Frank’s Sport Court: Free Agency > NFL Draft

Frank Passalacqua, Sports Co-Editor

When it comes to an NFL offseason, I think free agency has a bigger impact on a team opposed to the draft.

To start it off, nothing is for certain in the draft. If a team is trying to rebuild and add key players to a team, the draft is the last place the organization should be looking. These players out of college can be a complete bust and are too young to fully adapt to the NFL play-style within a time period the team is looking to improve. Of course, RGIII is the exception to this, but I’d say 9 out of 10 players picked in the draft would fail to excel for their average three-year contract on the team.

The free agency pool in the NFL is full of veterans who are either looking for more money or who have an expired contract. With these guys, the teams know what they are getting.

For example, this offseason has seen some of the biggest free agent signings in the past decade. With a free agent move like Mike Wallace to Miami, the team’s offense can be extremely lifted with a high-caliber player like himself now on the roster. Can they pick a player like Wallace in the draft and have it pay off immediately? Most likely not.

This is the biggest difference in why I feel free agency is more important than the draft for a team looking to improve. The free agent has at least three years under his belt, and those three years can tell you everything you need to know. With a college player, you have some players with only their freshmen year under their belt in a league filled with 18-21 year olds. Odds are, the experience the free agent has will top the college player any day.

Another great example would be the recent signing of former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed to the Houston Texans. Reed has proved himself to be one of the top defensive players at his position ever and the Texans know the addition he will bring to the team. Would Reed compare to a rookie safety? Never.

It doesn’t matter how well a player is recruited out of college or how great he looks at the combine, nothing is for sure with a rookie. They can be the best quarterback that year for the NCAA and be complete flop in the NFL. It’s happened one too many times, and many teams have been set back years because of it. Compare that to the free agent signing of Peyton Manning last year. Did the Broncos regret the signing or were they on the edge of making it to the Super Bowl?