NFL News & Analysis

2022 NFL Free Agent Rankings: Top 100 players expected to enter free agency

NFL free agency is a year-round process as teams scout opposing players in an effort to defeat them during the year and perhaps sign them in the offseason.

Now at the end of the 2021-22 NFL regular season, the free agency picture is coming into focus and teams are beginning to identify potential targets to improve their roster weaknesses.

We'll have free agency rumors and predictions as the offseason nears, plus updated projections as we add more players to the list. Finally, we'll examine team fits and share free agency grades as the moves roll in.

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1. WR Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

Adams made it clear he wanted to become the highest-paid player at the wide receiver position, and it’s hard to argue against him deserving that distinction. Matters become more complicated when you try to determine who is technically the highest-paid wide receiver and what the true annual value of their contracts are. A franchise tag for Adams will be just shy of $20 million, making it less likely given Green Bay’s salary cap challenges ahead — but not impossible to work around.

Strengths:
– Route running
– Releases at the line
– Hands

Weaknesses:
– Durability

Scheme Fit/Role:
No. 1 WR: Davante Adams is an elite No. 1 receiver in any offense in the NFL. He has scheme versatility — able to carve up man or zone coverage — and has shown to be a star in multiple systems. Any receiver-needy team would be in the running for his services and he may even try and engineer a package deal with Aaron Rodgers. A reunion with college quarterback Derek Carr in Las Vegas is another obvious connection.

Recent Injury History:
Adams has had several minor injuries that have caused him to miss pockets of time over the past couple of years. Ankle, hamstring and toe injuries have all slowed him, but there are no major concerns.

Contract Projection: Four years, $93 million ($23.25M per year, $52 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Adams is the best receiver in the game and one of the jewels of any free agency class. He won't come cheap, but he is a transformative player.


2. T Terron Armstead, New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints rarely let a player they want to retain get away, but after making Ryan Ramczyk the highest-paid right tackle in NFL history by a decent margin with his five-year, $96 million extension signed before 2021, the decision with Armstead gets interesting. Armstead has consistently been one of the best tackles in football since he was drafted in 2013, earning an overall grade above 75.0 every year except for his rookie campaign. While he’s graded better as a pass-blocker over his career, he’s not a liability in the run game by any means. If Armstead does get to test the open market, a dozen teams should be lining up to make him an offer.

Strengths:
– Elite in pass protection
– Scheme-diverse run-blocker
– Explosive athlete

Weaknesses:
– Injury history

Scheme Fit/Role:
HIGH-END STARTING LEFT TACKLE: There aren't many weaknesses to Armstead's game. He's one of the position's best pass-protectors and rarely loses in the run game across both gap and zone run concepts. There are plenty of teams with cap space next offseason — such as Jacksonville and Miami — that could make use of Armstead's services if the Saints opt against bringing him back. Slotting in next to Quenton Nelson in Indianapolis would be the most intriguing potential landing spot for the 30-year-old.

Recent Injury History:
Armstead played over 750 offensive snaps just twice in the first six seasons of his career due to a litany of injuries, but he had been healthier of late heading into 2021. Armstead missed nine games in 2021 with elbow and knee injuries.

Contract Projection: Three years, $57.75 million ($19.25M per year, $43.75 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
We recently saw an elite tackle on the wrong side of 30 with injury concerns step into San Francisco's offense and become the most valuable tackle in football. Armstead may not quite be Trent Williams, but he's one of the best all-around tackles in the league and would make almost any offense better.


3. WR Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Godwin and the Buccaneers were unable to come to an agreement on a multi-year deal after he was franchise-tagged last offseason, but that very well may work out in Godwin’s favor. A far more robust free-agent market is certain for the 2021 offseason, given the salary cap will resume growing instead of shrinking, and Godwin has been much healthier thus far in 2021.

Godwin has 82 receptions through Week 13, already besting his 2020 mark and challenging his previous career high (86). The drop issues that plagued him during the Buccaneers' 2020 Super Bowl run appear to be no more, as his hand is now healthy and he’s once again operating as one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets in a high-powered passing attack.

Strengths:
-Hands
-Contested catches
-Versatility

Weaknesses:
-Consistency
-Press-Man Coverage
-Injuries

Scheme Fit/Role:
Z-RECEIVER: Godwin is at his best destroying zone coverages from any alignment. He struggles a little more (though only relatively) when he has to face press-man coverage, and that probably keeps him away from a true No. 1 role in an offense. He would be a perfect complement to an established elite wideout in a team like Arizona or Washington.

Recent Injury History:
Godwin fractured a finger in 2020 causing him to miss one game, but he's most notably suffered multiple hamstring strains in his career. His 2021 season came to an end in Week 15 due to a torn ACL and MCL, and he is expected to make a full recovery.

Contract Projection: Four years, $70 million ($17.5M per year, $36.5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Godwin is an intriguing receiver who has shown the ability to dominate at times and had huge success in a variety of roles but may lack elite ability against good press-man coverage. He is the perfect complementary receiver to an offense that already has that star X-receiver, or he could be an elite starter in an offense that splits the receiver roles more evenly, but may not have the ceiling as an elite split end.

4. EDGE Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals

Chandler Jones missed three-quarters of the 2020 NFL season with a biceps injury but didn’t miss a beat in his return with a seven-pressure, five-sack Week 1 outing in a resounding 38-13 win over the Tennessee Titans on the road. Through Week 13, Jones’ 89.4 pass-rush grade ranks tied for fifth among edge rushers and his 12 quarterback hits are tied for fourth. He’ll be looking for a strong contract entering his age-32 season. 

Strengths:
-Length and hand usage as a pass-rusher
-Pass-rush repertoire
-Converting pressures to sacks

Weaknesses:
-Missed tackles
-Taking on blocks

Scheme Fit/Role:
THREE-DOWN EDGE: Jones has been an effective three-down player since entering the league in 2012, as he can hold up against the run and rush the passer at a high level. He has dabbled inside playing over the guard at times throughout his career, but Jones is at his best as a true edge in either a 4-3 or a 3-4 base system.

Recent Injury History:
Jones had been one of the most durable defensive linemen in the NFL until a biceps injury ended his 2020 season after only five games. Prior to that, Jones had played at least 750 snaps in every year of his career from 2012 to 2019 including three seasons of over 1,000 snaps.

Contract Projection: Two years, $33.5 million ($16.75M per year, $24 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
The 2019 season saw Jones go from solid to elite as a pass-rusher, and he's maintained that status ever since. He attacks tackles with a full array of pass-rush moves and he's an effective run defender, though he's taken a step back in that department over the past two years.


5. EDGE Von Miller, Los Angeles Rams

The projection here is driven by something we’ve seen across almost a dozen recent trades — players signing strong contracts after being acquired via an expensive draft pick trade. Von Miller may not be what he was at his peak, but he’s not too far off, as his 85.9 overall grade through Week 13 of the 2021 season ranks sixth among edge rushers.

The Rams sent the Broncos second- and third-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft for half a season of Miller’s services, but there was more to it than that. Denver agreed to retain around $9 million in salary to facilitate the deal, and this boosted the required draft capital return as a result. Nevertheless, the Rams gave up a lot to add another future Hall-of-Famer to their defensive line and may be inclined to do what it takes to keep them together for a few more years.

Strengths:
– Elite athlete
– Variety of ways to win as a pass-rusher
– Disciplined run defender

Weaknesses:
– Recent injury history
– Age

Scheme Fit/Role:
THREE-DOWN EDGE: Miller has played just four snaps with his hand in the dirt since 2018, likely limiting the list of prospective teams to defenses that would allow him to rush out wide from a two-point stance. The Los Angeles Rams are the leaders in the clubhouse to extend him after the trade, but a cross-city move to the Chargers to join forces with Brandon Staley and Joey Bosa is another situation to monitor.

Recent Injury History:
The veteran edge dislocated a peroneal tendon in his ankle last September that kept him off the field for the 2020 NFL season. He missed some time with an ankle injury this season but has looked healthy for the most part in his 2021 return. 

Contract Projection: Two years, $34 million ($17M per year, $25.25 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
There are some reasons to be concerned about decline from Miller, given his age and recent ankle injuries, but he's still performing at an extremely high level. There aren't many defensive fronts that wouldn't improve.

PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.

6. CB J.C. Jackson, New England Patriots

J.C. Jackson is playing in 2021 on the second-round restricted free agent tender at a value of $3.384 million. However, former Patriots cornerback and 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, who has since been traded to the Carolina Panthers, was also looking for new money headed into 2021. If Carlton Davis does get franchise tagged, Jackson could become the top man coverage corner available after a full season serving as the No. 1 with Gilmore never playing for the Patriots.

Strengths:
– Receiver-like ball skills
– Experience traveling in man
– Very rarely gets beat deep

Weaknesses:
– Hasn't been nearly as effective in zone
– Closing on intermediate routes

Scheme Fit/Role:
OUTSIDE CB IN MAN-HEAVY SCHEME: Jackson was the second fiddle to Stephon Gilmore in New England for much of his career, but he's still handled his fair share of tough, man-coverage assignments in Bill Belichick's defense. He's been one of the position's best playmakers in that role, rarely squandering an interception opportunity. Dallas and New Orleans stand out as potential non-Patriots landing spots if they're able to make things work financially.

Recent Injury History:
Jackson hasn't missed significant time with injury since being drafted in 2018. He drew several questionable tags in 2020 with knee and hip injuries, but those proved to be minor.

Contract Projection: Four years, $72 million ($18M per year, $56 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Throwing at Jackson has resulted in one of the lowest passer ratings in the league since 2018 due to a combination of rarely getting beat downfield and his ability to produce turnovers. He has the man-coverage skill set that teams covet at the position.


7. WR Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers

Williams picked a great season to finally break out and become a consistent player, with his 55 receptions through Week 13 already eclipsing his full-season career-high of 49. Still, after a blazing start during the first three weeks of the season — a span in which Williams ranked fifth in receptions (22), sixth in receiving yards (295) and second in explosive plays (eight) — he has fallen back down to earth a bit.

He has dropped seven balls on the year and gone over 100 yards just once since Week 5. Williams’ tantalizing physical abilities that led to him being drafted No. 7 overall will always keep teams interested, but how much they’re willing to invest long-term may be a tougher decision.

Strengths:
-The vertical route tree
-Size
-Contested catches

Weaknesses:
-Injury history
-Underneath pass patterns
-Quickness

Scheme Fit/Role:
DEEP THREAT & RED-ZONE TARGET: Mike Williams has intimidating size and leaping ability that has made him a specialist deep down the field and in the red zone. He lacks the short-area quickness to be a complete receiver but is an excellent complementary piece when healthy. He could be a fit for a team like Philadelphia that doesn't currently have that skill set, or Washington who needs a legitimate No. 2 opposite Terry McLaurin.

Recent Injury History:
Williams has a fairly extensive injury history in the NFL, though they typically haven't caused him to miss much time. His playing style tends to be pretty attritional and may cause him to play banged up pretty consistently.

Contract Projection: Four years, $68 million ($17M per year, $38 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Williams is showing that he can be an elite big-play threat within an offense. A player who may not have a complete skill set, he nevertheless would feature well in most offenses in the league.


8. S Marcus Williams, New Orleans Saints

Williams has been the one continuous thread in a secondary that has experienced some changes over the years, and perhaps we’re now at the point where we need to give him some more credit for keeping everything in front of him on the backend. The Saints have prioritized free-agent spending and drafting in the secondary, so we’re not suggesting Williams is playing in a weak group, but he has graded above 70.0 for five years in a row now as the free safety manning the deep third of the field. He’ll still be just 26 years old in Week 1 of 2022 after playing on the franchise tag and should have offers to become one of the highest-paid safeties in the NFL.

Strengths:
-Consistency
-Performs well in all facets

Weaknesses:
-Can struggle for physicality
-Inconsistent matched up in man coverage

Scheme Fit/Role:
VERSATILE FS: Marcus Williams has been a consistently impressive player for the Saints in his NFL career. He has been the team's free safety and is excellent in zones at all levels of the coverage. He would be a good starting safety in any scheme but fits best in a defense that plays with two high safeties, such as Atlanta's or Houston's.

Recent Injury History:
Williams has been remarkably injury-free in his NFL career and has little concern in that area.

Contract Projection: Four years, $64.5 million ($16.125M per year, $35 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Williams was excellent as a rookie before being the player embarrassed on the “Minneapolis Miracle” play by the Vikings. Since then, he has continued to excel and would be a good starting free safety for much of the NFL.


9. T Orlando Brown Jr., Kansas City Chiefs

Brown was traded for a first-round pick this year and now gets to exert that leverage over the acquiring club, the Kansas City Chiefs, for a very strong contract extension. Brown was granted his request to depart from the Baltimore Ravens so that he could start full-time at left tackle. He’s done just that so far in a polar opposite offensive system, protecting quarterback Patrick Mahomes as opposed to Lamar Jackson. Brown is grading above 70.0 as a pass-blocker and a run-blocker while adjusting to a dropback passing attack and starting alongside an entirely new offensive line unit. The Chiefs probably feel comfortable about their trade decision and will now pay up accordingly.

Strengths:
-Length
-Engulfs second-level defenders

Weaknesses:
-Rarely loses in the run game
-Speed rushers

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING TACKLE: Brown is one of the most dependable tackles in the NFL and he annually ranks among the best at avoiding missed blocks in the run game. He uses his length well as a pass-blocker, though he's not as dominant as you'd expect as a run-blocker, given his massive size.

Recent Injury History:
Since taking over as a starter in Week 7 of his rookie season in 2018, Brown has not missed a game, and he played over 1,100 snaps in each of the past two seasons.

Contract Projection: Five years, $105 million ($21M per year, $73.5 million total guaranteed)

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10. WR Allen Robinson II, Chicago Bears

Robinson has endured a disastrous 2021 season as he once again tries to produce in a passing offense that ranks dead last in yards per game. Robinson has seen just 50 targets through Week 13 after commanding 113 targets through Week 13 of 2020. While the lion’s share of the blame can be placed on the Bears' offense in general, Robinson is sporting the worst overall grade of his career thus far (67.6). It’s entirely possible the focus is on staying healthy and getting ready for 2022 and beyond outside of Chicago. It’d be hard to blame him if that's the case.

Strengths:
-Contested catches
-Body control
-Hands

Weaknesses:
-His quarterbacks
-Speed

Scheme Fit/Role:
NO. 1 WR: Allen Robinson has a history of balling out despite awful quarterbacks throwing him the football dating back to high school. He isn't the fastest receiver in the game, but he is good at everything else and can defeat press coverage and beat elite cover corners. He won't be coming off his best year but is still a No. 1 option. Teams such as Jacksonville, Philadelphia and Cleveland could all use him for that spot.

Recent Injury History:
Robinson has had several injuries in the NFL, with his most recent one of significance being December 2020. His most severe injury was a torn ACL in 2017.

Contract Projection: Three years, $48 million ($16M per year, $30 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Robinson's true ceiling is still something of an unknown because he has literally never experienced elite quarterback play. And yet, he has still consistently performed as a top-10 receiver.


11. S Jessie Bates III, Cincinnati Bengals

Bates was looking for an extension this past offseason, but the Bengals instead chose to prioritize the player they drafted one round after Bates in 2018 — edge defender Sam Hubbard. The Cincinnati defense has taken a step forward in 2021, with recent free-agent additions such as edge defender Trey Hendrickson and interior defender D.J. Reader wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks and cornerback addition Chidobe Awuzie outperforming the man he replaced in Washington Football Team cornerback William Jackson III. Will Bates get his due from the Bengals, or will he be the latest homegrown player to depart?

Strengths:
-Range in coverage
-Ball skills
-Plays on the ball

Weaknesses:
-Inconsistency
-Tackling

Scheme Fit/Role:
SINGLE-HIGH FS/SPLIT SAFETY: Bates showed in 2020 that he can be an elite center field safety with the range to get to the sideline and make plays on the football. He is an ideal player for the Seattle Cover 1/Cover 3 style of defense, which is becoming increasingly less prevalent. He would also thrive in any system that runs with split safety shells, which makes him an ideal fit for most of the league in some shape or form.

Recent Injury History:
Bates has barely missed a snap in his NFL career and has little to no real injury concerns.

Contract Projection: Franchise tag

Bottom Line:
A year ago, Bates was coming off a career year and looked like the best safety in the game, but it represented a major outlier from the rest of his career and regression hit this season. He is still an impact coverage player at the position who fits in some way in pretty much every scheme in the league.


12. C Ryan Jensen, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The 2021 offseason was a big one for centers, with Los Angeles Chargers center Corey Linsley signing the biggest deal ever at the position. Linsley was quickly surpassed by Detroit Lions center Frank Ragnow’s extension as the market continued its upward trajectory. Jensen’s situation is pretty similar to Linsley: Stay with a future Hall of Fame quarterback or take the most money possible elsewhere?

Strengths:
– Finishing and maintaining blocks
– Blocking in space

Weaknesses:
– Can be overaggressive
– Snap accuracy

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING CENTER: Jensen's best fit is on a downhill rushing offense that takes advantage of his physicality, but he's graded above the 70th-percentile of all centers in gap and zone run schemes over the past three seasons. A return to Tampa Bay makes sense for both sides, given the team's Super Bowl aspirations and Jensen's fit in that scheme.

