April 4, 2013

5 Potential Sleepers Still Available in Free Agency

By - Tim Swift

It has been nearly a month since free agency began in the NFL, and many big name veteran players have yet to be signed. Guys like Brian Urlacher, Charles Woodson and James Harrison, just to name a few.

But today we're going to focus on some of the under the radar free agents that could potentially push a contender over-the-top. Players that may possibly be the final piece to a team's puzzle, if you will.

- Karlos Dansby

Photo by: Allen Eyestone
The 31-year-old middle linebacker was cut on the eve of free agency as the Dolphins decided to go younger, bringing in Dannell Ellerbe from the Super Bowl champion Ravens. Dansby led Miami in tackles last season with 134, and he also had 9 passes defended. A few years back, the former Auburn standout signed one of the richest contracts in NFL history for an inside linebacker; 5 years for $43 million, and that deal is part of the reason why he is a free agent now. At a fairly reasonable price, Dansby could be a solid anchor for team looking for a 4-3 linebacker with decent cover skills.

- Ahmad Bradshaw

Bradshaw is still a free agent because of the foot injuries that have plagued his career dating back to his days at Marshall. At only 27, he should have several good years left as a change-of-pace back, and someone who could give you 200 carries a season. Bradshaw is a fierce pass blocker for his size, and is reliable as a pass catcher as well, compiling 104 receptions over the last three seasons. Also, with a career average of 4.6 yards per carry, he is capable of giving you some fantastic days in the ground game, like his 200-yard performance against Cleveland in Week 5 last year. His injury history is obviously a concern, but at a good price, the former Giant could really help shore up a team's backfield.

- Brandon Lloyd

Despite a solid 74-catch season in 2012, Lloyd was cut by the Patriots a few days into free agency -- just two years removed from leading the NFL in receiving yards with 1,448 (as a member of the Broncos). Lloyd can be feast-or-famine when it comes to his hands. He can make a spectacular catch in double coverage, or he can drop a pass when no one is anywhere near him. He is a solid blocker, which should help his value going forward. Lloyd should fit as a team's No. 3 receiver, and would also make for a decent deep threat. He'll be 32 when the season starts, which will probably dictate his price in the free agent market.

- Quintin Mikell

The former St. Louis Ram safety had one of his better years in 2012, with 93 total tackles, 3 sacks and 4 forced fumbles, but was cut primarily for financial reasons. Mikell won't do much for you in coverage, but he's one of the most physical safeties in the league. Durability has been one of his strengths, missing only 5 games over the course of his 10-year career. Last season, Mikell was tied for first among safeties with 14 quarterback pressures, and throughout his career, he has created havoc in opposing backfields. If you're looking for a tough, durable strong safety at a good price, you could do a lot worse than Mikell.

- Brandon Moore

The 2012 season was an absolute disaster for the Jets, but one of the few bright spots was Brandon Moore, the right guard out of Illinois. Moore has graded out as one of the top 5 right guards in the league over the last four years. He is a solid pass blocker, and might be the best run blocking guard in the league. He is still on the market because he will be 33-years-old when the season starts, and could command a higher price than most of the free agents left out there. Moore is still one of the most consistent guards in the league and has not missed any action since 2004. Simply put, he has more than enough left in the tank to help anchor the interior of an offensive line.

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