"When looking into potential Eagles free-agent acquisitions, don’t forget about versatility. Kelly craves players who can play multiple positions more than guys who excel at one area.
Keep an eye on Chiefs defensive back Ron Parker, who can play corner and safety, and Chargers linebacker Andrew Gachkar, who can play inside and outside linebacker. They aren’t household names but have value because of their ability to play more than one position."
Let's take a closer look at both players.
Parker is a 27-year-old safety who attended Division II Newberry College. He went undrafted in 2011 before signing with the Seattle Seahawks. He bounced around the league a bit before finally finding some stability with the Kansas City Chiefs. In 2013, Parker appeared in 16 games and played mostly on special teams. He played 64 snaps in one game where he started at cornerback.
In 2014, Parker played 745 snaps in 15 starts as a safety. He the season with 84 tackles, 12 passes defensed, one interception, one forced fumble, and one sack. According to Pro Football Focus, opposing quarterbacks had a 86.7 passer rating when target Parker. He also missed one tackle for every 4.6 attempts, which was the fourth worst rate among all safeties last season.
The Eagles value versatility and could be in need of a starting safety so Parker could make some sense but I doubt Philadelphia is eager to spend big on him.
Gachkar is a 26-year-old linebacker who played for Missouri. The 6-3, 240 pound linebacker was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He's recorded eight starts in 63 games played. Five of those came in 2014. He's recorded 92 tackles, two sacks, one pass defensed, and one forced fumble in his four-year career.
Interesting back story here: Gachkar overcame a life-threatening blood clot in his chest back during his sophomore year at Missouri. One of his ribs actually had to be removed.
Gachkar could challenge for playing time at inside linebacker depending on how the Eagles address the position. He could also contribute on special teams. Think of him as a potential upgrade on Casey Matthews.
Unlike Byron Maxwell, Parker and Gachkar are hardly free agent targets that Eagles fans will get really excited about. For now they're some names to keep an eye on. Last year the Eagles signed Bryan Braman and Chris Maragos on the second day of free agency. They weren't very exciting signings but they proved very valuable on special teams. Parker and Gachkar could be in the same mold as those players, except with more of a chance to challenge for playing time on defense.