Former South Carolina Gamecocks tight end Weslye Saunders, is looking forward to his chance to prove his value in the NFL. After going undrafted in 2011 NFL Draft, Saunders has devoted his offseason to perfecting his game. Saunders physical talent was overlooked in the draft, stemming from his dismissal prior to the start of his senior season. Saunders was dismissed from the Gamecocks after several admitted NCAA violations. Saunders owned up to his mistakes and sought reinstatement throughout the entire 2010 season. Saunders even went as far as funding his own trip to the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. Only to see his efforts fall by the wayside. Saunders was spotted at several home games supporting his teammates as they made a historic run at the SEC Championship in 2010.
After the season ended, Saunders took his skills to the The Michael Johnson Performance Center in Texas, as he prepared for the NFL Combine and Pro Day. After suffering a foot injury while participating at the combine, Saunders worked hard at his rehab in the hopes of full effort at Pro Day. Saunders put on a show at Pro Day, and handled the aggressive media like a pro. All that was left was to get drafted and put his mistakes behind him. Unfortunately, after seven rounds and 254 picks, Saunders name was never called at the podium.
Saunders returned home to Durham, North Carolina to continue his training at ZX FItness. Day in and day out, Saunders devotes himself to his training. As the NFL is surely to call when the NFL lockout ends, Saunders will be prepared to prove why he was once the most highly coveted tight end in the country. Saunders told The Meat Locker:
“I’m just ready to prove myself as a person and as a player. And remind everyone why I was the #1 tight end in the land. I have a statement to make on and off the field”
Saunders should expect to catch the attention of several NFL clubs, and make an almost immediate impact with the skill set that he possesses. Some likely destinations for Saunders could be the Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers or Miami Dolphins.
The Panthers currently have veterans Jeff King and Jeremy Shockey on the roster. King, lacks the big play ability and Shockey, now a veteran of 10 seasons has seemingly lost a few steps, and isn’t the dynamic pass catching tight end he once was with the New York Giants. Saunders could serve as a youthful upgrade at the position and provide some much-needed spark to a bland Panthers offense.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are equipped with a well-balanced tight end in Heath Miller. Miller is a more than capable blocker, while also proving to be a viable option for Ben Roethlisberger in the passing game. The Steelers also have Matt Spaeth on the roster, who proved last year to be a solid number two tight end. Saunders would be able to step into the “steel city” and add another dimension to Pittsburgh’s offense.
Finally, the Miami Dolphins would certainly benefit from the addition of Saunders. He would compliment veteran tight end Anthony Fasano perfectly. Both big bodied and able tight ends, are both solid receivers and blockers. Quarterback, Chad Henne is currently in a win or sit position with the organization. Adding a dynamic threat like Saunders could potentially help keep Henne’s seat stay a little cooler.