NFC East Draft Preview

by David Syvertsen

NFC EAST – How They Finished in 2012:

Washington Redskins (10-6)
New York Giants (9-7)
Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
Philadelphia Eagles (4-12)

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

#4 (1st)
#35 (2nd)
#67 (3rd)
#101 (4th)
#136 (5th)
#210 (7th)
#212 (7th) f/CLE
#218 (7th) f/TB
#239 (7th) Comp

2013 Offseason: Where They Stand

After a 14 year run with a lot of regular season success, the Andy Reid era has come to an end.  Enter Chip Kelly and his unorthodox, but dangerous offense from the college ranks.  Just how similar this offense will resemble what we saw at Oregon remains gray, but Kelly and former Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmer have plenty of playmakers with elite speed and quickness to use.  They added a couple of role players to that offense, James Casey and Arrelious Benn, giving this offense more options play-to-play than most teams around the league.  Defensively, this looks like an entirely new squad from what we saw in 2012.  Bill Davis will run a 3-4 scheme with some hybrid looks thanks to the versatility that already resided on that side of the ball.  They were very aggressive during free agency, bringing in multiple pieces to the puzzle that have experience in starting lineups across the league, but are still on the front nine of their careers.  The entire secondary has been altered, with potentially two new starters at cornerback and two new starters at safety. No defense has gone through more transition than the Eagles this offseason. Who the Eagles will be in 2013 is a huge mystery to me.

1 – Offensive Line

A high paced, as-many-plays-as-possible offensive scheme may not mesh well with multiple aging offensive linemen.  This was a unit that got beat up too often in 2012, its time for an infusion of young, fresh talent.

2 – Defensive End

The 3-4 scheme relies heavily on guys that demand attention up front.  While the personnel transition is under way, they still need depth outside and a guy that can wreck havoc.

3 – Defensive Back

The current starters are questionable talents that may be best suited for specific roles rather than every down duty.  They could add multiple cornerbacks and safeties where the value strikes.

The Plan:

Kelly may look at this offense as a potential juggernaut considering the amount of playmaking ability at his disposal at wide receiver and in the backfield.  In order for him to maximize their potential as a whole, he must look to beef up that offensive line with young, athletic talent.  There will be value available at some point and he must go after it when the time is right.  He has a specific kind of player that fits this system, thus he could stand to wait and not reach, allowing him to grab more defensive help early.

It is very important for the Eagles take their top graded player with their first selection, regardless of position.  Picking #4 overall with 8 more selections afterward is a tremendous opportunity to upgrade the talent of a team.  While they’ve been busy on defense via free agency, there are plenty of spots with room for young talent that can create a sense of competition within the current roster.  Kelly may want to add a quarterback later in the draft as well because of the specific traits his signal callers usually possess.

3 Round Mock:

#4 – Sharif Floyd – DT – Florida
#35 – Jonathan Cyprien – S – Florida International
#67 – David Bakhtiari – OT – Colorado

DALLAS COWBOYS

#18 (1st)
#47 (2nd)
#80 (3rd)
#114 (4th)
#151 (5th)
#185 (6th)

2013 Offseason: Where They Stand

Dallas continues to remain in the gray area of mediocrity.  They are not a bottom feeder, but they are not close to Super Bowl contention.  Changes needed to be made after their 8 win season in 2012.  They are throwing away the 3-4 defense, as Rob Ryan no longer runs that side of the ball.  Enter Monte Kiffin from the Tampa Cover 2 frame of mind that will attempt to create a new culture in Dallas.  One that will revolve around top tier pass rusher DeMarcus Ware and a top-notch duo of starting cornerbacks.  This team really struggled against the running game last year and even though they have a new scheme in place, they’ve lost some of their better defensive linemen without any quality replacements during free agency.  Veterans Justin Durant and Will Allen have been scheme-based acquisitions but will not raise the level of this unit.  Offensively, Dallas returns most of the underachieving unit from 2012, minus running back Felix Jones and wide receiver Kevin Ogletree.  Their offensive line was one of the worst in the league but the group returns intact hoping for better results.

1 – Offensive Line

There is enough talent at the skill positions to give the opposing defense a lot of headaches.  But their big boys up front do not control the point of attack which is easily exploited.

2 – Defensive Line

This isn’t a bad starting front four but the age concerns will catch up with them at some point.  The depth, especially outside, needs an upgrade considering the schematic change.

3 – Linebacker

They have lost a few quality backups to free agency and Kiffin needs to have more speed at the position so he can play the most ideal packages within his scheme.  The starting weak side spot could be upgraded, as could the depth along all three spots.

The Plan:

The Cowbouys have been competitive for a long time.  Ever since Romo took over for Drew Bledsoe, this has been a team that appeared to be the team to beat within this divison multiple times.  With that said, this current roster is the worst its been in quite some time.  They have drafted poorly for years in a row, proving that Jerry Jones is clearly in over his head.  They need to almost start this process over, selecting their highest graded players in every round regardless of position.

