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Top 25 players in 2019 NFL free agency | Part Four

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2019 NFL Free Agency

With just four days left in 2018, we’ve finally reached the top 10 of my 2019 NFL free agency preview.

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Just like the previous entry in this five-part series, part four contains several outstanding defensive players and the only quarterback to make my top 25 list. Without any further ado let’s take a look at players 10 through six:

10. QB Teddy Bridgewater

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With the 2019 draft class not being as strong at quarterback as it was a year ago, teams in search of a QB may turn to an in-league option. At only 26 years old, Teddy Bridgewater is still in the early stage of his career and already has a Pro Bowl season and playoff experience on his resume.

Obviously, Drew Brees is the New Orleans Saints starting quarterback until he decides to retire. However, if Brees makes another quick decision about his playing future this offseason the Saints should have a nice window to try an convert Bridgewater from an insurance policy into Brees’ successor.

Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers could all give Bridgewater the opportunity to start immediately. Bridgewater would also likely be a cheaper option than other potential free agent QBs like Joe Flacco, Nick Foles, or Blake Bortles.

Should Bridgewater make it to the open market he will generate a ton of interest as the hottest commodity available at quarterback.

9.  S Landon Collins

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If you haven’t noticed already, the 2019 NFL free agency is loaded with talent at the safety position. Landon Collins is the fourth safety to make the list and the former All-Pro could be a difference maker for a new team next year.

There have been clear signals from the Giants, i.e. the midseason trades of CB Eli Apple to the Saints and DT Damon Harrison to the Detroit Lions, that their approach on the defensive is changing. That being said, Collins recently joined the Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio and seems to think he’ll be returning to the Giants next year:

“The feeling around the room, I mean, I feel like I might be a Giant upcoming next year. I have a gut feeling that I might still be here.” – Landon Collins on the Michael Kay Show (ESPN Radio), via Giants Wire.

The Giants could use the franchise tag to prevent Collins from hitting the open market.

Collins, who will be 25 at the start of next season, has shown improvement every year and combines the ability to stop the run and rush the passer with steadily improving coverage skills. In four seasons with the Giants, Collins has 321 tackles, 32 passes defended, 22 tackles for a loss,  eight interceptions, four sacks, three forced fumbles, and one INT returned for a touchdown according to Pro Football Reference.

8. DT Grady Jarrett

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Grady Jarrett is in the final year of his rookie contract and will be looking to cash in this offseason. Throughout his four years in the NFL, Jarrett has steadily improved as a pass-rusher and become a strong presence in run defense.

In 2017, Jarrett recorded 34 solo tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and four sacks according to Pro Football Reference. Jarrett has followed that up with another good season in 2018 with a career-high six sacks, three forced fumbles, 26 solo tackles, and seven tackles for a loss.

To go along with his on the field performance, Jarrett is also the Atlanta Falcons’ 2018 nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Jarrett learned he was nominated for the award while providing and serving dinner to the men at Atlanta Mission: Shepherd’s Inn.

A Georgia native, Jarrett has given back to his community in many ways during his time with the Falcons. Jarrett partnered with organizations such as the At Promise Center and the Thomasville Heights Boys & Girls Club to promote anti-bullying and speaking up about past experiences last offseason.

While his skills on the field make him one of the more impressive young interior linemen in the game, Jarrett’s off-the-field actions truly set him apart. With strong ties to the Falcons’ organization he may decide to stay with the team, however, he’ll certainly draw interest from other teams hoping to persuade him to leave.

7. OLB Dee Ford

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There’s no doubt about it, Dee Ford is having a career year for the Kansas City Chiefs. Ford has totaled 12 sacks, 39 solo tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 29 QB hits, and six forced fumbles through 15 games this season according to Pro Football Reference. He was also named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

Having a slow start to his career with a breakout year during the final year of his rookie contract has caused many people to draw comparisons between Ford and the Dallas Cowboys Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence, who has been playing the 2018 season under the franchise tag, is earning $17 million this season on the basis of his performance in his 2017 contract year.

According to Joel Corry, a former sports agent, Ford will cost the Chiefs around $16.325 million to franchise tag.

There are a few ways this could play out during the offseason:

  1. The Chiefs sign to a long-term contract. (Possible)
  2. The Chiefs are forced to franchise tag Ford to keep him on the roster. (Most likely)
  3. The Chiefs allow Ford to hit the open market. (Unlikely)

Ford has proven this season that he can be an impactful edge rusher and players like that are extremely valuable in the NFL.

6. DE Trey Flowers

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Nicknamed “Quiet Storm” and “Technique” by his teammates, Trey Flowers has been the New England Patriots‘ sack leader the past two seasons. Flowers isn’t a household name like the Chicago BearsKhalil Mack, he wasn’t one of the most voted for players in this year’s Pro Bowl Voting, and he won’t grab headlines with his postgame interviews, but he is one of the best overall defensive lineman ready to hit the open market in March.

Flowers’s ability to affect plays from any spot on the line coupled his ability to set a hard edge or pressure the quarterback have set him apart from other players on this list. Flowers is also a workhorse. According to an article by Forbes, Flowers played more downs for the Patriots last season than everyone other than defensive backs Stephon Gilmore, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty, and Malcolm Butler despite missing to games.

Flowers has seen playing time in three of his four years with the Patriots, all except his rookie season in 2015, and has amassed 96 solo tackles, 58 QB hits, 24 tackles for a loss, 20 sacks, and four forced fumbles in his career according to Pro Football Reference.

Flowers is respected by players and coaches around the league and should prove to be the most-coveted Patriot on the unrestricted market.

