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Top 100 free agents

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Posted March 02, 2010 @ 1:04 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

With no new Collective Bargaining Agreement having been reached, the following ranking of the top free agents available abides by the league's rules regarding an uncapped year. Many players who would have been unrestricted free agents under the CBA are now restricted, which figures to significantly affect offseason player movement. Demand for premium unrestricted free agents could be higher than ever. Six players ended up getting slapped with the franchise tag, far fewer than the record number of 14 that were franchised in 2009. The 2010 franchise players include three nose tackles (the 49ers' Aubrayo Franklin, the Packers' Ryan Pickett and the Patriots' Vince Wilfork), two placekickers (the Steelers' Jeff Reed and Seattle's Olindo Mare) and one defensive end (the Raiders' Richard Seymour). Seymour, was the only one to be slapped with an exclusive franchise tag, meaning he cannot negotiate with another team, unlike the other five, who were given "non-exclusive" tags. These rankings were compiled with the help of PFW's editors. Players were ranked based on talent, position value, age and other factors.

(Listed age is as of Sept. 1, 2010)

1. Julius Peppers
DE / Carolina Panthers

Age: 30 FA type: Unrestricted

Peppers is hitting free agency at an almost-perfect time for all of the following reasons: The salary cap is likely to disappear. He's an elite pass rusher and an athletic marvel, which could bode well for Peppers being a blue-chip performer for several more years. A proven star as a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, Peppers also boasts the skill set needed to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 front. It would be stunning if Peppers didn't break the bank.

2. Brandon Marshall
WR / Denver Broncos

Age: 26 FA type: Restricted

One of the game's top receivers, Marshall has caught more than 100 passes in each of the past three seasons. However, Marshall and head coach Josh McDaniels have a strained relationship, and the Broncos might look to move him in the offseason. Any team acquiring Marshall knows it will be getting a No. 1 wideout, but it also will be taking a significant risk, considering the on- and off-the-field issues that have dogged Marshall throughout his career.

3. Vince Wilfork
NT / New England Patriots

Age: 28 FA type: Franchise

The Patriots wasted little time giving Wilfork, one of the game's top interior linemen, the franchise tag, but they would like to sign him for the long term. Strong, tough and feisty, Wilfork is a premier run stuffer. Were he ever to hit the open market, he would command top dollar, considering the scarcity of stellar nose tackles.

4. DeMeco Ryans
ILB / Houston Texans

Age: 26 FA type: Restricted

Looking for a quick, instinctive, productive "Mike" linebacker who leads by example and rarely comes off the field? Ryans is your guy. The former Alabama standout has notched at least 112 tackles in each of his four NFL seasons and has had a major impact on the development of standout SLB Brian Cushing.

5. Vincent Jackson
WR / San Diego Chargers

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

A premier field-stretching threat, the 6-5, 230-pound Jackson set career highs in catches (68), yards (1,167) and touchdowns (nine) in 2009. He brings a strong résumé into free agency — his production has steadily increased in his five NFL seasons, he's in the prime of his career, and his combination of size and athleticism makes him a tough matchup. However, he has been arrested twice for driving under the influence, with a four-day jail sentence pending.

6. Elvis Dumervil
OLB / Denver Broncos

Age: 26 FA type: Restricted

He has emerged as one of the NFL's better pass rushers and led the NFL with 17 sacks in 2009. At 5-11 and 248 pounds, he doesn't look like a prototypical 3-4 edge rusher, but he's quick and understands how to play with leverage. The Broncos likely will retain him.

7. Richard Seymour
DE / Oakland Raiders

Age: 30 FA type: Franchise

The Raiders traded a 2011 first-round pick for Seymour, so it's no surprise that they gave him the franchise tag. A stout, rugged defensive end, Seymour no longer is the star he was earlier in his career, but he brings toughness and experience to a talented, though sometimes inconsistent, Raiders defense. Interestingly enough, he had two sacks each in a pair of games last season and no sacks in 14 others.

8. Owen Daniels
TE / Houston Texans

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Daniels was perhaps on his way to his best season ever in 2009 when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Nov. 1 at Buffalo. He's expected to be ready for training camp, and if healthy, he'll again rank among the league's better playmakers at his position. In an uncapped year, the Texans will be able to retain his rights with a restricted free-agent tender, but he would like to sign a long-term deal.

