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The UFL may be seeing the light. With the first pick in their 2011 draft, the Hartford Colonials selected rookie quarterback Jerrod Johnson out of Texas A&M, a kid who was talked about as a free agent signing potential player for the NFL. Odds are unlikely he’d get a shot playing in the NFL, so this may be a good opportunity for him to win a role on a team with a strong season. Draftees are listed here.

Couple other names of note,

Brother of now 1st overall pick Cam Newton, Cecil Newton Jr was selected by the Colonials. He has been a practice squad player in the NFL for the Jaguars. He plays center.

Adrian Peterson (not the Vikings one but the former Bears back) was selected 14th overall to the Virginia Destroyers. He has some NFL experience and a good name to run under.

Clint Ingram, former linebacker and 3rd round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars found himself drafted  21st overall (4th round, there are only 5 teams remember) to the Destroyers.

Former Oregon and Mississippi quarterback, Jeremiah Masoli was also taken, 2nd pick in the 8th round by the Omaha Nighthawks.


Big names coming off the board late for the UFL:

Mario Fannin, RB, Auburn. A kid who ran a 4.38 and weighs upwards of 220 went 46th overall to the Locomotives. I personally think he’d demolish that league if he decides to play there

Mark Herzlich, LB, Boston College. Everyone knows this guys story now, how he beat cancer and returned to play. He’s lost a step since his bout, but has improved dramatically since returning. He was drafted 51st overall by the Virginia Destroyers. Another player that could really shine against UFL Competition.

David Pittman, CB. Former Ravens cast off whose in his 3rd season in the UFL formerly playing for the New York Sentinels, and Hartford Colonials. He’s had a lot of potential for years, but couldn’t seem to be consistent at corner.

The draft has official concluded and looks to be a step in the right direction for the league. They went for a lot of un-drafted rookies who won’t get a chance to sign in the NFL until they resolve the lockout. The UFL is making some shrewd moves this off season to try and garner some interest. They’ve moved the season up, drafted some college rookies, and are working on more prime scheduling for games. I’m actually excited to see some of these players compete

Update: As many have pointed out, some of those big names at the end are likely because they don’t think they’ll come play in the UFL. Locke, a running back out of Kentucky has already made his displeasure known about playing in the UFL via twitter.