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Finally, a U.F.L. Draft Worth Watching

There’s no feeling bad for the current N.F.L. player, who despite the looming lockout remains as financially stable as any individual in the country. Nor do we feel any pain for those players drafted last weekend, as even with the specter of no games come September this crop has it made. Who can we commiserate with? Maybe those prospects who were not taken in the draft, as thanks to the lockout no undrafted prospects can sign free agent deals with the N.F.L. team of their choice. Hey, at least there’s the U.F.L . draft, right?

More than at any point in its inception, last night’s U.F.L. draft was worth tracking. Why? Because those undrafted free agents might actually entertain a U.F.L. offer, thereby making them more attractive to teams looking to replenish their roster through the draft. As we saw last night, the looming lockout — and lack of U.F.A. deals — saw a number of would-be N.F.L. rookies become U.F.L. fodder. Some of the more interesting picks:

QB Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M (Round 1, pick 1) His sore shoulder might have scared away the N.F.L., but the U.F.L. would love to have a player of Johnson’s caliber.

QB Ryan Colburn, Fresno State (Round 1, pick 3)

DE Jamie Cumbie, Clemson (Round 2, pick 7) Booted from Clemson prior to last season, Cumbie was viewed as an N.F.L. prospect prior to his off-field difficulties.

DE Ugo Chinasa, Oklahoma State (Round 2, pick 8)

C Cecil Newton Jr., Tennessee State (Round 3, pick 11) The name sounds familiar, right? Newton’s a few years removed from his playing days, but the last name rang a bell.

OG Ricky Henry, Nebraska (Round 4, pick 16) Three Nebraska linemen went off the board; Henry was the only one not taken by the U.F.L.’s Omaha branch.

OT Mike Smith, Nebraska (Round 5, pick 23) He went to Omaha, as expected.

OT D.J. Jones, Nebraska (Round 6, pick 28) As did Jones.

QB Jeremiah Masoli, Mississippi (Round 8, pick 38) Masoli’s future isn’t in the N.F.L., but it’s probably not in the U.F.L. either. If anything, Masoli is heading to the C.F.L., but at least he’s covering his bases.

RB Derrick Locke, Kentucky (Round 9, pick 43)

RB Mario Fannin, Auburn (Round 9, Pick 46)

LB Mark Herzlich, Boston College (Round 10, pick 51) Based on talent and name recognition, Herzlich is the top pick in this draft. He’s going to chase his N.F.L. dream, however, lockout or no, so he fell to the bottom of the draft.

WR Jeff Maehl, Oregon (Round 10, pick 52) The U.F.L.’s Mr. Irrelevant is in the same boat. He’s too good for this league, one would think, but he may also be not good enough for the N.F.L. Hopefully, we’ll see later this summer once the N.F.L. players and owners come to terms.

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