With no draft choices in the seventh round, the Broncos front office was able to start on its list of potential college free agents to pursue at the conclusion of the draft.
As soon as Mr. Irrelevant was announced, Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway and General Manager Brian Xanders began working the phones and a few hours later the team announced that it has agreed to terms with 12 undrafted college free agents.
UPDATE: Later in the evening, the Broncos added a 13th, Toledo wide receiver Eric Page.
“It’s very important because there’s still draftable players on that board that we’re trying to get,” Xanders said. “We put them in A’s, B’s, and C’s. We’re trying to recruit those guys and have them become Broncos. We’ve had some success there and every team does. It’s an important part for us. Chris Harris is an example, last year he led all DBs in tackles. You have Colquitt who’s a good punter, and Woodyard. All the way through there’s been some historical ones. We hope they compete with these draft picks and try to create their own role on this football team. Coach is great about playing the best guys. So they have an opportunity for that and they’ve worked hard in their careers. There’s some guys who are still on our board.”
A college free agent has made Denver’s active roster out of training camp the last eight seasons, including cornerback Chris Harris last year. Overall, 13 rookie college free agents have made the Broncos’ active roster out of camp since 1997.
Below are some quick hits on each player the Broncos signed following the draft:
Defensive end Jamie Blatnick, Oklahoma State
Blatnick finished his career at Oklahoma State with 118 tackles, 24 tackles for a loss and 16 sacks. He led the team with 13.5 tackles for a loss and eight sacks as a senior in 2011. Blatnick was a three-time Academic All-Big 12 selection during his time with the Cowboys.
Long snapper Aaron Brewer San Diego State
Brewer appeared in all 50 possible games during his four-year career at San Diego State. He finished with 15 special-teams tackles and was a four-time All-Academic Mountain West Conference selection during his time with the Aztecs.
Linebacker Elliot Coffey, Baylor
A two-year starter at Baylor, Coffey earned All-Big 12 honors and was named the 2011 Alamo Bowl Defensive MVP. He led the Bears with 114 total tackles and ranked fourth in the conference with 8.8 tackles per game in 2011. Coffey totaled 224 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery during his college career.
Linebacker Jerry Franklin, Arkansas
Franklin led Arkansas with 101 tackles in 2011, marking the second straight season that the linebacker topped the 100-tackle mark. He finished his Razorbacks career with 382 tackles, including 31.5 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, five interceptions, two forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries.
Safety Duke Ihenacho, San Jose State
Ihenacho became the first San Jose State player to earn three first-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors. Played 47 games for the Spartans and finished with 268 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, seven interceptions, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns. He and his brother, Carl, a defensive end at San Jose State became the first known brother tandem in NCAA history to lead the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) or Division I-A in separate major statistical categories in the same week. Following the games played on October 18, 2008, Duke shared the national lead with four interceptions in seven games and Carl tied for the top spot in tackles for loss with 14.0.
Linebacker Steven Johnson, Kansas
For the second year in a row, the Broncos pick up a Kansas defender as Johnson will try to duplicate the success of Harris, who appeared in all 16 games for Denver in 2011 after making the roster as a college free agent. Johnson attended the NFL Combine, where he ran a 4.58 40-yard dash and put up 16 reps of 225 lbs. A team captain for the Jayhawks in 2011, Johnson led the Big 12 in tackles with 124 stops his senior season. He finished his four-year career with 229 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks.
Cornerback Coryell Judie, Texas A&M
Judie played seven games in 2011 for Texas A&M and finished with 22 tackles, one sack and five pass breakups. He also contributed in the return game, totaling eight kick returns for 201 yards (25.1 avg.) as a senior. Judie finished his college career with 79 tackles and four interceptions in his two seasons with the Aggies. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in 2010, a 100-yard return and an 84-yard return.
Tight end Anthony Miller, California
Miller earned a spot on the watch list for the John Mackey Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top tight end for the second straight season in 2011. He played 46 games, registering of 64 receptions for 774 yards and five touchdowns during his time at Cal.
Offensive lineman Mike Remmers, Oregon State
Remmers finished his career with 37 consecutive starts and his 44 total starts rank sixth in Oregon State history. Remmers was a finalist for the Burlsworth Trophy, which is given annually to the best player in the country that began his career as a walk-on. He earned All-Pacific-10 Conference honors as a junior in 2010.
WR Gerell Robinson, Arizona State
The third Sun Devil added by the team during the draft process, Robinson finished his career with 135 career receptions for 2,071 yards and 12 touchdowns in 47 games (25 starts). Robinson and Broncos second-round Brock Osweiler connected for 77 receptions for 1,397 yards and seven touchdowns, all career highs for the receiver. His 1,397 receiving yards marked the second-highest single-season total in school history and the 77 receptions tied him for third most in a single season by a Sun Devil.
Offensive lineman Wayne Tribue, Temple
Tribue earned All-Mid American Conference honors after playing in all 13 games for the Owls in 2011. He has an interesting story, as he spent time as a child in Egypt where some of his fondest memories came from riding camels. Tribue received the 2012 Temple Teammates Community Service Award and was named to the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
Offensive lineman Austin Wuebbels, Missouri
Earned All-Big 12 honors during the 2010 season, which was his first year as a starter for the Tigers. He finished his career with 26 consecutive starts over his final two years. Wuebbels was a four-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree at Missouri.
UPDATE: Later in the night, the team announced that it had agreed to terms with a 13th undrafted free agent, wide receiver Eric Page out of Toledo.
Wide Receiver Eric Page, Toledo
Page finished his college career with 306 receptions for 3,446 yards with 25 receiving touchdowns. Toledo’s all-time receptions leader, Page caught 125 passes for 1,182 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2011. His 306 catches tied for the all-time Mid American receptions record. Page earned first-team All-America honors as a kick returner in 2010.
Tags: College Free Agents