Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Undrafted Free Agents the Team Could Target

Bob QuaintanceContributor IMay 17, 2011

Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Undrafted Free Agents the Team Could Target

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    LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 13: Chris Matthews #8 of the Kentucky Wildcats runs for a touchdown after a reception during the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Commonwealth Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Get
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Although the NFL lockout has thrust the undrafted rookies into a sort of limbo, there is sure to be a frenzy of contracts signed once the free-agent market finally opens.

    As always, the Eagles will be hot on the heels of the most sought-after rookie free agents. They have struck gold in the past with players like Quintin Mikell and Jamaal Jackson, so the front office will be looking to duplicate that success this year.

    With that in mind, here are five players who could become part of the Eagles' annual crop of undrafted rookie signings.

Chas Henry: P, Florida

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    ATLANTA - DECEMBER 06:  Chas Henry #17 of the Florida Gators punts the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the SEC Championship on December 6, 2008 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Although fourth-round pick Alex Henery is an accomplished punter in addition to being a kicker, it's a big stretch to believe that the Eagles will use him as anything more than an emergency backup when it comes to the punting game.

    With special teams undergoing a redesign via the departure of David Akers, there is little doubt that the team will bring in a rookie punter to challenge the 37-year-old Sav Rocca.

    Florida's Chas Henry is far and away the best rookie option available, with a healthy amount of experience, accuracy and durability. He also is an accomplished holder, which would help his chances in supplanting Rocca.

DeAndre McDaniel: S, Clemson

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

    Once rated as one of the top safeties in the 2011 NFL Draft, Clemson's DeAndre McDaniel experienced an epic draft-day tumble after a poor 40-time at the NFL combine.

    His tackling, however, has caught the eye of scouts and fans alike as he has the ability to deliver devastating blows to his opponents.

    Although the Eagles have their safety situation nearly solidified with the addition of Jaiquawn Jarrett, it certainly wouldn't hurt to bring in an aggressive player like McDaniel to help out on special teams.

Charlie Gantt: TE, Michigan State

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    EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 08:  Charlie Gantt #83 of the Michigan State Spartans runs the ball against Torri Williams #2 of the Purdue Boilermakers at Spartan Stadium on November 8, 2008 in East Lansing, Michigan.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Somewhat surprisingly, the Eagles strayed away from tight ends during the draft, leaving the depth behind Brent Celek relatively thin.

    To help out in goal-line sets, the Eagles would do well to bring in Michigan State's Charlie Gantt, an accomplished blocker with the size to be a decent red-zone target.

Mark Herzlich: OLB, Boston College

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - NOVEMBER 29:  Mark Herzlich #94 of the Boston College Eagles tries to get the crowd going in the third quarter against the Maryland Terrapins on November 29, 2008 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Boston College defeat
    Elsa/Getty Images

    One of the most talked-about rookies in the free-agent pool is Boston College's Mark Herzlich, a cancer survivor who battled through numerous injuries throughout his college career.

    Once considered to be a second-round pick, Herzlich's health has deteriorated his play to the point that he went undrafted. Now recovered, he is poised to take the professional-football world by storm.

    Herzlich is the kind of low-risk, high-reward signing that Andy Reid jumps on. The rookie possesses an amazing work ethic, fantastic attitude and an infectious passion for the game.

    Although his attitude and leadership skills make him a worthy signing even if he only makes the practice squad, Herzlich has the opportunity to regain his former superstar level of play with an intense offseason training camp under Andy Reid.

    He'll definitely be worth a look.

Chris Matthews: WR, Kentucky

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    LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 13:  Chris Matthews #8 of the Kentucky Wildcats runs for a touchdown after a reception during the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Commonwealth Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Ge
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    One of the few undrafted rookies that the Eagles have reportedly managed to speak with is Kentucky's Chris Matthews.

    At 6'5", 222 pounds, Matthews is the typical large-framed receiver, similar to Hank Baskett, that the Eagles love to have on special teams. He has the physicality to contribute early, with the potential to develop into something greater once he polishes his route running and ball security.

    If signed, Matthews would have ample opportunity to compete with Chad Hall and Sinorice Moss for the fifth or sixth wide receiver spot on the depth chart.