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2013 NFL Free Agents: Ranking the Top 7 Impact Players

Eli NachmanyCorrespondent IIIJanuary 9, 2013

2013 NFL Free Agents: Ranking the Top 7 Impact Players

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    The NFL is growing into the capitalist era of professional sports with the advent of free agency making more and more of an impact.

    Just this past season, Vincent Jackson brought life to a Buccaneers team that struggled in 2011.

    Look for a number of impact players to emerge this offseason. We aim to rank the top seven here.

7. Anthony Spencer

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    It's rather tough to make this list as a defensive player, but we give Anthony Spencer the nod here because of his stellar run defense.

    The linebacker opened up lanes for other defenders on the Cowboys this season and could step in as a great fit in places like New York or San Diego if he doesn't return to Dallas.

    Spencer recorded 95 tackles this season, forcing two fumbles in the process.

6. Jairus Byrd

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    Again, while it's remarkably hard to make the list as a defensive player, Jairus Byrd's playmaking ability helped the Bills stay in some games this season.

    Byrd is a true ball hawk, which is highly valued in today's pass-happy NFL. A safety on the rise, the Byrd could be something of the next Ed Reed.

    The defensive back recorded 75 tackles this season, picking off five passes and forcing four fumbles.

5. Greg Jennings

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    Greg Jennings had a tough time making much of an impact this season because he got lost in a talented receiving corps and suffered from injury.

    Jennings was, however, the No. 1 receiver on a Super Bowl-winning squad very recently, which proves that he can still be a player in the league.

    The wide receiver hauled in 36 passes this season for 366 yards and four touchdowns in 2012.

4. Joe Flacco

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    Joe Flacco is set to be a free agent this offseason if the Ravens don't give him a long-term deal and the quarterback would have a lot of market value.

    What Flacco brings to the table is a strong vertical throwing arm that allows teams to open up their offenses down the field.

    In 2012, Flacco threw for 3,817 yards and 22 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.

3. Mike Wallace

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    After a tumultuous run in Pittsburgh, wide receiver Mike Wallace is likely on his way out this offseason.

    Wallace has real game-breaking speed and he can change the tempo of a contest with just one catch, considering his immense ability in terms of stretching the field.

    The Steelers' wideout caught 64 passes for 836 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012.

2. Wes Welker

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    Wes Welker is one of the most talented players in the NFL; he uses his small frame and great hands to his extreme advantage.

    One of the better route-runners in the league, Welker has an opportunity to continue to revolutionize the slot wide receiver position in another offense.

    For the Patriots this season, this pass catcher hauled in 118 balls for 1,354 yards and six touchdowns.

1. Reggie Bush

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    Many will dispute Reggie Bush being No. 1 on this list, but he deserves to be here based on his ability as a playmaker both out of the backfield and in open space.

    Bush can be utilized as a feature back or a wide receiver and excels in both roles, moving the football efficiently with unrivaled speed.

    For the Dolphins last year, the former USC standout rushed for 986 yards and six touchdowns on 227 carries.

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