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NFL Draft 2011: 5 Rookie Free Agents the Philadelphia Eagles Should Target

Jason KarlAnalyst IIIMay 1, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: 5 Rookie Free Agents the Philadelphia Eagles Should Target

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Mark Herzlich #94 of the Boston College Eagles blocks Erik Walker #83 of the Weber State Wildcats on September 4, 2010 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Boston College defeated Weber State 38-20.  (Photo
    Elsa/Getty Images

    With the NFL lockout, the signing period for undrafted free agents of the 2011 NFL Draft is uncertain. It could come as early as next week if the stay is lifted, or it could come many months away.

    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)

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    AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Michael Dyer #5 of the Auburn Tigers against DeAndre McDaniel #2 of the Clemson Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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)

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 04:  EJ Manuel #3 of the Florida State Seminoles is sacked by Steven Friday #82 of the Virginia Tech Hokies during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/G
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    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)

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 04:  Tailback Donald Brown #34 of the Connecticut Huskies is tackled by Kendric Burney #16 and Quan Sturdivant #52 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the game at Kenan Stadium on October 4, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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)

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    NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 20:  Dwight Dasher #9 of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders avoids a tackle by Anthony Gray #95 of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles during the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on December 20, 2009 in New Orlean
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    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)

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Mark Herzlich #94 of the Boston College Eagles carries the ball after he intercepted a pass from Tyrod Taylor of the Virginia Tech Hokies on September 25, 2010 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Virginia
    Elsa/Getty Images

    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.

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