9. Miles Austin
WR / Dallas Cowboys

Age: 26 FA type: Restricted

Austin put it all together in his fourth NFL season, catching 81 passes for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns despite starting just nine games. The Cowboys would like to retain Austin, who has emerged as their No. 1 receiver, for the long term, and for good reason: He might have only begun to scratch the surface of what he is capable of doing.

10. Marcus McNeill
OT / San Diego Chargers

Age: 26 FA type: Restricted

Young, dependable left tackles don't go lacking for suitors, and McNeill would surely draw considerable interest if he ever were to be eligible for unrestricted free agency. However, the Chargers are expected to try to sign him long term. The 6-7, 336-pound McNeill has missed only two starts in four NFL seasons and was a rock for an injury-ravaged San Diego O-line last season, playing every game.

11. Jammal Brown
OT / New Orleans Saints

Age: 29 FA type: Restricted

Brown missed the entire 2009 season with sports hernia and hip injuries, but when healthy, he's a Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle who ably protects Drew Brees' blind side. However, questions linger about his durability; he never has played a full season, missing at least one game in each of his five NFL seasons.

12. Jahri Evans
OG / New Orleans Saints

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

One of the game's top guards, Evans is strong, athletic and durable. The Saints, who have no shortage of big decisions to make in free agency in 2010 and beyond, would be wise to sign Evans long term. However, he can be retained with a restricted free-agent tender in an uncapped year, which buys the Saints some time.

13. Karlos Dansby
LB / Arizona Cardinals

Age: 28 FA type: Unrestricted

Dansby is likely to test free agency and could draw interest from teams employing 3-4 and 4-3 fronts after playing multiple LB positions in six seasons in Arizona. Whichever team signs him will be getting an above-average starting inside linebacker with a varied skill set and good playmaking ability.

14. Braylon Edwards
WR / New York Jets

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

The Jets are expected to retain Edwards, whom they acquired from Cleveland in October. Whether Edwards will ever be a No. 1 receiver is a matter of debate — he simply drops too many passes, and he can disappear for large stretches of games. But at times, he looks like a prototypical go-to receiver: big, strong, fast. He always might be a "can't live with him, can't live without him" player.

15. Shawne Merriman
OLB / San Diego Chargers

Age: 26 FA type: Restricted

There are legitimate concerns as to whether Merriman is the same player he was before tearing two ligaments in his knee in 2008. Merriman missed almost the entire '08 season, and when he returned for the '09 season, he wasn't nearly as effective a pass rusher, notching just four sacks. Still relatively young, and now two seasons removed from knee surgery, can Merriman rekindle his old magic?

16. Logan Mankins
OG / New England Patriots

Age: 28 FA type: Restricted

The tenacious Mankins is one of the top guards in the AFC. Dependability is one of his greater assets — he has yet to miss a start in five NFL seasons.

17. Dunta Robinson
CB / Houston Texans

Age: 28 FA type: Unrestricted

With the Texans electing not to give Robinson the franchise tag, he will test free agency, and it would be no surprise if he garnered lucrative offers elsewhere. At his best, Robinson is a fast, physical cornerback capable of matching up with the opponent's top receiver, but he didn't start last season strongly, and he is less than three years removed from serious knee and hamstring injuries. There is a lot to like about Robinson, but he doesn't come without some risk.

18. D'Qwell Jackson
ILB / Cleveland Browns

Age: 26 FA type: Restricted

The Browns' premier free agent, Jackson is a quick, instinctive force in the middle of the Cleveland defense. He notched 59 tackles in just six games in 2009 before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury, and he has missed games in three of his four NFL seasons. However, the 6-foot, 240-pound Jackson is an integral part of the Browns' stop unit, and he's unlikely to be going anywhere.

19. Nick Collins
S / Green Bay Packers

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Collins is one of the NFL's top ballhawks, a safety who runs like a cornerback. Collins, who has intercepted 17 passes in five NFL seasons, trusts his instincts and occasionally will make an ill-advised gamble, but at his best, he can erase mistakes on the back end.

