- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Pro Football Weekly has produced a "top 50" list of available free agents and the Patriots' "Big 3" shows up early.
Similar to the Ravens, the Patriots have three players rated among the top 20 -- cornerback Aqib Talib is rated as the 14th best free agent, followed by receiver Wes Welker (17) and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (20).
Of Talib, PFW writes, "Twenty-seven-year old corners with the size and playmaking ability of Talib aren’t typically available on the free-agent market. His press-man capability made Bill Belichick’s defense a lot more flexible late last season, but his myriad off-field red flags are what made him available via trade and could hurt his marketability this spring."
Of Welker, PFW writes, "Welker was among the NFL’s most prolific wideouts the past six seasons as part of New England’s quick-hitting, highly efficient passing game, triggered by Tom Brady. But there are some who feel Welker was partially a product of the system (including Bill Belichick?), and he’s had key drops in crucial moments each of the past two postseasons."
Of Vollmer, PFW writes, "There is a lot to like about the German-born Vollmer, who has been a key cog in the consistent offensive lines the Patriots have fielded since his arrival in 2009. Vollmer’s greatest strength is his versatility; he can be dominant on the right side, but also nimble and athletic enough to protect Brady’s blind side."
To read PFW's Top 50 free-agent rankings, CLICK HERE.