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Three NFL free agent defenders that are being slept on

The first days of NFL free agency are some of the most exciting on the NFL calendar. The biggest available names ponder their futures and where their next home will be while we all just sit wide-eyed, mindlessly shoving popcorn down our gullets refreshing social media waiting for updates.

And while everyone will be curious to see where quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins end up, or the big name receivers like Mike Evans sign, there are plenty of talented players that don’t get the attention they deserve when discussing high-impact players- here are a few of those players.

S Kamren Curl

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

The young safety spent the first four years of his career with the Washington Commanders. While his production took a dip in 2023, he also had to deal with a putrid surrounding cast, especially in the pass rush. Several players were also mis-cast in the Commanders’ defense, including first-round pick Emmanuel Forbes who thrived as a man-coverage cornerback but was playing in a zone-heavy defense.

Curl had a fantastic 2022 season, grading as one of PFF’s best safeties. He allowed a lower percentage of receptions that came his direction in 2023 than he did in 2022, but his solid play was overshadowed by the Commanders’ disastrous collapse. If he were to end up with a safety-needy team that also features other stars on defense like the Buffalo Bills, he would thrive.

EDGE D.J. Wonnum

(AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
(AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Wonnum has been a solid part of the Vikings’ defense over the last few seasons, and saw his production jump back up in 2023 under Brian Flores after a slight dip in 2022. He finished the year with eight sacks and 32 stops, PFF’s stat that credits a player with causing an offensive failure with a tackle.

Danielle Hunter gets the majority of the attention when talking about disruptive pass rushers for the Vikings, and even names like Ivan Pace at linebacker conjured more national attention this season than Wonnum. Wherever he goes, if used properly, plenty of people will be asking why they hadn’t paid more attention over the last four seasons.

LB Frankie Luvu

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)

Ahead of the 2023 season, I highlighted Luvu as a player that was due for a big payday, and noted that he may be the most underrated off-ball linebacker in football- all of which still ring true. He is a tremendous run stopper, and when he was sent as an extra pass rusher, he raised hell. He had seven sacks as an inside linebacker, and eight hurries on the quarterback. He also finished the year with 47 stops. If Luvu ends up on a contending team, or an up-and-comer like the Texans, just enjoy the show. He’ll display to everyone who may be unfamiliar with his game what all of his truthers have been banging the table about over the last few seasons.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire