Free Agency is an exciting time for NFL fans in a similar fashion to the draft. There is that feeling like this offseason, your team might finally make a big move for a major star or fill that hole that bothered you all last season. There is also that unsettling expectation of disappointment for many fans who just know that their team will either wait too long and sign no one but the 9th best offensive lineman on the market, or sign a big name and find out they aren’t what they used to be. With the draft approaching and everyone tossing out their mocks of how quickly Jacksonville can draft Trevor Lawrence, we thought we would add a little fun to the offseason with our own Free Agency Mock Draft.
This draft was performed with live results from Football MD with Johnathon Mendoza and Dalton Davidson on Sunday, March 7, 2021. It is, of course, already out of date with Dak re-signing with the Cowboys. However, the point of the draft was never for accuracy, but for pure speculative fun, showing what teams have the opportunity to go grab a big name, what some teams have a positional need for, and who the best free agents are. This will all begin to shake out March 15th when “legal tampering” begins and will get serious on St. Patrick’s Day, the 17th.
Of course, some of the teams near the bottom of the list have no, or negative, salary cap space at this time. So they may not be signing free agents as much as they are making more available. That said, it just would not feel right to exclude them from making a fun pick.
John and I drafted for each team in alternating positions, live on the clock. To catch our next show, tune in on E2G’s website every Sunday at 9 am MST, and feel free to call in and let us know how we can diagnose your team’s ails and prescribe a solution on Football MD.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Dalton
- Trent Williams
After seeing Joe Burrow go down to an ACL tear last year, not to mention the multitude of sacks he took behind a weak offensive line, I was heartbroken for the kid and his fans. There are tons of great wide receivers available, but you only get Trevor Lawrence once. He is touted as one of the greatest prospects at quarterback we have ever seen. Protect your investment with the best Tackle you can find and veteran leadership on a young team would not hurt.
- New York Jets – John
- Kenny Golladay
Whether the Jets roll with Sam Darnold or pick up Zach Wilson, this Jets team has absolutely no weapons. Give the kid, whichever one it is, a shot to make some plays. Go get him one of the most talented wideouts in the game and start showing some offensive firepower.
- New England Patriots – Dalton
- Leonard Williams
New England’s identity is in its defense right now with an excellent secondary. Where Watt was the biggest name to hit the free agency market this offseason, Williams might be the most valuable. He is an excellent and improving pass rusher and a stout run defender. Make this defense dominant and grab one of the best defensive linemen in the game.
- Indianapolis Colts – John
- Chris Godwin
Carson Wentz had absolutely no help in Philadelphia. So show him you are invested in his development and success by getting him some. A big name wide receiver like Godwin could be the difference for Wentz making his comeback on an already strong Colts roster.
- Denver Broncos – Dalton
- Dak Prescott
Sorry Buzz Lightyear fans, but Lock has not shown he has the talent to lead this team. If Denver has the chance, they need to find an upgrade at quarterback. And where drafting has been unsuccessful, perhaps signing a proven talent could be the choice. It was the right choice not so long ago with this team signing Peyton Manning and winning a Super Bowl. Perhaps, a younger star quarterback could create more than one.
- Washington Football Team – John
- Juju Smith-Schuster
Three wide receivers in a row for John, but who can blame him? This wide receiver free agency class is the most exciting one in memory. There are true stars potentially on the market if tags do not get slapped or contracts worked out. Juju could bring a little bit of flair and firepower to this team working opposite Scary Terry McLaurin, though Washington will have to get their quarterback situation figured out no matter what talent they have on offense.
- Cincinnati Bengals – Dalton
- Russell Okung
Everyone expects the Bengals to go and draft Penei Sewell and they should. Signing a veteran tackle like Okung would not change that plan, but it would give Sewell the opportunity to develop at Right Tackle as a rookie and learn from a veteran like Okung, while keeping Burrow extra safe. When it comes to protecting this incredible talent, an extra offensive lineman is an excellent idea.
- Carolina Panthers – John
- Lavonte David
The Panthers made great strides developing their defense in 2020, but they can take it much further with Matt Rhule’s coaching. He notably drafted defense on all 7 of his picks in the 2020 draft. A strong free agency signing might allow him to feel comfortable spending at least one of his 2021 picks on offense.
- Miami Dolphins – Dalton
- Leonard Fournette
Like Air Supply, the Dolphins created a run game out of nothing at all last year with names like Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed after Jordan Howard and Matt Breida proved disappointing and not durable enough. Adding a running back who is having a career revitalization after winning a Super Bowl might be the trick for a team that has its identity in playing defense and running the rock. Also, it would be cool to see Fournette play for all three Florida teams.
