Posted Sunday, March 6, 2016.
I did this the past five years, and I thought it would be pretty fun to do it again. It's exactly what it sounds like - if free agency occurred in a draft format, who would be the top picks? I've excluded all the free agents who are either restricted or franchised.
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2016 NFL Free Agent Draft: Picks 1-16
Atlanta Falcons: Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, Seahawks. Age: 28.
Bruce Irvin has been connected to the Falcons, so this pick makes sense. Atlanta has one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL. Irvin would definitely help change that.
Indianapolis Colts: Jeff Allen, G, Chiefs. Age: 26.
The Colts would be crazy not to address Andrew Luck's poor protection, especially if a talented blocker like Jeff Allen is available. Signing Allen would go a long way in making sure that Luck is properly shielded, for a change.
Buffalo Bills: Richie Incognito, G, Bills. Age: 33.
The Bills want to re-sign Richie Incognito, but they're reportedly upset that he's not willing to take a "home-town discount." I guess that doesn't matter in this fictional free agent mock draft. They can retain one of the top guards from last year with just the 19th pick.
New York Jets: Pacman Jones, CB, Bengals. Age: 32.
The Jets seem to believe that they can win now, so I'm sure they'd like to add Pacman Jones, who would be a great replacement for the disappointing Antonio Cromartie, who was recently released.
Washington Redskins: Casey Hayward, CB, Packers. Age: 26.
The Redskins are also interested in adding a cornerback. Their secondary has been a mess for quite some time, and a mega talent like Casey Hayward would go a long way in upgrading that particular area.
Houston Texans: Brock Osweiler, QB, Broncos. Age: 26.
There have been reports saying that the Texans will be interested in Brock Osweiler if he's able to hit the free-agent market. If they had a chance to acquire him in this sort of fashion, I have to believe that they'd jump all over him. Osweiler fits perfectly into Bill O'Brien's offense, so Houston going after him makes a ton of sense.
Minnesota Vikings: Walter Thurmond, S, Eagles. Age: 29.
The Vikings have told the media that they want to add a safety this offseason to play alongside Harrison Smith. Going after someone like Walter Thurmond in free agency - or the 23rd pick in a free-agent mock draft - makes a ton of sense.
Cincinnati Bengals: Ian Williams, NT, 49ers. Age: 27.
Domata Peko has performed poorly over the past couple of seasons after thriving earlier in his career. He needs to be replaced, which is what I have happening in the first round of my real 2016 NFL Mock Draft.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Sean Smith, CB, Chiefs. Age: 29.
The Steelers have needed an upgrade at cornerback for quite a while now. It wouldn't be a surprise if they targeted the position at No. 25 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Signing someone like Sean Smith would work as well.
Seattle Seahawks: Donald Penn, OT, Raiders. Age: 33.
Remember, all free agents are off the roster in this mock draft, so that means Russell Okung is no longer a Seahawk. If Okung leaves, Seattle's offensive line will obviously be much worse than it already is. Targeting Donald Penn makes sense. He's 33, but he could definitely help put the Seahawks over the top in the next couple of years.
Green Bay Packers: Derrick Johnson, ILB, Chiefs. Age: 33.
How long have the Packers needed assistance at inside linebacker? The need is much more dire now, as the team plans to move Clay Matthews outside. Derrick Johnson has just a few seasons left, but he can help Green Bay win now.
Kansas City Chiefs: Rolando McClain, ILB, Cowboys. Age: 27.
The Chiefs were just one pick away from retaining Derrick Johnson. Oh well. With Johnson gone, Rolando McClain becomes a real possibility as the next-best player available at inside linebacker.
Arizona Cardinals: Rodney McLeod, S, Rams. Age: 26.
The Cardinals are reportedly targeting a safety this offseason after what happened to them in the NFC Championship. I have them taking one in my 2016 NFL Mock Draft, and they could also grab one of the several talented players at the position in free agency.
Carolina Panthers: Mitchell Schwartz, OT, Browns. Age: 27.
We all witnessed how Carolina's offensive tackles struggled in the Super Bowl. The truth is, Michael Oher and Mike Remmers would've had other bad outings had the Panthers battled numerous teams with a great pass rush. The tackle position must be addressed, and Mitchell Schwartz would look great as one of the starters.
Denver Broncos: Jaye Howard, DE/DT, Chiefs. Age: 27.
Charlie Campbell reported that the Broncos like Alabama's Jarran Reed and are looking to find a replacement for Malik Jackson at defensive end. There's no Reed in this mock, but Jaye Howard, who just had a strong 2015 campaign, would be a nice fit.
2016 NFL Free Agent Draft - 32-40:
- Cleveland Browns: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants. Age: 27.
- Tennessee Titans: Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers. Age: 27.
- Dallas Cowboys: Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins. Age: 25.
- San Diego Chargers: Ramon Foster, G, Steelers. Age: 30.
- Baltimore Ravens: Tamba Hali, DE/OLB, Chiefs. Age: 32.
- San Francisco 49ers: Stefen Wisniewski, C, Jaguars. Age: 27.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Charles Johnson, DE, Panthers. Age: 30.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Prince Amukamara, CB, Giants. Age: 27.
- New York Giants: Nick Fairley, DT, Rams. Age: 28.
Back to 2016 NFL Free Agent Draft: Picks 1-16
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