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Raiders UDFA profile: DE Denico Autry

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Kevin C. Cox

When Autry went undrafted, it wasn't a huge surprise. But even still, he was very much on many NFL team's radars and was highly sought after as an undrafted free agent. The Packers reeled him in first and he headed to Green Bay with the intention of joining the team.

After taking his physical, the team had health concerns and the deal fell through. In most cases, it's either conditioning or a particular injury which causes a failed physical. In this case, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal the concerns were minor. He has no real history of injuries and played in all 26 games while at Mississippi State.

Different teams have different standards and emphasis with regard to health concerns.  Many Raiders and Rams fans discovered this recently with the Rodger Saffold debacle at the start of free agency, when he failed the Raiders physical but passed the Rams' physical to return to St Louis.

In this case, the Raiders brought in Autry and were not swayed by the same issues as the Packers and took a chance on him.

Autry is the sort of player on whom it could be worth taking that chance.

The 6-6, 265-pound defensive end was once one of the most highly sought after Junior College transfer recruits in the nation. He was a first team NCJAA All-American at East Mississippi Community College where he had 11 sacks and an incredible 41 quarterback hurries to help the Lions win the NJCAA National Championship.

He then stayed nearby and transferred to Mississippi State.

He started 10 games and played in 13 in his first season at MSU and had 42 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He also showed up big time late in the season. First with a tackle for loss and a forced fumble against in-state rival Ole Miss in the regular season finale. Then in the Gator Bowl he collected5 tackles and a key interception.

Though he started every game as a senior, his numbers took a step back across the board. He had 31 tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. But again, he showed up on the big stage, with four tackles against Ole Miss and a sack to help the Bulldogs win the Liberty Bowl over Rice.

Autry has all the physical tools to play defensive end at the NFL level. He has shown up in flashes against big time SEC opponents. That's enough potential to take a chance to see if he can put it together consistently.