- Los Angeles Chargers – John
- Brandon Scherff
The Chargers have an amazing prodigy in Justin Herbert. However, they showed to be a bit too dependent on a rookie quarterback despite having promising running backs. It may be time to upgrade the interior of the offensive line, lean a little more on the running attack, and protect Herbert at the same time. Offensive line is never a bad call to protect a franchise quarterback and the Chargers seem to have one.
- Houston Texans – Dalton
- Jameis Winston
This may seem like an awful idea, and it probably is. However, if the Texans do trade Deshaun Watson before the draft as it feels like they have to, they might need a quarterback to replace him. Winston has talent, that much is clear. His decision making leaves a bit to be desired though, to say the least. At the very least, his raw arm talent might give the Texans a chance to steal a few wins and hopefully be exciting enough to get fans into seats.
- Baltimore Ravens – John
- Allen Robinson
The big criticism against Lamar Jackson is that he cannot pass consistently. Finding him an actually talented wide receiver might alleviate a bit of that media circus. The Ravens had one of the worst receiver corps in the league, so it is a clear area of necessity to upgrade, whether through the draft or free agency. The last thing the Ravens want is to have Jackson going into his contract year wondering if his organization is going to provide him help or not.
- Cleveland Browns – Dalton
- Leonard Floyd
The Browns have an excellent pass rush, but you can never have too many pass rushers. Floyd was phenomenal in Los Angeles working alongside Aaron Donald and he would be excellent in Cleveland across from Myles Garrett. Getting after the quarterback well is a way to steal football games. Pass rush creates turnovers and changes momentum and the Browns have that as a core of their identity. Floyd would only keep pressing that bill.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – John
- Kyle Van Noy
With the potential to lose Lavonte David if the Bucs are unable to re-sign him, they will need a strong linebacker next to Devin White to keep that defense at the dominant level we saw in the 2020 playoffs. Reuniting with old teammate Tom Brady might also be attractive to the talented linebacker, besides joining the team who is likely to be a Super Bowl favorite.
- Dallas Cowboys – Dalton
- Patrick Peterson
The Cowboys love their big names and flashy players, but some better play in the secondary might be required to save Mike McCarthy’s job after his awful inaugural season in Dallas. Peterson adds not only strong coverage, but speed unlike many players in the league. He is a premiere addition to any team’s special teams unit, and he brings a swagger that fits right into the Dallas locker room.
- San Francisco 49ers – John
- Joe Thuney
Whether the 49ers run it back with Jimmy G. or look in a different direction, they will need to replace Trent Williams if they are unable to re-sign him. This team has its identity in trenches, both offensively and defensively. With the Rams and the Cardinals making big moves again this offseason, San Francisco will have to do something, and protecting against JJ Watt and Chandler Jones is a good place to start.
- New York Giants – Dalton
- Jonnu Smith
Daniel Jones has had flashes of brilliance and flashes of broke. The Giants have a strong tight end in Evan Engram, but a team that leans on its run-game so well with a returning Saquon Barkley could take advantage of two tight end sets very well, while also providing Jones another safety valve. If Jones can figure it out in 2021, the Giants have a threatening roster both offensively and defensively.
- Seattle Seahawks – John
- Hunter Henry
The sky is actually falling in Seattle and it isn’t just the incessant rain. If they do trade Russell Wilson, it is hard to imagine them figuring out a way to remain relevant no matter what they pick up in free agency or in the draft. A stronger option at tight end might be a good way to encourage Russ to cook for another year, adding both options at receiving and protection.
- Arizona Cardinals – Dalton
- Richard Sherman
The Cardinals pass rush was actually quite strong in 2020 and seems to be upgrading in 2021 already. However, their secondary was inconsistent against the pass and they might not be able to reach terms with Patrick Peterson. Signing Sherman would allow them to remain strong at the second level, keep DK Metcalf in check, and provide more of that needed veteran leadership for a young and talented Cardinals roster. Sherman also has the opportunity to play for his third NFC West team, so we hope he takes a stint with the Rams to complete the circle afterward.
- Las Vegas Raiders – John
- Anthony Harris
Harris was excellent in Minnesota against the pass in 2018 and 2019, but struggled in 2020 on a weaker Vikings defense. His tackles numbers skyrocketed as well, as he was depended on more heavily. One would hope joining the Raiders and bringing that mean physicality to a culture rife with it would upgrade Las Vegas and provide them a better chance at dealing with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
- Tennessee Titans – Dalton
- Yannick Ngakoue
The Titans had an abysmal pass rush in 2020 and their inability to generate one really gate-kept them from playoffs success. The experiment with Jadeveon Clowney seems to have failed, so the Titans will look to another strong pass rushing free agent to fill that hole in their roster.