20. Kyle Orton
QB / Denver Broncos

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Orton comes off his strongest season in 2009. He set career highs in passing yards (3,802), touchdowns (21) and completion percentage (62.1) Any doubts about him being a starter-caliber QB should be squelched, but whether he merits to be paid like an elite passer is a matter of debate.

21. Jason Campbell
QB / Washington Redskins

Age: 28 FA type: Restricted

Campbell showed grace under tremendous duress in 2009, starting all 16 games and setting career highs in several key passing categories. He must cut down on mistakes — he threw 15 picks and fumbled 13 times (losing three) — but there is no doubting his toughness, and he made some nice strides last season. It remains to be seen whether he fits into the Redskins' long-term plans, however.

22. O.J. Atogwe
S / St. Louis Rams

Age: 29 FA type: Restricted

A rangy, instinctive free safety, Atogwe has been one of the Rams' lone bright spots since stepping into the starting lineup four seasons ago. Atogwe is both a ballhawk (19 career interceptions) and a hard hitter (14 forced fumbles).

23. Aaron Kampman
DE / Green Bay Packers

Age: 30 FA type: Unrestricted

Kampman played in only nine games in 2009 before suffering a season-ending knee injury, and when he was in the lineup, he didn't look quite as natural as an outside linebacker in Green Bay's 3-4 scheme as he did as a defensive end in a 4-3 front. Yet, he's a proven pass rusher, and if he's healthy, there's no reason to think he can't be productive for several more seasons. End, not outside linebacker, is the position he's best-suited to play.

24. Ray Edwards
DE / Minnesota Vikings

Age: 25 FA type: Restricted

Teams focusing on shutting down Vikings DE Jared Allen also must be wary of Edwards, who racked up a career-high 8½ sacks in the regular season and was even better in the postseason, notching four sacks in two games, with three against Dallas in the divisional round. Just entering the prime of his  career, Edwards appears to have a very bright future.

25. Barrett Ruud
ILB / Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Ruud is a tackling machine (279 the past two seasons) who's a strong fit in a cover-2 scheme, which requires the middle linebacker to have the speed, quickness and agility needed to make deep drops in coverage. The Buccaneers, one of the major devotees of the system, likely value him the most.

26. Gary Brackett
ILB / Indianapolis Colts

Age: 30 FA type: Unrestricted

The Colts are expected to push hard to retain Brackett, an integral part of their defense. Undersized but quick, he's an ideal scheme fit for Indianapolis, and it would be surprising if he signed elsewhere.

27. Antoine Bethea
S / Indianapolis Colts

Age: 26 FA type: Restricted

In an era where speed at safety is more important than ever, given the proliferation of powerful passing attacks, players like Bethea are very valuable. A two-time Pro Bowler, Bethea closes ground quickly and demonstrates a playmaking flair.

28. Aubrayo Franklin
NT / San Francisco 49ers

Age: 30 FA type: Franchise

Franklin has emerged as one of the more important parts of the 49ers' defense: a strong, dependable anchor in the middle of San Francisco's defensive line. Given the demand for capable nose tackles, it was no surprise that the 49ers gave him the franchise tag.

29. Thomas Davis
OLB / Carolina Panthers

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Davis was in the midst of perhaps his finest season to date when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in November. The converted safety runs very well and was a playmaking force at times in 2009. The Panthers are likely to be able to retain him with a restricted free-agent tender. 

30. Pierre Thomas
RB / New Orleans Saints

Age: 25 FA type: Restricted

Lightly used (415 touches in three seasons), quick and productive, Thomas fits the Saints' offense well. He easily could carry a heavier workload, but the Saints are not short on capable backs, and head coach Sean Payton doesn't overwork any of them. A former undrafted free agent, Thomas has a bright future.

31. Ryan Pickett
NT / Green Bay Packers

Age: 30 FA type: Franchise

The Packers, seeking to keep the anchor in the middle of their defensive line, gave Pickett the franchise tag. He's stout at the point of attack and helped the Packers limit teams to just 83.3 rushing yards per game in 2009, best in the NFL.