Recent Injury History:
Jensen has been one of the most durable centers in the league since he signed with Tampa Bay prior to the 2018 season. He hasn't missed a start for the Buccaneers, notching over 4,000 offensive snaps for the team over that stretch.

Contract Projection: Three years, $30 million ($10M per year, $15 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Jensen became a fan favorite in Baltimore and Tampa Bay because of his attitude and well-rounded game that can be plugged into most NFL offenses. The biggest concern for potential suitors would be that he's now on the other side of 30 at a position that takes a beating in the trenches, especially given the way that he plays it.


Dive into PFF Premium Stats to see all grades and advanced metrics from Jadeveon Clowney's 2021 season and NFL career.

13. EDGE Jadeveon Clowney, Cleveland Browns

At the halfway point of the NFL season, Jadeveon Clowney ranked ninth in total pressures among edge rushers (32). His positive sack regression finally hit, with his five sacks through Week 7 being more than he had in 2019 and 2020 combined. He has been held without a sack since then, though. Perhaps a team will be more willing to give Clowney a strong multi-year deal if he can turn it up at the tail end of the season. For now, he seems to be enjoying the eight-figure mercenary approach, and who can blame him?

Strengths:
-Explosiveness and powerful
-Equally effective rushing the passer on the edge or on the interior

Weaknesses:
-Never dominated as a pass-rusher
-Missed tackles/finishing plays

Scheme Fit/Role:
3-DOWN EDGE: Clowney is one of the better run defenders in the league and he has the speed and power to move around the defensive line to create mismatches in pass-rushing situations. He's a No. 2 pass-rusher and should not be relied upon as a No. 1 option.

Recent Injury History:
Injuries have been an issue for Clowney for the majority of his career. He missed three games in 2019, played just 425 snaps due to season-ending knee surgery in 2020 and has battled several lower-body injuries in 2021.

Contract Projection: One year, $15 million, $12 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Clowney's sack totals have fluctuated in recent years, but his snap-for-snap production has been very consistent. He's a good, not great pass-rusher and a block-destructing run defender who fits best as the No. 2 pass-rusher on a good defensive line.


14. EDGE Randy Gregory, Dallas Cowboys

Gregory has finally reached unrestricted free agent status after getting drafted No. 60 overall in 2015 and making an impressive return to full-time football action over the last two seasons. His 90.7 pass-rush grade through Week 13 of the 2021 season ranks third among edge rushers, and his 17.3% pressure percentage ranks sixth among edge rushers with at least 100 pass-rush snaps. The big question may be whether Dallas is able to retain a player who has developed into a premier pass-rusher while also paying edge defender Demarcus Lawrence top-five money at the position. If Gregory does reach free agency, there may be a long line of teams vying for his services.

Strengths:
-Explosiveness
-Full arsenal as pass-rusher

Weaknesses:
-Run game
-Off-field suspensions

Scheme Fit/Role:
PASS-RUSHING EDGE: While Gregory has shown improvement in the run game, he's at his best on passing downs where he can use his burst and array of pass-rush moves to affect the quarterback.

Recent Injury History:
Gregory has battled various injuries since returning in 2020 from a suspension. A knee ailment kept him on the injury report for a chunk of 2021, and he was placed on IR with a calf injury, as well.

Contract Projection: Two years, $25 million ($12.5M per year, $15 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
It took several years of setbacks, but Gregory has shown the pass-rushing ability that made him a high-end prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft. He is at his best as a designated pass-rusher rushing off the edge.


15. CB Stephon Gilmore, Carolina Panthers

After the contentious standoff between the New England Patriots and star cornerback Stephon Gilmore ultimately culminated in his placement on the physically unable to perform list to start the season, Gilmore was unceremoniously traded to the Panthers for a 2023 sixth-round pick. While the late future draft pick isn’t a substantial sunk cost that puts pressure on the Panthers to get an extension with the Carolina-native, they are paying Gilmore around $6 million for the remainder of the 2021 season. A player-friendly structure on a modest, short-term deal makes sense for both parties, and Gilmore can help Panthers No. 8 overall pick Jaycee Horn develop into the lockdown player Carolina foresaw when drafting him.

Strengths:
-Man coverage
-Ball skills
-Size/speed

Weaknesses:
-Off/zone coverage
-Age

Scheme Fit/Role:
OUTSIDE CB IN MAN-HEAVY SCHEME: Gilmore made the Patriots' defense tick from 2017 to 2019, as he played lockdown man coverage better than any corner in the league. He's at his best playing press man, where he can cover the league's best receivers, but he comes back down to Earth when asked to play more zone concepts.

Recent Injury History:
After playing every game in 2018 and 2019, Gilmore was limited to just 11 games and 632 snaps in 2020 due to knee and hand injuries. He missed the first seven weeks of the 2021 season due to a quad injury.

Contract Projection: Two years, $28 million ($14M per year, $20 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
From 2017 to 2019, Gilmore was the premier cornerback in the league while matching up against the NFL's best receivers in New England's man-coverage system. Scheme fit and his age are the big question marks moving forward.

PFF’s WR/CB Matchup Chart is a fantasy football tool that you can use to help you set the best lineups. You can toggle between showing the Matchup Advantage column against all projected coverage or the individual defenders.

16. CB Carlton Davis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Carlton Davis is one of very few good, young cornerbacks set to hit the free agent market and among an even shorter list of cornerbacks with the ability to play man coverage and battle head-to-head with an opposing team's No. 1 wide receiver. This more rare skill set always has a higher earning potential on the open market, but a franchise tag here for around $17 million-$17.5 million might be the most likely outcome.

Tampa Bay went the franchise tag route with wide receiver Chris Godwin this past offseason, and they may elect to go that route once more as Davis has missed some time to injury just like Godwin did in 2020.

Strengths:
-Reading routes and passing concepts
-Physicality
-Contesting targets

Weaknesses:
-Penalties (often too physical)
-Consistency

Scheme Fit/Role:
No. 1 CB: Carlton Davis has the size and physical profile of a cornerback who excels at man coverage, but he actually has pretty stark splits between man and zone in the NFL, with significantly worse production when playing man coverage. Davis has great physicality and the ability to break on the ball, and teams with weaknesses at corner should be all over him, putting the likes of the Cardinals, Seahawks, Jets and 49ers firmly in the mix.

Recent Injury History:
Davis suffered a quad injury that shut him down and landed him on IR in early October. He has otherwise been pretty injury-free.

Contract Projection: Franchise tag

Bottom Line:
Carlton Davis is a talented No. 1 corner in pretty much any scheme. He has the profile of a corner that should excel in man coverage, but he has actually been better in zone shells throughout his NFL career. He would be a fit for most cornerback needy teams.


17. S Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City Chiefs

When Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith signed his four-year, $64 million extension shortly before the 2021 season, the deal had to have gotten the attention of veteran safeties league-wide. The Smith deal is one of the strongest contracts for a player in recent memory, with the signing keeping him under contract through his age-36 season. Mathieu is several years younger than Smith, and if he can lead the Kansas City Chiefs defense to a much stronger second half of the season than the first, the versatile defensive back may be able to cash in once more.

Strengths:
– Instincts in coverage
– Versatility

Weaknesses:
– Size
– Can get caught out of position looking to make a play

Scheme Fit/Role:
DO-IT-ALL SAFETY: Mathieu frequently finds himself on “most versatile” lists, and his snap distribution backs those claims up. Since joining Kansas City in 2019, Mathieu has played over 600 snaps in deep, box and slot alignments. The Ravens reportedly had interest in Mathieu back in 2019 and could use his playmaking ability at safety.

Recent Injury History:
Mathieu had two ACL tears and a shoulder injury that led to missed time early in his career, but he has rarely left the field in recent years. He has averaged over 1,000 defensive snaps per year over last five years.

Contract Projection: Three years, $48.75 million ($16.25M per year, $30.75 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Mathieu brings leadership, energy and the ability to make plays from multiple positions to any defense he's on.


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18. DI Akiem Hicks, Chicago Bears

Akiem Hicks was yet another established veteran seeking a well-deserved contract extension prior to the 2021 season, with his agent Drew Rosenhaus going so far as to spend a few days at Bears training camp in an effort to get something done. Nevertheless, no agreement was reached, and Hicks has now battled a nagging groin injury in his contract year. He’s still maintained his very high floor of play with grades above 60.0 in every facet, and any team looking for a veteran leader can look no further.

Strengths:
-Power. Incredible pop in his hands
-Bullrush
-Blowing up the downhill run game

Weaknesses:
-Pass-rush variety
-Playing against outside run game

Scheme Fit/Role:
POWER 3/5-TECHNIQUE: Hicks has been one of the better run defenders in the league over the last few years, especially when lined up over the guard or tackle. He has not been nearly as effective during his limited time playing nose tackle.

Recent Injury History:
Hicks was limited to just five games and 191 snaps in 2019 due to multiple arm injuries. He's battled injuries in 2021, though he played over 800 snaps in each season in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020.

Contract Projection: Two years, $17 million ($8.5M per year, $12.5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
We're a few years removed from Hicks' elite 2018 season that saw him rank fourth among interior defensive linemen in overall grade (91.7). He has otherwise been an above-average run defender and pass-rusher, though we've seen some decline in his game as he gets into his 30s.


19. G Brandon ScherffWashington Football Team

Scherff is playing on his second consecutive franchise tag at a value of $18.036 million, rounding his three-year earnings to $45,591,000. He’s already top-15 among guards in career earnings, and he’s never signed a multi-year veteran contract. The veteran guard missed some time this year but is in the middle of another season with an overall grade above 70.0, with solid grades in both run and pass blocking. Injuries have kept Scherff sidelined from time to time, but he has talent that cannot be taught.

Strengths:
– Reliable in pass protection
– Zone blocking

Weaknesses:
– Durability
– Hasn't been as dominant in gap schemes in recent years

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING GUARD: Scherff is one of the best all-around guards in football when healthy. He has graded out better the past several seasons in zone rushing schemes, where his ability on the move shines. He would be a nice addition to the Jets' young, rebuilding offensive line opposite Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker.

Recent Injury History:
The MCL sprain that sidelined Scherff for multiple weeks in 2021 is the latest in a growing list of injuries that have limited him throughout his career. Scherff has missed two games in each of the last five seasons.

Contract Projection: Three years, $50 million ($16.67 million per year, $30 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
A healthy Scherff is the best interior offensive lineman scheduled to hit free agency this offseason, but it's difficult to bank on Scherff staying healthy through an entire NFL season.


20. CB Darious Williams, Los Angeles Rams

Darious Williams was the only restricted free agent to receive the first-round tender last offseason at a value of $4.766 million, signaling how much the Rams value his contributions. The move may also demonstrate their perception of how Williams is regarded league-wide if they thought a second-round tender would not have been enough to keep another club from signing him to an offer sheet. A very solid player opposite Jalen Ramsey, Williams has thrived in a heavy zone scheme but has physical limitations at just 5-foot-9. Nevertheless, opposing quarterbacks rarely fare well throwing into his coverage, and he deserves a payday.

Strengths:
-Ball Skills
-Quickness
-Ability to mirror and change of direction speed

Weaknesses:
-Size
-Protected role within Rams defense
-Run defense

Scheme Fit/Role:
NO. 2 CB: Dating back to college, Williams really doesn't have any bad tape to speak of. With the Rams, the only question is that Jalen Ramsey has enabled him to lead a sheltered life as a No. 2 corner that hasn't had the tough assignments that can cause problems to smaller corners. He is not scheme-specific and fits as a No. 2 in any defense.

Recent Injury History:
Williams suffered an ankle injury in Week 5 that landed him on IR.

Contract Projection: Three years, $40M ($13.33M per year, $22.5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Darious Williams has elite quickness, movement skills and the ability to find and break up the football once it's in the air. He can play equally well in man or zone coverage but has always been protected by his role within the Rams defense.


21. TE Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

Gesicki will have one of the more interesting free-agent situations of any player in the NFL this offseason as he attempts to make the infamous Jimmy Graham argument that he should be considered a wide receiver for franchise tag purposes and not a tight end. Gesicki has played 94% of his snaps lined up in the slot or out wide as a receiver and is rarely ever in-line as a tight end. The wide receiver franchise tag is projected to be around $19 million, while the tight end franchise tag projects to be almost half of that — around $10 million-$11 million. It’s no small distinction.

Strengths:
-Speed/athleticism
-Ball skills/contested catches
-Hands

Weaknesses:
-Blocking
-Separating vs. single coverage

Scheme Fit/Role:
TIGHT END IN PASS-HEAVY ATTACK: Gesicki doesn't have the blocking chops to play in-line all that often, but he's at his best using his athleticism to add value to the passing game all over the formation.

Recent Injury History:
Gesicki has missed just one game in his four-year career, sitting out Week 15 of 2020 due to a shoulder injury.

Contract Projection: Four years, $55 million ($13.75M per year, $30 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
It was a slow start to Gesicki's career, but he's emerged as one of the better tight ends in the league. He's done most of his work in the slot or out wide, and that's where he's at his best, so teams looking for a true in-line tight end need not apply.

22. EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah, Miami Dolphins

Emmanuel Ogbah has finally blossomed into a solid defensive end after a few years of bouncing around rosters. The Cleveland Browns made Ogbah the first pick of the second round in the 2016 NFL Draft and subsequently traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs for a fourth-round pick and safety Eric Murray before the 2019 season. Now in his second season with the Dolphins, Ogbah has a career-best 79.9 overall grade through Week 13 to go along with a 71.0 pass-rush grade — which would be his first above 65.0.

Strengths:
-Block recognition in the run game
-Can rush the passer from inside and on the edge

Weaknesses:
-Taking on double teams when lined up inside
-Dominant wins on the edge

Scheme Fit/Role:
SOLID STARTER ON THE EDGE: Ogbah has never ranked higher than 40th among edge defenders, but he's on pace to have the best year of his career in 2021. He's a low-end starter who can win on the edge or on the interior as a pass-rusher.

Recent Injury History:
Ogbah's 2019 season was cut short after 410 snaps due to a pectoral injury, but he bounced back to play 792 snaps across all 16 games in 2020.

Contract Projection: Three years, $46.5 million ($15.5M per year, $30 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
An average edge defender for the first five years of his career, Ogbah is trending in the right direction, and he's effective against the run and rushing the passer from multiple alignments. His career production projects him as a low-end starter or high-end rotational defensive lineman.


23. TE Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

Schultz has taken full advantage of the absence of Blake Jarwin‘s absence within the Cowboys' offense and has made a name for himself. He has at least five receptions in seven of his 12 games thus far in 2021, with his 77.4 overall grade ranking sixth-best among tight ends. The former fourth-round pick out of Stanford seemed like a limited athlete with all the intangibles that typically come with a Cardinal tight end, but he’s blossoming into a solid all-around player at the position.

Strengths:
-Run blocking
-Short/Intermediate routes

Weaknesses:
-One year of good production
-Deep routes

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING TIGHT END ON TEAM WITH GOOD WEAPONS: Schultz has produced in a Dallas system that has multiple playmakers who keep the defense honest and that's his best bet for future receiving production. He's a good blocker, so he can provide value in that area, and he can work the middle of the field at the short and intermediate levels.

Recent Injury History:
After playing a more limited role in 2018 and 2019, Schultz has played in every game for the Cowboys since the start of the 2020 season, including the third-most snaps by a tight end with 973 in 2020.

Contract Projection: Four years, $45 million ($11.25M per year), $25.25 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Schultz was a backup until 2020 and he didn't break out until 2021 where he's been one of the better all-around tight ends in the league. He's a mid-tier starter who has shown that he can be a dependable receiver and run-blockers.


24. EDGE Melvin Ingram III, Kansas City Chiefs

Ingram requested a midseason trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers after signing a one-year, $4 million deal in a dead market this past offseason. He has provided a boost to a Kansas City defense that was struggling mightily, tallying eight quarterback pressures in his first three games. Perhaps most importantly, his arrival has helped the Chiefs get Chris Jones back on the interior, where he thrives as a pass-rusher.

While Ingram is on the wrong side of 30, he’s continuing a streak of 70.0-plus pass-rushing grades that dates back to 2013. There will always be a market for chasing down opposing quarterbacks, and he deserves a pay raise after proving he can stay healthy for a full season and still produce at a high level.

Strengths:
– Power
– Hand usage
– Pass-rush production

Weaknesses:
– Durability
– Age

Scheme Fit/Role:
NO. 2 OR NO. 3 PASS-RUSHER: Ingram is still an effective all-around player, but he's likely best as part of a rotation at this point in his career. He can play the run on the edge or rush from any alignment.

Recent Injury History:
Ingram has missed time in each of the past three seasons due to hamstring, knee and groin injuries. He had played over 1,000 snaps in 2015, 2016 and 2018, but that durability has taken a hit since 2019.

Contract Projection: One year, $8 million ($6.5M fully guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Injuries have started piling up for Ingram, but his power and technique make him effective both against the run and as a pass-rusher. He may not be an 800-plus snap player any longer, but he has plenty to offer in a complementary role.


25. CB Casey Hayward Jr., Las Vegas Raiders

Casey Hayward Jr. was a cap casualty of the Los Angeles Chargers last offseason after earning the lowest grade of his career by a wide margin — 59.5 overall after zero prior grades below 70.0. Not much of a market developed for the 32-year-old, and he eventually signed a one-year, $2.5 million flier with the Raiders and former Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. All Hayward Jr. has done this year is regain his form with a 72.8 coverage grade through Week 12. He thrives playing zone coverage in a predominantly Cover 3 system, but there are a lot of defenses running such a scheme, so he should be playing his way into a better deal for next year.

