The good teams use free agency to fill needs, which theoretically frees them up to take the best available player in the draft. It doesn't always work that way, of course, because teams tend to have plenty of needs.
But what they do in free agency definitely impacts their choices in the draft a month later. So now that free agency is one-week old, and most of the top players have signed, here's a look at where the Top 11 picks in the NFL Draft are likely to stand:
1. Cincinnati Bengals - LSU QB Joe Burrow
Absolutely nothing has changed. They avoided the Quarterback Carousel, as expected, despite the plethora of big names spinning around. And even though players like Jameis Winston and Cam Newton are still available, they continue to resist temptation. That's because they are laser-focused on the best quarterback in the draft. They may get a few offers from teams looking to move up and grab him, but it's almost a lock that the Bengals will stay right where they are and pick the man everyone knows they're going to take.
2. Washington Redskins - Ohio State DE Chase Young
There remains a ton of speculation that the Redskins might have their eyes on Tua Tagovailoa, but there feels like there's something not right about that. A sign, perhaps, came when they traded a fifth-round pick to Carolina for Kyle Allen, who had to make 12 starts for Ron Rivera's Carolina Panthers last year. Allen is 24. Dwayne Haskins is 22. And now they're going to add another 22-year-old in Tagovailoa? With no veteran to guide them? Three young quarterbacks doesn't make sense. Taking the best pass rusher in the draft? Now that makes sense.
3. Detroit Lions - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
The Lions traded Darius Slay to the Eagles, which sent up flares around the league that they're planning to take Okudah, the best cornerback (by far) in this draft. Some had thought maybe they'd go for linebacker Isaiah Simmons, but given the trade of Slay and their signing of ex-Patriot Jamie Collins, going cornerback here makes more sense. They could also be open to trades with anyone who wants to get over the Miami Dolphins at 5 to get a quarterback. They probably could slide to 6 or 7 and still find Okudah there.
4. GIANTS - Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs
They went through free agency and left one glaring hole pretty much untouched - tackle. They did sign RT Cam Fleming, but he's more of a one-year stop-gap, and by 2021 both Fleming and LT Nate Solder could be gone. Given a shot at an offensive line class this good at the top, how could Dave "Hog Molly" Gettleman pass on the one he loves the best? Wirfs is 6-5, 320, runs a 4.85 in the 40, and is the most athletic tackle in the draft. Yeah, he could take LB Simmons, but after signing two linebackers in free agency (Blake Martinez, Kyler Fackrell) and re-signing another (David Mayo) it sure seems like he's telegraphing a tackle here.
5. Miami Dolphins - Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa
They don't have a young quarterback on the roster and made no move to get one, even as they stocked up pretty much everywhere else in free agency. What they have is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who can play until Tagovailoa is ready. And it may not be clear when that will be, by the way, since teams may not be able to do their own pre-draft physicals this year. Still, the Dolphins seem to love him and have the patience to wait. Their only risk is whether someone below them (perhaps right below them) jumps to 3 or 4 to get him. It might be smart for them to try to move up before anyone else does.
6. Los Angeles Chargers - Oregon QB Justin Herbert
They dumped Phillip Rivers and they ignored the rest of the quarterback market so they could ride Tyrod Taylor in 2020. If that doesn't tell you they're taking a quarterback here, nothing will. It could come down to Herbert or Utah State's Jordan Love, whom a lot of scouts seem to like. There's also the question of whether they feel the need to jump over the Dolphins to try to grab Tagovailoa. Gettleman should already be on the phone with Chargers GM Tom Telesco just in case.
7. Carolina Panthers - Auburn DT Derrick Brown
There are a lot of options here. They could take Clemson LB Simmons to replace the retired Luke Kuechly. They could take Okudah, if he falls, to replace the departed James Bradberry. They could go for help on their offensive line. They could use a receiver like Alabama's Jerry Jeudy. A quarterback isn't even out of the question now that they've moved on from Newton to Teddy Bridgewater. But after losing DTs Gerald McCoy and Vernon Butler, they need defensive line help and Brown is the best interior lineman available. The 6-5, 318-pounder is terrific against the run and should boost their pass rush, too.
8. Arizona Cardinals - Alabama OT Jedrick Wills
It will be tempting to take big Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton here, especially with the show he put on at the combine. But there's some question about whether his size (6-7, 357) will allow him to hold up in Kliff Kingsbury's Air Raid offense, which obviously has a lot of movement in the pocket with quarterback Kyler Murray. Wirfs would be a perfect fit here, but if the Giants take him first they may have to turn to the 6-4, 312-pound Wills, who may be a bit more athletic than Becton and maybe even slightly more NFL ready.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars - Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons
The Jaguars have basically been deconstructing everything that Tom Coughlin built, especially on defense. As they rebuild, there are few better options in this draft to build around than the 6-4, 238-pounder who ran a 4.39 in the 40. He'll be a great leader for them in the middle of their defense, and can actually play multiple positions, if necessary. His sideline-to-sideline speed will make him an NFL tackling machine.
10. Cleveland Browns - Louisville OT Mekhi Becton
If the Browns are able to trade for Redskins LT Trent Williams, as many assume they eventually will, they'll be able to move on to other positions. Until then, though, it's hard to imagine them using this pick on any other spot. And if the massive Becton drops to them, they'll consider it a gift and quarterback Baker Mayfield will be well-protected for years. Also, it'll break just a little bit of the Jets' hearts.
11. JETS - Georgia OT Andrew Thomas
As long as one of the top four offensive linemen remain on the board, you can be sure Douglas is going to take him. He's rebuilt his line in free agency, but he's left one big, gaping hole at tackle - either left or right, depending on where George Fant plays. The reason, as everyone expects, is so he can add a tackle in the draft. Honestly, it figures to be whichever of the Big Four is left. The 6-5, 315-pound Thomas isn't a bad get, considering a few months ago some considered him the best tackle in this draft. If he's gone too, though, the Jets will presumably turn to a receiver like Jeudy or Alabama's other receiver, Henry Ruggs, especially now that Robby Anderson has signed with Carolina.