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Richard Marshall, Carolina Panthers
Restricted; 5-11, 189; 4 years
2009 Stats: 88 tackles, 9 passes defended, 4 interceptions
A former second-round selection, Marshall was tendered at the second-round level, which means he would cost that pick – plus most likely a new contract – should a team pursue the RFA. But, he is young and showed potential when he stepped into a starting role last season. His 88 tackles were second on the Panthers, but that could be because teams targeted him more.
(Upside – Youth; Downside – Inconsistency)
Carlos Rogers, Washington Redskins
Restricted; 6-0, 190; 6 years
2009 Stats: 39 tackles, 12 passes defended, 0 interceptions
Rogers was benched last year after falling for a few double moves that led to long touchdowns, but he would contend that he played in man coverage nearly all the time. Rogers still has top-level athleticism and is a tough competitor, but he was tendered at the first-round level.
(Upside – Athleticism; Downside – Price)
Lito Sheppard, New York Jets
Unrestricted; 5-10, 194; 9 years
2009 Stats: 31 tackles, 8 passes defended, 1 interception
Sheppard was traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Jets last season and started nine games, appearing in 11. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Sheppard has made a ton of plays in his career, but was deemed expendable in 2008 when the Eagles signed Asante Samuel. He was essentially benched for the Jets' AFC Championship battle last January.
(Upside – Speed; Downside – Starting ability)
Ken Lucas, Seattle Seahawks
Unrestricted; 6-0, 205; 9 years
2009 Stats: 34 tackles, 2 passes defended, 1 interception
Lucas, a former second-round draft pick of Seattle, hasn't missed a game in the last three years, which speaks to his durability. He is best known for four solid seasons with the Carolina Panthers. Lucas is a big, physical defender that can stand up to the tough wideouts in the AFC North, but his speed at the wrong side of 30 has been questioned recently.
(Upside – Size, Downside – Speed)
Nick Harper, Tennessee Titans
Unrestricted; 5-10, 182; 10 years
2009 Stats: 81 tackles, 6 passes defended, 1 interception
Harper dealt with complications to a broken forearm last season and wound up on Injured Reserve, He was criticized for his limitations in coverage last season, but with 127 games played to his credit, Harper has the cagey veteran mindset to offset some of the physical limitations that come with age.
(Upside – Experience, Downside – Durability)
Will James, Detroit Lions
Unrestricted; 6-0, 200; 10 years
2009 Stats: 73 tackles, 14 passes defended, 2 interceptions
James is coming off a season where he started 14 games for Detroit, but that was the most work for this former third-round draft pick since 2004, when he started 15 contests for the New York Giants. But, James seems to have resurrected his career, returning one of his picks for a touchdown last year.
(Upside – Size, Downside – Speed)