Strengths:
– Instincts in zone
– Click and close

Weaknesses:
– Limited schematically
– Age

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING CORNERBACK IN ZONE-HEAVY SCHEME: Hayward has operated in the heaviest Cover 3 defense in the league under Gus Bradley since 2017. It makes sense for Hayward to remain in a similar defensive environment in 2021, whether that's Las Vegas again or another Cover 3-heavy scheme like Seattle or Pittsburgh.

Recent Injury History:
Hayward has only missed one game due to injury since he joined the Chargers back in 2016. That was the 2020 season finale after being placed on IR with a hamstring injury.

Contract Projection: One year, $6.5 million fully guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Hayward has shown that he still has something left in the tank this season for Las Vegas, grading out as one of the best cornerbacks in football. The cliff is nearing as Hayward pushes into his 30s, but he should still be able to provide quality starting play for a zone-heavy defense in 2022.

PFF's Player Props Tool utilizes fantasy football projections to reveal betting opportunities within player prop markets.

26. G Laken Tomlinson, San Francisco 49ers

Tomlinson has picked up where he left off in 2020, earning a second consecutive grade above 70.0. He has yet to allow a sack through Week 13 of the 2021 season. Tomlinson has surrendered a quarterback pressure on just 3.8% of pass-rush snaps, the 16th-best mark among guards with at least 200 snaps on the season. The former first-round pick of the Detroit Lions in 2015 may be in for a bigger deal this time around than his early extension signed in 2018 for three years, $16.5 million.

Strengths:
-Value-add in run game, one of highest percentages of positively graded run blocks
-Zone blocking

Weaknesses:
-Pass blocking on true pass sets
-Locking onto targets on the move

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING GUARD: Tomlinson has developed into one of the best guards in the league under Kyle Shanahan, so a zone-heavy system is best for him to ensure continued high production. However, Tomlinson has done it all throughout his career and he can play in any scheme.

Recent Injury History:
Since 2017, Tomlinson has played at least 1,000 snaps in every season. He tore an MCL toward the end of 2018 but recovered in time to play every game in 2019.

Contract Projection: Three years, $27 million ($9M per year, $16.5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
After a slow start to his career, Tomlinson developed into a high-end starter and his most recent work ranks him among the league's best guards. He's a valuable asset in the run game and a strong pass protector who has plenty of good football left as a starting guard.


27. LB De'Vondre Campbell, Green Bay Packers

Campbell could well be the best value free-agent signing of the offseason. After long searching for a reliable off-ball linebacker, the Packers brought him aboard on a one-year, $2 million contract this offseason, and his 81.2 overall grade is second among linebackers through Week 13. Campbell’s 86.4 tackling grade is his fifth straight mark above 75.0, and that sure tackling goes a long way in Green Bay. He’s earned himself a nice raise — it's just a matter of how nice it will be.

Strengths:
– Durability
– Tackling
– Downhill play vs. run

Weaknesses:
– One-year wonder
– Can get caught out of position in coverage

Scheme Fit/Role:
THREE-DOWN LINEBACKER: Campbell has played at least 850 regular season defensive snaps in every season since his rookie year in 2016. He rarely comes off the field, and there's been no reason for Green Bay to do so given his play in all phases. Campbell could be another piece for the Rams' all-in approach on defense if the Packers opt not to bring him back.

Recent Injury History:
Campbell ranks among the top-10 off-ball linebackers in the league in defensive snaps played since he was drafted in 2016. He hasn't missed significant action in his six-year career.

Contract Projection: Two years, $13 million ($6.5M per year, $8 million total guaranteed) 

Bottom Line:
The hope for whatever teams sign Campbell is that he follows the Demario Davis career arc with his best football yet to come as he pushes towards 30 years old. He's a difficult evaluation with All-Pro-caliber play in 2021 following five seasons with a PFF grade below 70.0 to start his career.


28. WR Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys

Gallup’s contract year got off to a bit of a shaky start, as he sustained an injury in Week 1 that kept him sidelined through Week 9. He has caught five passes in each of his past three games, though. He will have to make the most of the second half of the season to boost his value back up, but his durability shouldn’t be much of a question — his length absence marked the first time in his career he’s missed significant time.

The larger question may be if Gallup benefits from playing with quarterback Dak Prescott and alongside Amari Cooper in one of the league’s premier passing attacks, but Gallup is a productive outside wide receiver who will be coveted come March.

Strengths:
-Route running and pacing
-Footwork
-Separation

Weaknesses:
-Average drop rate
-Bouts of inconsistency
-Average physical gifts

Scheme Fit/Role:
SCHEME-DIVERSE NO. 2 RECEIVER: Gallup can actually play as an X receiver as well as the Z, defeating press coverage and aggressive man coverage from cornerbacks with his footwork, hands and route running. He is a good secondary option but can work in either of those spots on an offense. Teams like Washington or New England would make a lot of sense for his services. Jacksonville always needs receiver help but would need more than just Gallup.

Recent Injury History:
Gallup missed significant time with a calf strain this season that saw him land on IR and opened up the door for Cedrick Wilson to eat into his playing time even when he returns. He has had some minor injuries in the past.

Contract Projection: Four years, $55 million ($13.75M per year, $32.5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Gallup is a really intriguing receiver who is capable of doing a lot and even generating yards and catches against elite corners like Jalen Ramsey. He may not have the ceiling, consistency or elite athleticism of the best receivers in the game, but he would make a fantastic complementary piece to an offense that already has one.


29. WR Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Even at 33 years old and after missing time here and there, Brown is still one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Through five contests to start the season, he put together three outings with at least 90 receiving yards and a touchdown, and his 86.3 receiving grade ranked fourth among wide receivers. Brown is currently serving a suspension for misrepresenting his COVID-19 vaccine card. There should still be a handful of suitors for his services once again this offseason, as he represents one of the best values in the NFL each year.

Strengths:
-Route-running nuance
-Ball skills
-Setting up defenders

Weaknesses:
-History of behavioral issues
-Age

Scheme Fit/Role:
SCHEME-DIVERSE UTILITY RECEIVERS: Brown works in any scheme and in any position. He would be best suited to a scheme that taps into that versatility and already moves their receivers around and interchanges roles. Tampa Bay remains his best fit and perhaps most likely option to re-sign, but New Orleans would also be an intriguing option.

Recent Injury History:
Since arriving in Tampa Bay, Antonio Brown had been pretty healthy until an ankle injury put him out in Week 6 and continues to linger. Brown has been remarkably durable for a smaller receiver throughout his career.

Contract Projection: One year, $4 million fully guaranteed

Bottom Line:
At his peak, Antonio Brown was one of the best receivers the game has ever seen before forcing his way out of Pittsburgh and then blowing up subsequent opportunities. He has been a valuable part of the Bucs offense with Tom Brady since arriving and continues to be a receiver who can win at all levels and from all alignments even at 33 years old.


30. DI Calais Campbell, Baltimore Ravens

The ageless wonder Calais Campbell is in the midst of another very strong season now at 35 years of age, with his 86.6 grade well above any of the other pending free agent interior defenders. He’s a better run defender at this stage in his career than he is a pass-rusher, but he can still win his one-on-one matchup and get upfield in a hurry now and then. Much like his former teammate Larry Fitzgerald, Campbell will likely continue to play on strong one-year deals until he decides to hang up the cleats.

Strengths:
-Wins on the interior and on the edge
-Length and quickness

Weaknesses:
-Gets moved by double teams in the run game
-Age

Scheme Fit/Role:
MULTIPLE-GAP INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: Campbell broke out in 2011 and he hasn't looked back, ranking as one of the best defensive linemen in the league. He is at his best playing over the guard, but he's been effective playing the run and rushing the passer from all alignments along the defensive line. Campbell is a scheme-versatile player who upgrades multiple positions in any system.

Recent Injury History:
After playing over 750 snaps in each season from 2009 to 2019, Campbell played just 469 snaps in 2020, as he missed five games due to a calf injury. He's missed Week 12 this season with a concussion. Other than that, he's been one of the most durable players in the NFL.

Contract Projection: One year, $8 million fully guaranteed

Bottom Line:
While Campbell is going to be 36 at the start of the 2022 season, he has enough left in the tank to provide a three-down presence to any defensive front.


31. EDGE Haason Reddick, Carolina Panthers

Reddick has successfully transitioned from off-ball linebacker to edge rusher, so it’s now just a question of how high his ceiling can be. He is a bit undersized as a full-time outside linebacker at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, but he has a knack for bringing the quarterback, and his 22 sacks since 2020 are the fourth-most among edge rushers. Reddick can also set the edge moderately well in run defense and has put up a 68.9 grade through Week 13 of the 2021 season.

Strengths:
– Explosive first step + quickness
– Wins tend to result in big plays
– Speed in pursuit

Weaknesses:
– Size
– Counters after tackles engage

Scheme Fit/Role:
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER IN AGGRESSIVE DEFENSE: Reddick is at his best on blitz-heavy defenses like Carolina's and Arizona's that can create unblocked opportunities and pass-rushing reps against tight ends and running backs. Reddick hasn't matched his 2020 pass-rushing production this year for the Panthers, but he has earned positive grades against the run at one of the highest rates at the position.

Recent Injury History:
Reddick missed the first game of his career since he was drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft on the COVID-19 list late this year. He's played 600-plus defensive snaps for the fourth consecutive season.

Contract Projection: Three years, $35 million ($11.67M per year, $18 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Few edge rushers have sacked opposing quarterbacks at a higher rate than Reddick since the start of the 2020 season. His size limits what he can do schematically, but we've seen that a blitz-heavy defense can make use of his first step and quickness off the edge.


32. T Duane Brown, Seattle Seahawks

Brown was looking for an extension before the 2021 season but had to settle for a reworked contract that moved his cash payment schedule forward entering his age-36 season. Brown is still several years younger than Los Angeles Rams stalwart left tackle Andrew Whitworth, so he will surely point to his situation to continue making decent money well into his 30s. Brown deserves it, as he earned 80.0-plus grades in every facet in 2020 and few signs of his play dramatically falling off in the near future.

Strengths:
-Avoiding negatively graded plays in the run game
-Pass protection
-Moves well in space

Weaknesses:
-Run blocking on gap runs
-Age

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING LEFT TACKLE: While he's at his best in a zone-heavy scheme, Brown has done it all during his 14-year career. He's been one of the most dependable tackles in the league since his rookie season and he's likely entering tackle-for-hire one-year deal status for teams that expect to be in playoff contention.

Recent Injury History:
After playing all 17 games in 2018, Brown missed four games in 2019 between biceps and knee injuries. He bounced back to play over 1,100 snaps once again in 2020.

Contract Projection: Two years, $20 million ($10M per year, $14.5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
We're getting toward the tail end of Brown's stellar career in which he's been one of the best pass protectors in the league. He's shown some signs of decline, but he can be an effective starting option for teams looking for a quick replacement at left tackle.


33. EDGE Harold Landry III, TennesseeTitans

Harold Landry III has one ability that all 32 teams look for: availability. His 2,609 snaps since 2019 are over 250 more than the next-highest edge rusher, and he’s one of just seven edge rushers over the span to crack 2,000 snaps. Los Angeles Rams edge rusher Leonard Floyd is second to Landry with 2,357, and he signed a very respectable four-year, $64 million contract with the Rams this offseason. The two graded similarly over 2019-20, with Floyd slightly outpacing Landry in overall grade (71.0 to 67.3), run-defense grade (72.7 to 71.2) and pass-rush grade (64.1 to 61.8). Being an above-average to good ironman certainly carries value at a spot like edge rusher.

Strengths:
– Durability
– Bend
– Speed

Weaknesses:
– One-dimensional-pass rusher
– Winning one-on-ones

Scheme Fit/Role:
VERSATILE STARTER ON THE EDGE: Landry has a relatively even split of snaps as a defensive end and stand-up outside linebacker in 2021, but he is better suited as a 3-4 outside linebacker who is capable of dropping into coverage. A reunion with former defensive coordinator Dean Pees in Atlanta makes sense as a potential landing spot if Tennessee isn't able to retain Landry.

Recent Injury History:
Landry hasn't missed a start for Tennessee since breaking into a full-time starting role in 2019. It was reported that some teams had medical flags on Landry coming out of Boston College for potential knee and back issues, but those haven't led to missed time in the NFL.

Contract Projection: Four years, $60 million ($15M per year, $32 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
2021 has been a breakout season statistically for Landry as a pass rusher, but no player has benefitted more from cleanup and unblocked pressure opportunities than he has. Landry is a reliable every-down starter, but he's not going to single-handedly change the fortunes of a pass-rushing unit.


34. T Eric Fisher, Indianapolis Colts

Fisher suffered an unfortunate Achilles injury in the 2020 AFC Championship Game and underwent injury on Jan. 29, returning to football action just seven months later in mid-September. The mere fact Fisher was even ready to play by Week 2 of the 2021 season is remarkable, and he’s steadily improved each week protecting Carson Wentz’s blindside as he works his way back to 100% health. Fisher is a former No. 1 overall pick, and while he may not have lived up to those lofty expectations, he’s a very solid NFL left tackle. Fisher signed a one-year, $8.38 million deal at a time when questions remained about his recovery, which illustrates the kind of market he will have this offseason now back in top form.

Strengths:
– Very good athlete
– Blocking on the move
– Consistent in pass pro for most his career

Weaknesses:
– Struggles with power off the edge
– Run blocking in gap scheme

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING LEFT TACKLE: Fisher fits in the mold of average starting tackles that fanbases think they can upgrade over, but the reality of replacing an average tackle isn't always pleasant. Fisher fits best in a zone-blocking scheme.

Recent Injury History:
Fisher got off to a slow start to the season as he made his way back from an Achilles injury that he suffered in the 2020 AFC Championship game. He also missed eight games during the 2019 season following core muscle surgery.

Contract Projection: Three years, $48 million ($16M per year, $31.25 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Fisher understandably had a slow start to the 2021 season as he worked his way back from an Achilles injury, but he's bounced back to his Kansas City form in recent weeks. He's an average starting tackle who will have lowlight moments against power rushers who can get into his chest.


35. TE Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Gronkowski looked even better to start off the 2021 campaign than he did in 2020, perhaps because his post-retirement rust was fully shaken off. He tallied 129 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions through Week 2, though injuries to his ribs and back kept him sidelined until Week 11. Regardless, he is still capable of being “Gronk” when healthy, and as long as Tom Brady keeps thriving in Tampa Bay, we should expect Gronkowski to be right there alongside him.

Strengths:
-Size/catch radius
-Contested-catch ability
-Red-zone weapon

Weaknesses:
-Run blocking tapering off in recent years
-Durability/age

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING TIGHT END: Gronkowski has been the quintessential all-around tight end during his Hall of Fame career, and he still has many of those same characteristics, albeit a step below where he once was. He's one of the few tight ends who can play on the line against defensive ends in the run game but also line up outside and create mismatches as a receiver.

Recent Injury History:
2020 was just the third time Gronkowski played all 16 games of the regular season, as he's been banged up with various injuries throughout his career. He missed time in 2021 due to a rib injury.

Contract Projection: One year, $7 million fully guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Even at the tail end of his career, Gronkowski is a pass-game weapon who can add value as a run blocker. The one limitation for the other 31 teams is if he's only tied to Tom Brady and uninterested in other offers.


36. WR Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles Rams

The Rams' final midseason addition of 2021, Beckham Jr. didn’t take too long to get acclimated to the West Coast. He had had his first 40-plus yard reception since Week 2 of 2020 in just his second game with the team — against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12 — on a beautifully run slant-and-go route. Plays like that are why Beckham Jr. had as many suitors as he did when he was granted his release from the Cleveland Browns, and if he continues to produce as the Rams potentially play deep into the playoffs, a bevy of teams could be lining up again.

Strengths:
– Spectacular ball skills
– Speed and route running

Weaknesses:
– Injuries
– Recent history

Scheme Fit/Role:
NO. 2 RECEIVER: OBJ has elite, No. 1 skills as a receiver, but it has been a long time since we have seen that player for an extended period of time. He has battled through a laundry list of injuries and doesn't seem quite the same explosive athlete he once was. He still possesses a rare blend of ball skills, athleticism and ability to separate and will have suitors trying to uncover the player he once was.

Recent Injury History:
Beckham Jr. dealt with a sprained shoulder throughout 2021 and injured his hip shortly after arriving with the Rams. He has a lengthy injury history over the course of his career.

Contract Projection: One year, $14 million ($12.5M fully guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
OBJ is one of the most talented receivers in the NFL but has been battling injuries for years while enduring constant media attention. There will be teams that want to chase the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but his big-money contract days are going to need to be re-earned with some elite play.


37. EDGE Justin Houston, Baltimore Ravens

After grading below 79.0 just once in eight seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs — his rookie season — Houston signed a two-year, $23 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts in 2019. He debuted with 60 quarterback pressures for the Colts but posted a career-low 64.4 pass-rush grade in 2020. It was the first sub-70.0 mark of his career, and his 32 quarterback pressures were his fewest in a full season since his rookie season in 2011.

The salary cap drop of the 2020 offseason could not have come at a worse time, and Houston eventually agreed to sign with the Baltimore Ravens for less than what several other teams were reportedly offering. His seven quarterback hits halfway through the 2021 season rank tied for ninth among edge rushers. He should be able to bounce back in a better market.

