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Bust and bargains

Evaluating overrated and underrated free agents

Posted: Thursday March 1, 2007 6:00PM; Updated: Thursday March 1, 2007 6:00PM
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Brooks, a former NFL wide receiver and cornerback, spent the last seven years as a scout for the Seahawks and Panthers.

Top 10 Overrated Free Agents

Matt Schaub is a restricted free agent with the Falcons, but he's still drawing interest from other teams.
Matt Schaub is a restricted free agent with the Falcons, but he's still drawing interest from other teams.
Jimmy Cribb/WireImage

Matt Schaub, Atlanta Falcons, QB: This former third-round pick has created quite buzz around the league as a potential starter, but when you examine his career production you wonder what all of the fuss is about. He has dazzled during the preseason, but in regular-season action he is only 52-percent passer with six touchdowns and six interceptions. Despite an impressive performance filling in for Michael Vick during the season-ending loss vs. the Eagles' back ups, he hasn't done enough to justify his lofty status on the free-agent market. Remember, Rob Johnson and A.J. Feeley were once viewed in the same light as potential starters.

Jared Allen, Kansas City, DE (RFA): This high-motor pass rusher has collected 22.5 sacks in his first three seasons. He is not a polished pass rusher, but he finds a way to get to the QB. His production cannot be ignored, but his skill set and off-field problems will make it hard for him to collect the big pay day he wants.

Leonard Davis, Arizona Cardinals, OT/OG: This is former No. 2 overall pick has never played to the level of his draft status. After being a dominant player at OT in college, Davis has struggled playing the position on the pro level. He had better success inside at OG, but his inconsistent motor and over reliance on his size/strength prevents him from consistently dominating opposing players. Despite his inconsistencies, teams will overpay for his talent and potential.

Ashley Lelie, Atlanta Falcons, WR: Another first-round pick who has failed to perform to expectations. He has excellent size, speed and athleticism, but has not developed into a solid all-around receiver. Despite flashing big-play ability, his inconsistent hands and concentration have prevented him from emerging as a solid starter. Teams will continue to be intrigued because of his speed and explosiveness, but he is a hit-or-miss prospect who may never live up to the hype.

Jamal Lewis, Baltimore Ravens, RB: This former 2,000-yard back has struggled to regain the explosiveness that he displayed in that 2003 season. Injuries and the toll of a heavy workload early in his career has worn his body down. Despite being a "big" back, he rarely shows the power and explosiveness he once displayed. He fails to break many tackles and lacks the nimbleness to create when holes are clogged. He only produced three runs of over 20 yards and lacks the big-play ability that made him a special player. He will receive some play on the open market, but teams should realize their getting a shell of the player he once was.

Jerramy Stevens, Seattle Seahawks, TE: A three-year starter with all of the physical tools to be an elite level player at the position. He is an athletic tight end with big-time ability who has failed to emerge as a difference-maker in the passing game. His inconsistent hands and untimely drops will drive some coaches crazy, but his size, athleticism and potential will make him an attractive option on the open market.

Napoleon Harris, Minnesota Vikings, MLB: An explosive, athletic linebacker with good physical ability. He has the tools to be a solid player in the right defense, but is lacking the instincts and awareness that elite players possess. His production is good, but his shortcomings are hidden in the Vikings' fundamentally sound scheme. Not a difference maker, teams will have to temper their expectations when adding Napoleon to the mix.

David Macklin, Arizona Cardinals, CB: A veteran corner who has been a solid starter throughout his career. He has solid overall ability, but lacks the instincts, awareness and cover skills to be an impact player in the secondary. He fails to make any big plays while giving up a fair share when locked up in coverage. In a thin corner marker, he will receive a big pay day, but will struggle living up to the expectation that come along with it.

Travis Fisher, St. Louis Rams, CB: A veteran corner who missed most of last season with an injury. He has shown solid cover skills, but isn't a consistent playmaker as a "cover corner". He is ideally suited to be a nickel back, but might get paid as more.

LaVar Arrington, New York Giants, OLB: This former Pro Bowler is on the downside of his career. Injuries have taken away his special physical abilities and he lacks the fundamentals to overcome those shortcomings. He still flashes disruptive ability, but he is no longer the impact player he once was. A team will take a chance on him after he recovers from his Achilles' injury, but it is a doubtful that he will return as an elite level player.


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