32. Tony Brown
DT / Tennessee Titans

Age: 29 FA type: Restricted

Brown, who notched a career-high five sacks and three forced fumbles for Tennessee in 2009, has been a solid starter for the past three seasons. Quick and disruptive, he's a strong fit in 4-3 schemes.

33. Darren Sharper
S / New Orleans Saints

Age: 34 FA type: Unrestricted

Sharper had a magical first season with the Saints, intercepting nine passes and returning three for scores. What's more, he's still a hard hitter. One of the premier center fielders of his generation, Sharper has the smarts and athleticism that have stood the test of time.

34. Kyle Vanden Bosch
DE / Tennessee Titans

Age: 31 FA type: Unrestricted

Vanden Bosch will hold appeal to teams employing 4-3 defenses and looking for a hardworking, high-motor end, but the marked drop-off in tackles and sacks in 2009 when compared to his three other full seasons with Tennessee (2005-07) might give some suitors pause. Vanden Bosch notched 44 tackles and three sacks last season after averaging 66.7 tackles and 10.3 sacks from 2005-07.

35. Steve Breaston
WR / Arizona Cardinals

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Breaston has thrived as the Cardinals' third receiver, catching 132 passes the past two seasons. He's a reliable short-and-intermediate threat who can stretch the field occasionally, and he brings added value as a punt returner. He will step into the starting lineup if the Cardinals trade Anquan Boldin.

36. Jared Gaither
OT / Baltimore Ravens

Age: 24 FA type: Restricted

Gaither didn't play as well in 2009 as he did the previous season, and he missed time with a neck injury. However, he easily could be a 10-year starter at left tackle if he applies himself and continues to improve. At 6-9 and 340 pounds, Gaither's sheer size can give opponents fits.

37. Derrick Mason
WR / Baltimore Ravens

Age: 36 FA type: Unrestricted

Mason retired briefly last summer before returning to the Ravens, and he's reportedly contemplating walking away from the game once again if he doesn't get a multiyear commitment. He's most likely to re-sign with the Ravens if Baltimore gives him a two-year deal, and it's clear any other interested suitors can't just offer one year if they want to sign him. Mason (73 catches, 1,028 yards, seven touchdowns) still can get open after all of these years, but how much longer can he keep this up?

38. Bernard Pollard
S / Houston Texans

Age: 25 FA type: Restricted

Pollard is a classic case of how a change of scenery can alter the course of a player's career. Pollard fell out of favor with the Chiefs, who released him before the '09 season. The Texans, in desperate need of safety help, signed him, and he quickly emerged as one of Houston's more important defensive players. What's more, he has been a strong leader in the secondary. The Texans are likely to try to keep him long term.

39. Darren Sproles
RB / San Diego Chargers

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Sproles is a wonderful utility player — a change-of-pace back, an effective receiver out of the backfield and a very good kick returner, too. The Chargers retained him with the franchise tag last season but have decided they can't afford to tender him at the required level of nearly $7.3 million for 2010.

40. Willie Colon
ot / Pittsburgh Steelers

Age: 27 FA type: restricted

Colon has been a rugged, reliable right tackle for Pittsburgh, and he has continued to improve throughout his professional career. He also can slide inside to guard, giving him extra value. He could be a fixture on the Steelers' line for years to come.

41. Leigh Bodden
CB / New England Patriots

Age: 28 FA type: Unrestricted

He's hitting free agency at a good time — he comes off a strong season for the Patriots, and he's one of the better free-agent cornerbacks available. Big and instinctive, Bodden has a knack for breaking up passes, and he has notched five interceptions or more in two of the past three seasons.

42. Kirk Morrison
LB / Oakland Raiders

Age: 28 FA type: Restricted

Morrison is a constantly productive stalwart for the Raiders' front seven. He is stout vs. the run and effective against the pass. Moreover, he has never missed an NFL game. He's one of the league's steadier linebackers.

43. Adewale Ogunleye
DE / Chicago Bears

Age: 33 FA type: Unrestricted

Ogunleye isn't quite the disruptive pass-rushing force he was earlier in his career, but he's still an effective starter in a 4-3 scheme. He would be a fine short-term option for a club looking for 6-7 sacks and solid play vs. the run.

