Training camp will soon be upon us, and the Philadelphia Eagles will be scrambling to put together a 53-man roster before Week 1. While the Eagles have brought in plenty of competition in the draft, many positions still have significant question marks.
Yet even now, the Eagles have many free agents to choose from to add bodies to training camp. Even this late in the offseason, starting-caliber players remain who could make an immediate impact on an NFL roster.
Here are five players that are unsigned whom the Eagles should look into. This list consists only of NFL veterans and not undrafted free agents. It is ranked in order of who could contribute most to the team due to team needs and individual production.
Even though the Eagles plan to move Todd Herremans to right guard, there is no guarantee that will solidify the position. Herremans made a name for himself with the Eagles by playing left guard, and it remains to be seen if he can play the right side as effectively as the left.
And if right guard is a question mark still, why not get the finest right guard that is currently available? Brandon Moore, an 11-year veteran and Pro Bowl player, was regarded as one of the best guards in the NFL for most of his career.
Despite the Jets' struggles, Moore played admirably last season, still one of the top players at his position even at 33 years of age. Pro Football Focus considered Moore to be the best available guard in the NFL this offseason.
Moore is not young, but he would be an anchor on the right side of the line and possibly the second-best O-lineman on the team.
Every defense needs a leader, and when Brian Dawkins left, Quintin Mikell assumed that role. But look how the defense declined once he left in free agency. Now, two years later, the Eagles should consider bringing him back.
And despite moves to address the safety position, the Eagles are still in desperate need of safety help.
Kenny Philips is still recovering from his knee injury and it is unclear if he can bounce back effectively. Patrick Chung is a good hitter but a liability in coverage. And Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman both appear to be unacceptable options.
Mikell could come in and instantly fill the void at the strong safety spot. That would allow Patrick Chung and Earl Wolff to compete for the free safety position, which is a much more desirable scenario.
Kerry Rhodes may be turning 31 years old in 2013, but he's still one of the top free safeties in the NFL. He had a phenomenal 2012 season, playing well in all facets of the game—but particularly in pass coverage.
Most notably, Rhodes allowed only a 64.5 passer rating from opposing quarterbacks who threw into his coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. He may be getting old, but he has plenty left in the tank.
Philips remains a huge question mark due to his injury, but even when healthy, Rhodes would give him a run for his money and could potentially even win the starting job.
Taking Daryl Smith may be a bit of a risk. He missed most of the 2012 season due to a groin injury, but he's still an excellent player. He is one of the best all-around linebackers in the game when healthy.
Even at 31, Smith is still a three-down linebacker capable of playing any position, outside or inside. He is a tackling machine, racking up 107 tackles in 2009, 97 in 2010 and 107 in 2011 before his unfortunate injury.
Smith's skills will likely begin eroding due to his age, but he has a few more good years left. If placed at the 3-4 ILB spot across from DeMeco Ryans, he could potentially give the Eagles one of the better run-stopping defenses in the league.
Sheldon Brown is another former Eagle on this list. Similar to Mikell, he is now a free agent and can contribute to his former team if brought back.
Brown's best days are behind him and he is 34 years old, but he is actually coming off a productive season. He played well opposite of star corner Joe Haden. He also filled in nicely for Haden when he was out of the lineup.
Of course, with Brown's advanced age, the most he should be offered is a one-year contract. But given the Eagles' uncertainty at the cornerback position, it could be worth it to bring back a former leader to the team, especially one known for physical play.
Brown was one of the most underrated Eagles during the Andy Reid era. It may be fitting to allow him to retire with his former team.