Free Agency 2016

How First Week of Free Agency Affects the Draft

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The first wave of free agency has come and gone as most of the big names have landed with a team. The ramifications of these moves have on each team can’t be understated. Each acquisition has a domino effect to what moves the team can make in the future because it alters their draft strategy to some extent.

To get a grasp on how the first wave of free agency has affected the NFL draft, let’s take a look at how some of the signings affect what that team will do on draft day.

Oliver Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and Damon Harrison To The New York Giants

You can throw out all that talk of Clemson’s Shaq Lawson going to the New York Giants after these moves. The Giants have significant money tied up to the defensive end position now and the prospect of them adding another player is slim to none. Furthermore, it is unlikely that they look at defensive tackle either after spending a ton on the run-stuffing defensive tackle Damon Harrison.

Now, the Giants will likely turn their attention to linebacker as they are extremely weak up the middle. Myles Jack would be a great fit, but who knows if he will make it to pick No. 10. Reggie Ragland is a player who fits what the Giants look for from a size and production standpoint, but is No. 10 too early for him?

Oakland Raiders add Kelechi Osemele, Sean Smith and Bruce Irvin

You can cross off pass-rusher, offensive tackle (or guard depending on where Oakland plans on playing him) and cornerback off the needs for the Oakland Raiders as they added three top-tier free agents at each of those positions.

Where the Raiders will go depends a lot on what position they decide to play Osemele. If they decide to keep him at guard, the Raiders’ biggest priority will be to find an offensive tackle early in the draft, like Taylor Decker or Jack Conklin. If they put him at offensive tackle, their attention should turn to inside linebacker, where Ragland and Jack could be the pick if they make it to pick No. 14.

Jacksonville Adds Tashaun Gipson,  Chris Ivory and Malik Jackson

If you thought that the Jacksonville Jaguars would be a team who could be in the running to select defensive lineman Joey Bosa you might want to change your thinking. The addition of Malik Jackson all but eliminates any hope of them adding Bosa and it turns their attention to cornerback where the Jaguars are extremely thin.

Florida state defensive back Jalen Ramsey would be the preferred choice, but it is unlikely that he makes it to No.5. Therefore, Vernon Hargreaves looks to be the best choice at this point in time. He may not be as tall as they would like, but Hargreaves has everything else that you look for in a cornerback.

Falcons Add Alex Mack And Solidify Their Defensive Line

In a division that has dominant interior rushers like Kawann Short, Gerald McCoy and Star Lotulelei, the Atlanta Falcons had to add some talent to their interior offensive line, which they did with Alex Mack. Also, the Falcons had an abysmal pass rush last year, they looked to rectify that by re-signing Adrian Clayborn and adding Derrick Shelby in free agency.

What the Falcons really need is a safety, but they will likely have to wait until the second or third round to add someone there. Like the Raiders and Giants, the Falcons desperately need a linebacker to solidify and lead their defense. They could look at an athletic linebacker like Darron Lee or they could take a swipe at a legitimate middle linebacker like Kentrell Brothers.

Eagles Add Brandon Brooks And Chase Daniel, But Rid Themselves Of Chip Kelly’s Experiments

While most teams were busy acquiring players, the Philadelphia Eagles were busy getting rid of almost every player who was acquired by former head coach Chip Kelly. They did, in fact, add guard Brandon Brooks, who will improve their guard play. Also, they brought in Chase Daniel, which eliminates any thought of them grabbing a quarterback in the first round, but they rid themselves of DeMarco Murray, Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso.

With Murray gone, the Eagles look to be in prime position to get Ezekiel Elliot at pick No. 8. The Eagles desperately need a bell cow running back to run head coach Doug Pederson’s offense and Elliot would be the perfect fit.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com