44. Derrick Johnson
OLB / Kansas City Chiefs

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Johnson lost his starting job in 2009, and a lack of consistency has been a problem for him at times in his five seasons with the Chiefs. Yet, there is no doubting his talent, as evidenced by his pair of interception returns for scores in the season finale at Denver. A change of scenery could benefit him, but that might not happen in an uncapped year.

45. Ryan Clark
S / Pittsburgh Steelers

Age: 30 FA type: Unrestricted

The instinctive, hard-hitting Clark complements SS Troy Polamalu well, and the Steelers will work to re-sign him. He has sickle-cell trait, which means playing at high altitude is a risk. His spleen and gall bladder were removed after he fell ill following a game in Denver in 2007.

46. Richard Marshall
CB / Carolina Panthers

Age: 25 FA type: Restricted

Marshall moved into the starting lineup full time in 2009 and responded well to the challenge, notching 88 tackles and grabbing a career-high four interceptions. Boasting good ball skills and considerable upside, Marshall could be in line for a long-term deal.

47. Tully Banta-Cain
OLB / New England Patriots

Age: 30 FA type: Unrestricted

Exploded for 10 sacks in his seventh NFL season after having notched just 12½ total in his first six seasons. He is expected to re-sign with the Pats, with whom he has blossomed in his second stint with the club.

48. Chad Clifton
OT / Green Bay Packers

Age: 34 FA type: Unrestricted

While Clifton is getting up in age, he's still a capable blind-side protector. The Packers are expected to try to re-sign him.

49. Keith Bulluck
OLB / Tennessee Titans

Age: 33 FA type: Unrestricted

It is hard to envision Bulluck wearing anything but a Titans uniform, but his injury status clouds his future in Tennessee. Bulluck is rehabilitating after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in December, and more about his progress may not be known until later in the spring. He's a swift, instinctive outside linebacker who is strong in pass coverage.

50. Chester Taylor
RB / Minnesota Vikings

Age: 30 FA type: Unrestricted

Taylor is likely to test free agency, and with little wear and tear (just 1,028 carries in eight NFL seasons), he might find a starting job elsewhere. At the very least, he can be effective as a part-time back for a few more seasons.

51. LaDainian Tomlinson
RB / None

Age: 31 FA type: Cut

Years of being the focal point of the Chargers' offense have caught up to Tomlinson, who gained a mere 3.3 yards a carry last season. He could land a starting job elsewhere, but he would be a wonderful fit as a part-time back for a contender.

52. Malcom Floyd
WR / San Diego Chargers

Age: 28 FA type: Restricted

Floyd has outstanding size for the position and has shown he can get deep. The Chargers love big receivers, and he has a good rapport with Philip Rivers. However, could he draw attention from a WR-needy team?

53. Marcus Spears
DE / Dallas Cowboys

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

A rugged end who fits well in a 3-4 scheme, Spears won't post gaudy sack or tackle numbers, but he is adept at doing the dirty work. He could merit looks from other clubs in free agency depending upon the level at which he is tendered, and the Cowboys like their DE depth, so if he receives an offer, keep an eye on what Dallas does.

54. Antonio Bryant
WR / Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Age: 29 FA type: Unrestricted

Bryant had a disappointing 2009 season, battling a knee injury for much of the campaign. It is tough to count him out, though — he's seemingly at his best when he's hungry and expectations are low. And he definitely enters this season with something to prove.

55. Leon Washington
RB / New York Jets

Age: 28 FA type: Restricted

Limited to just seven games in 2009 because of a broken right leg, Washington has the speed that makes him an ideal complement to a more bruising back. Also, he's one of the game's more dangerous return men.

56. Marshal Yanda
OG-OT / Baltimore Ravens

Age: 25 FA type: Restricted

Yanda is a powerful blocker who can play multiple positions. He has upside to develop further, and he could settle in at right guard for the long term in Baltimore.

57. Le'Ron McClain
FB / Baltimore Ravens

Age: 25 FA type: Restricted

A two-time Pro Bowler, McClain brings value as a punishing blocker and ballcarrier. Does not lack for confidence — talked the coaching staff into getting more work as a runner in 2008. At heart, the Ravens like to play smashmouth football on offense, and McClain helps allow them to do that.

