Three months after dominating the NFL draft, North Carolina added five more football players to the professional league's rookie pool.
With the NFL lockout lifted and teams back to managing their rosters, five former UNC players agreed to rookie free-agent deals on Tuesday and hope to make it through training camp onto their teams' rosters. Two players from N.C. State and one each from Duke and N.C. Central and Wake Forest also found free-agent deals, as did Durham's Weslye Saunders.
Tight end Zack Pianalto (Buffalo Bills), cornerback Kendric Burney (Carolina Panthers), running back Shaun Draughn (Washington Redskins), guard Alan Pelc (Oakland Raiders) and tackle Mike Ingersoll (Kansas City Chiefs) joined the nine former UNC players who were taken in the NFL draft in April with training camp spots.
N.C. State tackle Jake Vermiglio (Arizona Cardinals) and receiver Owen Spencer (Tennessee Titans) also secured rookie tryouts. N.C. Central defensive lineman Teryl White (St. Louis Rams), Duke guard Brandon Harper (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Wake Forest receiver Marshall Williams (Denver Broncos) agreed to deals. Saunders, who played tight end at South Carolina, signed a free-agent deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
NFL teams had locked the players out from the end of the draft until Monday, freezing all transactions until a deal was reached with the players. Training camp rosters will be expanded to 90 players per team, with 53 making the final roster.
Typically, about one or two undrafted free agents per team end up sticking through the end of camp.
One former UNC player who will not sign a free-agent deal is safety Deunta Williams. Williams, who broke his right leg in the Tar Heels' Music City Bowl win over Tennessee in December, will sit out the 2011 season to rehabilitate his injury, he said on Tuesday.
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