NFL Draft 2011: 5 Rookie Free Agents the Philadelphia Eagles Should Target
The Philadelphia Eagles love signing underrated players who fall out of the draft. Look no further than strong safety Quintin Mikell, who was one of their best undrafted free agent signings.
Here are five guys the Eagles should target during this period.
DeAndre McDaniel, SS (Clemson)
McDaniel is a big hitter in the secondary and is solid enough in coverage, though most would not characterize that as his best asset.
At 6'1'' and 217 pounds, McDaniel ran in the mid 4.6's at the combine.
Though you would like him to be faster, McDaniel can impact the defense with his bone-crushing hits.
I was shocked he was not drafted at all; I projected him as a fourth-round draft pick. Even with the second-round pick of Jaiquawn Jarrett, the Eagles will still only have three safeties, assuming Mikell leaves in free agency.
Steven Friday, DE (Virginia Tech)
Steven Friday out of Virginia Tech is more of a hybrid defensive end, as he can also play outside linebacker. Though his skill sets favor a 3-4 OLB role, the Eagles tend to like undersized defensive ends.
Friday had a great senior season, recording 66 tackles, nine sacks and one forced fumble.
At 6'4" and 253 pounds, Friday has a terrific burst off the edge and nice speed, but can drop in coverage and shows good range. He could play the role of the "Joker" on third downs.
Kendric Burney, CB (UNC)
With 11 career interceptions and three touchdowns, Burney is just a playmaker.
He fell in the draft though because he is only 5'9'', 185 pounds and runs in the 4.7's. He runs better than his timed number suggests though, and he is a sure tackler in the open field.
Burney is an instinctual player and is very aggressive on the field. Even with his size, he is not afraid to hit someone and supports the run very well. Burney also has very solid ball skills and knows when to jump routes; he reads quarterbacks very well.
I rated Burney ahead of Curtis Marsh, who was the Eagles' third-round pick.
Anthony Gray, DT (Southern Miss)
At 315 pounds, Gray is a small-school sleeper who I thought a team would take a chance on.
He is scheme-versatile, and though he is not an explosive athlete, he can make plays in the backfield.
Gray has good power and a very quick initial first step. He can push the pocket, and he reminds me of a better pass-rushing version of Antonio Dixon, current defensive tackle for the Eagles.
At times Gray is overaggressive, either overrunning the play or not being aware of where the ball carrier is. But with Jim Washburn's coaching, he could become a great rotation pass-rushing defensive tackle for the Eagles, something they sorely need.
Mark Herzlich, LB (Boston College)
Mark Herzlich is a story everyone should be rooting for after he missed the entire 2009 season because he was diagnosed with cancer in his leg.
He ran a 4.99 at the combine though, further hurting his sliding draft stock. At Boston College, he was slow in coverage and overpursued many plays. Herzlich was also caught up by many blockers and was at times overpowered.
On an Eagles team that lacks fire and leadership though, Herzlich would come in with a chip on his shoulder.