VU's Richardson, TSU's Council among undrafted players to get an NFL opportunity

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 10:36pm
Staff reports

Vanderbilt’s Sean Richardson and Brandon Barden were two of eight area players who signed as undrafted free agents with NFL teams on Sunday and Monday.

Richardson, a three-year starter at strong safety, signed with the Green Bay Packers. He’ll rejoin former teammate Casey Hayward in the secondary there. The cornerback was drafted by the Packers in the second round on Friday.

Barden, a tight end, signed with the Tennessee Titans on Monday. The 6-foot-5, 246-pounder ranks second all-time in school history in receiving yards among tight ends with 1,234 yards off 107 catches.

In addition, former Vanderbilt offensive lineman Kyle Fischer and defensive tackle T.J. Greenstone have tryouts with the Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears, respectively.

Three former Tennessee State standouts inked deals.

Linebacker Rico Council, who finished his career second to TSU coach Rod Reed in tackles, signed with the Atlanta Falcons — not far from his hometown of Chattanooga. Florida native and South Carolina transfer Donte’e Nicholls, a 312-pound defensive tackle, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Joseph Wylie also landed back in his home state. The defensive back, a Miami transfer, signed with the Miami Dolphins.

The New Orleans Saints signed former Middle Tennessee State wide receiver Malcolm Beyah, who finished his career with 115 receptions for 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Former Tennessee stars Austin Johnson and Tauren Poole also signed with NFL teams on Monday. Johnson signed with the Baltimore Ravens. The middle linebacker led the Vols in tackles (81) in 2011. Poole, who rushed for 1,034 yards in 2010, signed with the Carolina Panthers.

They join former teammate Malik Jackson in the NFL. The defensive tackle was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round on Saturday.