5 NFL free agents who could make the biggest impact in the 2021 season

Kansas City Chiefs Mitchell Schwartz
Kansas City Chiefs Mitchell Schwartz
Henrique Bulio

Training camp is just around the corner and, as teams get ready for the season, we're still going to see a little wave of free agent signings over the next two weeks.

Everybody assesses their roster holes and what they should do to improve their chances of competing and signing new players before everyone reports to training camp is a good way to get some practice with the new faces.

Five NFL free agents who could make the biggest impact in 2021 season

Mitchell Schwartz, OT

The former Kansas City Chiefs star became a free agent in March after the franchise decided to completely rebuild their offensive line following an abysmal display in the Super Bowl. Schwartz wasn't part of the debacle, as he was placed on injured reserve in November with a back problem, but the Chiefs decided not to take any chances with Mahomes' health.

Schwartz is still a great player and, if he's healthy, he could be a great contributor to any team that needs to reinforce the right side of the offensive line. He was an All-Pro for four straight seasons during 2016-19, so talent isn't an issue.

Melvin Ingram, EDGE

Ingram has spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Chargers so far, but the team decided it was time to move on after nine seasons and make him a free agent, especially with Uchenna Nwosu showing good form in 2020.

Even though he's already 32, Ingram can still rush the passer: he's strong, quick and has a good first step for the position. If his knee doesn't bother him in 2021, he can make a great rotational rusher for a team that needs someone to pressure the quarterback during third downs.

Indianapolis Colts v Washington Redskins
Indianapolis Colts v Washington Redskins

Malik Hooker, S

Unlike the other players on this list, Hooker is still young (25). He became a free agent this season after the Colts decided his talent wasn't enough to keep up with so many health problems, a fair assessment considering his fifth-year option would be expensive in 2021.

There's absolutely no question about Hooker's talent: he's quick, smart and has immense ball skills since Ohio State. The real question is: can he stay on the field? He has missed 29 games during four seasons in the league, so durability is a major concern. Any team who takes a small risk on him can obtain big rewards.

Olivier Vernon, EDGE

The fact that Vernon is still a free agent is bizarre. Even though he's 30 years old, he has been reliable during his whole career, playing at least 10 games every season.

He amassed 9 sacks and 16 quarterback hits in 2020 and was a solid presence in the backfield for the Browns. So why is he still a free agent? Any team who is a contender and needs an EDGE to reinforce the defensive line should call Vernon.

Steven Nelson, CB

A solid number two cornerback is still available in Nelson, whose free agent status will probably end soon. He's aggressive, can play both in man or zone coverage and his ball skills are fine, seven interceptions and 32 passes defended over the last three seasons.

Many fans are asking his teams to sign Nelson on Twitter. With his quality, somebody will attend their wishes, sign the free agent and get a great defensive back for a reasonable price.

Edited by Arnav Kholkar


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