Nolan Laufenberg and Parker Ferguson, who have teamed up over the last 2 1⁄2 years to form one of the best combination of run blockers on the left side of an offensive line in college football, have both signed contracts as undrafted free agents.
Laufenberg will be practicing with the Denver Broncos just up the road from his family home in Castle Rock and from his college team at the Air Force Academy.
Parker Ferguson will join former teammate Zane Lewis with the New York Jets.
There are some notable ties between these organizations and the Falcon program that may have played a factor.
Coach Troy Calhoun was a long time assistant coach in the Denver organization under Mike Shanahan. From Wikipedia: “Shanahan is known for a run-heavy variation of the West Coast offense he coached in San Francisco. He has often found unheralded running backs from later rounds of the annual NFL Draft and then turned them into league-leading rushers behind small-but-powerful offensive lines.”
Shanahan’s son Kyle is now the head coach at San Francisco, running a very similar offense. Recently three of his assistants in San Francisco, Robert Saleh, Mike Lafleur and John Benton have been hired by the Jets as head coach, offensive coordinator, and offensive line coach. They will most likely be establishing their own version of the offense.
In addition the Jets have retained Chip Vaughn as their defensive backs coach. Vaughn served two years at Air Force under Calhoun as defensive back coach, and was instrumental in bringing Zane Lewis to New York after he was signed by Arizona and released.