Matt Weir/Collegian File Photo
After the NFL’s annual three-day event ended last weekend, two former Bulldogs who participated in the NFL Combine remained undrafted.
Two-year starter Ryan Colburn and junior receiver Jamel Hamler went through the NFL draft without hearing their names called until the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League selected both Colburn and Hamler.
Colburn was drafted with the third pick in the first round and Hamler was selected with the 29th pick overall in the sixth round.
The former Fresno State standouts will be playing for Dennis Green who recently coached the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings in the past decade.
Green will be getting a quarterback who had his best season in his final year as a Bulldog. Colburn finished the season with 2,817 yards passing and 23 touchdowns. This comes after a junior season which was his first as the starting quarterback where he passed for 2,459 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Colburn showed some progress in the second season as the starter and this was similar to Hamler who had his most productive performance in his first full season as a starter.
Hamler finished last season with 54 catches for 812 yards and six touchdowns after only catching 37 passes for 503 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore.
If Colburn and Hamler join the Sacramento Mountain Lions then they will have to improve the team’s 4-4 record from last season. The new season will begin in August but the new schedule hasn’t been released yet.
When the new season begins, they will need to compete with the four other teams in UFL: the Hartford Colonials, Virginia Destroyers, Las Vegas Locomotives and the Omaha Nighthawks. The Locomotives, the two-time UFL champion is led by head coach Jim Fassel, who last coached in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Giants.
Even though, Colburn and Hamler were selected in the UFL draft, they will still look to compete in the NFL.
This year is unlike any other year because the NFL owners and players are going through a labor dispute that no one knows when it will end.
With this amount of uncertainty going forward, players that normally would be picked up after the draft as undrafted free agents will now have to wait until the dispute is settled.
With this dispute in effect, teams cannot sign free agents like Colburn and Hamler. The free agency period is already behind schedule since the normal period is supposed to start in March.
When the dispute between the NFL owners and players gets settled, the free agency period will begin. After this happens, Colburn and Hamler could bypass the UFL and play in the NFL for the 2011 season.