There is a sense of urgency along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  They rarely control the point of attack.  No matter who is out there at the skill positions, if the lines are getting beat up they are toast.  Almost all of their most valuable players have past the 30 year old mark which could mean dark days ahead unless quality depth is added via the draft.

3 Round Mock  

#18 – DJ Fluker – OT – Alabama
#47 – JJ Wilcox – S – Georgia Southern
#80 – Malliciah Goodman – DE – Clemson

New York Giants

#19 (1st)
#49 (2nd)
#81 (3rd)
#116 (4th)
#152 (5th)
#187 (6th)
#225 (7th)
#253 (7th) Comp

2013 Offseason: Where They Stand

After narrowly missing the playoffs, the Giants entered the 2013 offseason with a small amount of money and a lack of identity.  Their defense was scored on at will during certain stretches of the 2012 season while their inconsistent offense dealt with injuries to some of their key assets.  The salary situation caused the Giants to wave goodbye to some of their more productive, established players.  The replacements they brought in are serviceable but cannot be considered upgrades to say the least.  They gained some financial freedom however and overall they filled more holes than they created when looking at the big picture.  There is enough on this team for a Super Bowl run but they are very old compared to their counterparts around the league.  Their window is on the descent unless they can upgrade the young talent, especially in the trenches.  The core of their recent success is still here from the front office all the way down to the quarterback.

1 – Offensive Line

What used to be a rock-solid unit has turned in to an aging, beat up crew of average blockers that lack identity and presence.  The young talent behind their starters are far from reliable at this point.

2 – Linebacker

This is a very thin unit with three starters that would not start on a lot of teams across the league.  One could make the case that backups AND starters are a need at this spot.

3 – Defensive End

Osi Umenyiora has not been replaced and Justin Tuck has lost his dominant level of play.  This is a group that needs multiple bodies that can perform different roles in a rotation.  This was once a cornerstone of their defense, it is now a short and long term question mark.

The Plan:

When a team has plenty of talent on both sides of the ball but will have multiple downright embarrassing performances throughout the year, you need to check out the level of play in the trenches.  The Giants host a veteran group in there on both offense and defense.  They have a bunch of 30 year old big bodies that have been banged up over the past few seasons.  That could potentially be a major roadblock between them and another Super Bowl run.  Both for the short and long term, they need to find the right value and strengthen their line play.

The skill positions are in good shape, but there is room for another pass catcher on offense and back seven help defensively.  The linebackers have been ignored by the front office during the early rounds of the draft under the Reese regime for the most part, which has hurt them immensely.  They need to add more quality to the position, not necessarily guys that need multiple years to develop.  Again, this team could be in the thick of things next winter but the youth can be upgraded across the board.

3 Round Mock:

#19 – Datone Jones – DE – UCLA
#49 – Kiko Alonso – LB – Oregon
#81 – Alvin Bailey – G – Arkansas

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

#51 (2nd)
#85 (3rd)
#119 (4th)
#154 (5th)
#162 (5th) f/NE
#191 (6th)
#228 (7th)

2013 Offseason: Where They Stand

The focal point in Washington after the division winning 2012 season ended has resolved around the recovery of Robert Griffin III.  His gruesome knee injury during the playoff loss led some to initially believe his 2013 status was up in the air.  From what has been reported, it appears he is on the Adrian Peterson route of fast and effective rehabilitation and will be ready for week 1.  When it comes to the rest of their team, not much has changed this offseason.  They’ve added some depth to the offensive line in signing Jeremy Trueblood, a long time starter from Tampa Bay.  Darryl Tapp comes over from Philadelphia to add another outside pass rush presence while adding a security blanket should Brian Orakpo struggle to come back from injury.  This will be a very similar squad to what ended up winning the NFC East in 2012.

1 – Defensive Backs

The depth chart at both cornerback and safety is a weak group with several backup-caliber players.  Their pass defense was a consistent problem in 2012 and they have yet to upgrade either spot.

2 – Outside Pass Rusher

Without Orakpo in the picture, they really struggled to consistently pressure the quarterback from the outside.  Even if he comes back healthy, there is room for another option that can collapse the edge, whether it’s a linebacker or lineman.

3 – Wide Receiver

They have a nice group of proven veterans, but there is a severe lack of young talent and depth.

The Plan:

Washington does not go on the clock until the 51st overall pick because of the 2012 draft day trade for Griffin III.  They still have 7 picks however and this is a team that has found a lot of value late in drafts over the past few years.  Their defense needs to be upgraded at safety first and foremost to help take pressure off an average group of cornerbacks.  The outside pass rush is another avenue to protect those defensive backs, thus they could find solid value somewhere in those middle rounds.

Offensively this is a unit that dominated the point of attack and ran all over opponents throughout the season.  They have some aging, but still effective, offensive linemen paving the way.  This could be a great opportunity to prepare for the future because this team will go as far as RG III’s legs will take them.  It is vital to keep him safe and allow the rushing attack to continue their dominance.

3 Round Mock:

#51 – DJ Hayden – CB – Houston
#85 – Josh Evans – S – Florida

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