There are two teams that stand out in our mind who have really handled themselves well during the free agency period. One is a team seemingly in perpetual re-build, but on the rise. The other is a perennial championship contender. Both are plugging holes and finding starters, which will have a positive effect on their draft strategy later this month.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have brought Tom Coughlin back to the organization in a front office role. While the organization has done a nice job of bringing in young impact players through the draft in recent years like Dante Fowler, Jalen Ramsey, and Myles Jack, this offseason, they have gone all in on defense with the signing of premier free agents like Barry Church, AJ Buoye, and Calais Campbell to complement last year’s prize free agent, Malik Jackson. This allows them to focus on getting offensive help for QB Blake Bortles in a draft that is deep in RB’s and TE’s. Don’t be surprised to see Leonard Fournette in Jacksonville this summer.
The Patriots have always had a philosophy of waiting out veteran free agents until after the draft, getting impact players at “bargain” prices. But this year, they have been busy trading away picks they acquired in previous drafts to gain potential starters and role players for a team that wants to win now with Tom Brady heading towards the back end of his career. Rex Burkhead is a three-down back who can catch the ball, Brandin Cooks gives the team a dangerous deep threat in the passing game, and Duane Allen steps in as the replacement for the departed Martellus Bennett. On defense, Stephon Gilmore gives them a shut down corner, and Lawrence Guy and Kony Ealy will step right into the D-line rotation as pass rushers.
Both of these teams have been efficient and effective with their signings so far, and it allows them to enter the draft in a position to address a focused list of needs.Add to My RFN