58. Chris Chambers
WR / Kansas City Chiefs

Age: 32 FA type: Unrestricted

Surprisingly released by the Chargers after seven games in 2009, Chambers bounced back nicely with the Chiefs, catching 36 passes for 608 yards with four touchdowns. He still can get deep and could get looks from teams seeking a complementary receiver.

59. Matt Roth
OLB / Cleveland Browns

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Roth fell out of favor with the Dolphins, who released him in November. But in Cleveland, he jump-started his career, becoming an immediate starter and notching 28 tackles and four sacks in just six games. He appears to be a very good fit in the Browns' 3-4 scheme, and Cleveland is expected to try to retain him.

60. Stephen Tulloch
ILB / Tennessee Titans

Age: 25 FA type: Restricted

Tulloch notched a career-high 121 tackles in 2009. Small but instinctive and quick, he's a good scheme fit for the Titans, who prefer swiftness to bulk in their linebackers. 

61. Lance Moore
WR / New Orleans Saints

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

An ankle injury limited Moore in 2009, and though he was healthy for the Saints' postseason run, he caught just five passes for 32 yards in New Orleans' three playoff games (excluding his two-point conversion in the Super Bowl). Though Moore is just two years removed from a 79-catch season for New Orleans, he appears to be just a complementary part of the offense at present.

62. Derrick Burgess
OLB / New England Patriots

Age: 32 FA type: Unrestricted

Overall, Burgess disappointed in his first season in New England. However, he finished the '09 campaign on a high note, notching a sack in three of New England's final four regular-season games. The Patriots aren't expected to give up on him just yet.

63. LenDale White
RB / Tennessee Titans

Age: 25 FA type: Restricted

White's one of the more intriguing free-agent running backs available. He's relatively young, and he has proven he can carry a heavy workload. Moreover, he dedicated himself like never before prior to last season, dropping more than 30 pounds. However, he's destined to be just a bit player in the Tennessee offense as long as the spectacular Chris Johnson is healthy, and he'll probably need to change teams if he is to reach his pro potential.

64. Dawan Landry
S / Baltimore Ravens

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Landry had his finest season in 2009, notching 89 tackles and intercepting four passes. With Ed Reed perhaps starting to wear down physically and beginning to talk of retirement, Landry is all the more important to the Ravens' defense.

65. Larry Johnson
RB / Cincinnati Bengals

Age: 30 FA type: Unrestricted

Johnson has much to prove to prospective suitors. Has the wear and tear of the heavy workload he carried earlier in his career taken its toll? Is he willing to be a part-time player? A comeback season can't be ruled out, particularly if he signs on with a club that has a strong offensive line and he gets along with the coaching staff.

66. Terrell Owens
WR / Buffalo Bills

Age: 36 FA type: Unrestricted

All things considered, his statistics in one season in Buffalo (55 catches, 829 yards, five TDs), given his age and the Bills' QB woes, were not that bad. Also, he was not a distraction in Buffalo. The days of him being a No. 1 receiver are over, but could he be a productive complementary target in the right offense? We'll see if any teams are willing to take that chance.

67. Brian Westbrook
RB / None

Age: 30 FA type: Cut

The Eagles had not officially releaed Westbrook as of presstime, but they planned to do so on March 5, the beginning of the new league year. A long injury history will likely keep Westbrook from ever being a full-time starter again; he suffered two concussions last season, and he has battled a variety of leg injuries. His greatest value could come as a third-down or change-of-pace back.

68. Johnny Jolly
DE / Green Bay Packers

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Jolly started all 16 games for the Packers last season and blossomed in Dom Capers' 3-4 scheme. However, he's facing a felony drug charge of being in possession of at least 200 grams of codeine, which could cloud his status for next season.

69. Stephen Gostkowski
PK / New England Patriots

Age: 26 FA type: Restricted

Gostkowski is accurate on field goals and gets very good distance on his kickoffs. The Patriots don't figure to let him get away.

