Could be the best defensive free agent to hit market since Reggie White in 1993. A disruptive force rushing the passer and stuffing the run. Must be accounted for on every snap. Has started every game in his career (suspended for two).
2 of 25Adam Bettcher/Getty Images
Devin McCourty, FS, New England (Age 28)
Settled the Patriots’ troubled secondary when he switched from cornerback to free safety in middle of 2012 season. Fast, smart, unselfish and durable, McCourty is rock-solid in middle of field. Can also cover top TEs when needed.
3 of 25David E. Klutho/SI
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay (Age 25)
Dynamic offensive talent who can make plays lined up at any spot, and on special teams. Durability is knock (he missed 10 games with a broken leg in 2010), but he’s played at least 15 games in three of his four seasons.
4 of 25Bruce Yeung/SI
Julius Thomas, TE, Denver (Age 27)
When he’s on the field and healthy, Thomas is among the toughest matchups at the position, especially in the red zone (24 TDs in 27 games over the past two seasons). But he hasn’t yet proven to be durable, and that’s a concern.
5 of 25Robert Beck/SI
Byron Maxwell, CB, Seattle (Age 27)
Has been to two Super Bowls starting opposite Richard Sherman, so Maxwell sees a lot of action and produced 24 passes defensed and six interceptions over the past two seasons. A long and physical player at 6-1, 207 pounds, he’ll fit some schemes but not all.
6 of 25Gary Wiepert/AP
Jerry Hughes, DE, Buffalo (Age 27)
Busted out of Indianapolis after producing just five sacks in three seasons as a first-round pick, but revived career with 10 sacks in two seasons with Bills (one year as a full-time starter). Some will point to his great surrounding cast and doubt his potential.
7 of 25Al Tielemans/SI
Jason Worilds, OLB, Pittsburgh (Age 27)
Produced 15.5 sacks the past two seasons, but his athletic talent shows he is capable of more. Frustrating that he hasn’t been more dominating, but some teams out there will think they can unlock his potential greatness.
8 of 25Al Tielemans/SI
Pernell McPhee, OLB, Baltimore (Age 26)
Had to sit behind Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil for two years in Baltimore but has shown flashes of productivity and positional versatility. Low mileage and still young.
9 of 25Al Tielemans/SI
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia (Age 27)
Came back from knee surgery to put up career highs for catches (85), yards (1,318) and touchdowns (10). Some teams will point to Eagles’ system and wonder if Maclin deserves to be paid as a No. 1 receiver.
10 of 25Tony Avelar/AP
Mike Iupati, G, San Francisco (Age 28)
Mammoth (6-5, 331 pounds) and powerful left guard who has gone to three straight Pro Bowls. Can dominate in the running game, but his occasional woes in pass protection have kept him from being the annual All-Pro most envisioned. Has dealt with variety of injuries.
11 of 25Joe Robbins
Bryan Bulaga, RT, Green Bay (Age 26)
Can be a dominating tackle in both run and pass game. Some teams thought he had left tackle potential in the 2010 draft. Finished two seasons on injured reserve, and dealt with knee injury and a concussion last season.
12 of 25Ann Heisenfelt/AP
Nick Fairley, DT, Detroit (Age 27)
Powerful and talented interior force who can rush passer and stop the run when he wants to—or is on the field (has missed 16 games in his four seasons). No question about potential. Can someone unlock it?
13 of 25Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Brandon Flowers, CB, San Diego (Age 29)
Teams always look for top-tier cornerbacks, and Flowers showed he can be that after a strong season with Chargers on one-year deal. Some might be scared off because he was released by Chiefs, and he’s small at 5-10, but Flowers can play.
14 of 25Greg McWilliams/Icon Sportswire
Derrick Morgan, OLB, Tennessee (Age 26)
Deftly made switch to 3-4 OLB and showed versatility, so he’ll appeal to 3-4 and 4-3 teams. Consistent, with at least six sacks in each of past three seasons.
15 of 25John W. McDonough/SI
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas (Age 27)
Reigning rushing champion with 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns, to go with the 1,121 and nine he put up in 2013. Hard runner with good vision, and very good receiver out of the backfield. Injury woes dominated first two seasons, and he can put the ball on the ground.
16 of 25Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Greg Hardy, DE, Carolina (Age 27)
Ferocious pass rusher who had 26 sacks over ’12 and ’13 seasons. Plays the run just as well. After high-profile domestic violence case, teams will tread carefully and likely won’t guarantee much of his contract.
17 of 25Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Brian Orakpo, OLB, Washington (Age 29)
Hasn’t finished two of the past three seasons, but is among most consistent and productive pass rushers in league when healthy.
18 of 25Dennis Hubbard/Icon Sportswire
Rodney Hudson, C, Kansas City (Age 26)
Not yet elite, but on his way. Rock-solid run- and pass-blocking. Not a well-known name, but Chiefs’ rivals know his value and may come knocking, along with many others.
19 of 25Bob Levey/Getty Images
Brandon Graham, OLB, Philadelphia (Age 27)
Among leaders in pass-rushing productivity the past three seasons, according to Pro Football Focus. Few players make more of their snaps than Graham. Has 4-3 and 3-4 appeal, which should open up his market.
20 of 25Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jared Odrick, DT, Miami (Age 27)
Constantly a disruptive force as both a 3-4 DE and 4-3 DT at 6-5 and 304 pounds. Can get after the passer and stand up blockers against the run. Much more impactful than his sack numbers (just one in ’14) would indicate.
21 of 25Jason Miller/Getty Images
Buster Skrine, CB, Cleveland (Age 26)
An aggressive cornerback who can be boom or bust, Skrine isn’t afraid of competition (he held off first-round pick Justin Gilbert last season). Performed well in a defense that puts pressure on its cornerbacks. Better player than people think.
22 of 25Al Tielemans/SI
Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore (Age 26)
One of better deep threats in league, but has some limits as a short and intermediate receiver, and can drop some easy passes. Will appeal to vertical teams.
23 of 25Simon Bruty/SI
Kareem Jackson, CB, Houston (Age 27)
A first-round pick in 2010, Jackson got off to a very slow start, but he’s rebounded to become a good outside cornerback with a nose for the ball. A little small, so won’t fit all schemes.
24 of 25Mike Roemer/AP
Davon House, CB, Green Bay (Age 26)
A very talented player with good size (6-1, 195 pounds), House has produced when healthy, but he’s missed 10 games over past three seasons with unlucky injuries. Somebody is going to see the potential and take the leap.
25 of 25Bill Frakes/SI
Charles Clay, TE, Miami (Age 26)
A multi-dimensional athlete who can line up anywhere from fullback to receiver and cause problems for a defense. Averaged 63.5 catches the past two seasons. An emerging talent.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!