- Buffalo Bills – John
- Kenyan Drake
Josh Allen needs to not lead this team in rushing. He carried this team way too hard last season and a stronger running game will give Buffalo the chance to have more balance in their offense and reduce Allen’s workload. Drake need not be a bellcow 25-carry back, which is good, because he has proven excellent in smaller workloads himself. But having the threat of a strong running game will keep defenses a bit more honest.
- Minnesota Vikings – Dalton
- Shaquill Griffin
Griffin is one of the most attractive defensive players on the market and the Vikings failure to generate coverage consistently was a big catalyst to their early season struggles. Being led by a running game is fine, but it usually pairs better with a good defense than an incompetent one and the Vikings defense was not what fans of the purple people eaters are used to. Adding Griffin would give them a chance against the likes of Davante Adams as well as Golladay and Robinson should they return to their teams.
- Chicago Bears – John
- Ryan Kerrigan
Assuming the Bears do make an upgrade at quarterback this season, whether it be the salvation of a signing like Russell Wilson or a less sexy upgrade like a Sam Darnold, they still need to lean into their defense for success. Kerrigan would be a strong option across from Khalil Mack. He also might be a replacement piece for the Mack Attack if he becomes the bargaining chip needed to get Wilson into town.
- Detroit Lions – Dalton
- Mark Ingram
This team might be really bad in 2021 and while they have a rising star in D’Andre Swift, a second back like Ingram would do a lot for taking away some of the heavy workload that will be asked of such a young talent. Peterson was actually phenomenal for the Lions in 2020, providing 7 touchdowns. Ingram could fulfill a similar role and stock his way down on a back who at least seems to be a great locker room guy. Though I doubt he will be demanding MVP votes for Jared Goff quite like he did for Lamar Jackson.
- Green Bay Packers – John
- Will Fuller
Aaron Rodgers might make diamonds out of rhinestones in terms of receivers, but giving him a strong talent to put opposite Davante Adams would really feel good. While the Packers rarely make splashes in free agency, one has to look at Tom Brady and Russell Wilson the last two years and wonder how long it will take before Rodgers says “stop drafting quarterbacks and help me.”
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Dalton
- Jerick McKinnon
The Steelers’ inability to run the ball when they needed to in 2020 ended up being their downfall. Roethlisberger might not be finished yet, but asking him to throw it 60 times a game is a bit unfair. There are good running backs in the draft such as Najee Harris and Travis Etienne, but there are some good free agency options as well, not the least being former Steelers Le’Veon Bell and potentially James Conner. McKinnon is a guy who was proclaimed a strong talent in San Francisco, but just could not stay healthy. If he gets another chance in Pittsburgh, he might find success.
- Atlanta Falcons – John
- Matt Milano
The Falcons seem to have a strong offensive roster, but they cannot stop anything on defense. Adding a centerpiece like Milano might be the difference in recreating this team, whether they give Matt Ryan another chance or draft one of the young talents with their high pick.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Dalton
- Marvin Jones
The Chiefs might not be keeping Sammy Watkins, and keeping talent on the offensive side of the football is essential to making sure Patrick Mahomes remains successful. Jones has had amazing flashes in Detroit and one has to imagine someone with his speed and playmaking would have great success in Kansas.
- Los Angeles Rams – John
- Chidobe Awuzie
Imagine the Rams defense if they added another lockdown cornerback. They already have arguably the best defense in the league and taking away the other half of the field likely means Aaron Donald eats every quarterback he faces alive. There are few better than Awuzie in the league, and he certainly would create a terrifying “pick-your-poison” throw on third down.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Dalton
- A.J. Green
The Eagles ran Wentz out of town unceremoniously, and many would say, unfairly. This team has no talent on offense. Sanders and Ertz are good, but they have absolutely nothing at wide receiver. Fans acted like Wentz was playing hero-ball and taking everything on his own shoulders in 2020. Well, he had to. Keeping it with Hurts seems like a strong option for a team that even after adding a strong veteran at wide receiver like A.J. Green would still be rather weak at the position.
- New Orleans Saints – John
- T.Y. Hilton
Adding a veteran wide receiver like Hilton to a core that includes Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders would be quite fun for a potentially returning Drew Brees or for the crazy Russell Wilson trade. Brees was criticized for not being able to throw deep in 2020, but not having Thomas most of the season hurt him greatly. Adding another wide receiver to the mix and getting guys open deep might help Brees look like he has a bit of arm strength left.