2012 NFL Free Agency: Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2012.
Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Tyvon Branch, SS, Raiders. Age: 25. Franchised by Raiders
Tyvon Branch is a talented strong safety who has many good years left ahead of him. The Raiders can't afford to let him get away.
Michael Griffin, S, Titans. Age: 27. Franchised by Titans
Michael Griffin played very well in 2011, but had issues with consistency beforehand. He could join Cortland Finnegan in playing under Jeff Fisher again in St. Louis.
LaRon Landry, SS, Redskins. Age: 27. Signed with Jets (1 year, $4 million)
LaRon Landry would be ranked much higher than this if he weren't so injury-prone. Landry has played in just 17 games the past two years. He could miss some more time next season because of an Achilles injury (not torn).
Dashon Goldson, FS, 49ers. Age: 27. Franchised by 49ers
There are a lot of posts about Dashon Goldson in the comment board below, so I'll address this ranking. Goldson stinks in coverage. That's why I initially put him at 1.5 stars, but you could argue two or 2.5 because of his ability against the run. Of the safeties who have played 800-plus snaps this year, he's surrendered the eighth-highest completion percentage. He allowed four touchdowns this year (tied for fifth among safeties) despite the amazing front seven he has in front of him. He's tied for sixth in penalties among safeties this year. If he played behind a mediocre front seven, he would be exposed. Those who just look at stats and Pro Bowl voting might think Goldson is great, but he's just a backup at best.
Dwight Lowery was solid in taking over for Courtney Greene at first, but was slowed down late by a shoulder injury. He's not a proven commodity though.
Tanard Jackson, S, Buccaneers. Age: 27. Signed with Redskins
Tanard Jackson was considered to be one of the NFL's top up-and-coming safeties prior to his season-long suspension in 2010. He returned to the lineup last year, but really struggled. He's still young and talented, so maybe he can revert to 2009 form with good coaching.
Mike Adams, FS, Browns. Age: 31. Signed with Broncos
Mike Adams is a serviceable free safety. The Browns could upgrade him, but they have way too many other things to focus on this offseason.
Jim Leonhard, SS, Jets. Age: 29. Signed with Broncos
Jim Leonhard is a good player, but he tore his patellar tendon in December. He won't be ready for the start of the 2012 campaign.
Reggie Nelson, FS, Bengals. Age: 28. Re-signed with Bengals
Reggie Nelson found a home in Marvin Lewis' defense, performing well early on. However, he really struggled down the stretch.
Thomas DeCoud, FS, Falcons. Age: 27. Re-signed with Falcons (5 years, $17.5 million; $4 million guaranteed)
Thomas DeCoud is good in run support, but tends to get lost in coverage. He performed poorly in the beginning of the year, but picked up his play late.
O.J. Atogwe, FS, Redskins. Age: 31. Signed with Eagles (1 year)
O.J. Atogwe still would be a decent safety if he could stay healthy, but that has been really difficult for him over the past couple of years.
Nick Collins, FS, Packers. Age: 29.
I'm really not sure what to do with Nick Collins in terms of these rankings. He's a 4.5-star talent, but his career could be over because of a neck injury. The fact that the Packers cut him speaks volumes.
@jsemmens I've been to the Big Board in the past, but it's still an inefficient way of going about a mock. Not to mention, reports and the people writing them change, no? I come to Walt's site because I used to like his insight on every player. Now, it's simply team needs and a very limited amount of actual analysis. You definitely need SOME amount of explanation behind a pick with regards to team need, but you need much more of the player evaluation angle. Any dummy can write why a particular team "needs" a specific position; it takes a pretty good eye to understand what player needs to fill it. Again, just my 2 cents.
@dawg66 I see where you're coming from. I really do. But I'm sure as a Browns fan you can understand, they have needs EVERYWHERE. You aren't gonna win a super bowl unless you have a QB. Case in point pretty much every super bowl winning quarterback ever. Second, yes you have Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman. Terrelle Pryor is a slot receiver which is gonna get you nowhere unless you play for New England. Corey Coleman has yet to prove a damn thing. Mike Williams, however, just took down Alabama pretty much BY HIMSELF. It's the right range for him and I'm positive Huge Jackson wouldn't pass over him at this point, meaning pre-combine and interviews.
Here's my mock based on team need, prospect value and prevailing opinion as well as some ideas of my own. Please let me know about the team(s) that you follow more closely, and any picks that you agree or disagree with. Please comment, and feel free to rate.