Posted Sunday, March 10, 2019.
I've done this the past eight years, and I thought it would be 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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2019 NFL Free Agent Draft: Picks 1-16
Cleveland Browns: Steven Nelson, CB, Chiefs. Age: 25.
The Browns hit a home run by selecting Denzel Ward fourth overall last year, which was something they were greatly criticized for by the bad opinion sports media. However, they need another talented corner to start across from Ward. The young and improving Steven Nelson would be a strong addition.
Minnesota Vikings: Rodger Saffold, G, Rams. Age: 31.
The Vikings have to do everything in their power to repair their offensive line this offseason. Kirk Cousins predictably choked late in the year, but it wasn't all his fault, as he had poor protection from his horrible blocking unit.
Tennessee Titans: Preston Smith, DE/OLB, Redskins. Age: 26.
The Titans had an inconsistent pass rush last year. It's obvious they need edge help, as both Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo are both set to hit free agency in a couple of days.
Pittsburgh Steelers: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Ravens. Age: 27.
This is a "reach," if such things could exist in a fake free agency mock draft. However, I think it's a move the Steelers would make. They're desperate for linebacker help, as they never replaced Ryan Shazier, and the idea of poaching an important member of arch-rival Baltimore's defense must sound appealing.
Seattle Seahawks: Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Packers. Age: 29.
When the Seahawks were competing for the Super Bowl every year, they were known for the Legion of Boom. However, their defensive front was stout back then as well, and that's not the case anymore. They need to find upgrades on the line to help their defense.
Baltimore Ravens: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Redskins. Age: 26.
The Ravens cut Eric Weddle to save salary cap space. I'm not sure they'd be willing to spend lots of money on a safety, even a talented one like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. However, they don't need to do that in this fake free agency draft format.
Houston Texans: Bryce Callahan, CB, Bears. Age: 27.
The Texans met with plenty of cornerbacks at the combine, so I imagine that's a position they could target in free agency if they're not in love with many of the players from the 2019 NFL Draft class.
Oakland Raiders: Lamarcus Joyner, S, Rams. Age: 28.
As mentioned on the previous page, the Raiders need help at every level of their defense. As far as their secondary is concerned, they need upgrades at both cornerback and safety. Lamarcus Joyner is the best player still remaining, and he fills an obvious need, so this seems like a logical pairing.
Philadelphia Eagles: Mark Ingram, RB, Saints. Age: 29.
The Eagles have been rumored to be interested in Tevin Coleman. Mark Ingram is the better running back from the same division, but he'll cost more money in real life. That's not an issue in this fake life, however.
Indianapolis Colts: Tyrann Mathieu, S, Texans. Age: 27.
This is another case of a team stealing a talented player from a rival. The Colts are looking for safety help next to Malik Hooker - they've been linked to Landon Collins - so signing Tyrann Mathieu would make lots of sense.
Oakland Raiders: Pierre Desir, CB, Colts. Age: 28.
And here's the cornerback the Raiders need. Their defense was atrocious last year, but adding Jordan Hicks, Lamarcus Joyner and Pierre Desir would greatly improve their stop unit. They'd still need major help at edge rusher, but the 2019 NFL Draft class is loaded in that area.
San Angeles Chargers: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Eagles. Age: 26.
The Patriots bullied the Chargers in the divisional round of the playoffs, ramming the ball right down their throat. San Angeles needs to improve its run defense, and Timmy Jernigan would provide a huge boost in that regard.
Kansas City Chiefs: Mitch Morse, C, Chiefs. Age: 27.
Call this a boring pick, but it makes sense. I'm sure the Chiefs would like to retain their talented center as they attempt to reach the Super Bowl with Patrick Mahomes.
Green Bay Packers: Golden Tate, WR, Eagles. Age: 31.
Randall Cobb is as good as gone, so the Packers will need a new, explosive slot receiver. Golden Tate seems like he'd be a great pairing with Aaron Rodgers.
Los Angeles Rams: Kareem Jackson, CB, Texans. Age: 31.
The Rams already signed Eric Weddle, but here's another needed upgrade to their secondary, which struggled last year. Marcus Peters was a huge disappointment, so perhaps Kareem Jackson, a late bloomer, will be able to provide the Rams' defensive backfield with a big boost.
New England Patriots: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Saints. Age: 26.
Tom Brady turns 42 in August, so he has to be nearing retirement ... right? Brady said he wants to play until he's 45, so that means he has three seasons remaining. The Patriots, as a consequence, are expected to target a quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft, but perhaps Bill Belichick will think that he'll be able to re-develop Teddy Bridgewater.
Back to 2019 NFL Free Agent Draft: Picks 1-16
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