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The Giants’ Hakeem Nicks has the skills to be a team’s No. 1 receiver.

Matt Rourke • Associated Press,

Chart: 10 players to watch in NFL free agency

  • March 5, 2014 - 9:59 PM

TEN TO WATCH IN NFL FREE AGENCY

Jairus Byrd, S, Bills: A playmaking safety who is only 27. And he’s available? What were the Bills thinking?

Branden Albert, LT, Chiefs: This is a good year to bolster an offensive line via free agency. Albert is a proven left tackle who’s 29.

Lamarr Houston, DL, Raiders: He’s big, strong, versatile and only 26. Can play off the edge or move inside like an Everson Griffen.

Vontae Davis, CB, Colts: Young, quality corners make a lot of money every March. Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner, 25, leads the pack. But Davis, 25, isn’t far behind.

Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants: Generally, receivers are a risk in free agency in part because they too often end up being overpaid by teams that also need QBs. But Nicks is 26 and has No. 1-type skills.

Eugene Monroe, LT, Ravens: At 26, he’s three years younger than Albert and he’s also a proven commodity at a position teams covet.

Chris Clemons, SS, Dolphins: He’s 28, versatile and is considered an under-the-radar kind of guy. Could make a nice pickup somewhere.

Malcolm Jenkins, FS, Saints: Could be one of those guys who hasn’t fulfilled his draft potential (14th overall pick in 2009), but could still cash in as a 26-year-old coming off his rookie contract.

Sam Shields, CB, Packers: A former hidden gem who has all the physical tools and a playmaker’s sense of awareness. And he’s 26.

Everson Griffen, DE, Vikings: Had an off-year in 2013, but he’s still a gifted, versatile athlete who plays the game with speed, strength and violence. At 26, he’s about to make a few bucks.

MARK CRAIG

© 2014 Star Tribune