For those that may not know the story of Boston College LB Mark Herzlich, here is a brief synopsis. After a stellar 2008 season, Herzlich was projected as a potential first-round draft pick. However, he was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer and missed the 2009 college football season while undergoing treatment. Amazingly, he beat the cancer and was diagnosed as being 100% cancer-free. After being told he would never play football again, Herzlich came back in 2010 to play for BC. While he wasn’t at his 2008 level of play, he was still expected to be drafted at some point in the 2011 NFL Draft. You can’t really blame him for not being at his maximum playing level so soon after beating cancer, but it wasn’t like he was a bum out on the field either. However, despite his amazing story, history of strong play and great character, Herzlich was not drafted by an NFL team.
Herzlich was drafted by the UFL’s Omaha Nighthawks football team, but has decided to forgo playing for the Nighthawks while he awaits NFL free agency. Herzlich, as well as other rookie free agents, cannot sign with any NFL team until the lockout has been lifted.
“It will really come down to whenever the lockout does get lifted, within that 48-hour window, we’ll try to get those teams on the phone and see what other teams are interested, and make the best pick,” Herzlich said. “I’m back, I’m healthy, I’m strong, I’m ready to go, so whenever I get a chance to get on a team, I’ll be able to prove [that] to them.”
You can watch a video clip discussing Herzlich’s story, as well as his draft experience, i.e. waiting to be snubbed by 32 NFL teams, by clicking HERE. In terms of rookie free agency, I think Herzlich makes sense for the Patriots. He plays at a position of need and is, as previously mentioned, a high-character guy. The Pats have shown that they have an eye for undrafted free agents, most recently finding success with LB Gary Guyton and CB Kyle Arrington. If it doesn’t work, so be it. However, the upside Herzlich has is tremendous. If he can regain his 2008 form, the Pats will have a long-term answer at outside linebacker. My question to you is this: Should the Pats sign Herzlich? Vote in the poll below.