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Wednesday, February 27
Updated: March 1, 11:30 AM ET
Talent available beyond the big names

By Len Pasquarelli

Every free agent class includes a group of players who aren't big names, but who might make a significant contribution, particularly if they can find a team where they fit into the system.

This free agent class won't be any different, with a number of undervalued veterans perhaps on the brink of emerging if they find the right situation. Here is a look at 15 such players:

Free agent sleepers
Player Teams Years Comment
LB Jamie Duncan Tampa Bay 4 Replaced Hardy Nickerson at middle linebacker two years ago and had 151 tackles in 2000-2001. A bit undersized but very quick, good technique, and could move to strongside for a few teams.
Lorenzo Bromell
Miami 4 His numbers aren't overly impressive and he doesn't rush the quarterback as well as people felt he would. Can play inside or outside and he has only scratched the surface of his potential.
CB Eric Warfield Kansas City 4 Has 21 starts the last two seasons, including 16 games in 2001, and posted four interceptions. Just 25 years old, nice size and physical temperament, and has learned from some great cover men.
OG Steve McKinney Indianapolis 4 Just a blue-collar guy, a mid-round draft pick who had made himself into a solid player, and will be very popular in the market. Good in-line blocker and surprisingly sound pass protector as well.
LB Kailee Wong Minnesota 4 Classic "in between" defender who played defensive end and outside linebacker early in career before moving to middle linebacker in 2001. Had 99 tackles and just starting to learn the inside position.
WR Corey Bradford Green Bay 4 Great size, speed, pure physical skills, eye-popping tools. If he can stay healthy, he can be a terrific deep receiver, as demonstrated by 16.8-yard average, and Packers are trying to keep him.
CB Artrell Hawkins Cincinnati 4 Not especially big or fast, but has some quickness to the ball and will play much tougher than his size. The best corner on a bad team, could get a whole lot better in new surroundings.
OG Kerry Jenkins N.Y. Jets 4 Good power as an in-line blocker, very strong and knocks defenders off the ball when he gets it going. Hard to say how much money he'll garner, since even good guards rarely get the big bucks.
DE Reinard Wilson Cincinnati 5 Found his niche in 2001 as a situational pass rusher after four years of bouncing between end and linebacker. His four sacks last season will get attention of teams looking for an upfield guy.
LB Shawn Barber Washington 4 Coming off anterior cruciate ligament surgery that kept him out for entire 2001 season. Fluid and athletic, can be an every-down player, but teams will have to check out his rehabilitation.
CB Brian Kelly Tampa Bay 4 Bumped the Bucs' best single-coverage player, Donnie Abraham, out of the starting lineup. Former "nickel" defender better in zone situations but made very positive strides last season.
WR Jerome Pathon Indianapolis 4 Was on his way to huge '01 season when foot injury forced him out after four games. Had pins removed from his foot last week and could be a solid No. 2 wideout for somebody.
DT Steve Martin N.Y. Jets 6 Journeyman who has banged around with three different teams in last four seasons but played well against the run in 2001. Had 98 tackles, showed the ability to get some penetration, maybe a late bloomer.
DT James Cannida Tampa Bay 4 Hasn't progressed as well as Bucs staff thought he might a couple years ago. Some injury problems and still just isn't very experienced, but big-bodied tackles are tough to locate.
FB Mack Strong Seattle 8 Older than most teams would prefer (30) but a terrific guy in the locker room and one of the league's most selfless players. Only 20 carries and 40 catches last two years, but a superior blocker.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

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