5 Underrated Free Agents The Philadelphia Eagles Should Target This Offseason
5 Underrated Free Agents The Philadelphia Eagles Should Target
The Philadelphia Eagles must address several needs through both the draft and free agency in order to ensure that last year's playoff berth was no fluke.
The Eagles have more holes to fill on both sides of the ball than most want to believe, especially on defense. Being able to be a true contender in the NFC relies on being even better in 2014 with more additions. The glaring needs concern the offensive line and the receiving corps. Both receivers Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin are up for free agency, weakening a good receiving corps. Players like LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. and Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin are possible fits for the Eagles at No. 22 overall. Offensive line, although a strength in 2013, is an aging unit that has three starters over the age of 30, and a repeat of last season where all five starters started 16 games is unlikely to happen again.
Though the Eagles improved at the end of the season on defense, the unit still has some work to do. Another defensive lineman who could provide some run-stuffing presence is a must, and a playmaking safety who can solidify a very underrated secondary is also a necessity this offseason.
One of these needs might be addressed at No. 22 as both Louisville's Calvin Pryor and Washington State's Deone Bucannon are two of the best safeties in the upcoming draft. Defensive line would also be a consideration with players like Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman and Pittsburgh Aaron Donald's would fit nicely with the Eagles.
While the NFL Draft is still months away, NFL free agency is around the corner in March. Free agency is more about the lesser known players than the big names at the top of the list getting all of the hype.
Here is my attempt to find the five most underrated free agents the Philadelphia Eagles should target this offseason. Some may be obvious while some might make you re-think what the true needs are for this team.
5. John Kuhn, Fullback, Green Bay Packers
John Kuhn would be an intriguing piece for a spread offense with the Philadelphia Eagles. He would fill several needs. First, his short-yardage running would be perfect for a team that struggled last year running the ball in short-yardage situations. Second, his run blocking is great as rookie Eddie Lacy became one of the best running backs in the league in year one. Finally, Kuhn can catch the ball out of the backfield, making him a three-tool fullback, running, blocking and catching, something that can't be said of most NFL fullbacks.
All of these characteristics led Kuhn to becoming one of the best running backs for the Green Bay Packers and one of the best fullbacks in the NFL.
4. Cassius Vaughn, Cornerback, Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts cornerback Cassius Vaughn is a very good third or fourth cornerback who was buried on the Colts' depth chart.
Vaughn had a falling out in Indianapolis as he was inactive in both playoff games. A change of scenery will be good for both the Colts and Vaughn, and the Eagles could still use another solid corner against some of the NFC East's good offenses.
3. Kenny Britt, Wide Receiver, Tennessee Titans
With both Cooper and Maclin in free agency, DeSean Jackson is the only true big-play wide receiver that the Philadelphia Eagles would have left. In the Tennessee Titans' Kenny Britt, the Eagles would get a big receiver who is capable of making big plays in the passing game.
Britt's maturity issues are a question mark, but moving on from Tennessee will help the wide receiver who would join a winning organization and a winning culture in Philadelphia get his behavioral issues under control.
2. B.J. Raji, Defensive Lineman, Green Bay Packers
Green Bay's B.J. Raji has worn out his welcome in Titletown. After an impressive rookie season, Raji has struggled to make any big plays in the Packers' ever struggling defense.
With Philadelphia, Raji would play in a similar 3-4 scheme and would solidify a very young and talented defensive front.
1. T.J. Ward, Safety, Cleveland Browns
Current defensive coordinator Billy Davis worked on the same Cleveland Browns defense that had safety T.J. Ward in it. Davis was the linebackers coach with the Browns in Ward's early years in the league.
Now that Ward has developed into one of the best safeties in the league, Davis would find multiple ways to use the hard-hitting safety in a secondary that lacks a real leader at the safety position.