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Four Still Available NFL Free Agents That Need To Be Scooped Up

The initial surge of NFL free agency and trading season has passed, but teams are still looking to improve. While a lot of the focus has pivoted over to the upcoming NFL draft, there are still free agents on the board that can massively shift the fortunes of teams. Here’s a look at a few players for whom it’s shocking that they’re still unclaimed.

Odell Beckham Jr

OBJ is the obvious inclusion here, but he still somehow remains unclaimed. There’s been a lot of talk about his value, but he himself has dismissed rumors that he wants $20M a year. His latent talent cannot be argued with – there are few receivers in the entire NFL who match his combination of speed, agility, sure hands, excellent route running, and competitive fire. His first three seasons show his potential to be a high-throughput guy, and he had 288 catches in those seasons alone.

Of concern, of course, is his injury history and his general drop off in form since then. Since 2016, he has only been good for one 16-game season and hasn’t reached the 80-catch mark since. However, his form before his Super Bowl 56 injury (including two pivotal touchdowns early in that game) for the Rams was promising, and he was showing an ability to play at a high level. WRs are coming at a premium these days in the NFL, and with the right price point, Odell’s potential reward could far exceed his risk.

Yannick Ngakoue

As hapless as the Colts’ offense was at many points last year, the same was not true of their defense. Having a QB-hawk like Yannick was a big part of that. What makes him so scary is that despite his strength, he’s quick. He has a good burst off the line which puts him ahead early in most matchups. He combines that with a consistent motor that even the best tackles in the NFL struggle with and has the reaction time to adjust to changes in the progression of a play.

The results support this – Ngakoue has had 19.5 sacks over the last two years and has simply been a menace of a pass rusher in that time. He is playing like a player in his prime and is looking to capitalize on this into even better production. While the 27-year-old’s smaller frame of 6’2″, 246 lbs does limit his raw strength, it hasn’t shown much in his play, and teams would be wise to try bolstering their pass rush using him.

Jadeveon Clowney

Clowney hasn’t quite lived up to the hype that “the hit” created for him, but he still remains a capable defensive lineman as far as his potential is concerned. Apart from his hitting power, he has great athleticism and the power to break through blocks. He’s only a year removed from a nine-sack season, one of two that he has had in his career. Injuries have certainly been an issue throughout his career, but when healthy he’s still a threatening force.

His unheard-of 40-time of 4.47 seconds and his ridiculous college and high school tape made him a generational prospect. Currently, he’s far from that level, and it’s hard to tell which version of him a team is going to get. However, with the right coaching, his ceiling remains high and his recent health issues may allow him to be acquired for a price below his true potential. He’s worth taking a chance on, because his highest level can turn around a franchise.

Richie James

One of the most underrated receivers in the league, James wasn’t and still isn’t on enough radars. However, a guy that used to be just another piece has turning into quite a threatening weapon. Two years in a row, he has more than doubled his catch count (six in 2020 to 23 in 2021 to 57 in 2022), and despite never having had more than one touchdown in a season before last year, had four touchdowns, and overall saw both his usage and output increase drastically.

James has sneaky quickness, reliable hands, and a good acumen for the game that allows him to run routes well. He can catch checkdowns and midrange passes, but can also get into the deep passing game. He’s a decent returner too, both on kickoffs and punts, and overall presents a versatile threat. Plenty of teams out there in the NFL need WR depth, and while he lacks the explosiveness of the NFL’s best, he can certainly be an important piece wherever he goes.

There’s some real talent still up for grabs, and the teams that grab that talent could put themselves in a great position for 2023.

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