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SCOUT'S HONOR: NFL Draft Preview, NFC East

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As Draft Day approaches, here's a preview of each team's needs and potential targets in the NFC East.

NFL DRAFT PREVIEWS BY DIVISION

  • Tuesday, April 22: NFC EAST |
  • Wednesday, April 23: |
  • Thursday, April 24: |
  • Friday, April 25: |
  • NFC East
    Dallas — 2002 record: 5-11 (4th in NFC East)
    WHAT THEY NEED:
    A shutdown corner is needed to pair with Derek Ross to allow the Cowboys to be more aggressive defensively. They also need a running back as insurance with Troy Hambrick taking over starting duties. And don¿t be surprised if they pick up another guard to provide Bill Parcells with more options along the offensive line. POSSIBLE TARGETS:
  • Terence Newman, Kansas State, cornerback ¿ Excellent speed and athleticism. Very fluid hips and shows very good burst out of transition. Is much better suited to man coverage where he relies solely on athleticism. Displays excellent closing speed and has natural ball skills. Not very physical ¿ especially in run support. Does have a lingering shoulder injury that could lead to a shoulder separation at some point. Also has big-play ability as a kick returner. Overall, Newman is a blue-chip cover guy who will change the way teams attack the Cowboys if they land him.
  • Lee Suggs, Virginia Tech, running back ¿ Isn¿t a power runner and is on the smaller side, but is a tough, naturally instinctive inside runner. Excels at finding holes and attacks the cutback lanes quickly. Isn¿t overly elusive, but can break some long runs with his speed. Needs more experience and reps in the passing game, but has natural hands and the quickness to become a threat out of the backfield. His 2001 ACL injury has raised doubts whether he can be a durable back, but I don¿t see any major worries. I really feel Suggs has become an overlooked prospect and could have a very productive NFL career. Could provide excellent value in the second round.
  • Torrin Tucker, Southern Mississippi, offensive guard ¿ Has excellent size and physical tools. Tucker¿s potential as a physical run blocker is high. Struggles to get good angles and relies mostly on his size and power. Struggles to make adjustments in pass protection, but has very strong hands and long arms to control pass rushers if he locks onto them early. Brings a mean streak to the field, but it gets the best of him at times. Needs to improve his overall approach to the game. Could be a solid power guard if that happens. Grades as a third or fourth round pick.
  • New York — 2002 record: 10-6 (2nd in NFC East)
    WHAT THEY NEED:
    Must improve their numbers at DT. Keith Hamilton may never be the same player after his Achilles injury and Cornelius Griffin has regressed over the last two years. Depth is very thin. The Giants would also like to add another pass rusher to challenge Kenny Holmes, and don¿t be surprised if they add more speed at linebacker. POSSIBLE TARGETS:
  • Ty Warren, Texas A&M, defensive tackle ¿ Has a lot of potential as a playmaker inside. Shows very good quickness through the gap and has the ability to make plays in the backfield. Could develop into a solid interior pass rusher if he learns some pass rush moves with his quick feet. Inconsistency is the biggest problem ¿ mainly due to poor conditioning habits. Could become an impact defender if he decides to work for it. Potential late first round pick.
  • Calvin Pace, Wake Forest, defensive end ¿ Pace has improving size and speed through off-season workouts. Locates the ball well and understands leverage ¿ which could help him develop into an adequate run defender if he gets off the ball quicker. I also would like to see Pace become more active in lateral pursuit. Shows potential as a pass rusher, but they key factor will be whether his improved athletic ability translates to the field. On film, he didn¿t show quick enough feet laterally and struggle to turn the corner around the perimeter. Don¿t be surprised if Pace becomes a better pro than he was college player over the next few years. Could develop into a steady starter at some point. Many teams have him as a solid second rounder.
  • Cie Grant, Ohio State, outside linebacker ¿ Very good athlete with excellent speed and range. Will need to play in space, but is a strong open field tackler. Grant has excellent potential in pass coverage. Would really upgrade the Giants¿ matchup ability from their linebackers. Will need some polish and could use some time to grasp NFL schemes. Also played safety and cornerback at Ohio State. Some teams feel he could play strong safety. Grant is a rising talent who could find himself off the board on Day One.
  • Philadelphia — 2002 record: 12-4 (1st in NFC East)
    WHAT THEY NEED:
