Free agency hasn’t even started yet and it’s already one of the better offseasons for the NFL. The majority of the names you have heard probably consist of Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers, Derrick Henry and Jadeveon Clowney, but today I will be discussing my top 3 under-the-radar free agent pick-ups.
During Melvin Gordon’s 4-game absence, Austin Ekeler proved that the Chargers truly didn’t need Gordon. Ekeler had 490 total yards, to go along with 6 touchdowns during Gordon’s absence. The former UDFA finished the season with 557 rushing yards and 993 receiving yards.
While he is not the most reliable runner, he still poses tremendous upside. His versatility keeps defenses on their heels and creates a lot of mismatches in the passing game. While he is by no means a bell-cow, he can be a nice compliment to a gritty runner, much like Sony Michel and James White were two years ago.
After being traded from Miami to Arizona, Drake completely revived his career. Against the #1 defense in the NFL, he rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns. While he did struggle with consistency as he rushed for under 50 yards 3 different times, he also showed his potential when he had 3 games where he rushed for 110, 137 and 166 yards.
Drake also had inconsistency finding the end zone, as he had 8 touchdowns in 8 games. Keep in mind, however, 4 of those were from one game, and he had a 4 game drought with 0 touchdowns. In the right situation as a bell cow running back and a decent O-Line, Drake can do wonders for an offense for much cheaper than Henry and Gordon.
Schobert is one of the better coverage linebackers in the NFL, as he finished with 4 interceptions. With the NFL playstyle moving toward spread offenses, coverage linebackers become more valuable as their presence is needed to stop more elusive and faster tight ends, as seen in Travis Kelce and George Kittle.
Schobert’s weakness is his run defense, as he very rarely makes a tackle behind the line of scrimmage. This can be improved in the right system, and if Schobert finds a suitable defense, he can be a big upgrade in the changing days of the NFL.