Previous parts

In case you missed it here is a brief recap of the players ranked 25 through 11 in the 2019 NFL free agency:

Part One

25. RB Kareem Hunt

24. OT Daryl Williams

23. WR Golden Tate

22. OT Trent Brown

21. CB Ronald Darby

Part Two

20. CB Bradley Roby

19. DE Ezekiel Ansah

18. C Matt Paradis

17. S Tyrann Mathieu

16. DT Ndamukong Suh

Part Three

15. S LaMarcus Joyner

14. DT Sheldon Richardson

13. S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

12. LB Preston Smith

11. DE Brandon Graham

You can read more about each player by clicking the link below:

https://detroitsportsnation.com/detroit-lions-news/kevmarheine/top-25-players-in-2019-nfl-free-agency-part-three/12-2018/199550/

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Detroit Lions ‘All-Local’ 2019 NFL Mock Draft

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This coming Thursday, the 2019 NFL Draft will officially begin.

Over the past few months, if you are anything like me, you have read literally hundreds upon hundreds of Detroit Lions’ mock drafts.

So, I figured it would be fun to think outside the box (but inside the state) to come up with what an ‘All-local’ Lions draft could look like.

Check it out.

Round 1 – Devin Bush Jr. (LB) Michigan or Rashan Gary (DL) Michigan

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Round 2 – Justin Layne (CB) Michigan State or David Long (CB) Michigan

Round 3 – Sean Bunting (CB) Central Michigan or Chase Winovich (DL) Michigan

Round 4 – Maxx Crosby (Edge) Eastern Michigan

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Round 5 – Khari Willis (S) Michigan State

Round 6 – Xavier Crawford (CB) Central Michigan

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Round 6 – Karan Higdon (RB) Michigan

Round 7 – Zach Gentry (TE) Michigan

Round 7 – LJ Scott (RB) Michigan State

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Now, I know there is a .0000001% chance of this actually happening, but those players should be available when the Lions are on the clock in each round.

If you want to read my ‘Detroit Lions’ Perfect 2019 NFL mock draft’ please click on the link below. It also includes a local player.

Detroit Lions’ Perfect 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition

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Detroit Lions News

JUST IN: Detroit Lions drop 2019 schedule hype video

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The 2019 NFL Draft is less than a week away and on Friday the team dropped a 2019 schedule hype video.

Check it out!

Nation, what will the Lions record be in 2019?

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REPORT: Detroit Lions meet with standout cornerback

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The NFL Draft will be here before we know it and the Detroit Lions are putting their final touches on their preparations.

According to a report from Matt Miller, the Lions have met with former Central Michigan standout CB, Sean Bunting.

Bunting, who is expected to be drafted on Day 2, had 104 tackles and nine interceptions in 35 career games with the Chippewas.

BONUS CONTENT:

Detroit Lions’ Perfect 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition

Detroit Lions’ Perfect 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition

It has been a marathon but we are almost to the promised land which is the 2019 NFL Draft!

After hours and hours of research, all of the so-called “experts” will soon be unveiling their final mock draft of the season and none of them will end up being correct.

I, on the other hand, do not claim to be an expert. Instead, I am just a huge fan of the Detroit Lions who happens to believe to know what the Lions’ biggest needs are and which available prospects can fill those needs.

That being said, here is my final crack at what I believe the “perfect” Detroit Lions’ draft would look like.

*Remember, this is NOT what I think Lions’ GM Bob Quinn WILL do in the upcoming draft, it is what I think he SHOULD do.

Round 1, Pick 8

Ed Oliver (DL) Houston

I absolutely LOVE Ed Oliver if he is available when the Detroit Lions are on the clock with the No. 8 pick in the first round of the draft. Whether or not he will be available is the big question.

Oliver is an absolute beast and he could come in and make an immediate impact for a Lions defense that should be greatly improved in 2019.

From Dane Brugler (The Athletic):

STRENGTHS: Fluid body control to wriggle off blocks…excellent foot quickness and change of direction skills…shot out of a cannon with his first step…forces holding penalties due to his gap quickness…creates knockback with his speed-to-power skills…ball awareness to track through blocks…uses natural leverage to stay underneath the pads of blockers…better than expected play strength as a run defender…highly aggressive motor and effort never wanes, chasing down plays near the sidelines…dominated from the moment he stepped onto campus and leaves as a three-time All-American, collecting 54.0 tackles for loss over 33 career starts.

WEAKNESSES: Lacks desired frame and length…needs to continue and develop his body and stay in the 280-285 pound range (weighed 274 for most of his final season at Houston)…relied more on motor than brute power to overwhelm blockers in college…not a bull rusher…undeveloped approach with his hands…below- average counter measures once locked up…faced inferior competition in the AAC…several immature moments in college, including an on-field altercation with head coach Major Applewhite regarding a coat issue on the sideline — Oliver has a “young attitude” and has “growing up to do,” according to an NFL scout…missed five games as a junior with a right knee bruise (November 2018) and was limited at the combine with a strained hamstring (February 2019).

SUMMARY: A three-year starter at Houston, Oliver was one of college football’s most disruptive players over the last three years, spending most of his time at nose tackle for the Cougars. With his football flexibility and natural biomechanics, he has rare athletic ability for the position with the backfield vision to recognize play designs and disrupt from different angles. Oliver still requires time to develop his body, mind and technique at the next level. He will struggle with long-armed blockers who get to his frame and control his chest, but his energy and motor are both elite. Overall, Oliver won’t be a natural fit for every NFL scheme, but he is an ideal one-gap penetrator due to his athleticism, instincts and relentless nature, projecting best when he is lined up closest to the football.

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