Ohio State’s Undrafted Free Agents Find Homes
By Brandon Castel
With the NFL lockout officially coming to a close this week, a free agency frenzy began Tuesday as all 32 teams scrambled to fill their rosters with players who had been waiting months for this day.
Photo by Jim Davidson
That included former Ohio State receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, who surprised many when his name was not called during April’s entry draft. There was widespread speculation that Sanzenbacher would eventually find a home in the NFL, and that was confirmed when at least 25 teams contacted the rookie free agent following the end of the lockout.
After considering offers from the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills, Sanzenbacher agreed to terms with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, accepting less money to play for offensive guru Mike Martz.
“He envisioned himself a Bear,” Sanzenbacher’s agent Joe Flanagan told The Chicago Tribune.
Flanagan said Sanzenbacher turned down a $20,000 signing bonus from one team because he considered himself a good fit for Martz’ offense.
Although he is undersized for the NFL at just 5-11, 182 pounds, Sanzenbacher could find a place for himself at the next level as an inside slot receiver in a pass-oriented offense like Chicago’s.
During his QB Camp with Terrelle Pryor on ESPN, former NFL coach Jon Gruden praised Sanzenbacher a “my kind of football player,” calling him tough and reliable.
“What's wrong with this world,” Gruden wondered after Ohio State’s team MVP went undrafted in April.
Sanzenbacher wasn’t the only former Buckeye to find a home Tuesday. In fact, he was one of seven.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Running back Brandon Saine had an up and down senior season, but he appears to have caught on with the reigning Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
Two of his offensive linemen also found NFL homes Tuesday, with left guard Justin Boren signing with the Baltimore Ravens and right guard Bryant Browning heading to the Rams.
Former Ohio State long-snapper Jake McQuaide will join Browning—and safety Jermale Hines—in St. Louis after four years as the starting long-snapper in Columbus.
The Buckeyes also had a pair of defensive players sign Tuesday; with defensive tackle Dexter Larimore heading to the Saints and cornerback Devon Torrence going to the Vikings.
Larimore will join former Buckeyes Malcolm Jenkins and Will Smith in New Orleans while Torrence connects with former OSU linebacker Ross Homan in Minnesota.
Ohio State signings — Dane Sanzenbacher (WR, Bears); Brandon Saine (RB, Packers); Bryant Browning (OL, Rams); Jake McQuaide (LS, Rams); Justin Boren (OL, Ravens); Dexter Larimore (DL, Saints); Devon Torrence (CB, Vikings)
Other Big Ten UFA Signings
Illinois — Clay Nurse (DE, Patriots); Randall Hunt (OL, Rams); Travon Bellamy (CB, Rams); Jarred Fayson (WR, Saints)
Indiana — Terrance Turner (WR, Eagles); Ben Chappel (QB, Redskins)
Iowa — Jeff Tarpinian (LB, Patriots); Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (WR, Eagles); Ryan Donahue (P, Lions); Jeremiha Hunter (LB, Saints); Brett Greenwood (S, Steelers); Allen Reisner (TE, Vikings)
Michigan — James Rogers (CB, Broncos); Martell Webb (TE, Eagles)
Michigan State — Mark Dell (WR, Broncos); D.J. Young (OL, Cardinals); Eric Gordon (LB, Jaguars)
Minnesota — Adam Weber (QB, Broncos)
Nebraska — Ricky Henry (OL, Bears); Mike McNeill (TE, Colts); D.J. Jones (OL, Dolphins); Adi Kunalic (K, Panthers); Ricky Thenarse (S, Seahawks); Pierre Allen (DE, Seahawks)
Northwestern — Corbin Bryant (DE, Bears); Quentin Davie (LB, Lions)
Penn State — Chris Colasanti (LB, Colts); Brett Brackett (TE, Dolphins)
Purdue — Keith Smith (WR, Lions)
Wisconsin — Scott Tolzien (QB, Chargers); David Gilreath (WR, Colts); John Clay (RB, Steelers)
Other Players of Note
49ers — Jeremiah Masoli (QB, Ole Miss)
Bills — Emmanuel Moody (RB, Florida)
Cardinals — Kristofer O’Dowd (OL, USC)
Chiefs — Brandon Bair (DE, Oregon)
Eagles — Graig Cooper (RB, Miami), Noel Devine (RB, West Virginia)
Giants — Mark Herzlich (LB, Boston College)
Jaguars — Kyle Miller (TE, Mount Union); Armon Binns (WR, Cincinnati)
Jets — Julian Posey (CB, Ohio) Brother of OSU WR DeVier Posey
Texans — Jeff Maehl (WR, Oregon)
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