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Eisen's Mailbag: How to stand out as UDFA


Michael Eisen answers your questions in today's edition of The Mailbag on

•  What can an undrafted free agent do to stand out this offseason?

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This question requires a multi-layered response. First, any young player can impress the coaches with his attitude, how quickly he picks up either the offensive or defensive system, his hustle, and his ability to make plays on the field, and providing evidence that he is a good teammate.

More specifically, skill positon players have more opportunities to make a positive first impression. Minicamps are largely exercises in throwing and catching. Because players don't wear pads, there's no real hitting. Linemen can only simulate what they will do in a game. But quarterbacks can show how well they can throw the ball, and receivers get numerous chances to catch it. A strong performance can earn you a spot on the training camp roster.

•  Without contact during offseason workouts, where can the O-Line and D-Line players shift their focus to prepare for the season?

They can do everything but put on pads and hit. Start with conditioning, both by improving their strength in the weight room and their endurance through cardiovascular work on the field. There's film study, both to review how they performed last year and to introduce new wrinkles in the offense. Technique is so important in offensive line play, so on the field they constantly work on footwork, and hand and head placement, as well as performing numerous drills to improve agility. In the spring, offensive linemen can't hit, but they can learn and progress. Those that make the biggest strides give themselves an advantage entering training camp.

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