Strengths:
– Hand usage
– Power

Weaknesses:
– Declining speed and explosiveness
– Inconsistent vs. run of late

Scheme Fit/Role:
ROTATIONAL PASS-RUSHER: Houston fits into the cluster of edge defenders in this free-agent class who can still provide value to a defense but are best utilized situationally at this stage of their careers. He has shown in his time with Kansas City, Indianapolis and Baltimore that he can operate both as a 4-3 defensive end and a 3-4 outside linebacker.

Recent Injury History:
Houston missed his first game since the 2018 season back in Week 3 of this year, sitting out while in COVID-19 protocols. He's been relatively healthy since several injuries that led to missed time toward the end of his Chiefs tenure.

Contract Projection: One year, $7 million fully guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Houston has lost some of the juice that helped make him one of the NFL's best all-around edge defenders in Kansas City, but he has shown this season that he remains a technician capable of winning one-on-ones.


38. G Connor Williams, Dallas Cowboys

Williams was a top-50 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and a full-time starter at left guard right out of the gate in Week 1 of his rookie season. He’s gotten better each season, earning career-high marks in pass-blocking (71.4) and run-blocking (71.6) through Week 13 the 2021 season. Williams understandably gets overlooked playing alongside an elite left tackle in Tyron Smith and with the Dallas Cowboys’ other guard, Zack Martin, leading the way in PFF grade among guards since 2020 (94.9). Nevertheless, he’s a solid young player with more room to grow.

Strengths:
-Blocking on the move
-Combo blocks

Weaknesses:
-Blocking players with length/power
-Penalties

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING GUARD: While Williams has done most of his damage in a zone-heavy scheme, he's an effective puller and he's capable of executing any block required in a gap-heavy system as well. In pass protection, he could use help against longer players.

Recent Injury History:
After Williams' 2019 season was cut short due to an ACL, he's bounced back to play in every game in 2020 and 2021.

Contract Projection: Three years, $20 million ($6.67M per year, $12.5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Another offensive lineman who took a couple of years to get going, Williams stepped up his game with a top-20 grade in 2020 and he's continued that success in 2021. He's a better run blocker than he is a pass-blocker, and he's a mid-tier starting option with scheme diversity.


39. EDGE Jerry Hughes, Buffalo Bills

Hughes has become something of a pass-rush specialist to close out his career, with his 89.9 pass-rush grade since 2019 being the eighth-best mark among edge rushers. But his 57.7 run-defense grade ranks 91st out of 135 edge rushers. Teams will always pay for someone who can get after the opposing quarterback, and Hughes shows no sign of losing that ability even at 33 years old.

Strengths:
– Consistently high pass-rush win rate
– Speed around edge and inside counter

Weaknesses:
– Finishing pressures with sacks
– Age

Scheme Fit/Role:
ROTATIONAL PASS RUSHER: Hughes has graded out in the 90th percentile or higher of edge defenders in pass-rush grade and pass-rush win rate over the past three seasons. Turning 34 years old in August means that ability is best used situationally at this point, but Hughes makes sense somewhere like Cincinnati on a defense in need of a pass-rushing specialist off the edge.

Recent Injury History:
Hughes entered camp this season with a calf injury, but he's reportedly gotten healthier as the season has progressed. Hughes tweeted that he played through torn ligaments in his wrist during the 2019 season that never appeared on the injury report.

Contract Projection: One year, $6.5 million fully guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Even at 33 years old, Hughes has been one of the NFL's most effective edge rushers this season. He can still bring value to a team as a pass-rushing specialist in the twilight of his career.


40. G James Daniels, Chicago Bears

Daniels is quietly in the midst of his best NFL season, with the Bears finally putting him at one position — right guard — and leaving him there to improve over the year. Daniels was one of the youngest draft picks in 2018 and will still be just 24 years old in Week 1 of 2022. The combination of youth and the fact Daniels kept getting moved around the interior of the offensive line suggests he could have even more untapped potential as a full-time right guard. From Week 4 to Week 12 this season, Daniels’ 78.5 overall grade ranks ninth among guards, his 80.0 pass-blocking grade ranks sixth and his 78.7 run-blocking grade ranks 11th.

Strengths:
– Age
– Zone blocking
– Pass blocking

Weaknesses:
– Gap runs
– Facing power

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING GUARD IN A ZONE-BLOCKING SCHEME: Daniels has played predominantly in zone-heavy attacks between college at Iowa and his four years with the Bears, and that's where he excels when it comes to the run game.

Recent Injury History:
Daniels played in every game in 2018 and 2019 before a torn pectoral robbed him of all but five games in 2020. He's been healthy again in 2021, playing in every game through Week 12.

Contract Projection: Five years, $50 million ($10M per year, $24M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Since 2018, Daniels has been productive at both guard positions. He also has experience at center and will turn 25 just after opening day in 2022. Daniels is an excellent fit for a zone-blocking scheme and has been one of the best pass-blocking guards in the league over the last two seasons. His best football may still be ahead of him.


41. QB Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints

Winston suffered an unfortunate ACL tear injury that knocked him out of the second half of the 2021 season after a relatively slow start — but a start that featured few interceptions and a lot of wins. Winston may never become the gunslinger envisioned when he was selected No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015, but his time in New Orleans did illustrate that he can patiently manage an offense and take what’s given to him. Winston was also let down a number of times by the poor collection of wide receivers New Orleans was able to bring in with their disastrous salary cap situation, but the big question for teams will be his health.

Strengths:
– Arm strength and willingness to attack downfield
– Able to break the pocket and pick up first downs with legs

Weaknesses:
– Putting the ball in harm's way
– Passing under pressure

Scheme Fit/Role:
LOW-END STARTING QUARTERBACK: Trying to turn Winston into a game manager is a losing battle. He's been one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL at avoiding negatively graded throws, including this season in New Orleans prior to his injury. But there should be a market out there for teams interested in his ability to pick up yardage in chunks downfield. Winston's style of play would be a refreshing change of pace for Pittsburgh after the low-ADOT approach of the last several seasons.

Recent Injury History:
Winston's knee injury, which included a torn ACL and MCL damage, is a tough blow for the 27-year-old quarterback as he enters free agency. The recovery will play a role in teams' interest next offseason.

Contract Projection: One year, $7 million, incentives can boost it to $12 million

Bottom Line:
Winston isn't an overly exciting starting option, but he could be toward the top of the list for several teams looking to make a change at the quarterback position in a weak free agent and draft class.


42. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

Smith-Schuster turned down offers from the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs to stay with the Steelers, who selected him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Smith-Schuster was once believed to be supplanting Antonio Brown as the best wide receiver in Pittsburgh, but even with Brown no longer in town, that still isn’t the case. However, Smith-Schuster plays a very valuable role as a sure-handed slot receiver who quarterbacks can rely on in critical situations. He ranks top-15 in third-down receptions by a wide receiver since he was drafted in 2017 (85). That said, he will once again likely be facing one-year flier offers after missing much of the 2021 season to injury. 

Strengths:
– Physicality
– Hands
– Just turned 25

Weaknesses:
– Explosiveness
– Separating downfield vs. single coverage

Scheme Fit/Role:
PHYSICAL SLOT RECEIVER: Smith-Schuster looked to be one of the NFL's best young receivers early in his career as a secondary option on an offense that featured Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. Brown's departure highlighted that JuJu isn't a viable No. 1 option in the passing game, but this version of the Steelers' offense also hasn't done him any favors. He can provide quality play as a big slot with sure hands on a talented offense like Tennessee's.

Recent Injury History:
Smith-Schuster will enter free agency off a season-ending shoulder surgery that limited him to only five games in 2021. He missed time during the 2019 season with a knee injury and concussion.

Contract Projection: One year, $8 million

Bottom Line:
Smith-Schuster's career arc has largely been a function of the offenses that he's played on, putting up big numbers on the “Killer B” offenses early in his career before seeing his numbers take a nosedive on dysfunctional Steelers offenses since 2019. He won't transform an offense, but he can be a nice complementary piece on an offense that already has legitimate outside weapons.


43. TE David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

Njoku has been on quite the journey from his first-round selection in 2017 to finally reaching free agency, but along the way, he has made several spectacular plays that demonstrate the rare athleticism that made him a top draft pick. Some minor injuries and trade requests throughout his time in Cleveland have distracted from what has been a strong start to a career at a position that tends to take a while to learn.

Two of the game's best tight ends in the Baltimore RavensMark Andrews and the Philadelphia EaglesDallas Goedert agreed to top-of-market, early extensions during the 2021 season, and Njoku is younger than both of them despite leaving college a year earlier. He is also having a career year in 2021 — his 75.5 receiving grade is a top-10 mark through Week 12 — which could lead to a free-agent deal that resembles that of the New England PatriotsHunter Henry.

Strengths:
– YAC
– Athleticism

Weaknesses:
– Consistency
– Weaker blocker than receiver

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING TE: A former first-round pick, Njoku has never quite been as productive as his talent suggests he should have been, but he possesses the skill set to put it all together. Even his blocking — a weakness earlier in his career — has consistently improved, and he could be primed for a breakout role with more focus on him for a new team.

Recent Injury History:
Njoku suffered a wrist injury in 2020 that caused him to miss much of the season but has been largely healthy in 2021.

Contract Projection: Three years, $37.5 million ($12.5M per year, $25.5M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Njoku is a dynamic athlete who can be impressive with the ball in his hands, and he has improved in all areas of his game. His early-career performance saw him slip in the pecking order within the Browns' offense, but he could be ready to assume a greater role again in a new environment.


44. S Marcus Maye, New York Jets

An Achilles tear came at the absolute worst possible time for Marcus Maye, as he suffered the injury halfway through the season playing on a franchise tag in a Thursday Night Football showdown with the Indianapolis Colts. Odds are that Maye will be seeking a one-year flier to prove he’s back to 100% health before once again looking for the multi-year payday he desires.

Strengths:
-Versatility
-Zone coverage
-Run fits

Weaknesses:
-Missed tackles
-Major injury off a down year

Scheme Fit/Role:
VERSATILE S BEST SUITED TO FS ROLE: Maye spent his first seasons as a deep-lying free safety but then was able to play in a more expanded role once Jamal Adams left for the Seahawks. He is good in deep zones but always fits the run well, despite some missed tackles. He would fit well in any scheme but is best suited to a free safety role.

Recent Injury History:
Maye blew his Achilles in Week 9 on a non-contact injury, putting him out for the remainder of the 2021 season and casting an ugly cloud over his future contract, as he was playing on the franchise tag.

Contract Projection: One-year, $6 million

Bottom Line:
Maye is versatile but now has age and a bad injury in the form of a ruptured Achilles may completely suppress his market. He wasn't playing well this season before the injury, and may not be at his best next year, so he may be waiting a while for a deal.


45. CB Steven Nelson, Philadelphia Eagles

Steven Nelson was entering the final year of his three-year, $25 million contract signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers and wanted an extension before Week 1 of 2021. With Pittsburgh already exhausting a lot of resources to retain key players, and with edge defender T.J. Watt set to sign the biggest contract for a defensive player in the entire NFL just months later, they decided an outright release would be better for both parties. Nelson didn’t have to leave the state of Pennsylvania, latching on in Philadelphia on a one-year, $2.5 million flier. Operating as the No. 2 alongside Darius Slay, Nelson will look to cash in on a longer-term deal after the season, and he may finally be departing from the state of Pennsylvania.

Strengths:
-Zone coverage
-Rarely beaten deep
-Feisty and physical

Weaknesses:
-Average ball skills
-Gives up too many TDs in the red zone

Scheme Fit/Role:
NO. 2 CORNER: Steven Nelson is a classic overachiever at the cornerback position. A little undersized, he has been a consistently good player in the NFL, making up for some limitations with feisty physicality. He is better in zone coverage, but can hold up in man coverage too and would fit within most NFL defenses. He would be a good option to a team that needs several cornerback additions like the Cardinals or Vikings.

Recent Injury History:
Nelson has been durable in the NFL, suffering little but minor niggles lately.

Contract Projection: Two years, $14 million ($7M per year, $8.5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Steven Nelson fits in any scheme as a No. 2 corner who will consistently make some plays and give up some yardage and touchdowns. He is at his best in zone coverage and would be even better with a team that has a legitimate No. 1.


46. C Ben Jones, Tennessee Titans

Ben Jones has aged like a fine wine in the Tennessee Titans wide zone rushing attack, earning PFF grades of 76.7, 78.6, and 77.4 over the last three seasons, respectively —  all over the age of 30. A handful of other older centers have played well into their 30s in this offensive scheme, most notably 49ers center Alex Mack, who signed a three-year deal this past offseason at the tender age of 36. Jones has shown no signs of slowing down and should take just a slight age-related drop in pay from his current contract.

Strengths:
-Run blocking in zone scheme
-High percentage of positively graded blocks in the run game
-Pass blocking
-Durability

Weaknesses:
-High percentage of negatively graded blocks in run game

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING CENTER IN ZONE-HEAVY SCHEME: Battle-tested and reliable, Jones is one of the better starting centers in the league. He does his best work in the zone running game, but he's capable of playing in any system. He also has experience playing guard, if needed.

Recent Injury History:
Jones missed one game due to a concussion in 2019, but he's been extremely durable, playing over 1,000 snaps in seven of his last eight seasons.

Contract Projection: Three years, $20 million ($6.67M per year), $12 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
With three straight years grading in the top 10, Jones has developed into one of the league's best centers. He's continued to improve throughout his eight-year career, and he's showing no signs of slowing down.


47. CB Bryce Callahan, Denver Broncos

Throughout Callahan’s career, it has been a challenge to identify an on-field flaw in his game. That's why he went from an undrafted free agent to signing one of the top contracts for a slot cornerback. However, staying on the field has often been an issue, and 2021 is no different. Callahan is likely to miss the majority of the season with a left knee/leg injury suffered in Week 8. If he can get back healthy in time for the 2022 season, he should have a handful of suitors vying for his services.

Strengths:
– Explosiveness to break on routes
– Hasn't picked up a penalty since 2018

Weaknesses:
– Durability
– Beaten downfield more in 2021 than prior seasons

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING SLOT CORNERBACK: Callahan stepped up and played some outside cornerback for Denver in 2020 when he was called on, but that's not where he's at his best. Callahan has been one of the best nickel cornerbacks in the NFL, boasting a 96th percentile slot coverage grade since 2017. Brandon Staley's defense in Los Angeles stands out as a scheme fit for him if the Chargers aren't planning on re-signing Chris Harris Jr. this offseason.

Recent Injury History:
This is the biggest red flag for Callahan. His stint on injured reserve with a knee injury in 2021 is only the latest ailment. He also spent time on IR in 2020 with a foot injury after missing the entire 2019 season with another foot injury.

Contract Projection: Two years, $10 million ($5M per year, $5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
The risk with Callahan is that he's a 30-year-old cornerback with an extensive injury history, but the reward for prospective suitors is one of the NFL's best slot cornerbacks when healthy.


48. CB Donte Jackson, Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers used the No. 8 overall pick on South Carolina standout Jaycee Horn and then traded for two cornerbacks in Jacksonville Jaguars 2020 No. 9 overall pick C.J. Henderson and Stephon Gilmore this season, but they remain steadfast that this doesn’t say anything about their plans for Donte Jackson. It would appear he will at least have a chance to test the open market as Carolina prioritizes signing Gilmore to an extension to mentor their young collection of cornerbacks.

Strengths:
-Speed and recovery speed
-Explosive vertical leap
-Zone coverage

Weaknesses:
-Man coverage
-Missed tackles
-In-breaking routes

Scheme Fit/Role:
NO 2 CB IN A ZONE SCHEME: Donte Jackson has the speed to burn, but is at his best in zone coverage where he can keep his eye on the quarterback and use his athleticism to break on the ball. His best plays come using that speed to attack out-breaking routes. The Steelers or Seahawks run perfect schemes for Jackson.

Recent Injury History:
Jackson battled a toe injury for much of 2020, but he has been healthy so far in 2021. He has yet to clear 1,000 snaps in a season.

Contract Projection: Two years, $20 million ($10M per year, $11.5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Donte Jackson has exceptional speed and athleticism but doesn't have the man-cover skills to match them. He can be a playmaker in the right zone scheme, where he can key the quarterback and break on the football, but is limited to a No. 2 role.


49. QB Teddy Bridgewater, Denver Broncos

Bridgewater is only two years removed from signing a three-year, $63 million contract with the Carolina Panthers and has been more consistent behind a better Broncos offensive line. Bridgewater has out-performed his reworked one-year, $10 million contract and is the only proven starting-caliber quarterback under 30 years old this offseason. That fact alone may dictate his market, depending on how many teams need quarterbacks. And considering the 2022 NFL Draft class is expected to be very underwhelming at the position, he could be in for a decent deal.

Case Keenum signed a two-year, $36 million contract with the Broncos after an NFC Championship game run with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, and this contract mirrors that bridge quarterback deal.

Strengths:
-Accuracy
-Leadership

Weaknesses:
-Lack of big-time throws
-Not careful enough with the football
-Possibly durability

Scheme Fit/Role:
BRIDGE QUARTERBACK/HIGH-END BACKUP: Bridgewater has shown he is capable of starting and playing well in the NFL, but also that there is a ceiling to his play and a conservative streak to his passing that limits his effectiveness. He isn't likely to take a team all the way to a Super Bowl, but he can back up the player who does — or keep the seat warm for a young player in the meantime.

