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Less-heralded free agents could provide boost to needy teams

The glitz and glamour of free agency typically casts the spotlight on a few marquee names, but quality teams do a great job of identifying under-the-radar talents on the open market.

Let's take a look at 10 unheralded players poised to make an impact.

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James Anderson, OLB, Panthers

He came into his own as a full-time starter last season. His combination of speed and athleticism makes him a fit as an every-down linebacker in most defenses. Teams looking for an active Will linebacker-type will aggressively pursue Anderson.

Marshal Yanda, OL, Ravens

Yanda hasn't received the fanfare of some of his teammates, but he has been a vital part of the Ravens -- which is why the Ravens reportedly agreed to terms on Tuesday to keep Yanda in Baltimore. His ability to create a push along the line has been critical to the offense moving the ball on the ground. Although he shines as a road grader, he's also a polished technician with the feet and hands to pass protect. With several teams in desperate need of a starting offensive lineman with a versatile skill set, there would have been a number of suitors for Yanda.

Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers

Floyd has shown flashes of being a capable No. 1 receiver, stepping up while the Chargers dealt with the absences of Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates. Floyd has averaged 17.3 yards per reception for his career, and took it to another level (averaged 19.4 yards per catch in 2010) when the team needed him to anchor the passing game. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Floyd has the combination of size, length and speed that quarterbacks covet. With the Chargers expected to let Floyd test the market, it will not take long for him to find greener pastures.

Brandon Mebane, DT, Seahawks

Mebane is one of the better interior defenders in the league, but he has gone largely unnoticed by the public. Scouts and coaches, however, have pointed to Mebane as a possible difference-maker as a one-technique in a four-man front. His combination of strength, power and quickness gives interior blockers problems. He is the kind of disruptive force that defensive coordinators are desperate to add.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots

The Patriots' diverse offensive scheme makes it easy to overlook the key contributions of Green-Ellis last season. But a closer look at the film reveals a hard-nosed runner capable of being a feature back. Although the league is trending to a running back-by-committee approach, Green-Ellis should get strong consideration from teams looking to add a rugged, lead runner.

Josh Wilson, CB, Ravens

Wilson became a starter shortly after being acquired in a trade from the Seahawks and displayed flashes of being a playmaker. He finished the season with three interceptions and routinely provided blanket coverage. While he's certainly a notch below the top tier corners on the market, he's a capable starter and can be a solid No. 2 cover guy on most teams.

Lance Moore, WR, Saints

It's not a stretch to suggest that some of Drew Brees' production in New Orleans should be attributed to Moore's presence as the Saints' third receiver. He is one of the NFL's best slot receivers, and his knack for getting open over the middle helped him become Brees' favorite target on third down. With a host of young quarterbacks set to take over offenses, it's likely that Moore garners a lot of interest.

Anthony Hargrove, DT, Saints

Hargrove has overcome some personal demons to become a solid contributor. He has an outstanding blend of size, strength and quickness, and plays with a non-stop motor. He wears down opponents with his relentless style, and he's versatile enough to play in any system. While the Saints will certainly make every effort to bring him back, Hargrove is too valuable to not get snatched up.

Vonta Leach, FB, Texans

The fullback position is seemingly being phased out of the game, but top rushing teams understand the value of having a bruising lead blocker. Leach is an outstanding blocker with valuable experience in a zone-based system. He also shows the vision of a runner when he attacks the hole to get to the second level. Money doesn't fly out of wallets for blocking backs, but teams in need of a bulldozer will heavily pursue Leach.

Stephen Nicholas, LB, Falcons

Athletic linebackers with speed and quickness are prized commodities on the open market. Nicholas came into his own a season ago and could be a potential difference-maker as a versatile second-level defender. The Falcons certainly want to keep young, talented defenders in house, but the secret is out on Nicholas and other teams are poised to come after him hard.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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