Per usual, some clubs were more active that others when it came to adding veteran talent. Which was the top pick-up for each NFL team entering the draft?
We are less than a week away from the 2021 NFL Draft and the primary focus now is on the seven-round process. Franchises have spent the last few months refurbishing their roster and all but one of the 32 teams has added at least one veteran performer via free agency or trade.
Of course, some organizations have been busier than others while a few have been limited dramatically by a lack of finances (via Spotrac). In any case, here’s a look at the best acquisition by each NFL team prior to this year’s draft. We’re talking players here…with one notable exception.
Arizona Cardinals: DE J.J. Watt
The club slumped after a 6-3 start a year ago. General manager Steve Keim went out and added share of big names this offseason, including wide receiver A.J. Green while trading for center Rodney Hudson.
Ten-year pro J.J. Watt doesn’t have the resume recently that the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year did early in his career. But he adds to an improving defense and brings leadership to a club that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2015.
Atlanta Falcons: S Duron Harmon
There’s a new sheriff in town and head coach Arthur Smith and brought along defensive coordinator Dean Pees, back in the NFL after a year of retirement. No team in the league gave up more passing yards a year ago than the Falcons and the secondary is in the midst of an overhaul.
Veteran Duron Harmon brings a lot to the table including Super Bowl experience with the Patriots and 22 takeaways in eight seasons with New England and Detroit.
Baltimore Ravens: G Kevin Zeitler
John Harbaugh’s club has led the NFL in rushing two straight years. And now guard Kevin Zeitler is back in the AFC North for the third time and with his third different club. The 27th-overall pick in the 2012 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, he spent five seasons with that club before signing with Cleveland. He was dealt by the Browns to Big Blue and is now in Baltimore after being released by New York. He upgrades a unit that had its share of injuries in 2020.
Buffalo Bills: WR Emmanuel Sanders
The reigning AFC East champions got a big year from quarterback Josh Allen and he was a huge reason the club reached the AFC title game for the first time since 1993.
General manager Brandon Beane acquired wideout Stefon Diggs from the Vikings and he responded by leading the NFL in catches and receiving yards. Speedy John Brown was injured much of last season and was let go. Adding Emmanuel Sanders makes this offense even more potent.
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