Recent Injury History:
Bridgewater suffered a concussion in Week 4 against the Ravens this season, but has otherwise been relatively healthy. His entire career comes in the context of a devastating knee injury suffered with the Vikings that almost cost him his leg, nevermind his career.

Contract Projection: Two years, $40 million ($20M per year, $27.5M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
An accurate passer who teammates and coaches love, Bridgewater is a viable starter, but nothing more. Any team chasing better than that will view him as a backup or a stopgap.


50. WR Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals

Kirk has lined up in the slot on over 77% of his snaps so far in the 2021 season, trouncing his previous career-high of 41.6%. He has a similar career trajectory to Washington Football Team wide receiver Curtis Samuel, with a massive jump in slot deployment and his average depth of target dropping in the fourth year of his rookie contract. Both are roughly 5-foot-11, 200-pound second-round picks who play at 4.4 speeds.

Strengths:
– Tracking the ball downfield
– Comfortable making catches through contact over middle of field

Weaknesses:
– Numbers take a hit when lined up outside
– Not elusive after the catch

Scheme Fit/Role:
VERTICAL SLOT THREAT: Kirk has averaged half a receiving yard more in the slot than he has out wide over the course of his NFL career. His best fit is with a team looking for a slot receiver who can help stretch the field, but there are few better quarterbacks out there who will provide him with downfield opportunities than Kyler Murray.

Recent Injury History:
Kirk hasn't missed any extended stretches since suffering a broken foot in his rookie season. He did deal with a lingering ankle injury in 2019 that kept him out of three games.

Contract Projection: Three years, $35 million ($11.67M per year, $24M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Kirk is a solid complementary option in the passing game who can win vertically from the slot. He'll have a tough time finding a quarterback better suited at hitting him deep than Murray if he leaves Arizona, though.


51. WR D.J. Chark Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

Chark’s relationship with new head coach Urban Meyer didn’t get off to the best start, as Meyer said he was a “big guy that played little.” In a wide receiver room devoid of top-end talent, Chark was supposed to be that guy. Unfortunately, an ankle injury sustained in Week 4 knocked him out for the remainder of what has been quite the eventful season in Jacksonville. Chark may look to depart for greener pastures, and there should be a handful of teams interested in adding a 6-foot-4 wide receiver with 4.3-second speed. 

Strengths:
-Speed
-Size
-Ball skills and body control

Weaknesses:
-Physicality running routes
-Feel for zone coverage
-Contested catches

Scheme Fit/Role:
DEEP THREAT/NO. 3 RECEIVER: Chark has the speed to burn and an excellent frame to give defensive backs all kinds of problems at the catch point or if he can gain any separation in his route. He has the speed to run away from defenders after the catch but struggles to set up corners or win against physicality. His speed should always be valuable and a team like New Orleans could use that threat.

Recent Injury History:
Chark has had a pretty extensive injury history including missing almost all of the 2021 season with an ankle injury. He has a slight frame and has shown a concerning level of durability.

Contract Projection: Three years, $40 million ($13.33M per year, $22.5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Injuries will scare teams off Chark as will the weaknesses in his game, but he has game-changing speed and is a little more than just a one-trick pony on the deep ball, and that always has a place in an NFL offense. He will be a luxury pick for a team that already has a solid receiving corps.


52. S Quandre Diggs, Seattle Seahawks

Diggs is a pure free safety who rarely leaves the deep third of the field, patrolling the backend while new addition Jamal Adams plays in the box and closer to the line of scrimmage. Diggs does not miss an opportunity to turn the ball over, intercepting 21.6% of passes thrown into his coverage since 2019, which is the top mark among safeties. That has translated into 11 interceptions over the span (tied for third among safeties).

Diggs could push for a contract similar to those recently doled out to the San Francisco 49ersJimmie Ward (three years, $28.5 million), former Las Vegas Raiders safety Lamarcus Joyner (four years, $42 million) and former Houston Texans safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. (three years, $22.5 million). All three players are under 6-foot and were at least 28 years old at the time of signing.

Strengths:
– Recognition and instincts
– Athletic range in zone coverage

Weaknesses:
– Playmaking at the catch point
– Tackling on the perimeter

Scheme Fit/Role:
RELIABLE STARTING SAFETY: Diggs' position change was the best thing to happen to his trajectory, and his skill set would be a core piece for any secondary. He's been a capable free safety for the Seahawks, but he could add even more value to a defense that prefers to play multiple coverage schemes.

Recent Injury History:
Diggs hasn't been listed on a gameday injury report since 2019, which was for a high-ankle sprain. In that same season, the safety struggled with recovering from a hamstring injury.

Contract Projection: Three years, $24 million ($8M per year, $13.5M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Diggs won't be a transformative addition, but his addition would provide relief to any defense in the middle of the field. One can make the argument that if Seattle had another safety versatile enough to mix up its coverages, Diggs would have more tape showcasing his versatility.


53. LB Dont'a Hightower, New England Patriots

Hightower opted out of the 2020 season, and after a bit of a slow start getting acclimated to the speed of the NFL game once more, he’s back to his old self. His 16 quarterback pressures rank tied for third among off-ball linebackers, as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick continues to deploy the 6-foot-3, 260-pounder all over the place in his constantly evolving defense. Hightower will be 32 years old in Week 1 of 2022, but there's an argument that taking the 2020 season off has his body refreshed and revitalized.

Strengths:
– Physical, downhill player fitting the run
– Enough versatility to be used as a pass-rusher on third down

Weaknesses:
– Not viable in coverage on a down-to-down basis
– Lacks the athleticism to add value against perimeter offenses

Scheme Fit/Role:
EARLY-DOWN/RUN-STOPPING LB: As is typical of a Bill Belichick defender, it feels impossible to project productivity for Hightower outside of New England's system. Because the Patriots are intentional about how their players match up against offenses, Hightower is often in a position to succeed. If he were to leave New England, expect him to be a utility player, used most against run-heavy offenses.

Recent Injury History:
Hightower last missed time in 2019 for a shoulder injury but has been healthy since.

Contract Projection: Two years, $15 million ($7.5M per year, $10M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Hightower is likely to stay in Foxborough, where he's been most valuable. It's not likely he would receive as many snaps in any system outside of Belichick's 3-4 defense, especially given his age and positional value.

PFF's Big Board provides up-to-date grades, rankings and analysis for all of the top prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.

54. DI Folorunso Fatukasi, New York Jets

Fatukasi plays on the defensive line alongside recently extended defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers, and the Jets also have 2019 No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams’ next contract to think about in the not-so-distant future. Still, Fatukasi has been one of the league’s best, if unheralded, nose tackles over the past few years, with run defense grades of 87.6 in 2019 and 86.2 in 2020. He’s added to his repertoire as well, with 14 quarterback pressures on 226 pass-rush snaps so far in 2021, beating his previous career-high of 12. Fatukasi’s play the rest of the season may dictate how much he ultimately gets on the open market and whether the Jets or someone else will be paying.

Strengths:
-Run-game disruptor
-Power

Weaknesses:
-Pass-rushing
-Gets caught upfield vs. run

Scheme Fit/Role:
EARLY-DOWN RUN DEFENDER: Fatukasi was one of the best run defenders in college football at UConn, and he's developed into one of the NFL's best over the last three years. He has never provided much as a pass-rusher, but he's among the league's best at disrupting the run game when lined up over guards and centers.

Recent Injury History:
Fatukasi has remained healthy during his time in the NFL while topping out with 507 snaps played in 2020.

Contract Projection: Three years, $25 million ($8.33 million per year, $15 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
There are limitations to Fatukasi's game, and he'll likely never be a true three-down player, but his power and block shedding ability make him one of the best in the league against the run.


55. EDGE Derek Barnett, Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles let 2017 first-round pick Derek Barnett play out his fifth-year option season in 2021, going so far as to push $7.25 million in salary cap into 2022 just to fit everyone on the books. While this could suggest the two sides will at least explore an extension after the season, Philadelphia signed 2018 third-round edge rusher Josh Sweat to a three-year, $40 million extension, which could make Barnett the odd man out.

Barnett is very consistent, with his five season grades landing between 59.0 and 68.0. No facet of his play has ever earned a grade below 55.0 for a season. He has a very high floor, but his ceiling may not be as high as was originally projected when he came out of Tennessee. A good comparison contract signed recently could be Cincinnati Bengals edge rusher Sam Hubbard, who signed a four-year, $40 million extension before the 2021 season. Hubbard is also a player who is stout in run defense at 4-3 defensive end but doesn’t offer a ton of production as a pass-rusher.

Strengths:
– Power in run game
– Bend on the edge

Weaknesses:
– Average pass-rusher
– Gap discipline

Scheme Fit/Role:
SOLID STARTER ON THE EDGE: Barnett does not stand out in any one area, but he can play the run and is a mid-tier pass-rusher. Ideally, he'd be part of a three-man rotation on the edge. Regardless, he can provide 600-800 quality snaps as a starter if needed.

Recent Injury History:
Barnett was limited to just six games in 2018 due to a torn rotator cuff. In 2019, he missed time due to an ankle injury, while hamstring and calf injuries kept him out of three games in 2020.

Contract Projection: Three years, $37.5 million ($12.5M per year, $25M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Barnett has been extremely consistent in his five NFL seasons, showing to be an effective run defender and a mediocre pass-rusher. He is a complementary piece in a good defensive line rotation.


56. LB Foyesade Oluokun, Atlanta Falcons

Oluokun leads the way for a very underwhelming free-agent class at off-ball linebacker, though his timing of reaching unrestricted free agency could work out nicely in his favor. This past offseason, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner and subsequently Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard reset the market at the position at just under $20 million per year after years of stagnation. With Oluokun one of the few young players available, a market could develop for him that exceeds expectations.

Strengths:
-Filling against the run
-Identifying routes in his zone
-Speed

Weaknesses:
-Defeating blocks at the second level
-Missed tackles
-Size/bulk

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING MLB/WLB: Foyesade Oluokun has impressive speed and more strength than you might expect for a player of his size, and he can play multiple linebacker spots but is at his best when he can run freely to the ball. He would fit in a scheme like Indianapolis' and could be an option for a defense improving either side of the linebacker group like the Raiders.

Recent Injury History:
Oluokun dealt with several minor injuries in 2020 but has been healthy so far this season.

Contract Projection: Three years, $22.5 million ($7.5M per year, $14 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
An undersized, speedy linebacker, Foyesade Oluokun flashes talent consistently but too often gets swallowed up by blockers the second level or doesn't quite make the play in coverage. He fits the profile of a linebacker that may eventually put it all together, but he hasn't got there yet.


57. G Andrew Norwell, Jacksonville Jaguars

Norwell had two years and $25 million remaining on the five-year extension he signed in 2018, but the Jaguars negotiated a pay cut and contract reduction, making him a free agent after the 2021 season. Norwell responded with his eighth straight 70.0-plus pass-blocking grade, and there will almost certainly be a handful of teams looking for a veteran guard with his extremely high floor.

Strengths:
-Pass blocking
-Never had a bad season
-Just 30 years old.

Weaknesses:
-Run blocking
-Finished badly in back-to-back years

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING LG: Andrew Norwell is still a solid option as a starting guard in today's NFL. He is a better pass-blocker than he is in the run game and would upgrade several offensive lines in the league. His play hasn't been trending in the right direction, but he has still never had a poor season overall.

Recent Injury History:
Norwell dealt with an ankle injury early in the season but barely missed any time. He played over 1,000 snaps in 2021.

Contract Projection: Three years, $21.75 million ($7.25M per year), $15 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Norwell was once the prize of free agency on the offensive line and seen as one of the best guards in the game. He's not at that level right now, but he is still a capable starter who would be an upgrade for several teams.


58. T Morgan Moses, New York Jets

Moses’ release from the Washington Football Team this past offseason was one of the more surprising moves around the league. To Washington’s credit, second-round rookie right tackle Sam Cosmi has had a great debut season when healthy. Moses ended up with the New York Jets on a one-year, $3.6 million deal and has turned in another solid season of grading above 65.0 as both a run-blocker and pass-blocker while rarely missing a snap. A stronger market should land Moses another multi-year deal for a good bit more than $3.6 million per year.

Strengths:
– Durability
– Positive blocks in the run game

Weaknesses:
– Pad level
– Average pass-blocker

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING RIGHT TACKLE: Moses is a durable player who has been consistently solid since taking over as a starter in 2015.

Recent Injury History:
Moses has been one of the most durable players in the league. He has not missed a game since 2015.

Contract Projection: Three years, $22.5 million ($7.5M per year, $14.5M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Moses will be heading into his ninth NFL season in 2022, and he's been one of the most dependable right tackles in the league in his career. He brings value to the run game and is reasonable in pass protection, making him a valuable starting option for teams in need of a right tackle.


59. HB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons

Patterson is attempting to set an NFL record for most positions listed on the depth chart, as he’s the Falcons' RB2 (though he’s become the RB1, in reality), kick returner and now fifth-string safety. He is in the midst of an incredible breakout year as an offensive weapon, with his 3.13 yards per route run representing the third-best mark in the NFL through Week 12.

Atlanta has scored 22 offensive touchdowns on the season, and Patterson accounts for nine of them despite missing a game due to injury. He may not be able to cash in on a huge deal while being on the wrong side of 30 years old, but he deserves a healthy raise over his $3 million contract signed this past season.

Strengths:
– Receiving skills
– Position versatility
– Natural playmaker with the ball

Weaknesses:
– Can every team maximize him?
– Jack of all trades, master of none

Scheme Fit/Role:
MATCHUP WEAPON: Patterson is a unique player. Not quite a running back and not quite a wide receiver, he can be a problem for defenses in either spot and is good enough at both to move seamlessly between them and exploit resulting mismatches in personnel. He fits with a team that is willing to carve out that role for him.

Recent Injury History:
Patterson suffered an ankle sprain that caused him to miss time in 2021. He has a fairly extensive history of minor injuries throughout his NFL career.

Contract Projection: Two years, $12 million ($6M per year, $8.25M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Patterson was a disappointment as a first-round receiver but has since developed into an elite playmaker on offense as a running-back-turned-matchup-problem. He also adds versatility as a kick returner, though that position is less valuable these days.


60. TE Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals

Ertz has experienced a bit of a career resurgence after getting traded to the Cardinals at the 2021 deadline, with his 78.6 receiving grade since Week 7 being the seventh-best mark at the position. His 153 yards after the catch are second-most over the five-week span, and star quarterback Kyler Murray has missed two of these contests. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce signed a top-of-market extension after turning 30, and while Ertz is not at Kelce's level, he’s demonstrated impressive ability and should be compensated accordingly.

Strengths:
– Hands
– Route running

Weaknesses:
– YAC
– Blocking

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING TE: A longtime star for the Eagles, it looked like Ertz was beginning to wane, but he has had a new lease of life since being traded to Arizona. Ertz has great hands and can run routes and find space against a defense, but he has limitations as a blocker and after the catch.

Recent Injury History:
Ertz's biggest issue in 2021 was landing on the COVID-19 list. He has been fairly durable and available throughout his NFL career.

Contract Projection: Two years, $22 million ($11M per year, $12.5M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Ertz has been a high-level receiving weapon at tight end throughout his career. At 31, how much he has left in the tank is a fair question, but he's shown this season in Arizona he can still be a useful part of a dynamic passing attack.

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61. QB Marcus Mariota, Las Vegas Raiders

For years, the primary goal of quarterbacks in Mariota’s position was to find a team desperate enough for a starting signal-caller to sign them to an inflated deal in free agency. While that’s still a goal, there are more potential avenues for players with Mariota’s skill set. Two-quarterback systems continue to crop up around the NFL, so Mariota could attempt to leverage New Orleans Saints weapon Taysom Hill’s recent four-year, $40 million extension with massive upside. Mariota is an infinitely superior passer, and while he’s endured a handful of injuries the past few years, he’s still just 28 years old.

Strengths:
– Athleticism and running in space
– Play-action passing

Weaknesses:
– Mistakes
– Consistent accuracy
– Durability

Scheme Fit/Role:
HIGH-END BACKUP/LAST-CHANCE STARTER: Mariota never really got going in Tennessee, devolving rather than evolving as a starter before being replaced by Ryan Tannehill. As a backup with the Raiders, he has flashed the potential to be a starter again after time on the bench. But in a league with plenty of options, there won't be many chances for him to start again. His best role may be that of a high-end backup who can offer a change-of-pace package of rushing plays in certain situations from the bench.

Recent Injury History:
Mariota suffered a quad injury on a 31-yard run off the bench for the Raiders this season. He carries an extensive injury history, which is its own issue, independent of any concerns over his play.

Contract Projection: One year, $8 million fully guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Mariota is a former No. 2 overall draft pick, and the NFL struggles to give up on that kind of prior evaluation for a player. He flashed talent in limited snaps with the Raiders, and it might just be enough to convince a team without a quarterback in 2022 to roll the dice on him one last time. At the very least, he should be a coveted backup option.


62. LB Alexander Johnson, Denver Broncos

Johnson finds himself in one of the most unique contract situations in NFL history. The 30-year-old linebacker will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career after a delayed start to his NFL career, and now he’ll be working his way back from a torn pectoral muscle injury. When healthy, Johnson is among the best sideline-to-sideline run defenders at off-ball linebackers in the league.

