How Free Agency Affects the Draft


The couple waves of free agency have come and gone as most of the top and second tier 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.

Jacksonville Jaguars Whiff At DE

The Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the biggest players in free agency. They signed Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson, Chris Ivory, Prince Amukamara and Kelvin Beachum; however, one position where they struck out was defensive end. Jacksonville was linked with almost every defensive end that was available, but they were unable to come up with a deal with any of them. This leaves a gaping hole at defensive end for the Jaguars as they enter the draft.

This leaves a gaping hole at defensive end for the Jaguars as they enter the draft, which may pigeon hole them when they are on the clock. Before free agency began, the Jaguars were linked with the top secondary talent in the draft like Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves; however, they will likely turn their attention toward the edge defenders.

Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa is likely a top target for the Jaguars to solidify their defensive line, but they may also look at players like Clemson’s Shaq Lawson or even Eastern Kentucky’s Noah Spence if they opt to trade down. Furthermore, Jacksonville will likely look at defensive end throughout the draft; therefore, keep an eye out for players like Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun and Oklahoma State’s Emmanuel Ogbah.

The Denver Broncos Are Left Without A Quarterback

The Denver Broncos are coming off a Super Bowl Championship; nevertheless, they enter the NFL draft in a precarious position. They are without a capable quarterback, which severely limits their ability to win football games next season even with their incredible defense. Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler opted to sign with the Houston Texans, which let the Broncos in the illustrious hands of Mark Sanchez. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence for the fan base.

You can bet your bottom dollar that Denver will be looking to find a capable quarterback in this draft because of these recent events. Memphis’ Paxton Lynch would be a great option if he made it to pick No. 31. Furthermore, Michigan State’s Connor Cook and Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg could also be possibilities for the Broncos.

Now, there is a possibility that Denver trades for a player like Colin Kaepernick, but even if they do, they will likely look to bring in a mid-round quarterback to groom. Players like Ohio State’s Cardale Jones, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott and N.C. State’s Jacoby Brissett would be great fits as quarterbacks of the future for the Broncos.

Detroit Lions Turn Attention Away From Wide Receiver

Going into free agency, the Detroit Lions had a huge hole at wide receiver. The best receiver in the history of their franchise, Calvin Johnson, and the Lions only had Golden Tate as a viable receiving threat that defenses would fear. Therefore, the Lions went out and made the smart move to sign the underrated Marvin Jones from the Cincinnati Bengals.

With that hole filled, The Lions will likely turn their attention to the interior defensive line and offensive tackle. Luckily for the Lions, they have a ton of options at both positions in the draft. At offensive tackle, Michigan State’s Jack Conklin and Ohio State’s Taylor Decker would be great fits for Detroit’s scheme.

At defensive tackle, the Lions have a plethora of options. If they want to attack the position early, Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins, Alabama’s Jarran Reed and A’Shawn Robinson could be possibilities. If they want to wait until day two, they could select Penn State’s Austin Johnson, UCLA’s Kenny Clark or Nebraska’s Maliek Collins could be the pick.

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