Clock Ticks; 80 Rooks Unsigned

WR Heyward-Bey tops Oakland's unsigned picks (AP)

As training camp opens for NFL clubs, many will be missing their draft picks on the first day. Howard Balzer takes a look at the situation as it stands today.

With the NFL heading into the home stretch as training camps open throughout the week, there remains a lot of work to be done signing draft picks.

According to research by The Sports Xchange, entering Tuesday there were 84 unsigned draft picks from the 257 players selected in April and July. The total number of choices was reduced to 255 when Oakland waived sixth-round pick Stryker Sulak on July 13 before he signed a contract and then increased to 256 when Washington selected defensive end Jeremy Jarmon in the third round of the July 16 supplemental draft.

Not surprisingly, the bulk of the unsigned players reside in the first three rounds of the draft. Only four first-round picks have signed or agreed to terms, along with 14 second-round picks and 23 third-round picks. In those three rounds, 60 players (including Jarmon) remain unsigned, with 46 in the first two rounds.

It is a yearly dance that occurs in the league, with the likelihood that some picks in the first round will miss significant time in training camp. It is for that reason, more than the often outlandish wages paid, that should lead to a rookie wage scale.

Missed time from draft picks is what really hurts the game, for the player and the team. There is no winner, only losers, when highly-touted rookies miss valuable time in training camp.

As of the end of business on Monday, Chicago, the New York Jets and Pittsburgh had signed all their draft picks. Of course, the Jets only had three, but they are one of four teams with a signed first-rounder; quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Oakland had yet to sign any of their picks.

Following is a chart that shows total picks in each round, players signed and unsigned, as of Tuesday morning.

ROUND TOTAL SIGNED UNSIGNED
First 32 4 28
Second 32 14 18
Third 37 23 14
Fourth 36 26 10
Fifth 37 33 4
Sixth 35 30 5
Seventh 47 42 5
TOTAL 256 172 84


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