"I've only had like two teams looking at me, but I'll be fine; I consider myself a playmaker. Wisconsin struggled on our offensive line, but I made the most of every opportunity. I know I'll do that in the NFL."
- P.J. Hill in a NY Daily News story from Tues., April 21, 2009
In a somewhat surprising weekend, four former UW football players were drafted Sunday in the third round of the NFL Draft and none were selected the rest of the day. That left eight former players as undrafted free agents, two of those being P.J. Hill and Jonathan Casillas, both of whom were projected as late-round picks.
But the story right now continues to be Hill's fall from grace. The star running back who surprisingly left school a year early to pursue a professional football career has racked up two DUIs since he declared for the draft and exactly zero interest from any of the 32 NFL teams.
And apparently it's his former offensive line's fault, not his poor decision making skills or the DUIs, which certainly go hand-in-hand. In a New York Daily news story from last Tuesday, Hill was quoted saying: "Wisconsin struggled on our offensive line, but I made the most of every opportunity. I know I'll do that in the NFL."
Right, so having Joe Thomas (already an NFL Pro Bowler) your freshman year must have been a bad thing. Having the emergence of Gabe Carimi filling in for Thomas the last two seasons must have been a bad thing. Playing three seasons at a school known for having huge offensive lines must have been a bad thing.
Those five guys on the line are the only reason why Hill was once compared to Ron Dayne. They are the only reason why Hill, an injury prone baby, was able to stay healthy as long as he did. They are the only reason Hill even had a chance to be drafted in New York this past weekend. And unless I missed something, they had absolutely nothing to do with Hill getting two DUIs, the second of which involved him eluding police after getting pulled over.
So cheers to the 32 teams from the NFL for making the wise decision of not drafting a kid who once was full of promise, but is now in a downward spiral not only in his football life, but in his life in general.
Now, on to the kids who might actually make an NFL roster:
Matt Shaughnessy (DE/OLB, 6-5, 266) - Drafted by Oakland in the third round with the 71st overall pick. The Raiders can always use help on defense so Shaughnessy could see playing time.
DeAndre Levy (OLB, 6-2, 236) - Drafted by Detroit in the third round with the 76th overall pick. Levy's stock rose late and seeing as how the Lions didn't win a game last season, he should be in the mix right away.
Kraig Urbik (OG, 6-5, 328) - Drafted by Pittsburgh in the third round with the 79th overall pick. The Steelers have already indicated that they might try Urbik at center. They like his versatility and are willing to give him a shot anywhere on the line.
Travis Beckum (TE/WR, 6-3, 243) - Drafted by the New York Giants with the last pick in the third round (100th overall). With Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer gone, the Giants need guys who can catch the football. This is a good situation for Beckum.
Chris Pressley (FB, 5-11, 255) - Signed with Cincinnati as an undrafted free agent. The Bengals like The Prez a lot but he will have to work hard to make the team because they re-signed Jeremi Johnson and drafted another fullback in the seventh round.
Andy Kemp (OG, 6-5, 313) - Signed with Minnesota as an undrafted free agent. It was somewhat surprising that Kemp went undrafted so he'll have an opportunity to make the team in Minnesota.
Jonathan Casillas (OLB, 6-1, 228) - Signed with New Orleans as an undrafted free agent. The Saints will probably keep Casillas at linebacker.
Bill Rentmeester (FB, 5-11, 247) - Signed with San Diego as an undrafted free agent.
Dave Peck (LS, 6-4, 245) - The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting Peck has a workout scheduled with Chicago.
Jason Chapman (DT, 6-2, 281) - Remains unsigned.
Mike Newkirk (DT, 6-1, 285) - Remains unsigned.