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Undrafted Syracuse Football Players Flying Off The Shelves

For Doug Hogue, the start of the NFL season is a welcome site. He knew he had a job waiting for him in Detroit, it was just a matter of time before he got there.

For folks like Derrell Smith, Mike Holmes, Ryan Bartholomew and Rob Long, the start of NFL free agency might be that much more sweet. Now, they might finally be able to show off their stuff and earn a spot on a pro roster.

We heard last night that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reached out to Derrell Smith and invited him to camp. While Cuse fans are excited, Smith has a lot to prove to Bucs fans in order to show he belongs.

Derrell Smith was a team captain in college as well as a Big East All-Academic team selection in 2007, 2008 and 2009, graduating with a dual degree. At 6'0", 243 lbs he's slightly short, but not really undersized. However, he is slow and has had a torn left meniscus in 2009. He's been a very productive player for Syracuse, but is not a very sound linebacker.Like all undrafted free agents he's going to have to blow people away on special teams to even make the practice squad.

Mike Holmes is heading to Chicago after signing with the Bears. It's apparently exactly what he wanted.

"He visited the team. He got the best vibes from them,'' said Holmes' agent, Josh Stevens. He had a number of opportunities. The Bears were where he wanted to go.''

Holmes isn't the only CB the Bears are bringing in so it should be a fierce competition.

Center Ryan Bartholomew, who was an NFL Combine juggernaut, has signed with the Baltimore Ravens. Barty grew up nearby so it's a perfect fit for him.

"It's just an opportunity to make the team, (stay) close to home,'' Bartholomew said. "I just felt comfortable.''

There's a few more Orange out there with a shot but Rob Long is the one we're most hoping to hear. The cancer survivor was among the best punters in the nation and deserves at least one chance to prove he's still got it. Fingers crossed.