I did this the past seven years, and I thought it would be pretty fun to do it again. It's exactly what it sounds like - if free agency occurred in a draft format, who would be the top picks? I've excluded all the free agents who are either restricted or franchised.
Cleveland Browns: Drew Brees, QB, Saints. Age: 39.
The Browns just traded for Tyrod Taylor - check out the NFL Trade Grades page for analysis - but if they have a chance to obtain Drew Brees, they'll take it. Cleveland needs a young quarterback to command the team for the next dozen years, but acquiring Brees would give them a legitimate chance to make a Super Bowl push this year. Unfortunately for the Browns, and the lulz, this is not a realistic situation.
New York Giants: Andrew Norwell, G, Panthers. Age: 26.
Tony Pauline reported that the Giants signing Andrew Norwell is a "done deal." Obviously, New York would select Andrew Norwell, the best non-quarterback in free agency, in this situation. The Giants are desperate to improve their offensive line, and Norwell would provide an enormous upgrade.
Indianapolis Colts: Malcolm Butler, CB, Patriots. Age: 28.
The Colts don't have a viable cornerback on their roster. Malcolm Butler would change that. I'm sure Frank Reich would treat Butler much better than Bill Belichick did leading up to the Super Bowl!
Cleveland Browns: Morgan Burnett, S, Packers. Age: 29.
Jabrill Peppers was a big disappointment this past season, but it's obviously still way too early to give up on him. Still, Morgan Burnett would be the logical choice here, as the Browns need to find an upgrade next to Peppers in their horrible secondary.
Denver Broncos: Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins. Age: 30.
The Vikings are the favorites to land Kirk Cousins, but in this scenario, John Elway can laugh maniacally as he steals the prized quarterback in free agency.
New York Jets: Justin Pugh, G/OT, Giants. Age: 28.
The Jets need almost everything. This includes better offensive linemen. Justin Pugh is the best blocker available, and New York should be happy to acquire him.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sheldon Richardson, DE/DT, Seahawks. Age: 27.
The Buccaneers finished dead last in sacks this past season, getting to the quarterback only 22 times. Sheldon Richardson would obviously help change that.
Chicago Bears: Nigel Bradham, LB, Eagles. Age: 28.
The Bears cut Jerrell Freeman this offseason, so they could be looking for a new linebacker to pair with Danny Trevathan. I have them selecting Tremaine Edmunds in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft, but this makes sense as well.
San Francisco 49ers: Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars. Age: 25.
The rumor is that Allen Robinson is going to sign with the 49ers. San Francisco needs to find a lethan No. 1 receiver for Jimmy Garoppolo, and Robinson would qualify as one.
Oakland Raiders: Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Jets. Age: 28.
The Raiders need to improve every level of their defense. Their front struggles to pressure the quarterback in the interior, and that would change with Muhammad Wilkerson, provided he puts forth more effort this year.
Miami Dolphins: Jack Mewhort, G, Colts. Age: 27.
I have the Dolphins taking Baker Mayfield in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft. If they plan on selecting the young quarterback, they'll need to find multiple upgrades on the offensive line to help him.
Cincinnati Bengals: Kenny Vaccaro, S/CB, Saints. Age: 27.
The Bengals haven't been the same defensively since losing Reggie Nelson. I imagine they'll be in the market for a major upgrade at safety.
Washington Redskins: Sammy Watkins, WR, Rams. Age: 25.
Sammy Watkins was a big-time disappointment this past season, but he's still just 25. Perhaps he'll do better in a new location, and the Redskins are in the market for a new No. 1 receiver.
Green Bay Packers: E.J. Gaines, CB, Bills. Age: 26.
The Packers obviously are in desperate need of secondary help, especially in the wake of the Damarious Randall trade. Perhaps E.J. Gaines is someone they'll target in free agency with Ted Thompson no longer calling the shots.
Arizona Cardinals: A.J. McCarron, QB, Bengals. Age: 27.
I have a feeling that the Cardinals will find a way to sign A.J. McCarron, as they want a veteran to command their team right now. Arizona believes it can compete for a divisional title right now, so a veteran makes more sense than a rookie.
Baltimore Ravens: Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots. Age: 27.
Blame Joe Flacco all you want, but the Ravens have no running game or receiving talent. Dion Lewis would provide a boost for the former problem.