The NFL Draft is just a couple of days away and you may find yourself saying, “I don’t know how my team can fill all these holes with just the draft?” There is still hope. There are still very useful players available in free agency that I can promise you will make an impact on the upcoming season and we will look back and be amazed how cheaply they were acquired for. Some others on this list could be also looking at the grim reality of a once great/promising/lackluster career coming to a close. Whichever way it ends up, it will be fascinating to see where these guys land.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw, RB Cedric Benson, RB Beanie Wells, RB Felix Jones, RB Michael Turner, RB Peyton Hillis, RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB Kevin Smith, RB Brandon Jackson, RB Javon Ringer, RB Ryan Grant, RB Jackie Battle
WR Brandon Lloyd, WR Randy Moss, WR Steve Breaston, WR Early Doucet, WR Austin Collie, WR/KR/PR Josh Cribbs, WR Devery Henderson, WR Laurent Robinson, WR Braylon Edwards
OT Andre Smith, OT Eric Winston, OT Jammal Brown, OT Bryant McKinnie, OT Tyson Clabo, OT Jared Gaither, OT Max Starks, OT Sean Locklear
C Todd McClure, OG Brandon Moore, C Dan Koppen
TE Dallas Clark, TE Kevin Boss, TE Randy McMichael
CB Quentin Jammer, CB/S Charles Woodson, CB Cedric Griffin, CB Rashean Mathis, CB Terrance McGee, CB Sheldon Brown, CB Nate Clements
LB Brian Urlacher, LB Karlos Dansby, LB Daryl Smith, LB Shaun Phillips, LB Takeo Spikes, LB Bart Scott, LB Leroy Hill
DE Dwight Freeney, DE John Abraham, DE Israel Idonije, DE Ty Warren
NT Casey Hampton, NT Ma’ake Kemoeatu
DT Sedrick Ellis, DT Richard Seymour, DT Justin Bannan
S Quintin Mikell, S Kerry Rhodes, S Gerald Sensabaugh, S Madieu Williams
*I did not include restricted free agents or franchised players in this list. I also left out quarterbacks, who are all journeyman/back-up types, and didn’t include Ronde Barber because he’ll either retire or return to the Bucs.
Just remember, 50% of first round picks statistically end up as busts. So when your team just misses out on the player you desperately wanted and needed to get, perhaps the one-year fix to that positional problem is a player who has already proven he can play in the NFL, and they guy you missed on may not make it.
Tuck: NFL Free Agency Fallback Plan by Mike Tuck