    The Eagles downplay the need for another DE, especially with Darwin Walker expected to shift to the perimeter. But you can never have enough DL and pass rushers. They also need another tight end to work into the passing game with Chad Lewis. Lewis is getting up in years and teams have had more success neutralizing him since his Pro Bowl season. POSSIBLE TARGETS:
  • Jerome McDougle, Miami, defensive end ¿ Very quick off the perimeter and displays excellent burst to the quarterback. Displays very quick feet to make adjustments. His small stature will hurt against the run at times, but he has deceptive strength and uses his quickness well to get off some blocks. Will need to play in a very aggressive upfield scheme that focuses on getting to the quarterback first because McDougle will struggle to locate the ball at times because he¿s so aggressive. Could be a very productive pass rusher in the right system. Will go in the latter half of the first round.
  • L.J. Smith, Rutgers, tight end ¿ Good athlete who shows natural ball skills. Knows how to get open and has the quickness to separate from coverage. But Smith does need to work on becoming a more precise route runner. Will need to really upgrade his strength to become a decent blocker in-line. Will have trouble getting any movement in the run game unless his lower body becomes stronger. I really look at Smith as a boom or bust pick. Has the natural skills to become a productive pass catcher, but needs to be in the right system that takes advantage of his skills. Has natural athleticism because he was a productive defensive player in high school and also excelled on the basketball court. Grades really range from late first round surprise to fourth round.
  • Washington — 2002 record: 7-9 (3rd in NFC East)
    WHAT THEY NEED:
    The DL is still a concern. They need another interior player to step in for immediate depth while adding a young guy. Neither Brandon Noble nor Regan Upshaw will make a difference. They also may bring in depth at CB. Champ Bailey is a year from free agency and Fred Smoot isn¿t on solid footing with some in the organization. Depth is also thinner without Darrell Green. POSSIBLE TARGETS:
  • Rien Long, Washington State, defensive tackle ¿ Rangy inside player with adequate strength. Has a knack for squeezing the pocket with his natural upfield movement. But I feel he¿s a little on the stiff side. Long does struggle to control gaps ¿ especially from the affects of past surgery on his shoulder. And he also exposes his chest too often. Long really isn¿t that great of a fit for the Redskins, but would provide some interior rush. Durability is also a concern, especially with his current knee injury ¿ which prevented him from working out for a few months for scouts. Long could be a productive interior player due to his hustle, but there are too many things that scare me about him. His stock varies throughout the first day of the draft.
  • Cory Redding, Texas, defensive end ¿ Has good size and flashes adequate strength against the run. Holds up adequately at the point of attack, but does need to play with better leverage on a consistent basis. Doesn¿t always locate the ball well. Can be an adequate pass rusher due to his effort and ability to make adjustments, but lacks natural speed off the edge to turn the corner from the outside. Should be a solid starter for many years, but speed limitations could prevent him from being a blue-chip guy. Most likely a second-rounder.
  • Charles Tillman, Louisiana-Lafayette, cornerback ¿ Has good size and straight-line speed. Plays best in tight coverage. Likes to press guys at the line. Will struggle if playing off the ball because he¿s a little stiff in his movements. Is a step slow out of transition and lacks the second-gear to make up ground. Flashes good ball skills within his range. Is willing and tough in run support. Tillman has the potential to be a decent number two corner down the road. Will likely be a third or fourth rounder.
  • Tagged: Falcons, Bears, Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Packers, Colts, Chiefs, Rams, Giants, Jets, Eagles, 49ers, Buccaneers, Redskins, Panthers, Jaguars, Cardinals, Chargers, Texans, Joey Galloway, Tony Banks, Flozell Adams, Greg Ellis, Dat Nguyen, Peppi Zellner, Kelvin Garmon, Mario Edwards, Troy Hambrick, Matt Lehr, Will Allen, Cornelius Griffin, Brandon Short, Ron Stone, Kerry Collins, Tiki Barber, Shaun Williams, Quinton Caver, Barry Gardner, Donovan McNabb, Freddie Mitchell, Derrick Burgess, Jeremiah Trotter, Sean Landeta, Correll Buckhalter, Ike Reese, James Thrash, Chad Lewis, Duce Staley, Cory Raymer, Stephen Davis, Marco Coleman, Jon Jansen, Champ Bailey, Chris Samuels, LaVar Arrington, Bryan Barker, Antonio Pierce, Reggie Swinton

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