70. Melvin Bullitt
S / Indianapolis Colts

Age: 25 FA type: Restricted

He's a hard-hitting, instinctive strong safety who is an excellent insurance policy for the Colts, who must always be prepared for life without the dynamic but injury-prone Bob Sanders. He has gained plenty of valuable experience the past two seasons.

71. Nate Burleson
WR / Seattle Seahawks

Age: 29 FA type: Unrestricted

Burleson, who fits well in West Coast offenses, caught 63 passes for 812 yards and three TDs in 2009. He's best on short and intermediate routes but has shown he can stretch the field at times.

72. Jerome Harrison
RB / Cleveland Browns

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

After falling out of Eric Mangini's good graces earlier in the 2009 campaign, in part because of his blocking, the 5-9, 205-pound Harrison finished the 2009 season on a tear, rushing for 561 yards and five touchdowns in Cleveland's last three games. With Jamal Lewis having been released, Harrison could be the Browns' starter if he's not signed away in restricted free agency.

73. Nick Cole
OG-C / Philadelphia Eagles

Age: 26 FA type: Restricted

Cole's versatility is a major asset. He logged starts at right guard, left guard and center for the Eagles, who had injury concerns along the offensive line all season.

74. Kevin Walter
WR / Houston Texans

Age: 29 FA type: Unrestricted

A possession receiver who has thrived in the Texans' system, Walter could return to Houston, but he might get more money elsewhere. Fits best in an offense with longer-developing plays, where he can use his size and physicality to work open.

75. Tony Scheffler
TE / Denver Broncos

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Scheffler appears to have fallen out of favor with head coach Josh McDaniels, who benched him for the season finale vs. Kansas City. Has the speed to get down the seam and has flashed some tantalizing potential earlier in his career, but he needs to bounce back after a disappointing 2009 campaign.

76. Ben Watson
TE / New England Patriots

Age: 29 FA type: Unrestricted

The athletic Watson has never quite lived up to expectations in New England, and he could depart in free agency. He has developed nicely as a blocker and could bring more value than expected in this area.

77. Marlin Jackson
CB / Indianapolis Colts

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Jackson, a tall, physical zone corner, has been limited to just 11 games the past two seasons because of injuries, and he missed the majority of the '09 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The Colts are expected to re-sign him, but his durability looms as a concern.

78. Danieal Manning
S-CB / Chicago Bears

Age: 28 FA type: Restricted

Manning's primary value might be as a kickoff returner, where he has flashed considerable ability. However, as a defensive back, he has yet to put it all together. Still, his speed and athleticism will keep earning him chances in the secondary.

79. Jason Avant
WR / Philadelphia Eagles

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Some might call Avant one of the sleepers of this class. He had a breakout game at San Diego last season, and a team looking for a big, young receiver might give him a look.

80. Bo Scaife
TE / Tennessee Titans

Age: 29 FA type: Restricted

Scaife's value appears highest to the Titans: He fits Mike Heimerdinger's offense well, and he has a good rapport with QB Vince Young. He's an effective, move-the-chains, short-area target.

81. Scott Fujita
OLB / New Orleans Saints

Age: 31 FA type: Unrestricted

Fujita has been a key part of the Saints' defense since signing with New Orleans in 2006. Was bothered by knee and calf injuries in '09 but returned late in the season in time for the club's Super Bowl run. The Saints could bring him back.

82. Chris Kuper
OG / Denver Broncos

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Kuper, who has made 31 starts the past two seasons, has developed nicely at right guard. He and ORT Ryan Harris are a formidable tandem. 

83. Cadillac Williams
RB / Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Age: 28 FA type: Restricted

Williams has battled back from two knee injuries to regain an important role in the Buccaneers' offense. Gifted and competitive, Williams played all 16 games in 2009 for the first time in his NFL career, but his workload must be watched carefully.

84. Leonard Weaver
FB / Philadelphia Eagles

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

He's one of the league's more versatile fullbacks, capable of both opening holes in the running game and carrying the ball on occasion, too. Yet another intriguing Eagles RFA whose demand in the market is tied to the level of tender offer extended by Philadelphia.

