With the NFL Scouting Combine over, fans are buzzing about where all the top prospects are going to land, and whom their favorite team is targeting.
They're jumping the gun.
Between the combine and the draft comes free agency, and with that comes a ton of player movement. A lot of quality starters are going to change teams, turning needs into strengths and strengths into needs.
As an example of how quickly things can change, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports recently reported a handshake trade agreement between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs for quarterback Alex Smith. Suddenly, the team sitting atop the draft went from having a desperate need at quarterback to solving its quarterback problem—and the No. 1 overall pick will be spent on a non-quarterback for the first time in five years.
Additionally, the Atlanta Falcons released running back Michael Turner, defensive end John Abraham and cornerback Dunta Robinson Friday morning, unleashing three new FAs onto the market and creating more needs for themselves.
At 4:00 p.m. ET on March 12, these top 25 free agents, excluding those likely to be franchise-tagged, will hit the market. Wherever they land, they'll solve their new team's problem—and create one for the team they left.
Here are the likely landing spots for the top free agents, ranked based on ability, age and positional value. Note that you won't find players almost certain to be franchise tagged, like Ryan Clady or Jairus Byrd (who was franchised on Friday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter)—and you won't find receiver Mike Wallace, whose asking price is far, far beyond anything his production warrants.
ProFootballFocus.com is a subscription site and sourced in this article.