So far the 2018 off-season has been a whirlwind of additions and subtractions. As expected, teams have been active in the free agent market (and trade market), adding players that can fill holes, and help push their franchise over the top. When watching all these deals, one can’t help, but be shocked by some of the dollar amount being thrown around. Although, signing a player is more about potential, then what the player has already done (or not done). There have been some legit shockers, this early off-season. On the other hand, there have been a handful of players that have gotten cheaper deals, but have the legit potential to be huge additions to there pending teams. Looking across the league, we have decided to identify the players, who could be huge steals this year.
CB Rashaan Melvin (Oakland Raiders)- Arguably one of the most underrated free agent signings this offseason, Melvin, has all the tools to be a legit lockdown corner. Built the way new (and old ) head coach, John Gruden, loves his guys on an island. At 6’2 200 LB’s, the 28 year old, has served himself well, playing on the outside, and in limited snaps inside. He is not shy when playing in the run game, and has the nasty streak Coach Gruden, covets in his defensive players. Despite bouncing around the league a little bit, Melvin quickly found a home, in the Colts defense, serving as their best defensive back (by far), in 2017. He has the experience of playing in multiple defenses, and adds value, at all DB spots, and the special teams. He signed a 1 year deal, that could end up being a huge steal this year, as the lights have seemed to turn on for the veteran CB.
LB Corey Nelson (Philadelphia Eagles)- GM (Guru) Howie Roseman, has been on fire these past few seasons. Adding underrated talent, in both the draft and free agency. With that said, it seems like he may have struck again, with the addition of little known Corey Nelson. The one time Denver Bronco, (despite being a special teams ace), was well on his way to the starting line up, on defense. Before an injury to his bicep, ended his season prematurely. when you watch the tape, Nelson, puts you in mindset set, that he is a bigger version of pro-bowler, Mychal Kendricks. With good speed, solid in pass coverage, and the ability to go sideline to sideline, and wreck plays. At 6’1 233 LB’s, Nelson, has the ability to play all three LB spots, with the “Will” serving as his best position. The Eagles have had some real success, adding lesser known players, that turn out to be studs for the team, and Nelson, has all the tools to be the next big steal.
S Tyrann Mathieu (Houston Texans)- Ok, so Mathieu, isn’t really under the radar, as he has been one of the bigger names in football, for a couple years now. But, the fact that the Texans, who already have a pretty tough defense, got too add such a talent, to a team friendly deal, is huge. Capable of being a terror in both the run and pass game, Mathieu, has the potential to help take the Texans defense from good, to great this season. In return, we could see him signing a much larger deal, one a bit more fit for a talent like him.
OT/OG D.J. Fluker (Seattle Seahawks)- The 6’5 340 LB, offensive hammer, may not of played up to his draft status, but has all the talent, and potential to be a star in the NFL. Despite injuries ending his season last year, with the Giants, they tried everything they could, to retain his services. Luckily for the Hawks’ , he decided to lend his talent to QB Russel Wilson, and offense. He played admirably as a Charger, and showed flashes of the stud Guard, he was expected to be. With the right coaching and patience, the Hawks’ could have found the future at guard, for years to come.
DT Beau Allen (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)- Allen, has been the third DT, for the Philadelphia Eagles, over the last few years. Despite being a back up, he has played a key role, for the birds’ and there super-bowl run. Fast forward to this past week, and Allen cashed in, when he signed a strong deal with the buccaneers. One that could prove to be a steal in the long run, as Allen, has the tools to be an issue in the run game, and when rushing the passer. A wide bodied monster in the middle of the defense, he has the skill set to play in both a 3-4 and 4-3 defense. Adding Allen, to an already tough line, could help push there defense over the top, and wreak havoc for opposing offenses, this season.