This order is based off of my end of the season power rankings. I know this is a long shot be what happens next spring, but I will do my best since I cannot predict breakout stars and small school studs. Here is a link to my power rankings if you like explanations why your team is selecting where. http://walterfootball.com/PowerRankings/Published/490
2013 NFL Free Agency: Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2013.
Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Paul Kruger, DE/OLB, Ravens. Age: 27. Signed with Browns (5 years, $41 million)
Paul Kruger notched nine sacks during the regular season and then three more against the Colts in the playoffs. He also was solid in coverage.
Philip Wheeler, OLB, Raiders. Age: 28. Signed with Dolphins (5 years, $26 million)
Philip Wheeler was one of the most improved players in the NFL this past season. He thrived in every aspect, including blitzing, and he's earned a huge pay day this spring. And to think, the Raiders obtained him for a mere 1-year, $700,000 contract during the previous offseason.
Daryl Smith, OLB, Jaguars. Age: 31. Signed with Ravens
Daryl Smith has never received much attention from the media, but he's been one of the top 4-3 outside linebackers in the NFL over the years. Unfortunately, he played in just two games this season because of a groin injury, and he'll be 31 in March, so his skills are in the process of eroding.
Connor Barwin, DE/OLB, Texans. Age: 26. Signed with Eagles
Connor Barwin is coming off a very disappointing 2012 campaign. After registering 11.5 sacks in 2011, he managed just three this past season. He's talented, so there's a good chance this was just a fluky year.
Kevin Burnett, OLB, Dolphins. Age: 30. Signed with Raiders
Kevin Burnett, like Karlos Dansby, was part of Miami's minor-upgrade purge. Burnett is a very talented linebacker with no glaring weaknesses in his game. The only downside is that he'll be 31 in December.
James Harrison, DE/OLB, Steelers. Age: 35. Signed with Bengals (2 years)
James Harrison can still put good pressure on the quarterback, but given that he turns 35 in May, it's fair to wonder how long that'll last. He's also injury-prone, so that doesn't help his cause.
Shaun Phillips, DE/OLB, Chargers. Age: 32. Signed with Broncos
Shaun Phillips recorded close to double-digit sacks and was stout in coverage this season, though he was a big liability against the run. He'll be 32 in May, unfortunately.
Nick Barnett, OLB, Bills. Age: 32.
Nick Barnett is a very solid linebacker who thrives in both run support and pass coverage. The only knock on him is his age; he'll be 32 in May. He can still perform pretty well though.
Thomas Howard, OLB, Bengals. Age: 30.
Thomas Howard missed all but one game in 2012 with a torn ACL. It was impressive that Cincinnati's defense still played well despite missing such a solid linebacker.
Manny Lawson, OLB, Bengals. Age: 29. Signed with Bills
The Bengals asked Manny Lawson to rush the passer and stop the run, and he did that very well. He's not good in coverage, however.
Justin Durant, OLB, Lions. Age: 27. Signed with Cowboys
Justin Durant has been very solid in run support for the Lions over the past couple of years. He should be limited to two downs though because he's not that good in coverage.
Calvin Pace, 33 in October, looked like he had nothing in the tank this past season, as he registered only three sacks. Maybe he can bounce back, but his career looks like it's quickly coming to an end.
Bryan Thomas, DE/OLB, Jets. Age: 34.
Bryan Thomas played through a torn chest injury in 2012. He wasn't bad considering that, but it's fair to wonder if his body is breaking down.
Kaluka Maiava, OLB, Browns. Age: 26. Signed with Raiders (3 years, $6 million)
Kaluka Maiava started games at both strongside and weakside linebacker this year. He handled himself pretty well as a two-down player.
Keith Rivers, OLB, Giants. Age: 27. Re-signed with Giants
Keith Rivers has the potential to be ranked way better, but he can't stay healthy.
Quentin Groves, DE/OLB, Cardinals. Age: 29. -- Signed with Browns (2 years, $2.8 million)
Jonathan Casillas, OLB, Saints. Age: 26. -- Signed with Buccaneers (1 year)
Chris Gocong, OLB, Browns. Age: 29.
Gerald McRath, OLB, Titans. Age: 27.
James Anderson, OLB, Panthers. Age: 29. -- Signed with Bears (1 year)
Michael Boley, OLB, Giants. Age: 31.
Rocky McIntosh, OLB, Rams. Age: 30.
Erik Walden, DE/OLB, Packers. Age: 28. -- Signed with Colts
Lorenzo Alexander, DE/OLB, Redskins. Age: 30. -- Signed with Cardinals (3 years)
Geno Hayes, OLB, Bears. Age: 26. -- Signed with Jaguars
Jason Phillips (RFA), OLB, Panthers. Age: 27. -- Signed with Eagles (2 years)
Dan Skuta, OLB, Bengals. Age: 27. -- Signed with 49ers (2 years)
Akeem Jordan, OLB, Eagles. Age: 27. -- Signed with Chiefs
Ernie Sims, OLB, Cowboys. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with Cowboys
Chris Wilson, DE/OLB, Redskins. Age: 31.
Will Witherspoon, OLB, Titans. Age: 33.
Frank Zombo (RFA), DE/OLB, Packers. Age: 26. -- Signed with Chiefs
Scott Shanle, OLB, Saints. Age: 33.
Jordan Senn, OLB, Panthers. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Panthers
Quincy Black, OLB, Buccaneers. Age: 29.
Mario Haggan, OLB, Rams. Age: 33.
Scott Fujita, OLB, Browns. Age: 34. -- Announced retirement