Philadelphia Eagles News

2010 Free Agency Rankings: Guard

The Eagles made a splash in free agency last year by signing guard Stacy Andrews. However, Andrews struggled in his recovery from an ACL injury and wasn't a factor last season. The guard position will be interesting because Nick Cole, who started at both guard positions in 2009, may have to slide to the center position depending on Jamaal Jackson's recovery. Shawn Andrews has missed the past two years because of his back, but was a Pro Bowl player before that. Stacy Andrews should be fully healthy. But if the Eagles feel the need to improve the guard position in free agency, here are the guys to look out for.

1. Jahri Evans, New Orleans Saints (RFA)
Elite right guard with the ability to dominate in the run game and as a pass protector. Evans has started all 64 games in his NFL career. He's only given up a handful of sacks. He is a powerful run blocker that can get movement against defensive linemen. He's also nimble enough to block well in space. Evans is a priority re-signing for the Saints. Don't expect him to go anywhere.

2. Logan Mankins, New England Patriots (RFA)
Former first-round pick has been a force at left guard since the Patriots picked him five years ago. Mankins has started every game of his NFL career. He is a tenacious run blocker, but also a good pass blocker. Expect the Patriots to give him a high tender so they can keep him around.

3. Harvey Dahl, Atlanta Falcons (RFA)
Dahl is a throwback offensive linemen. He likes to mix it up, whether during the play or after the whistle. Some might call him dirty, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I love watching him play. Dahl isn't huge or athletic. He is a tough, hard-nosed run blocker. He is effective in pass protection based mainly on effort. He is a two-year starter at right guard, but did miss the final five games of 2009 with an ankle injury. He's the kind of player the Falcons should want to keep.

4. Bobbie Williams, Cincinnati Bengals (UFA)
Former Eagle only started for one year during his time in Philadelphia. He went to the Bengals as a free agent and has been a mainstay at right guard. Williams has only missed three starts in his six seasons as a Bengal. Williams is a very good run blocker. He's strong and physical. His pass blocking has improved greatly over the years, but still isn't his strong suit.

5. Stephen Neal, New England Patriots (UFA)
Another former Eagle, but not many will remember that. Neal spent some time on the practice squad back in 2003. The Pats signed him away. He became a starter for them in 2004 and has handled right guard ever since. Neal will turn 34 in the middle of the 2010 season. He's coming off his worst season in terms of penalties and sacks allowed. Some team looking for a veteran blocker may want the former wrestler on a short-term deal.

6. Keydrick Vincent, Carolina Panthers (UFA)
Vincent is a good run blocker that was a good fit for the Panthers ground attack. He was the starting right guard for the past two seasons. He has excellent size at 6-5 and 325 pounds. Vincent is only an average pass blocker. He's also had some injury issues in the past. He did start all 16 games in 2009.

7. Chester Pitts, Houston Texans (UFA)
The third draft pick in the history of the Houston Texans had never missed a start in his career prior to 2009. He only played two games before suffering a knee injury. Pitts had been a regular fixture at left guard prior to that. Pitts doesn't standout in any way. He's simply a reliable veteran blocker.

8. Jeremy Bridges, Arizona Cardinals (UFA)
Another former Eagle. He never got on the field in Philadelphia. Bridges did start 24 of 32 games for the Panthers in 2006 and 2007. He signed with the Cardinals in 2009 and ended up starting four games. Bridges' highlight was starting at left tackle and playing well against Jared Allen of the Vikings. He isn't meant to be a full-time left tackle, but could be a starting guard for some team.

9. Ben Hamilton, Denver Broncos (UFA)
The nine-year veteran won't appeal to all teams. Hamilton is only 6-4 and 290 pounds. He has to rely on athletic ability and technique since he isn't big enough to simply overpower defenders. Very durable player. He started every game of his career prior to 2007. Hamilton missed that whole season because of concussion problems. He returned and started all of 2008. Hamilton wasn't a full-season starter for new coach Josh McDaniels in 2009.

10. Deuce Lutui, Arizona Cardinals (RFA)
Lutui is a three-year starter with good size at 6-4 and 338 pounds. He's been a fixture at right guard for the Cardinals. Lutui is likely to be a player they tender at a high level. He is 26 years old and his best football is still ahead of him. Lutui grew up a Cardinals fan so I'm sure he'd like to stay there if the money is right.

-- Posted by Tommy Lawlor, 2:28 p.m., March 1*

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