NFL Free Agents 2013: Best Underrated Players Available with Impacting Potential

John RozumCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2013

Ahmad Bradshaw is a much better ball-carrier than given credit.
Ahmad Bradshaw is a much better ball-carrier than given credit.Al Bello/Getty Images

Plenty of talent still resides in the 2013 NFL free-agency market.

Most of which, though, is overlooked due to the bigger names getting signed throughout the first week of pro football's new league year.

It's also an intriguing situation as March progresses because the draft continues to close in fast. In short, the direction a team wants to take regarding how to address a weakness becomes a tougher decision.

The route to checking back in free agency, however, remains a safer path with the following players instead of a rookie.


Ahmad Bradshaw, RB

The reliability of Ahmad Bradshaw is among the best in pro football.

Every year he averaged above four yards per carry for the New York Giants, except 2011. In 2010 he accounted for 1,549 total yards and compiled 1,260 in 2012. Winning two Super Bowls with Big Blue as part of Eli Manning's offense, Bradshaw is a powerful back not afraid to punch the gut of a defense.

He's a dual threat that knows how to make defenders miss in space and racks up nice yards after contact. At the same time, the guy is a dependable pass-blocker.

And although Bradshaw has played in just one full season (2010), his postseason production is worth the gamble as that experience is irreplaceable.


Frostee Rucker, DE

Any team looking for depth along the defensive front, Frostee Rucker is a solid player to consider.

Suiting up for the Cincinnati Bengals for his first five years, Rucker enjoyed his best campaign in 2011, collecting four sacks, 44 tackles and had two defended passes. Unsurprisingly, Cincinnati's run defense only gave up 3.9 yards per carry and the Bengals had a complete pass rush.

Joining the Cleveland Browns in 2012, Rucker remained consistent with 48 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble. Cleveland's run defense was not as dominant as that of Cincy, but the Browns saw improvements regarding sacks and stuffing backs at the line.

Rucker isn't that flashy pass-rusher who will destroy offensive lines and take up two gaps. But he's an effective player that makes an impact and will get the job done when given opportunities.


Victor Butler, LB

Despite playing in a limited role for the Dallas Cowboys, Victor Butler was efficiently reliable.

The 2012 season was his collective best with three sacks, three defended passes, three forced fumbles and 25 tackles. Clearly the guy is capable of delivering hits at the line, filling running lanes, applying quarterback pressure and reacting well against the pass.

Include his size frame of 6'2", 245 pounds and Butler's entire skill set is impressively dynamic. A 4-3 defense can line him up at defensive end, whereas a 3-4 front can utilize him at outside or inside 'backer.

Not only does this enhance Butler's marketability, but the guy has proven to make plays when on the field. And in an offensively-oriented league it's never a bad idea to field instinctive defenders.