NFL Free Agent Rankings 2022: PFN’s Top 100 from J.C. Jackson to Allen Lazard

Here are Pro Football Network's Top 100 NFL Free Agent Rankings for 2022. Who are the top players your favorite franchise could sign?

2022 NFL Free Agent Top 100 Rankings | 71-85

Defensive backs fill this section of the top 100 free agents in 2022.

71) WR Jakobi Meyers (RFA)

Jakobi Meyers is a perfect option in a slot role for nearly any team in the NFL that is looking to upgrade the position. He has continued to progress as a route runner in the underneath areas of the field, but he’s a really strong intermediate-level route runner, particularly when allowed space to work.

In a league heading more toward two-high quarters-based coverages, Meyers will continue to see more looks against soft coverage. He won’t wow teams after the catch, and he isn’t going to take the top off defenses, but he can be a reliable third-down target.

72) TE Evan Engram

Update 3/14/2022: Engram agreed to terms with the Jacksonville Jaguars on a one-year, fully guaranteed $9 million contract.

There’s no denying that Evan Engram has not worked out in New York, but I’m still not ready to give up on the Ole Miss tight end. He’s had Mike Sullivan, Mike Shula, and Jason Garrett as his offensive coordinators. The intermittent drops and inability to be a blocker on the line have hurt his value.

Still, we’re talking about a 240-pound athletic specimen who ran a 4.42 and moves laterally like a 200-pound receiver. A wide-open offense like Arizona would fit him perfectly. Engram could attack the seam, run deep over routes, and rarely ever have to put his hand in the dirt.

Spotrac Market Value: Four years, $27 million

73) S Tracy Walker

Update 3/14/2022: The Detroit Lions retained Walker’s services on a three-year, $25 million contract with $17 million guaranteed.

Because he plays for the Lions, very few people know that Tracy Walker exists as an NFL player. Walker is a step-in starter at free safety for teams looking to upgrade the position. He can play as a single-high free safety who patrols the back end in Cover 3-heavy schemes or line up as a split-field safety.

He’s not the coverage player Quandre Diggs is, but he’s sufficient. Walker also has no issues being responsible for the alley in run defense. At 205 pounds, he has more than enough on his frame to bang around in the run game. He isn’t the most consistent tackler, but he gives great effort and is a smart defender.

74) EDGE Derek Barnett

Derek Barnett won’t offer a ton as a pass rusher on a consistent basis, but he plays with impressive power to collapse pockets when he can get inside an offensive tackle’s chest. Although his time in Philadelphia has been largely disappointing, he is still a good option as a third defensive end in a rotation. He can flash against the run, and he has the power to set a firm edge, but he struggles to play disciplined football too often.

75) S Kareem Jackson

Kareem Jackson isn’t the athlete he once was, but he’s an intelligent defender who will work well in the more modern two-high looks so many teams are beginning to implement. He can come down and play a bit in the slot, and he’s a good enough run defender to be in the box, but he should mostly live at depth.

It was clear Jackson took a step back in 2021, but the entire Broncos defense struggled after the loss of seemingly all their linebackers and the trade of Von Miller at the deadline.

76) CB Levi Wallace

Update 3/15/2022: The Pittsburgh Steelers continue to find value in their free agent pickups. They agreed to terms with Wallace on a two-year deal worth $8 million.

Levi Wallace won’t ever win a weigh-in or be the first off the bus. Yet, the undersized young man won a starting job at the Alabama talent factory and did the same on a ridiculously talented Bills defense.

Wallace is an intelligent coverage defender who works best when playing off the ball and playing match or zone concepts. He isn’t as fast as the speedsters, and his 170-pound frame struggles versus strength. But he combats that by playing a tenacious but intelligent brand of football. He’d be an asset for any zone-heavy defensive scheme.

Spotrac Market Value: Three years, $28.8 million

77) TE Maxx Williams

Maxx Williams could start on an NFL roster but is probably better suited as a high-end TE2 in a league so dominated by passing. Nevertheless, Williams would be incredibly valuable in places like Miami or New York, which are branches of the Shanahan tree.

