NFL free agency is officially underway in 2016. We know who all the big fish are, but here’s a look at the 10 most underrated free agents at the skill positions. Keep an eye on where these guys land, they could end up making some noise next season.
10. Jermaine Kearse — WR
Although Kearse has never been the sexiest receiver up in Seattle, he’s improved over all four of his seasons there. In 2015 he set career-highs in targets (68), receptions (49), yards (685) and touchdowns (5). There’s no reason he can’t grow those numbers if he’s brought into the right situation next season.
UPDATE: Re-Signed with Seattle
9. Lamar Miller — RB
Miller is considered in the top tier of running backs that are available, but he’s actually the best by a landslide. Most of the other top names at RB either aren’t that good or are on the wrong side of 30. Considering Miller is only 25-years old, received just 194 carries last season and is a very good pass catcher, he’s the type of RB that’s going to become elite once he leaves Miami and is featured the right way. Houston seems to be on the right path after adding the top QB and RB in Oswieler and Miller.
UPDATE: Signed with Texans
8. Lance Dunbar — RB
Dunbar only played four games for Dallas last season before going down with a season ending knee injury, but he was beyond impressive with his limited opportunities. The “running back” took a mere five carries last season, but gained 67 yards on them. Dunbar also caught 21 of his 23 targets for 215 yards. At worst he’s a great add as a third-down back.
7. Ladarius Green — TE
Green never quite put it all together in San Diego, despite putting up career numbers across the board last season — 37 catches for 429 yards and four touchdowns. My eyes tell me Green has elite potential at the tight end position, especially when you consider he’s been buried behind Antonio Gates for much of his career. Green is a great Heath Miller replacement, and Big Ben will be sure to get the best out of him.
UPDATE: Signed with Steelers
6. Rueben Randle — WR
Randle has been a very solid WR during his time with the Giants. He’s had 600+ receiving yards in each of his last three seasons, and nearly reached 1,000 yards in his third year. Randle is coming off a season where he finished just three yards away from eclipsing 800, while hauling in a career-high eight touchdowns. Even more valuable numbers? He hasn’t missed a game in his four-year career.
5. Robert Griffin III — QB
RGIII is a big name, but his value is still amazingly low for what he once was. This guy isn’t a bust that couldn’t play, or a head-case that never made it. He beat out Andrew Luck for Rookie of the Year honors in 2012, remember? Life in the NFL has been cruel to him since then, but we need to see Griffin play for a new team after a full year of rest before determining he can never become the player he once was. With quarterbacks holding so much value, RGIII is a very intriguing option.
4. Jordan Todman — RB
Todman had a couple of nice seasons as a backup in Jacksonville (including a season in which he averaged 5.8 yards per carry). We didn’t see much of him last season in Pittsburgh, but when he was forced into action in the playoffs he responded — 11 carries for 65 yards in a win over the Bengals. Going off the “eye test” this guy can have an impact role in an offense next season.
3. Mohamed Sanu — WR
Marvin Jones is the WR that caught everyone’s eye out of Cincy. Jones has already decided to sign with the Lions despite offers from the Patriots and Bengals, but Sanu is the one has my attention. Although Jones has shown the higher ceiling as a pure receiver, Sanu isn’t far behind, and offers the ability to run the ball and even throw the ball within a strong offense.
UPDATE: Signed with Falcons
2. Bilal Powell — RB
Powell has only touched the ball 161 total times over the past two seasons, but he always seems to overachieve. He’s increased his yards per carry in every season of his six-year career, reaching 4.5 YPC in 2015. Powell’s also averaged 8.4 yards per catch over the past two seasons combined. Despite his time in the league, this guy is a dual threat with barely any miles on his legs. He can go be a feature RB for whatever team is smart enough to recognize.
UPDATE: Re-Signed with Jets
1. Rishard Matthews — WR
Matthews season was cut short at the end of November, but he was having a breakout year during his 11 games on the field. Rishard had a pair of 100+ yard receiving games early in the season, and followed it up with three more games of over 75 yards. Matthews’ impressive 15.4 yards per catch suggests he can be a WR2 in a high-end offense.
UPDATE: Signed with Titans
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