Well, in the past few days we have realized that Steven Jackson, Quintin Mikell, Danny Amendola, and Wayne Hunter are gone. This leaves some pretty nasty holes to fill. At least it seems that way. I'm optimistic about this though.
We just signed Jermelle Cudjo to a 2-year deal. My first thought is "YES". That is brilliant. Think about it for a second. We have Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford starting there, that's set in stone. Those are both tall-bodied, athletic-framed types. Keeping Cudjo as a rotational run-stuffer is great. He's a low-cost situational player who actually played very well this past year. Remember he started in Brockers' place in the beginning of the season. What this leads to is a name that has been thrown around again this year: Jason Jones DT Seattle. If we can steal him away form Seattle, we would have a three man rotation of Brockers, Jones, and Langford. What I am getting to is they are huge. At 6'6", 6'5", and 6'5" respectfully, this puts more pressure on the opposing quarterback and less pressure off of our linebackers. I'm stating this now: JASON JONES IS A MUST-SIGN.
At defensive end, we have two elite level players in Robert Quinn and Chris Long. Eugene Sims provides great depth as a #4 DE. But, William Hayes brought a swagger to the defensive line that no one else did. He is stout against the run and we all know he can sack a quarterback. I'll state this now: WILLIAM HAYES IS A MUST-SIGN.
This would give us arguable the best front four in a 4-3 defense in the league. If there is one thing that we must address before the draft it is the front four. We have to be set at DT, DE, and CB before free agency is over. With Seattle and San Francisco making plays early and often we need to quietly step up over the next few weeks and make what we have great into something that is elite. With these two signings, it puts us into that category.
One surprise signing could be Phillip Wheeler OLB from the Oakland Raiders.
Offensively, that's a different story. We are about to lose our cornerstones on offense this year. We need to fill one spot on offense in free agency. Surprisingly, it's not WR, it's not RB, and it's not the OL. It's TE. We need to match Lance Kendricks with another tight end. Jared Cook is a freakish athlete at the position. He will take our offense to another level. He can line up anywhere whether it be in the slot, up tight, or out wide. This would be our big signing this year. We may have to fork out some money to him, but with saving an extra $14 million this week, we can afford to do that. I'll state this now: JARED COOK IS A MUST-SIGN.
This leaves us with a few holes still. T, G, WR, FS, SS, OLB.
1.16 - Tavon Austin WR West Virginia
1.22 - Jonathan Cooper G North Carolina
2.16 - Jonathan Cyprien SS Florida International
3.16 - DJ Swearinger FS South Carolina
4.16 - Zavier Gooden OLB Missouri
5.16 - Brennan Williams RT North Carolina
6.16 - Micah Hyde CB Iowa
7.16 - Mario Benavides C Louisville