He’s a technical and tenacious blocker, even as a pass protector on the edge. We still don’t want him lined up opposite Von Miller, but he can survive on his own out there on occasion. He’s good on the move as an H-back or an in-line blocker. He also has very nice hands and is a nice underneath weapon against zone coverages.

78) OT Jason Peters

Jason Peters didn’t quite have the season pushing 40 that Andrew Whitworth did, but he was still a good blocker on an offensive line with many issues. He allowed 6 sacks on the season, and it was apparent the once physical freak wasn’t quite what he was.

However, his ability to counter almost any rush only comes from taking thousands and thousands of live reps against some of the best competition over the past 17 years. He’s also still an outstanding run blocker. He’s not as physically dominant anymore, but his positional leverage, angles, and hands are still outstanding.

79) CB D.J. Reed

Update 3/15/2022: The New York Jets agreed to terms with Reed on a three-year, $33 million deal.

D.J. Reed isn’t the prototypical Cover 3 cornerback, but he’s now played in Pete Carroll’s system for two seasons. The 25-year-old is best suited for a zone-heavy scheme, so he is a bit dependent on that. However, watching him compete at the catch point is an absolute treat, and any Quarters-heavy teams should consider him because of his intelligence in coverage.

80) S Jaquiski Tartt

Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward have been among the more underrated safety duos in the NFL for years now. Despite his 215-pound frame, Tartt can cover some ground on the back end. He and Ward are what make that secondary work. It’s certainly not the cornerback group keeping them afloat.

The 49ers are a zone-heavy team, and that’s where Tartt best fits. Let him play from depth, play deep zones, and let him come downhill against the run.

81) CB Rasul Douglas

Rasul Douglas exploded in 2021 with 5 INTs and a passer rating against of just 46.3. He allowed just 51.5% of his targets to be completed, and he did it all in an entirely new environment. He won’t be a fit everywhere because he’s a zone cornerback through and through, but if Douglas goes somewhere and proves his production was no fluke, he could see big money in the 2023 free agency cycle.

82) S Ronnie Harrison

Ronnie Harrison is a bit of a weird evaluation because he played such a unique role for the Browns. And by unique, I mean he was essentially a linebacker. The Browns signed John Johnson III and already had Grant Delpit on the roster, so they needed to find a creative way to use Harrison, who is a weaker deep cover safety than either.

Although he could survive as a split-field safety, Harrison’s best-suited as a strong safety in a Cover 3 scheme. He possesses ideal size and length to match up against tight ends and throws his body around against the run. Teams that also lack high-end linebacker play can use him as one in “Big Nickel” situations instead of running their base personnel.

83) WR A.J. Green

Green had a bit of a career resurgence in Atlanta, but he’s very much on the tail end of his career athletically. If he has a quarterback willing to throw into tight windows, he can still be a serviceable WR2. However, that makes him very QB dependent.

Green still has good size and ridiculous length. And he can still attack leverage in zone coverage to find soft spots in. Green will be careful about his next landing spot if he wants to prolong his career and not fade away.

84) WR Will Fuller

It pains me to put Will Fuller so low on the list, but he plays in an average of just over nine games per season. The best ability is availability, and Fuller is about as unreliable as they come.

But as I said, when he’s on the field, he’s one of the top-20 receivers in the league. He’s not just a deep threat as a receiver. That would be selling him way short. Yes, he is extremely fast, and his natural vertical threat makes him a more difficult underneath cover. However, he’s improved as a route runner since entering the league.

Fuller’s footwork is superb. He’s able to shift gears and change direction effortlessly, and his separation quickness stands out on tape. He also averaged 5.4 yards after the catch in 2020, which ranked him just outside the top-20 receivers.

85) TE O.J. Howard

Trying to figure out why O.J. Howard failed in Tampa might be more complicated than stealing the Declaration of Independence. He remains one of the most well-rounded tight-end prospects of the past 10+ seasons.

Even while perusing through his tape, it’s difficult to decipher why he didn’t play more in Tampa Bay aside from his injury history. Cameron Brate is a good player, but he doesn’t offer what Brate can athletically.

He’s an inconsistent blocker, particularly at the second level. Still, he holds his own on the edge as a pass protector and a run blocker, although his pad level rises occasionally. Howard’s strong after the catch and his explosiveness makes him a weapon over the middle.

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