85. Roman Harper
S / New Orleans Saints

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

The Saints' starting strong safety, Harper has notched at least 89 tackles each of the past three seasons. He provides a physical presence against the run and also covers relatively well, too.

86. Rocky McIntosh
OLB / Washington Redskins

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

McIntosh quietly has developed into a key contributor for the Redskins. Has shown a knack for making some "splash" plays — forced two fumbles and intercepted two passes in 2009. The Redskins are likely to retain him.

87. Willie Parker
RB / Pittsburgh Steelers

Age: 29 FA type: Unrestricted

The days of Parker being a full-time starter might be over, but he could be an effective part of a RB-by-committee system. He's not going to break many tackles or impress with his agility, but he does have good straight-line speed, so he needs fresh, healthy legs to remain effective. He is unlikely to be back in Pittsburgh.

88. Rob Sims
OG / Seattle Seahawks

Age: 26 FA type: Restricted

Sims started 14 games for the Seahawks in 2009. The interior of the Seahawks' offensive line has some potential, and the Seahawks are expected to bring back Sims.

89. Kevin Mawae
C / Tennessee Titans

Age: 39 FA type: Unrestricted

Mawae appears likely to move on from Tennessee, which is likely to promote Leroy Harris into the center spot. Mawae would be a fine short-term starting option for a club looking for a strong, savvy leader in the middle.

90. Brad Smith
WR / New York Jets

Age: 26 FA type: Restricted

Smith has carved a nice niche for himself with the Jets, contributing on special teams and in gadget packages on offense. He's exactly the sort of player whom teams covet to fill out their rosters because he can fill multiple roles.

91. Jerious Norwood
RB / Atlanta Falcons

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Norwood has elite speed, but he struggled to stay healthy last season, and he is not built to carry a starter's workload. He is more effective as a change-of-pace back, and if he remains in Atlanta, he'll fill that role ably as the Falcons try to keep starter Michael Turner fresh.

92. Thomas Howard
OLB / Oakland Raiders

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Defends the pass well — he had six interceptions in 2007 — but he must improve his all-around game.

93. Olindo Mare
PK / Seattle Seahawks

Age: 37 FA type: Franchise

Mare missed only two field goals in 2009 and averaged a career-best 67.9 yards on kickoffs. With the PK franchise tender relatively affordable, the Seahawks designated him as their franchise player.

94. Antonio Pierce
ILB / None

Age: 31 FA type: Cut

The Giants released Pierce in February after he missed seven games in '09 with a bulging disc in his neck. If he's cleared medically, he could provide an instinctive, physical presence on "D."

95. Michael Koenen
P-PK / Atlanta Falcons

Age: 28 FA type: Restricted

The strong-legged Koenen knows how to place the ball well on punts and booms the ball on kickoffs.

96. Neil Rackers
PK / Arizona Cardinals

Age: 34 FA type: Unrestricted

Rackers is one of the more intriguing players available in a deep free-agent PK class. He has a strong leg, and he can be utterly automatic for stretches, but he also has come up short in some key pressure situations (see the '09 wild-card game vs. Green Bay). Nonetheless, his services figure to be in demand; after all, he's a proven commodity, and fewer and fewer coaches are willing to endure younger kickers' growing pains.

97. Mark Anderson
DE / Chicago Bears

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

Anderson had 12 sacks as a rookie in 2006 but has registered only 9½ in three seasons since. The Bears likely will try to keep him to protect themselves in the event Adewale Ogunleye departs in free agency.

98. Chad Pennington
QB / Miami Dolphins

Age: 34 FA type: Unrestricted

Pennington, who is recovering from a right shoulder injury that ended his '09 season after only three games, reportedly would like to remain with the Dolphins. Has the intangibles to be a great backup, and the prospect of him starting again can't be ruled out, for he has successfully fought back from injuries in the past.

99. Jason Taylor
OLB / Miami Dolphins

Age: 36 FA type: Unrestricted

Taylor can still get after the quarterback, as evidenced by his seven sacks last season.

100. Donald Penn
OT / Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Age: 27 FA type: Restricted

The 6-5, 305-pound Penn has started the past 44 games at left tackle, protecting the Bucs' QB's blind side.

 

For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.

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