks in a state of uncertainty heading into what would normally be an exciting week.

The NFL filed a brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis on Monday to uphold the ongoing lockout. The league's players are pursuing an injunction that would allow teams to operate normally until a permanent peace is reached.

Players were granted a similar injunction April 25, effectively ending the lockout, only to watch as a temporary stay was reached Friday night.

The legal wrangling means Elmore and fellow defensive ends Brooks Reed and D'Aundre Reed must wait to join their new teams. The Houston Texans selected Brooks Reed in Friday's second round. Elmore was taken in Saturday's sixth round by the Packers; D'Aundre Reed went to the Minnesota Vikings one round later.

Compared to their former UA teammates, however, the Wildcats' drafted players have it easy.

The ongoing labor stalemate could most affect a half-dozen undrafted players, including center Colin Baxter, running back Nicolas Grigsby and offensive tackle Adam Grant.

Baxter's agent, Ron Slavin of BTI Sports Advisers, said Monday that a quick end to the lockout would help undrafted players stick in the NFL.

NFL teams cannot sign any players, including undrafted free agents, until the lockout is lifted. Each passing day reduces the undrafted players' chances of making a team. They have less time to impress their new coaches and a larger learning curve when it comes to mastering new schemes.

Two or three out of 10 undrafted free agents who sign typically make NFL teams, Slavin said. Should the lockout continue, he said, that number would be more like one.

Slavin told his clients, including Baxter, to stay physically fit and ready to contribute so they can sign once the lockout ends. That could happen in days or months, he said.

"It's like a guy that gets released during the NFL season. You've just got to tell him to stay ready," Slavin said. "One day, these guys are working out on campus, and the next day an NFL team calls and says, 'We need a guy.'"

D'Aundre Reed is hoping for a quick end to the lockout, both so he and his undrafted UA teammates can get back to football.

"I know they'll get their shots," he said. "They'll get a chance to show what they can do."

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