Few NFL teams have found success by solely relying on free agency or the draft to compile talent. In order to build a winning franchise, general managers must find balance by both adding veteran talent through free agency and infusing fresh faces via the draft.
The “need vs. value” conundrum is a hotly-debated topic among NFL draft circles. Neither can be completely ignored when drafting, but there is certainly a place for both philosophies; every team makes various needs-based selections throughout the selection process.
A lot can change in the six-plus weeks leading up to the draft, and free agency will have a major impact on the landscape of the NFL.
Beginning March 12, teams will have the option to sign free agents whose contracts have expired this offseason. Players who were released from a current contract were already eligible to be signed, but the vast majority of free agents will find new homes on March 12 and after.
As teams begin adding players in free agency, positional needs begin to disappear, further shaping the draft landscape. Not every move in free agency will change a team’s strategy in April, but some will, and we’ll be left to re-examine what we expect to happen in the draft.
Bleacher Report will be keeping an eye on all the major moves that could affect teams’ offseason strategies. The following mock draft will be continuously updated to reflect this year’s free-agent signings.