Kansas linebackers James Holt and Mike Rivera signed NFL free agent contracts Sunday night. Holt, signed with the San Diego Chargers, while Rivera signed with the Chicago Bears. Holt was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection in 2008, while Rivera earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors for the third straight season.
Obviously the road for any undrafted free agent isn't an easy one but I think both these former Jayhawks have found places where they do have a realistic shot at fitting the system.
Rivera to the Bears is a great fit for him. The defensive scheme is one that will play to his strengths, as is the style of play in the NFC North at the moment. That may change but I do think Rivera has a opportunity now that he's healthy and he's given a chance, to make the squad. From there who knows, maybe the sky is the limit.
As far as Holt he's been told at this point he is being brought in as a special teams contributor but he has shown the ability to be a guy that can get to the QB out of the linebacker spot his senior year. This may be a bit of a stretch but add some bulk, catch some breaks and maybe there is a fit for him in that 3-4 system with Ron Rivera and the Chargers.
One other name worth mentioning is that of Joe Mortensen, who at this point hasn't signed with anyone but it has been reported that the Raiders have shown interest. Mortensen would likely transition from a linebacker to a fullback role if given a shot by Al Davis.
Slow draft this year for the Jayhawks, I have to believe that Anthony Collins could have benefited in terms of draft position had he remained this past season. Next year we could see a couple of Jayhawks in the mix with guys like Stuckey, maybe a Thornton and if all goes well Briscoe eligible for the draft.