Top 25 Free Agents (cont.)
13. Nate Washington, WR, Steelers: The oft-overlooked playmaker has quietly averaged more than 16 yards per catch in his career. Washington is a speed receiver who shows a proclivity for making big plays on the outside. With several teams in desperate need of such a weapon, Washington is much higher on free-agent boards than most would believe.
14. Igor Olshansky, DE, Chargers: The hulking run stuffer is a proto-typical 3-4 defensive end. He plays stout against the run, freeing up linebackers by occupying multiple blockers at the point. Though Olshansky shows limited pass-rush skills, he is a high-motor player who falls into a few garbage sacks each year. With sturdy defensive ends valued at a premium, Olshansky is coveted by teams utilizing a 3-4.
15. Matt Birk, OC, Vikings: The 11-year veteran is technically sound. His ability to make blocks on the second level solidified the Vikings' zone-based running game and enabled runners to find lots of room between the tackles. As a pass blocker, he has the athleticism to mirror finesse rushers in space. He also has the strength to anchor against power.
16. Kerry Collins, QB, Titans (Re-signed with Titans): He led the Titans to an NFL-best 13-3 record last season, but only completed 58.3 percent of his passes and had an 80.2 passer rating. Although Collins earned rave reviews for leading the Titans to the AFC South division title, some scouts credit the team's exceptional running game and defense for the Titans' impressive record. The 36-year-old is seen as an attractive option for teams in desperate need of a veteran presence under center, but he is probably more valuable to the Titans than to any other team.
17. Derrick Ward, RB, NY Giants: The Giants' change-of-pace back rushed for more than 1,000 yards while sharing time with Brandon Jacobs. As a hard-nosed back with deceptive quickness and burst, Ward is effective as an inside or outside runner. Additionally, he is capable of doing damage on screens and underneath routes. While some scouts will point to his age (28) and lack of starting experience, Ward's production as a backup has several teams envisioning the fifth-year pro making a Michael Turner-like impact on their squad.
18. Bryant McFadden, CB, Steelers: An aggressive corner, McFadden has the tools to be a quality starter in a zone-based scheme. He logged eight starts last season and recorded two interceptions while playing behind a ferocious pass rush. While the jury is still out on whether he will develop into a top-notch cover guy, his aggressiveness and toughness have several teams considering him as a potential starting corner.
19. Ronald Bartell, CB, Rams: A big, physical corner, Bartell showed tremendous improvement as a second-year starter. The fourth-year pro had three interceptions last season, including a pair against the 49ers in Week 16.
20. Tra Thomas, OT, Eagles: The 11-year veteran hits the open market after spending his entire career with the Eagles. As a tall athlete with long arms, Thomas relies on his athleticism to lock up defenders on the edge. He still has enough quickness to handle speed rushers and is crafty enough to offset the various counters used by polished rushers. Though his skills have started to decline, Thomas still ranks as one of the top tackles in the game.
21. L.J. Smith, TE, Eagles: The oft-injured receiver teases scouts and coaches with his big-play potential. His exceptional speed and athleticism make him a matchup nightmare. He has averaged nearly 11 yards a reception over six seasons and is one of the few tight ends capable of stretching the middle of the field.
22. Yeremiah Bell, S, Dolphins (Re-signed with Dolphins): The hard-hitting safety blossomed last season in the Dolphins' aggressive defense. Bell manned the middle of the field effectively and showed good instincts as a pass defender. Though his skills in coverage are noteworthy, Bell is at his best when hovering near the line of scrimmage as a run defender. He attacks the alley quickly and is a punishing tackler in the hole. The fifth-year veteran wasn't a household name prior to last season, but his stellar play in 2008 has many teams ranking him as the top safety prospect available on the market.
23. Domonique Foxworth, CB, Falcons (Signed with Ravens): The fourth-year pro blossomed in his first year with the Falcons. Showing cover skills that he hadn't displayed during his tenure in Denver, Foxworth thrived in a zone-based scheme. Although he had only one interception, he showed he could shine as a starter in the right defense. With most of the elite corners off the market, Foxworth shoots up the board as a potential starting corner.
24. Jabari Greer, CB, Bills: The underrated veteran logged 23 starts in the past two seasons and performed admirably while manning the corner in the Bills' two-deep scheme. Greer's ball skills are first-rate, and he could be stellar playing behind a fierce pass rush. While his nagging injury history is a bit of a concern, he still ranks as one of the best corners available on the market.
25. Jeff Saturday, C, Colts (Re-signed with Colts): The three-time Pro Bowl center has anchored the Colts' high-powered offense for years. Although he missed four games in 2008 with an injury, several teams in need of a center won't hesitate to make an offer.