Bryant and Allen Sign NFL Deals
All three days of the NFL draft came and went without any JMU Dukes getting picked this year. Two players were fortunate to sign deals as free-agents though. D.J. Bryant signed with the Houston Texans and Mike Allen signed with the Cleveland Browns. Contrary to some reports, Kerby Long has not signed with the Redskins however.
As the cliche goes, it’s often better to for a player to take his chances as a free-agent than to get drafted in the late rounds. By doing so, Bryant and Allen were able to sign with teams that they believed fit their style and gave them the best shot to make a roster. Bryant played Defensive End for the Dukes, but he’ll be attempting to follow in Arthur Moats’ footsteps and transition to outside linebacker in a 3-4 system. He had a strong year last year, with 12 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks. He was named First Team All CAA. While he was a long a shot to get drafted, he was the probably the Dukes’ top prospect and he garnered interest from the most teams.
Mike Allen had an excellent year at Cornerback for the Dukes. As a member of JMU’s secondary, he played a key role for a Dukes’ defense which ranked second against the pass in the CAA. Allen had 36 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 picks, including one he brought all the way back for a TD. He’s got good athleticism and ran a 4.4 40. He wasn’t as heralded as Bryant, but with speed like his, he could surprise folks.
Kerby Long’s agent is continuing to pursue free-agent deals for him. Rumors were flying that he had signed with the Redskins, but they turned out to be premature. He told Matthew Stoss of the DNR that he’s been in contact with Washington and Tennessee and is hoping to get an offer from at least one of them.
Each NFL team will bring 90 players to camp, before cutting all the way down to 53 for the final roster. It’s a long shot for some of the drafted players to make the final roster, let alone undrafted guys like Bryant, Allen, and Long who flew mostly under the radar. I would count any of them out though, especially Bryant. That guy is just crazy (in a good way) so even if they are on the fence about him now I can’t imagine too many guys entering camp with as much intensity and determination as he will. And besides, sometimes undrafted free-agents from FCS programs not only make a roster, but they go on to become contributors. Just ask Victor Cruz.