Breakdowns

Smart Teams Find Veteran Value After the NFL Draft

Smart Teams Find Veteran Value

Understandably, once the opening of free agency dies down, all focus shifts to the NFL Draft. It’s an oft-repeated tenet that “successful teams build through the draft,” so this makes sense. Once the draft ends, that focus turns to the players who didn’t hear their name called. Again, this makes sense – there’s a lot of talented players who were never drafted. 

However, the one topic that fails to regain much public attention post-draft is veteran free agency. The thinking goes that teams have repeatedly picked over the available players and anybody left simply isn’t good enough. This could not be farther from the truth. 

Year after year, some of the best-run teams in the league find productive veterans on the market. With compensatory picks no longer on the line, post-draft free agency should continue to skyrocket. Take a look at a few of the hits over the past three years.

2021:

Indianapolis – OT Eric Fisher

Las Vegas – CB Casey Hayward

Baltimore – OT Alejandro Villanueva

2020:

Dallas – QB Andy Dalton

2019:

Tampa Bay – DT Ndamukong Suh

New England – DT Danny Shelton

Baltimore – LB Pernell McPhee

New England – LB Jamie Collins

These are all productive players, some at high-value positions, who were still on the market after the draft. New England and Baltimore in particular have made a habit of studying and taking advantage of this market, finding results that speak for themselves. 

Who are some players in 2022 who could join this list in the future?

WR Odell Beckham Jr

OT Duane Brown

DE Jadeveon Clowney

TE Rob Gronkowski

WR Jarvis Landry

DT Akiem Hicks

DE Trey Flowers

C J.C. Tretter

OT Eric Fisher

WR Will Fuller

WR Julio Jones

LB Anthony Barr

CB Kevin King

LB Dont’a Hightower

Find our list of the best remaining available players post NFL Draft here