The debate about the benefits, or disadvantages, of having the draft before free agency is ongoing.
Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix told me that he wasn't sure before the draft, but "kind of liked it this way, but wasn't sure if the veterans would like it." Former NFL coach Herm Edwards said that he "thought the veterans would be in a better position to get a good deal." Pittsburgh Steelers GM Kevin Colbert called it "different" but also emphasized that his club isn't a big player in free agency anyway.
The power of the quarterback
I think you really have to look closely at which positions flooded the first-round market and which positions didn't to determine if the reverse order (draft before free agency) is good for the veterans. That being said, I can't imagine any defensive ends or offensive tackles who are sitting at home hoping for a big pay day enjoyed watching the draft. Six players from each position were taken off the board in the first round, which means 12 teams are no longer looking to pay a veteran big money. If you factor in the second round, it probably means another five teams are uninterested in veteran talent at a big price.
The following guys will play in the NFL next season because they are still good players, but they couldn't have been happy watching the draft. Some of these players are going to play for a lot less than what they might have received if free agency came before the draft.
Good luck, guys.