Strengths:
– Thumping run defense
– Tackling
– Aggression

Weaknesses:
– Age
– Sample size
– Coverage in space

Scheme Fit/Role:
SCHEME-DIVERSE MIDDLE LINEBACKER: Johnson has a complicated backstory and got his chance in the NFL late, but he has been consistently excellent when on the field. He hits free agency at 30 years old with just a little over 2,000 career snaps to his name. Johnson should have at least one contract of high-end play in him as a middle linebacker who can do it all — especially in run defense. He can also be productive as a blitzer and in coverage, although they aren't his best facets of play.

Recent Injury History:
Johnson tore his pectoral, which ended his season in 2021 after just 323 snaps. He played over 1,000 snaps the previous season.

Contract Projection: Two years, $13 million ($6.5M per year, $8M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
There is a four-year hole in Johnson's career because of rape charges that he was later acquitted of, so he'll hit free agency low on experience and proven elite play despite being 30 years old. He possesses high-end starter potential and will be an interesting case this offseason.


63. TE Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks

Everett departed the Los Angeles Rams this past offseason for another NFC West team in the Seahawks on a one-year, $6 million flier. While Seattle's season has been a disaster, Everett has thrived since quarterback Russell Wilson returned from injury in Week 10. Over a three-game span from Week 10-12, Everett’s 20 targets and 16 receptions are second-most among tight ends, and his 51 receiving yards after first contact with a defender rank third.

Strengths:
– Reliable hands
– Raw athleticism

Weaknesses:
– Run Blocking
– Separation vs. man coverage

Scheme Fit/Role:
FLEX TIGHT END TYPE: It's no surprise that offensive coordinator Shane Waldron put Everett right to work when the two of them traveled from Los Angeles to Seattle. Everett can move around, allowing an offense to use different formations in the same personnel grouping. He'd log a high number of snaps for most NFL teams and would be on the field for every passing situation.

Recent Injury History:
Everett missed games in 2021 after entering the NFL's health and safety protocols but has not suffered a serious injury. Aside from a sore groin, he has not been listed on an injury report.

Contract Projection: Three years, $22.5 million ($7.5M per year, $12.5M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Everett may bounce around the NFL throughout his career because he lacks consistency as a blocker, but he will add value everywhere he plays as a receiver.


64. LB Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas Cowboys

Vander Esch has been up and down in his first four years in the NFL, but the talent that made him a first-round pick in 2018 still flashes on occasion and will certainly have teams take notice. The Boise State product earned three single-game grades above 90.0 this year, two of which came in the final month of the season. If he can play more consistently from week to week, teams may view him as a low-risk, high-reward option in a weak linebacker class.

Strengths:
– High run-stop percentage throughout career
– Still under 25

Weaknesses:
– Hasn't played with the same burst and physicality he showed in 2018
– Has missed significant time in two of his four NFL seasons

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING MIDDLE/WEAKSIDE LINEBACKER: Vander Esch has played both weakside and middle linebacker in Dallas' defense over the past four seasons and could start at either in 2022. The most important thing when it comes to a landing spot for Vander Esch will be finding a defensive line that can keep him clean and allow him to flow to the football, given that shedding blocks hasn't been a clear strength early in his NFL career.

Recent Injury History:
Vander Esch's injury concerns date back to the 2018 NFL Draft, where rumors surfaced that teams were concerned about his neck. Vander Esch then missed seven games in 2019 due to a neck injury that required surgery before missing time again in 2020 with a broken collarbone and high-ankle sprain. He didn't miss time for Dallas in 2021.

Contract Projection: Three years, $25.5 million ($8.5M per year), $16.5 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Vander Esch came into the NFL in 2018 and instantly became one of the best linebackers in the league with an ideal blend of size and athleticism for the position. That version of Vander Esch hasn't shown up again in the three years since, due in large part to injuries. It's fair to question if he will ever get back to that level again.


65. LB Anthony Barr, Minnesota Vikings

Barr agreed to a pay cut before the 2021 season that also voided the 2022 and 2023 seasons on the five-year extension he signed in 2019. The longtime Vikings linebacker is a bit of a unique player, generally deployed as a Sam linebacker in a 4-3 scheme who occasionally gets his hand in the dirt. Nevertheless, there were several interested teams last time he was a free agent, and he came very close to signing with the New York Jets before ultimately returning to Minnesota. Clearly, defensive coaches think they can find a way to put him in positions to succeed and utilize his athletic ability.

Strengths:
– Size and athleticism
– One of the best pass-rushing linebackers in the NFL
– Few negative plays against the run

Weaknesses:
– Hasn't been a playmaker in coverage throughout his career, his three picks in 2021 aside
– Inconsistent play

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING STRONGSIDE (SAM) LINEBACKER: Barr has made the successful transition from collegiate edge rusher to off-ball linebacker in the NFL, but he's still best utilized in a role that lets him get after the quarterback as a blitzer. He has consistently met expectations against the run over his eight-year career, producing both negative and positive grades at one of the lowest rates at the linebacker position.

Recent Injury History:
Barr missed the majority of the 2020 NFL season with a torn pectoral muscle, and a knee injury kept him out of the first four weeks of the 2021 season. Barr has managed to play in all but two of Minnesota's games since Week 5 while managing knee and hamstring injuries.

Contract Projection: Two years, $14.5 million ($7.25M per year), $8.5 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Barr had an uphill climb to provide value on the five-year, $67.5 million contract he signed prior to the 2019 season. Still, he's still a viable veteran starter entering 2022 free agency who has been a key part of several very good Vikings defenses since entering the league in 2014.


66. LB Josey Jewell, Denver Broncos

Jewell is the other Broncos off-ball linebacker who missed the majority of the 2021 season with a torn pectoral muscle, but he’s three years younger than Alexander Johnson. From Week 9 of 2020 through Jewell’s injury in Week 2 of this season, his 79.8 overall grade ranked fourth among off-ball linebackers and his 79.5 coverage grade ranked fifth. Jewell also provides value on the occasional pass rush snap and very rarely misses tackles. He’s the complete package for a modern off-ball linebacker. Nevertheless, he may have to play on a one-year, prove-it deal as he recovers.

Strengths:

– Tackling
– Diagnosing plays
– Consistency

Weaknesses:
– Athleticism
– Durability

Scheme Fit/Role:
WEAKSIDE/MIDDLE LINEBACKER: Jewell is good at everything without being great at anything. A former fourth-round pick, he makes up for a relative lack of athleticism and speed with excellent read-and-react skills and the technique to defeat blocks and make plays in all areas. He fits as a starter in most defenses in the NFL and would be a useful upgrade for a lot of teams.

Recent Injury History:
Jewell tore his pectoral muscle and was shut down for the season after just 82 snaps in 2021. He was healthy for all of 2020 but dealt with a number of injuries in 2019.

Contract Projection: One year, $6 million, $4.5 million guaranteed.

Bottom Line:
Jewell is a solid linebacker in all areas but typically doesn't “wow” because he isn't a freak athlete. He would be a useful upgrade for a lot of teams, bringing versatility to any linebacker group.


67. CB Charvarius Ward, Kansas City Chiefs

Ward is playing the 2021 season on a second-round restricted free agent tender and continues to show he can hold up as a man cover corner with good size at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds. If Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis and New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson were to be franchise-tagged or extended by their current clubs, Ward would have an argument as the best cornerback available due to his ability to play out wide in a man coverage scheme.

Ward also excels in an area that every defensive coordinator will love: tackling. His 5% missed tackle percentage is the lowest rate among the top 75 outside cornerbacks in total tackles since 2019.

Strengths:
– Single coverage
– Making plays on the ball
– Size/length

Weaknesses:
– Zone coverage
– Playing in the slot

Scheme Fit/Role:
NO. 2 CB IN MAN-HEAVY SCHEME: Ward has played a variety of coverages in Kansas City, but he's at his best in man coverage on the outside.

Recent Injury History:
Ward missed one game in 2020 due to a broken hand and has sat out multiple games in 2021 due to a quad injury.

Contract Projection: Three years, $28.5 million ($9.5M per year, $18M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
A former undrafted free agent, Ward boasts the size and speed to play press-man coverage on the outside. Given his career production, he projects better as a No. 2 option, particularly in a man-heavy scheme on a team that dictates matchups.


68. C Brian Allen, Los Angeles Rams

Allen’s breakout 2021 campaign sheds additional light on why the Rams were so comfortable moving on from Austin Blythe last offseason, with his 78.1 overall grade through Week 12 being the seventh-best mark among centers and his 85.7 run-blocking grade in Sean McVay’s wide zone running scheme being the fifth-best mark at the position. However, 2021 marks Allen’s first full season of starting after missing about half of the 2019 season and the entire 2020 campaign with a severe knee injury. How his market develops at a position that tends to pay only the very top guys will be interesting.

Strengths:
– Zone blocking
– Positive blocks in the run game

Weaknesses:
– Pass protection
– Picking up stunts

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING CENTER IN ZONE-HEAVY SCHEME: Allen has been one of the better zone run-blocking centers in the NFL in his two years as a starter with Los Angeles, helping mask a below-average pass-blocking profile. His best fit is in an offense that utilizes play action frequently and moves the pocket to reduce the number of true pass sets.

Recent Injury History:
Allen suffered a serious knee injury in 2019 that kept him out of the final seven weeks of the campaign and the entire 2020 season. Allen also battled COVID-19 last year.

Contract Projection: Three years, $21.75 million ($7.25M per year, $10.5M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Allen has logged just over one full season of playing time in his fourth year out of Michigan State, but his dominance as a run blocker and overall improvement after returning from a serious knee injury in 2019 should interest teams looking for an upgrade on the interior this offseason.


69. RB Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Lombardi Lenny bet on himself in 2021 after a market didn’t materialize for him following the Buccaneers' Super Bowl run. This time around, he has complete command of the backfield over Ronald Jones, and while Giovani Bernard serves as the primary pass-catching back, quarterback Tom Brady is not afraid to dump it off to Fournette. He’s not a dynamic pass-catcher, but a capable one, and he’s shown the physical running style between the tackles that made him a top-five pick in the first place.

Strengths:
– Powerful runner
– Only two fumbles in over 1,000 career rushing attempts

Weaknesses:
– Elusiveness in the open field
– Pass protection

Scheme Fit/Role:
ROTATIONAL BACK IN GAP-HEAVY SCHEME: Fournette rejuvenated his NFL career in Tampa Bay's duo-heavy rushing attack. He has been one of the best runners in gap schemes in the league this season, so it makes sense that he would look to join a team that utilizes a similar approach if he doesn't stay with the Buccaneers. Ideally, Fournette would rotate with someone who is better suited to take on the passing-down work that he's picked up over the past few years.

Recent Injury History:
There was some concern about whether Fournette's physical running style would lead to injuries coming out of LSU, but he's done a decent job of avoiding injuries in his NFL career. A lingering hamstring injury cost him time in 2018, and the only other notable injury prior to this year was an ankle injury that kept him out several weeks last season. Fournette missed the final three weeks of this season with a hamstring injury.

Contract Projection: Two years, $16 million ($8M per year, $11M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Fournette has recuperated some of the value that he lost in Jacksonville with his play down the stretch in Tampa Bay's Super Bowl run last year and as their lead back this season. He's not going to shake too many people in the open field, but Fournette has been an effective runner in addition to earning Tom Brady's trust as a receiving outlet in 2021.


70. S Jordan Whitehead, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Whitehead played in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl victory last year with a torn labrum, demonstrating how tough a player he is, which is exactly what you need at the strong safety position. His 5-foot-11, 200-pound build and play style are somewhat reminiscent of Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Vonn Bell. Bell signed a three-year, $18 million contract with the Bengals prior to the 2020 season that could serve as something of a blueprint here.

Strengths:
– Downhill player
– Plus run defender in the box

Weaknesses:
– Spatial awareness
– Open-field tackling

Scheme Fit/Role:
STRONG SAFETY TYPE, SINGLE-HIGH DEFENSE: With the evolution we're seeing in modern pro defenses, Whitehead's archetype as a safety is losing value the further downfield he goes. However, anytime he's near the line of scrimmage or in an underneath zone, his aggression and physicality provide immediate results. The more you watch him, the more it seems he's tailor-made for New England or a coach off Pete Carroll's tree.

Recent Injury History:
Whitehead has battled shoulder, hamstring and calf injuries through the 2021 season. Given his size and play style, it's easy to predict that he will be a player who misses games each season.

Contract Projection:Three years, $18 million ($6M per year, $11.5 million guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Whitehead is an enforcer type in an NFL that's trending toward more coverage bodies at the safety position. When he's at linebacker depth and moving toward the line of scrimmage, there are few safeties in the NFL better at making an impact.


71. RB James Conner, Arizona Cardinals

Conner served as a workhorse three-down back with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the duration of his rookie contract before ultimately signing an underwhelming one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals this past offseason. If Conner’s 2021 season — namely his 16 touchdowns — are any indication, getting healthy and splitting touches with Chase Edmonds was a better situation for him. However, Conner also stepped up in a major way when Edmonds missed time, assuming a larger role and making a handful of highlight-reel catches with several Cardinals pass-catchers sidelined, too.

Strengths:
– Short-yardage rushing
– Good hands out of the backfield
– Elusive after the catch

Weaknesses:
– Doesn't have breakaway speed
– Durability
– Relatively high fumble rate

Scheme Fit/Role:
POWER BACK IN RB ROTATION: Conner has a unique skill set in that he's one of the best short-yardage and goal-line runners in the NFL yet he also provides value as an outlet in the passing game. There's no reason he can't be on the field all three downs, but it would be wise for teams to avoid relying on him in a true bell-cow role, given his injury history.

Recent Injury History:
This year in Arizona, a late-season heel injury ended one of the healthiest stretches of his NFL career. Conner didn't appear in more than 13 regular-season games in any season from 2017 to 2020 after overcoming a serious knee injury and Hodgkin's lymphoma at the University of Pittsburgh.

Contract Projection: Two years, $12.8 million ($6.4M per year), $7.25 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Conner has proven that he can play an important role for a contender. He has a three-down skill set, but injuries have kept him from claiming a three-down workload for an entire season.


72. S Justin Reid, Houston Texans

Reid’s first two seasons in Houston were extremely promising, with his 80.4 overall grade in 2018-19 ranking 17th among safeties with at least 300 snaps over the two seasons. Reid’s 87.0 coverage grade ranked 13th, and his 14.1% forced incompletion rate ranked 19th among safeties with at least 25 targets into their coverage over the span.

Since then, things have trended in the wrong direction, ultimately culminating with Reid being a healthy scratch in Week 12 for disciplinary reasons. It seems very likely that the Texans are more to blame than Reid for his decline in play, so perhaps he can get his career back on track in a more stable environment.

Strengths:
– Capable playmaker at the catch point

Weaknesses:
– Eye discipline
– Tackling

Scheme Fit/Role:
SPOT STARTER/DEPTH PIECE AT SAFETY: Reid's film doesn't suggest that he deserves better than the role he's presently in. The soft zone looks probably don't do much to help, but Reid is often unable to range to the ball and doesn't boast the tracking skills to take good angles and make sound tackles.

Recent Injury History:
Reid was listed on the injury report in 2021 for a knee ailment but hasn't missed practice or game time due to injury.

Contract Projection: Three years, $27 million ($9M per year, $15.5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Reid is stuck in a bad situation schematically and lacks talent around him, but he's done little to raise his team's stock or his own in Houston. He's been productive in years prior, leaving open the possibility that he needs a change of scenery to return to form.


73. TE Evan Engram, New York Giants

The Giants reportedly rebuffed several requests from other teams to trade for Engram, a 2017 first-rounder, ahead of each of the past two trade deadlines, but it remains to be seen if he is truly in their long-term plans. Engram’s 4.4-second speed at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds is enough to keep teams monitoring his situation, even as his overall and receiving grades have declined in each of the past four seasons. An anemic Giants offense that ranks 30th in expected points added per pass play since 2020 has certainly not helped his cause.

Strengths:
– Feel on underneath routes
– Matchup problem with LBs

Weaknesses:
– Run blocking
– Positional versatility

Scheme Fit/Role:
RECEIVING TE/BIG SLOT: Engram's sales pitch coming into the NFL was a ball-winning, vertical option on the interior, but he's gone his entire rookie contract without a proper breakout season. He may be able to play a similar role as the Miami DolphinsMike Gesicki — a big-bodied slot wide receiver — but New York's investment in slots last offseason casts doubt on him being able to handle a greater share of targets.

Recent Injury History:
Engram suffered a calf injury at the end of the 2021 preseason that cost him a couple of games to open the season. A foot injury ended his 2019 season.

Contract Projection: Two years, $18 million ($9M per year, $10M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Engram has been New York's starting tight end from the time he was selected, but he's yet to actualize the potential that he flashed at Ole Miss. His market will be limited because of his inability to block, forcing non-spread teams to look at him as a specialty/situational player.


74. DI B.J. Hill, Cincinnati Bengals

The Giants inexplicably traded Hill and a seventh-round pick for Cincinnati Bengals center Billy Price right before the 2021 season, and Hill has excelled with more opportunities on a less-crowded defensive line alongside nose tackle D.J. Reader. Hill is a solid all-around three-technique with the ability to generate relatively consistent pressure on the quarterback from the interior. With increased playing time, he has a career-high 76.6 overall grade through Week 12, and his five quarterback hits are one fewer than he had in his first three seasons combined.

Strengths:
– Run defense
– Strength
– Rarely misses tackles

Weaknesses:
– Hasn't been a regular starter since his rookie season
– Only an average pass-rusher

Scheme Fit/Role:
RUN-STUFFING INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: Hill began his career stuck in a crowded interior defensive line rotation in New York with the likes of Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, prompting the trade to Cincinnati. He has been a positive force against the run while producing pressure at a middling rate with both teams.

Recent Injury History:
Hill has appeared in every game since being selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He is one of the more durable defensive linemen in the NFL, albeit in a rotational role.

Contract Projection: Three years, $26.25 million ($8.75M per year, $14.5M total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
The fact that Hill hasn't started many games in his first four seasons doesn't mean he can't be a starting defensive tackle for a team with a need at the position. He's a plus run defender who isn't a non-factor in the passing game.


75. G Austin Corbett, Los Angeles Rams

The Cleveland Browns took Corbett with the first pick in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and his NFL career got off to a rocky start. After Corbett played just 15 snaps over one-and-a-half seasons, the Browns sent him to the Rams for a fifth-round pick. Strangely enough, Corbett’s career trajectory now somewhat resembles that of Browns star right guard Wyatt Teller, with a trade and a change of scenery leading to a boost in his play.

Corbett didn’t miss a single snap for the Rams in 2020 and logged a career-high 73.4 overall grade and 76.4 run-blocking grade despite switching from center to right guard. He’s maintained that level of play through Week 12 of 2021, and his upward trajectory, positional flexibility along the interior of the offensive line and draft status could lead to a solid payday.

Strengths:
– Solid all-around grading profile
– Hand usage
– Screens

Weaknesses:
– Dealing with length on interior
– Can be late to second-level defenders off combo blocks

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING GUARD: Corbett has turned his career around in Sean McVay's wide zone offense, and he's graded above the 50th percentile among all guards in zone- and gap-rushing schemes since the start of last season. He's also graded out in the top half of qualifying guards in pass-blocking grade on true pass sets. Corbett doesn't necessarily need to remain in a similar offense to be an effective starter.

Recent Injury History:
Corbett has started every game at right guard for the Rams since the start of the 2020 season. He hasn't dealt with any major injuries since he was drafted in 2018.

Contract Projection: Four years, $37 million ($9.25M per year, $20M total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Corbett's play as the Rams' starting right guard over the past two years has helped him shed the “bust” label that was prematurely placed on him after being drafted 33rd overall by the Browns in 2018. He's a top-20 guard in PFF's wins above replacement metric since 2020, and he can be plugged in as a capable starting guard for most NFL offenses.


76. CB D.J. Reed Jr., Seattle Seahawks

Reed is in the midst of a career year and will finish the season with new career highs in snaps played and PFF overall grade. Working against Reed is that he’s listed at 5-foot-9 and is primarily an outside cornerback, much like fellow NFC West standout Darious Williams. Nevertheless, Reed has played well since becoming a full-time starter on the outside, and back-to-back 85.0 run-defense grades suggest his size isn’t always an issue.

Strengths:
– Run support
– Physicality
– Competes at the catch point

Weaknesses:
– Undersized for an outside cornerback
– Hasn't played much man coverage in Seattle

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING CORNERBACK IN ZONE-HEAVY SCHEME: Listed at 5-foot-9, Reed doesn't have the prototypical length Seattle has coveted in their cornerbacks, but he's found success in Pete Carroll's defense over the past two seasons. He has played significantly more snaps in zone coverage than in man coverage and has graded out better on those zone snaps. He'll stand out as a plus run defender for the position wherever he ends up.

Recent Injury History:
Reed missed three games this season due to a groin injury and a stint on the COVID-19 reserve list. He missed the first eight weeks of the 2020 season while on the reserve/non-football injury list with a torn pectoral.

Contract Projection: Three years, $27 million ($9M per year), $15 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Despite not possessing the kind of length Seattle typically looks for in their cornerbacks, Reed has been the Seahawks' top option at the position since joining the team in 2020. He has allowed a first down or touchdown on just one-third of his targets while providing excellent run support since taking on a starting role outside.


77. DI D.J. Jones, San Francisco 49ers

Jones has quietly turned in a campaign that could make him the most sought-after free-agent interior defensive lineman. The 49ers kept him on a one-year deal in 2021 after his rookie contract expired, and if it was a “prove it” situation, his career-high 74.8 overall grade certainly proved that he’s earned a stronger multi-year deal.

Strengths:
– Run defense
– Penetration in the backfield

Weaknesses:
– Missed tackles
– Can get moved by double teams

Scheme Fit/Role:
EARLY-DOWN DEFENSIVE TACKLE/NOSE TACKLE: Jones is listed as San Francisco's nose tackle, but there aren't too many true nose tackles lining up exclusively in 0- or 1-techniques in the NFL anymore, Jones included. In all, 70% of his defensive snaps over the past three seasons have come lined up from the A gap to the B gap, rather than lined up over or shading the center. Given that Jones' 13 pressures in 2021 are the most of his career, his primary value is going to come against the run on early downs regardless of where he's lining up.

Recent Injury History:
Jones appeared in all 17 games for the 49ers this season after missing 2019's Super Bowl run with an ankle injury. He also missed two games last season due to an ankle injury and a stint on the COVID-19 list.

Contract Projection: Three years, $26.25 million ($8.75M per year), $15.5 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Jones hasn't gotten a lot of attention, given the other players he has played alongside on San Francisco's defensive line, but he's positioned himself well entering 2022 free agency off a career year in 2021. He won't add a ton of value as a pass-rusher, but Jones has been one of the better interior defensive linemen in the NFL at making impact plays against the run in recent seasons.


78. RB Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals

Edmonds saw his former Cardinals teammate Kenyan Drake play out the 2020 season on the transition tag before signing a two-year, $11 million contract last offseason with the Las Vegas Raiders. Edmonds headlines another underwhelming class at the position and may be looking for a similar deal to cash in when he can.

Strengths:
– Agility
– Receiving out of the backfield

Weaknesses:
– Has never led a team in snaps
– Doesn't force missed tackles at a high rate

Scheme Fit/Role:
CHANGE-OF-PACE BACK: Edmonds is a little bit undersized for a bell-cow workload as a lead back, but he does offer value as a receiving back who can add some explosive plays on the ground. Arizona is one of the biggest inside-zone rushing offenses in the NFL, and Edmonds has graded out higher in zone than gap schemes throughout his career.

Recent Injury History:
Edmonds was banged up in 2021, dealing with a lingering shoulder injury before being placed on injured reserve with a high-ankle sprain. He did play in all 16 games last season but missed an extended stretch in 2019 with a hamstring injury.

Contract Projection: Two years, $12 million ($6M per year, $9 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Edmonds finally got the opportunity to enter the season as Arizona's starting running back, but he's since ceded that title to James Conner while on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Whether he starts the game or not, Edmonds is at his best in a complementary role to someone who can split work with him on early-down runs.


79. T Trent Brown, New England Patriots

The Raiders sent Brown back to the New England Patriots two years into the four-year, $66 million mega-deal he signed with Las Vegas in 2019. New England revised the deal, reducing his compensation and making him a free agent after 2021. Like linebacker Jamie Collins, Brown seems to be a superstar with the Patriots but lackluster anywhere else. That being said, the 6-foot-8, 380-pound mountain of a human has earned career highs in pass-blocking grade (82.9) and run-blocking grade (75.1) through Week 17 of the 2021 NFL season.

Strengths:
-Size
-Pass-blocking
-High percentage of positively graded run blocks

Weaknesses:
-High percentage of negatively graded run blocks
-Durability

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING TACKLE IN ANY SCHEME: Brown has had success on both the left and right sides. He can move people in the run game, even though he'll have his share of losses, and he's been one of the better pass-blocking tackles in the league over the last few years. He's capable in both zone and gap schemes.

Recent Injury History:
Brown has missed time due to several lower-body injures over the last few years. After a 1,341-snap season in 2018, Brown played just 11 games in 2019, five in 2020 and he missed time in 2021 due to a calf injury.

Contract Projection: Two years, $20 million (incentives could push it to $25 million), $15 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
When Brown is on the field, he's been a strong option in both pass protection and in the run game across multiple systems and at different positions. If he stays healthy, Brown is one of the better tackles in the NFL.


80. RB Sony Michel, Los Angeles Rams

The New England Patriots declined Michel's fifth-year option for the 2022 season and subsequently traded him to the Los Angeles Rams for a fifth- and a sixth-round pick (which will likely convert into a fourth-round pick, based on conditions). Michel has been solid since taking over the starting job from Darrell Henderson in Week 13 but offers little more than downhill, north-and-south running without much ability to break off big gains or be a factor as a receiver.

Strengths:
– Well-rounded runner
– Pass protection

Weaknesses:
– Doesn't offer much as a receiver
– High percentage of runs for loss or no gain

Scheme Fit/Role:
EARLY-DOWN ROTATIONAL BACK: Michel has now posted PFF rushing grades above 75.0 in three of his four NFL seasons across multiple schemes. He will get downhill and move the chains on the ground, but he's provided little reason to send him out on many routes.

Recent Injury History:
Michel missed seven games with a quad injury in 2020, but he has returned in 2021 and appeared in every game for the Rams. Michel had a relatively lengthy injury history (knee injuries, in particular) coming out of Georgia and bleeding into his rookie year with the Patriots.

Contract Projection: Two years, $8.5 million ($4.25M per year), $5 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Michel has proven to be an effective runner across multiple offensive schemes, but he isn't an elite creator beyond what is blocked up and has struggled to make any kind of receiving impact to this point in his career.


81. DI Linval Joseph, Los Angeles Chargers

Joseph has long been one of the NFL’s premier nose tackles, and while his 62.9 overall grade and 49.1 run-defense grade represent his lowest single-season marks since 2011, he’s earned a career-best 83.0 pass-rush grade this season. Despite the down year, Joseph is a space-eater who may still generate some interest at 34 years old. However, it also wouldn’t come as a surprise if he hangs up his cleats after a great career.

Strengths:
-Size
-Strength
-Run Defense

Weaknesses:
-Age
-Dynamism

Scheme Fit/Role:
RUN-STUFFING INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: Linval Joseph has been a dominant run defender in his career but is coming off a surprisingly productive pass-rushing season for the Chargers. His biggest plus is the capacity to occupy space and dissuade interior running, making an impact whether or not he makes the play.

Recent Injury History:
The veteran missed time with a shoulder injury earlier in the season, as well as some time with Covid-19, which put him out for multiple weeks.

Contract Projection: One year, $6.75 million fully guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Joseph is getting on in years, but he can still be a useful part of a defensive line rotation, particularly for a team struggling for blast up the middle.


82. S Devin McCourty, New England Patriots

Another safety playing well into his 30s, McCourty’s tenure with the New England Patriots has been nothing short of remarkable. New England just extended safety Adrian Phillips, but he plays more as a hybrid linebacker-safety, as does 2020 second-round pick Kyle Dugger. McCourty is the perfect deep-third safety who keeps everything in front of him to round out this secondary, and he earned 70.0-plus grades in every facet this season, even at 34 years old.

Strengths:
-Rarely out of position in coverage
-Veteran presence, has seen it all
-Moves well and can make plays on the ball

Weaknesses:
-Age
-Not going to be an impact run defender
-Can be exploited when left one-on-one

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING FREE SAFETY: While McCourty's best fit is in a familiar New England system, he's a true free safety who can contribute to both single- and two-high looks. He's better away from the line of scrimmage rather than in the box, but he can move around just enough to add value to a more multiple scheme.

Recent Injury History:
McCourty has been one of the league's most durable players, as he hasn't missed a game since late in 2015. He's played 1,000 snaps in all but one of his 12 seasons.

Contract Projection: Two years, $12 million ($6M per year), $8.25 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Few players have been as good as McCourty over the last decade, as he's been one of the most dependable free safeties in the league. He's getting toward the end of his career, and he may not want to move to a new situation, but he can still hold it down on the back end and ensure that the defense gets lined up properly.


83. S Kareem Jackson, Denver Broncos

Jackson is another player who has played extremely admirably well into his 30s, especially so far from the line of scrimmage as a safety. He was something of a cap casualty before the 2021 season, as the Broncos declined a team option that carried a $10 million salary. However, the two sides ultimately agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal to bring him back. After three straight seasons grading above 80.0, Jackson’s 52.0 overall grade is his lowest since his rookie season in 2010. Denver and other teams may have noticed him losing a step last offseason, but few veterans have a higher football IQ.

Strengths:
-Played in a versatile scheme, will understand any defense
-Plus tackler, in the box and in space
-Enough athleticism to play in the middle of the field

Weaknesses:
-Man coverage liability
-Back injury in his 30s, a major red flag

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING FREE SAFETY: Jackson was moved from corner to safety to hide his slipping coverage skills in the first place, and Fangio's Cover 1-heavy scheme doesn't do much to mask those deficiencies. Philadelphia plays the kind of soft two-high coverages that play best with Jackson's skill set.

Recent Injury History:
The veteran was placed on injured reserve in Week 18 after battling back issues for multiple weeks.

Contract Projection: One year, $3.5 million fully guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Jackson is a starting-level NFL safety, but his man-coverage ability keeps trending in the wrong direction and we're now facing a safety who needs to be better protected by deep zone drops.


84. CB Robert Alford, Arizona Cardinals

Alford hadn’t played a single snap of NFL football in two full seasons and stepped in as the Cardinals’ No. 1 cornerback this year at the age of 33 — a truly remarkable feat. Alford’s 68.5 coverage grade is the second-best of his career, and he showed he hadn’t missed a step in his absence. Unfortunately, a pectoral injury landed him on injured reserve just a year after the same injury sidelined him for a full year.

Strengths:
-Experience in heavy man and Cover 3 schemes
-Steady and dependable
-Can live in press coverage occasionally

Weaknesses:
-Loses at the catch point in man
-Not sticky enough at the top of the route
-Lack of playmaking skills

Scheme Fit/Role:
NO. 2 OR NO. 3 CB IN ZONE SCHEME: Alford is the kind of defensive back you can use to stabilize a defensive backfield in need. With the attrition and injuries suffered in Tampa Bay, he may be an option for a similar blitz-heavy, majority-zone defense.

Recent Injury History:
Alford was placed on the injured reserve after suffering a pectoral injury. This is his second consecutive season that's been ended due to a pec injury.

Contract Projection: One year, $5 million fully guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Alford is about average in coverage ability, and far from his peak with the 2017 Atlanta Falcons. He can still live on the outside and provide value to a defensive backfield, assuming his pec heals properly.


85. DI Sebastian Joseph-Day, Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams run defense took a big hit for a few weeks following an unfortunate torn pectoral sustained by Joseph-Day in Week 7, but reports have indicated he may return for the playoffs. His ability to eat up space on the interior and free up other rushers will be valued across the league.

Strengths:
– Major disruptor against the run
– Speed and power to win against guards and centers alike
– Good hands; he is a pocket-crusher on pass rushes

Weaknesses:
-Limited value on third down
-Lack of explosiveness off the ball
-Pressure conversion rate is low

Scheme Fit/Role:
EARLY DOWN NOSE TACKLE: Joseph-Day is made for the bear front and 3-4 trend we've seen spreading back across the league. If the Rams can't afford to retain him, The Los Angeles Chargers are in desperate need of interior run-stoppers.

Recent Injury History:
Joseph-Day has been out since Week 8 with a pectoral injury. He was placed on injured reserve and is having the pec surgically repaired.

Contract Projection: Three years, $30 million ($10M per year), $17.5 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Joseph-Day hasn't had the hardest job in the NFL, given that he's been playing next to Aaron Donald, but he provides positive value to any run defense. If he's blocked one-on-one, expect him to win most of those reps.


86. G Alex Cappa, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cappa was drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Division II Humboldt State. And he’s gotten better each season as he made a huge adjustment to the speed of the NFL game, culminating in career highs as a pass-blocker (71.1) and run-blocker (71.4). The Buccaneers also have center Ryan Jensen hitting free agency and may not be able to retain both players, which could lead to a solid free agency for Cappa.

Strengths:
– Powerful finisher on downhill runs
– Creates movement on doubles and zone blocks
– Eliminates power rushes

Weaknesses:
– Struggles with lateral movement
– Can whiff and miscommunicate on stunts and twists
– Loses to pass-rushers with speed

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING GUARD: Cappa isn't a world-beater on the interior, but he adds legitimate value to teams that want to run the ball downhill. The Chargers, Dolphins and Jaguars should all be looking to add a run-blocking guard like Cappa.

Recent Injury History:
Cappa did not suffer any injury of significance in the 2021-22 season. The guard suffered an ankle injury in 2020 that landed him on the IR.

Contract Projection: Four years, $37 million ($9.25M per year), $20 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
As the NFL becomes more spread out, interior offensive linemen will need to be powerful enough to win one-on-one blocks between the guards. Cappa fits that mold and should add value to teams struggling with its downhill runs.


87. DI Maliek Collins, Houston Texans

Collins appeared to be one of the first veterans in Houston to buy into the new regime, put his head down and play hard on a team with zero playoff aspirations. The former third-rounder of the Dallas Cowboys has earned a career-high 66.5 grade and has played at least 500 snaps in six straight seasons to begin his career. He’ll still just be 27 years old through the 2022 season and is starting to realize his potential.

