Delaware 2010 Football Standouts Devlin, Bratton, Walters Set to Sign NFL Free Agent Contracts; Former Hen Baker Also Signs
July 26, 2011
Pictured top to bottom: Pat Devlin, Anthony Bratton, Anthony Walters, Josh Baker (File Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell)
NEWARK, Del. -- The opportunity to battle for a roster spot in the National Football League has finally arrived for four former University of Delaware standouts.
With the National Football League lockout finally over and teams permitted to add undrafted college players to their pre-season rosters, 2010 Blue Hen quarterback Pat Devlin and defensive backs Anthony Bratton and Anthony Walters all were expected to sign free agent contracts this week.
Devlin was set to sign with the Miami Dolphins, Bratton was picked up by the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, and Walters signed on with the Chicago Bears.
In addition to those three, tight Josh Baker, who played three seasons at Delaware ending in 2009, was signed by the New York Jets. Baker played last season at NCAA Division II power Northwest Missouri State where he earned All-American honors after catching 66 passes.
National Football League camps are set to open this week in preparation for the 2011 season that begins in September.
They hope to join another trio of former Delaware players who are already veterans in the NFL: Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, Cleveland Browns defensive back Mike Adams, and Arizona Cardinals tight end Ben Patrick.
Devlin will battle returning starter Chad Henne as well as backups Tom Brandstater and unrestricted free agent Tyler Thigpen for a spot on the roster for head coach Tony Sparano. Miami posted a record of 7-9 a year ago. Bratton joins a Packer’s squad that captured the Super Bowl last season with a record 10-6 for head coach Mike McCarthy. The Bears went a year ago 11-5 a year ago under head coach Lovie Smith, capturing the NFC North title and advancing to the NFC playoffs.
Devlin, Bratton, and Walters each earned All-American and All-Colonial Athletic Association honors in 2010 when they led the Blue Hens to a record of 12-3, a share of the CAA title, and a berth in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision title game for head coach K.C. Keeler. Bratton and Walters anchored a defense that led the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 12.1 points per game.
A 6-4, 222 lb. native of Downingtown, Pa. (Downingtown East HS), Devlin was among the NFL’s most coveted free agents this summer after not being selected in the league draft despite being ranked among the top quarterbacks.
A 2010 team captain, Devlin capped an outstanding two-year career at Delaware after transfering from Penn State. He earned consensus All-American honors in 2010 when he passed for 3,302 yards and 22 touchdowns with just three interceptions and was named the CAA and the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year.
He also was named a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and played in the prestigious East-West Shrine Game. In two seasons at Delaware, he threw for 5,696 yards and 37 touchdowns to rank among the school’s all-time leaders. An honor student, he earned his degree from Delaware in 2009 and is currently working on his master’s degree in finance.
Bratton, a 6-2, 205 lb. safety from Manassas, Va. (Osbourn Park HS), earned his degree in exercise science from Delaware this past May. He started all 15 games for the Blue Hens in 2010 and ranked No. 2 on the squad with 99 tackles while collecting three tackles for loss, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a team-high 12 pass breakups.
He earned first team All-CAA and All-East honors and was third team All-American selection by The Sports Network, Associated Press, and Phil Steele College Football. He was a three-year starter and recorded 269 tackles, 19 pass breakups, and seven interceptions for his career.
Walters, a 6-1, 200 lb. safety from Philadelphia, Pa. (Cardinal O’Hara HS), earned his degree in hotel, restaurant, and institutional management this past May. He earned third team All-American honors by the Associated Press and fourth team honors from Phil Steele during the 2010 season when he started 13 games at cornerback and capped the season by playing in the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Game.
He registered 75 tackles (60 solo), four tackles for loss, one sack, a team-high seven interceptions, eight pass breakups, one fumble recovery, and one forced fumble during the 2010 season and earned All-CAA honors for the third time in his career. He also played safety during his career at Delaware, which spanned 50 games and saw him post 258 tackles, 31 pass breakups (No. 2 all-time at UD), and 16 interceptions (No. 4 all-time) as a four-year starter.
Baker, a 6-2, 245 lb. native of Chesapeake, Va., played with the Blue Hens during the 2006, 2007, and 2009 seasons. He caught 20 passes for 344 yards and two touchdowns during the 2007 season when he helped Delaware advance to the NCAA Division I FCS championship game. After sitting out the 2008 season, he returned for the 2009 season but suffered a season-ending knee injury in the season opener.