NFL Draft Preview: NFC East
The NFC East is home to some of the NFL’s most storied franchises, and it is always a highly competitive division. While most will be watching the Eagles and the variety of directions they could go at #4, the Cowboys and Giants are picking back-to-back with many of the same needs. In looking at the NFC East, a couple of analysts from DraftTek.com have also shared their thoughts.
Philadelphia Eagle (4-12 in 2012)
Picks: #4 (1), #35 (2), #68 (3), #101 (4), #136 (5), #210 (7), #212 (7), #218 (7), #239 (7)
Needs: QB, OT, DT, DE, CB
Outlook: “The 2013 NFL Draft will be the first without Andy Reid as Eagles Head Coach since 1999” said DraftTek.com Eagles Analyst Joseph Mays. Noting that at least one of the draft’s three elite tackles should be available at #4, Mays told Breitbart Sports that the Eagles have plenty of reasons to look at offensive tackle given the history and ability of Jason Peters and Todd Herremans, the two current starters. Mays also noted that, if the Eagles were to go in a different direction in Round 1, “Brennan Williams (North Carolina), Terron Armstead (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Menelik Watson (Florida State)… Reid Fragel (Ohio State), or Kyle Long (Oregon)” could be worthwhile options in Rounds 2 and 3. He also pointed to the elite Alabama cornerback as an option to restore the perception of the Eagles secondary.
“Dee Milliner is one of the elite players of the 2013 draft class,” remarked Mays. “He could be a reason you are happy picking in the Top 5. It is incredible how far the perception of the Eagles secondary has fallen. Not even two years ago that team had Asante Samuel, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie.”
Whether at #4 or in later rounds, the Eagles will need to bolster that secondary that has become so poor so quickly. One of the biggest questions of the draft will be whether Chip Kelly and the Eagles will add a quarterback, and, if they do, whether he will be taken in Round 1.
“You cannot win in this league without a good QB… Philly will need a new QB soon but is that this year or the 2014 draft,” said Mays.
Look for more mobile quarterbacks like Geno Smith, E.J Manuel, Matt Scott, and Zac Dysert to be where the Eagles look it they decide to address the position. Finally, new pieces will be needed for the Eagles defensive transition, and Mays noted that first round talents Star Loutelelei and Dion Jordan, who played for Kelly at Oregon would be perfect fits. Georgia’s Jonathan Jenkins or Auburn’s Corey Lemonier could also be options in Round 2.
Dallas Cowboys (8-8 in 2012)
Picks: #18 (1), #47 (2), #80 (3), #114 (4), #151 (5), #185 (6)
Needs: RT, OG, DT, S
Outlook: The Cowboys were abysmal on either side of the line of scrimmage last year and will look to fill some major needs in the draft. “The Cowboys need help on both lines,” said DraftTek.com’s Dallas Cowboys Analyst who is known as “Long Ball.” He went on to add that “the right side of the Cowboys OL was one of the worst in the NFL.” They will look to make these upgrades at #18 and have “high hopes that if none of the top 3 offensive tackle prospects (Joeckel, Fisher, or Johnson) fall to #18, at least one of the top two offensive guard prospects (Jonathan Cooper or Chance Warmack will be there for the taking.” If they are not, the Cowboys could select solid right tackle prospect D.J. Fluker out of Alabama or address the interior of their defensive line with Sheldon Richardson of Missouri or North Carolina’s Sylvester Williams. Long Ball also added that “the safety position will need to be addressed, but this is a deep class for safeties and I believe value can be found in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.” For Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, this draft will be used primarily to upgrade the protection surrounding Tony Romo and adding the pieces needed to implement Monte Kiffin’s “Tampa 2” scheme.
New York Giants (9-7 in 2012)
Picks: #19 (1), #49 (2), #81 (3), #116 (4), #152 (5), #187 (6), #225 (7)
Needs: RT, DT, DE, MLB, CB
Outlook: New York is just a year removed from the Super Bowl, but they were unable to replicate that success last season. At #19, the Giants are in a great spot to address a variety of needs. The best value could be at defensive end, where Florida State stars Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner could both be available. Either would be a great addition to the team, or they could look to address their void at middle linebacker by selecting LSU’s Kevin Minter, Georgia’s Alec Ogletree, or Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o. Like the Cowboys, they could target D.J. Fluker at this spot. Also, do not rule out a corner, especially since a couple of elite ones will likely be available at Round 1. In Round 2, look out for the Giants to take a long look at Kyle Long of Oregon at offensive tackle, Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Morre, or a defensive tackle like Jonathan Hankins from Ohio State. In Round 3, solid value could be found at cornerback or middle linebacker.
Washington Redskins (10-6 in 2012)
Picks: #51 (2), #85 (3), #119 (4), #154 (5), #162 (5), #191 (6), #228 (7)
Needs: MLB, CB, S
Outlook: Riding the legs of a pair of rookies, most prominently the game-redefining Robert Griffin III, the Washington Redskins found surprising success last season. Unfortunately for the team, it comes with a cost, (well worth it) as the team will not be drafting until pick #51 after surrendering this year’s #1 overall pick for the dynamic quarterback. At that spot, the team could find value at the cornerback position with prospects like Rutgers’s Logan Ryan or Oregon State’s Jordan Poyer possibly still on the board. At safety, Phillip Thomas from Fresno State could be a strong Round 2 selection. Shamarko Thomas from Syracuse could be one to watch in Round 3 where middle linebacker could also be addressed. While wide receiver is not a significant need for the Redskins, I would not be surprised to see them take a prospect like Keenan Allen from Cal, Aaron Dobson from Marshall, or Terrance Williams from Baylor to provide another weapon for their franchise signal caller.