Strengths:
– Lateral mobility
– Motor and Pursuit
– Powerful Hands

Weaknesses:
– First-step explosiveness
– Lack of production in the backfield
– Loses too often at the point of attack

Scheme Fit/Role:
ROTATIONAL INTERIOR TACKLE: Collins will likely be most valuable staying with the Texans. Assuming the defensive scheme stays the same, Collins needs a defense like Houston's — heavy on twisting and stunting — to help him get into the backfield.

Recent Injury History:
Missed a game due to NFL's health and safety protocol. No major injuries were sustained in 2021.

Contract Projection: Three years, $27.75 million ($9.25M per year), $16 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Collins is nice to have, but he won't blow anyone away as a run defender or pass-rusher. As s high-motor player, though, the 3-Technique can find a home in any defense — most likely as a piece of a four-man rotation on the inside.


88. ED Jason Pierre-Paul, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jason Pierre-Paul is in the final year of a two-year, $25 million contract signed with the Buccaneers before their Super Bowl run in 2020. Pierre-Paul still shows flashes, tallying at least two quarterback pressures in six of his nine games, but injuries have started to catch up a bit. Now in Year 12, Pierre-Paul hasn’t earned a season-long grade of 70.0-plus since 2016, but he’s also never recorded a season-long grade below 60.0.

Strengths:
– Length
– Motor

Weaknesses:
– Tackling
– Age

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING EDGE IN DEEP ROTATION: The last two edge defenders in their 13th season or higher to play a single defensive snap were Terrell Suggs and Lorenzo Alexander in 2019. The days of Pierre-Paul logging over 1,000 snaps as he did in 2020 should be over, but he can still contribute as part of a rotation that keeps him fresh.

Recent Injury History:
The injuries are starting to pile up for Pierre-Paul in Tampa Bay. He suffered a fractured neck in a car accident before the 2019 season, played through a knee injury for much of last season and is currently playing through a finger that is “split into two pieces” and a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder.

Contract Projection: One year, $7 million, $5 million guaranteed

Bottom Line:
At his best, Pierre-Paul is an every-down edge defender who understands how to use his length to impact both the run and pass game. It just remains to be seen how much of his best remains as injuries continue to mount for the 33-year-old.


89. WR Will Fuller V, Miami Dolphins

A suspension to close out the 2020 season was likely a factor in Fuller signing a one-year, $10 million flier with the Miami Dolphins for the 2021 campaign. As is the case with everything this season in Miami, Fuller’s year has not gone as planned, with a finger injury landing him on injured reserve. As a result, he’ll once again likely be fielding one-year offers, as teams need to see him stay healthy and active for a full season for the first time in his career.

Strengths:
-Speed
-The deep route tree

Weaknesses:
-Durability
-Versatility

Scheme Fit/Role:
DEEP THREAT/NO. 3 RECEIVER: Fuller is the ultimate receiver tease in the NFL. An elite deep threat who immediately makes every offense he is on better, he can't stay on the field. Almost every NFL offense should be interested if the price is right, but they need to expect he will miss time, and that's a gamble many teams want no part of.

Recent Injury History:
Fuller's injury history is extensive and consistent, and it will be a significant offputting factor for any new team.

Contract Projection: One year, $10 million

Bottom Line:
Fuller is a roll of the dice — a gamble with a potentially big pay-out, but one with long odds. His injury history is extensive, and he isn't a complete player, but the things he is good at change offenses and the way defenses line up. That's always going to have a value attached to it.


90. S Jayron Kearse, Dallas Cowboys

This offseason, Kearse signed a veteran-minimum salary with the Cowboys and was one of many safety additions alongside Damontae Kazee and hybrid safety-linebacker Keanu Neal. Despite the competition for snaps, Kearse has emerged as the best of the bunch and is on track for a career-high PFF grade on over 1,000 snaps after never having played more than 503 in a single season prior.

Strengths:
-Size
-Man coverage vs TEs
-Tackling

Weaknesses:
-Sample size
-Something of a ‘tweener

Scheme Fit/Role:
MATCHUP SS: Kearse is at his best using his size and length to cover tight ends one-on-one as the answer to how that position has developed in recent years. He has the size to combat those bigger bodies and the coverage skills to go man-to-man. Teams that play a lot of man coverage or matchup zone should consider him specifically for that assignment.

Recent Injury History:
Kearse played over 1,000 snaps in the regular season in 2021 before picking up a hamstring injury before Week 18.

Contract Projection: Three years, $15 million ($5M per year), $8.25 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Jayron Kearse is a potential answer to the matchup problems caused by tight ends who can run and catch like wideouts but in a 250-pound frame. Kearse has man coverage skills but in a much bigger body. How he fares in traditional zone assignments is less clear, which limits his market.


91. T Riley Reiff, Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati signing Reiff is what ultimately enabled the Bengals to draft breakout star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, and that alone has paid dividends. While Reiff hasn’t been remarkable by any means, he’s been his usual consistent self despite switching from left tackle to right tackle after the better part of a decade spent on the blindside. He deserves another deal as perhaps a top-end swing tackle at worst.

Strengths:
-Experience at RT and LT
-Run blocking in power/gap schemes
-Beats up bad rushers

Weaknesses:
-Age
-Loses quickly
-Coming off career-low pass-blocking grade”

Scheme Fit/Role:
PROBLEM-SOLVING BRIDGE STARTER/SWING T: Reiff was a longtime starter at left tackle before moving to the right side for the Bengals in 2020. He has been solid in both spots but loses enough that teams will always be looking to upgrade. He would be a high-end backup but will also massively upgrade a problem spot for a team that has one.

Recent Injury History:
Reiff was shut down late in the season with an ankle injury that had been re-aggravated and was getting worse rather than better as time went on.

Contract Projection: Two years, $14 million ($7M per year), $9.25 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Riley Reiff's days as a starter may be over, but his experience on both sides makes him a valuable backup tackle for most teams. Franchises with a disastrous situation at tackle may turn to him late in the process to plug a hole.


92. T Germain Ifedi, Chicago Bears

Ifedi returned to the Bears on a one-year prove-it deal worth $4.25 million after he played well over the final seven games of the 2020 season following a switch from right guard. While injuries largely derailed his 2021 campaign, the former first-rounder of the Seahawks has shown he’s a solid starter at either right guard or right tackle, even if he won’t ascend into the player Seattle envisioned when it drafted him in 2016.

Strengths:
– Pass blocking on true pass sets
– Guard/Tackle versatility

Weaknesses:
– Negative plays in run game
– League-high 62 penalties since 2016

Scheme Fit/Role:
LOW-END STARTING RIGHT TACKLE/HIGH-END SIXTH OL: Ifedi started the 2020 season at right guard for Chicago before kicking back out to right tackle, where he also started the 2021 season. Ifedi has graded out better as a pass-protector at tackle with the Bears, and he's been a better run-blocker in gap schemes throughout his career.

Recent Injury History:
Ifedi missed roughly half of the 2021 season with a knee injury that landed him on injured reserve. He had been extremely durable prior to this season, logging over 1,000 offensive snaps every year from 2017 to 2020.

Contract Projection: Two years, $13 million ($6.5M per year), $8.5 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Ifedi is coming off the two highest PFF grades of his career with the Bears in 2020 and 2021, and he's proven to be a viable starter at both right guard and right tackle. He's always likely to fall into the “looking to upgrade” starter category, though.


93. CB Patrick Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

One of the best cornerbacks of the decade, Peterson hoped to revive his career with a fresh start in Minnesota, but his tenure with the Vikings was underwhelming, to say the least. Now entering his age 32 season, Peterson perhaps may explore a move to safety, as he has alluded to in the past, because his abilities as a man cover corner are dwindling.

Strengths:
-Physicality
-Reading tendencies/route concepts
-Run defense

Weaknesses:
-Quickness
-Can't play slot anymore
-Lost a step

Scheme Fit/Role:
NO. 2 CORNERBACK: Peterson was one of the best corners of his generation at his peak, but at 32, he is now seemingly well beyond that level of play. He still has enough experience and savvy to hold up overall, but he isn't as quick or rangy as he once was, which hurts his production in both zone and man coverage.

Recent Injury History:
Peterson had a minor foot injury early in the season before a hamstring injury caused him to miss some time, as well as a stint on the COVID-19 list.

Contract Projection: One year, $6 million fully guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Peterson may have a year or two left as a second corner for a team without better options. He has enough experience and savvy to get by and be solid, but elite receivers will put him in a bind.


94. TE Maxx Williams, Arizona Cardinals

Williams was on a tear to start the 2021 season, with his 78.8 grade through Week 5 ranking fifth among tight ends and his 8.0 yards after the catch per reception sixth. Williams has always been a strong blocker too, as his 82.3 run-blocking grade since 2017 is the third-best mark among tight ends with at least 100 run-blocking snaps over the five-year stretch. An ACL tear is never a good thing, but he suffered the injury in early October and should be mostly recovered by Week 1, 2022.

Strengths:
-Run blocking
-Hands
-Short-area receiver

Weaknesses:
-Durability
-Never been a high-volume pass-catcher

Scheme Fit/Role:
HIGH-END NO. 2 TIGHT END: While Williams has all the skills to be a No. 1 tight end, we've never seen him as a high-volume pass catcher and he's struggled to stay on the field. However, Williams is one of the league's best run-blockers and is sure-handed and capable of working the middle of the field as a No. 2 option with No. 1 tight end skills.

Recent Injury History:
Williams has had an injury-riddled career, most recently missing most of 2021 with a knee injury. An ankle injury limited him to just nine games in 2020, and 2019 is the only year Williams has played in every game.

Contract Projection: Three years, $18.75 million ($6.25M per year), $10 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Keeping Williams on the field is the biggest question mark, and he's currently recovering from a season-ending knee injury. When healthy, Williams is a factor in the run game and a dependable pass-catcher. He could add sneaky value as a No. 2 option if he can stay healthy.


95. WR Jamison Crowder, New York Jets

Crowder agreed to a rather substantial pay cut before the 2021 season to stay with the Jets, and his 62.0 receiving grade through Week 12 is just a hair above his career-low, now in his seventh NFL season. Crowder is a reliable slot receiver, dropping just four passes on 135 targets since 2020, and has garnered at least six targets in seven of his eight games played this season. However, his 3.3 yards after the catch per reception so far in 2021 is a career-low by almost 1.5 yards.

Strengths:
– Quickness
– Hands
– Play from the slot

Weaknesses:
– Size
– Speed

Scheme Fit/Role:
SLOT RECEIVER: Crowder isn't big nor fast, but he does everything else well and has been a consistently clutch slot receiver despite plying his trade for the Jets and Washington in the NFL. Crowder has a defined role, but any team needing a slot receiver would benefit from adding him.

Recent Injury History:
Crowder pulled a groin muscle early in the 2021 season. He has a history of soft-tissue muscle injuries in his NFL career.

Contract Projection: One year, $4.5 million ($3.5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Crowder would be an upgrade at slot receiver for most NFL teams. Seventy-six percent of his career snaps have come inside, and he is a specialist in that role.


96. TE Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts

Alie-Cox has put together an extremely impressive first four years of his NFL career considering he was a college basketball player at VCU before converting to tight end and playing organized football for the first time since his freshman year of high school. He’s still learning the nuances of the game but hasn’t let that slow him down, with four straight seasons grading above 65.0. Operating behind Jack Doyle has limited Alie-Cox’s receiving production, but perhaps he could become more of a focal point going forward.

Strengths:
-Hands
-YAC
-Exploiting zone coverage

Weaknesses:
-Separating vs. man coverage
-Never had a high-volume role

Scheme Fit/Role:
ALL-AROUND TE: Alie-Cox has never played a huge role within an offense, but there's evidence to suggest he could be a successful No. 1 for many teams. He blocks well and has great hands and excellent after-the-catch skills. His separation in man coverage isn't great, but he finds space easily in zone coverage to offset that weakness.

Recent Injury History:
Alie-Cox has not had any notable injuries recently. In 2020, he dealt with a lingering knee injury that kept him on the injury report but not out of games.

Contract Projection: Three years, $21 million ($7M per year), $10 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Alie-Cox is a player long on talent who has yet to take over as a true No. 1 option at the position. He has some weaknesses to his game but is still worth a bigger role than he has received so far.


97. WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers

Valdes-Scantling hopes to be the next late-round pick/undrafted free agent speedster to cash in big in free agency, much like Tyrell Williams did with the Las Vegas Raiders and Robby Anderson did with the Carolina Panthers. Valdes-Scantling is every bit of 6-foot-5, and his 4.37 forty-yard dash translates to the gridiron, with his 18.3-yard average depth of target ranking third-highest among wide receivers over the past two seasons. Some drop issues and injuries have limited his production, but he’s improved his hands over time and has game-breaking ability on every snap when healthy.

Strengths:
-Size
-Speed
-Big-play ability

Weaknesses:
-Hands
-Not a high-volume pass-catching option
-Contested catches

Scheme Fit/Role:
DEEP THREAT: Valdes-Scantling has excelled as a size/speed downfield mismatch in his four-year career, and that's his best bet to produce going forward. He's not polished in other parts of his game, but his career 17.5 yards per reception mark shows that he's capable of flipping the field in a hurry.

Recent Injury History:
Valdes-Scantling had played in every game in his career from 2018 through 2020 before a hamstring injury limited him in 2021.

Contract Projection: Three years, $25 million ($8.33M per year), $16 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
If used as a complementary deep threat, Valdes-Scantling has a role on a receiving corps, especially one looking to add some juice on the outside. He may never be a high-volume chain mover, but Valdes-Scantling should be coveted as an option that can get behind the defense once or twice a game.


98. LB Kyzir White, Los Angeles Chargers

White was a reliable presence at linebacker following the loss of 2020 first-rounder Kenneth Murray for Weeks 4-9 and with Murray battling injuries over Weeks 11-15. White has had four straight seasons with coverage grades above 60.0, which is not an easy feat for an off-ball linebacker in today’s NFL, with hi-lo concepts and the increase in run-pass options putting a ton of stress on the position.

Strengths:
-Zone coverage
-Tackling
-Versatile underneath defender

Weaknesses:
-Making plays on the ball
-Playmaking in the run game
-Taking on blocks

Scheme Fit/Role:
STARTING OUTSIDE LINEBACKER: White brings a strong all-around skill set to the table, and he's continued to improve during his four-year career. He moves around well as an underneath zone defender, and he's at his best if he's kept clean in the run game. White is a mid-tier starter on the outside.

Recent Injury History:
White missed a few games in 2020, sandwiched around the 2019 and 2021 seasons in which he played every game.

Contract Projection: Two years, $9.5 million ($4.75M per year), $5 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
As his career has progressed, White has improved and seen his playing time increase. He's an effective three-down player who does his best work in coverage.


99. CB Joe Haden, Pittsburgh Steelers

Haden was looking for a contract extension before the 2021 season, but the Steelers didn’t oblige. It’s likely he will now be playing elsewhere in 2022, and he’s still a solid zone cornerback with a high floor entering his age 33 season. Haden earned overall and coverage grades above 60.0 in each of his five seasons with the Steelers and looks to have a year or two left in him.

Strengths:
-Good tackler
-Eliminates explosive passes
-Veteran experience

Weaknesses:
– Lack of twitchiness
– No production at the catch point (INT/PBU)
– Age/Durability

Scheme Fit/Role:
NO. 2 OR NO. 3 CB IN A ZONE SCHEME: As an older defensive back playing much less press coverage, it's time for Haden to take a look at the slot or play outside in a zone-heavy scheme. If playing inside is a dealbreaker, the Giants and Raiders may want to take a look at Haden. Patrick Graham and Gus Bradley run Cover 1 less than 15% of the time and allow their corners to play with the depth Haden needs to keep the game in front of him.

Recent Injury History:
Haden sustained a sprain in his left foot in 2021, but no structural damage requiring surgery was reported. He missed four games with the injury.

Contract Projection: One year, $5 million fully guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Father Time slows down for no man, and Haden is coming up on the back end of his career. If he is willing to move inside, he can extend his positive value for teams much longer than playing bend-don't-break football on the outside.


100. WR Sammy Watkins, Baltimore Ravens

Watkins may be on his third team in as many seasons, finishing the 2021 season lower on the depth chart than where he started. His 394 receiving yards this year marks the lowest total of his career. The former No. 4 overall pick will always present an intriguing option to teams, but at this stage in his career, he is purely a depth receiver that hopefully can command the defense's attention to free up the top playmakers.

Strengths:
-YAC
-Speed
-Ability to dominate games

Weaknesses:
-Durability
-Winning vs. elite cover guys

Scheme Fit/Role:
NO. 3 or NO. 4 RECEIVER: Sammy Watkins' best value in the NFL has been going off when all the focus is on another player. He has enough skills to win, and win big, against No. 2 corners or players who can't match up with him physically, but he struggles against elite cover guys and has been fragile.

Recent Injury History:

Watkins missed time with knee and hamstring injuries as well as an undisclosed injury early in the season. He has had a constant run of injuries in the NFL and cannot be assumed to be healthy long-term.

Contract Projection: Two years, $12 million ($6M per year), $7.5 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Watkins has the potential to be a No. 2 receiver, but his injury history makes that very unlikely. Teams will carry him for the few healthy games a year where he can have huge performances.

Tackle Lifes financial Challenges. Western Southern Financial Group.
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