NFC East draft needs: Cowboys are on a hunt for replacements
2013 record: 8-8
Key player departures: C Phil Costa, DT Jason Hatcher, DE DeMarcus Ware, DE Jarius Wynn, WR Miles Austin
Free-agent acquisitions: QB Brandon Weeden, DT Terrell McClain, DE Jeremy Mincey, DT Henry Melton
Positions of Need: Defensive End, Offensive Guard, Cornerback, Safety
Analysis: America’s Team parted ways with two veterans in DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin and inked deals with a few under-the-radar talents like Henry Melton and Jeremy Mincey this offseason. Whereas their NFC East rivals Giants, Redskins, and Eagles have made big headlines this offseason, the Cowboys have been fairly quiet. In a draft rich with talent in the trenches, I’d look for Dallas to go with either a pass rusher (Dee Ford of Auburn and Kony Ealy of Missouri could make sense) or a big boy up front on the interior offensive line. Names that would make sense at 16th overall are Notre Dame’s Zack Martin, Stanford’s David Yankey, and Virginia’s Morgan Moses. Louisville’s Calvin Pryor could be a nice fit at 16th, too.
New York Giants
Team record: 7-9
Key player departures: G Kevin Boothe, RB Andre Brown, DT Joseph Linval, S Ryan Mundy, WR Louis Murphy, TE Brandon Myers, WR Hakeem Nicks, LB Keith Rivers, DE Justin Tuck
Free-agent acquisitions: S Quintin Demps, OL John Jerry, LB Jameel McClain, WR Mario Manningham, KR Trindon Holliday, CB Walter Thurmond, Center J.D. Walton, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, OL Geoff Schwartz, RB Rashad Jennings, LB Robert Ayers
Positions of Need: Offensive Guard, Defensive Tackle, Linebacker, Wide Receiver
Analysis: The Giants have been busier than any team in the NFL this offseason, revamping a roster that’s had its ups and downs since winning the Super Bowl in 2012. Justin Tuck, Hakeem Nicks and Andre Brown are gone. Insert veterans Rashad Jennings, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, Robert Ayers, John Jerry, Geoff Schwartz and Walter Thurmond III. New York could look up to beef up the offensive line in the first round if a top 10 talent slips to 12th, ensuring Eli Manning’s standing upright this season, or look to give the defense a young linebacker to man the unit for the next decade. Some names for Giants fans to circle with that pick are OT Jake Matthews out of Texas A&M, CB Kyle Fuller out of Virginia Tech, and OG David Yankey out of Stanford. If they throw a curveball and go wideout, Texas A&M wideout Mike Evans could serve as quite the complement to Victor Cruz.
2013 record: 10-6
Key player departures: WR Jason Avant, DE Clifton Geathers, WR DeSean Jackson, QB Michael Vick, S Patrick Chung
Free-agent acquisitions: LB Bryan Braman, S Chris Maragos, CB Nolan Carroll, P Donnie Jones, S Malcolm Jenkins, QB Mark Sanchez,
Positions of Need: Outside Linebacker, Defensive End, Cornerback, Wide Receiver
Analysis: The Eagles were busy this offseason, too, ensuring that all five starters on the offensive line were locked up with new contracts and bringing in new talent like Malcolm Jenkins, Darren Sproles and backup quarterback Mark Sanchez. The big news was the loss of DeSean Jackson, but losing veteran leaders Jason Avant and Michael Vick could also alter the look and feel of this team. Outside linebacker is a need and an added pass-rushing presence like Ryan Shazier out of Ohio State or Kyle Van Noy out of BYU could be the pick. I’d also look to wide receiver. Chip Kelly loves his Pac-12 guys, and if either USC’s Marqise Lee or Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks are on the board, they are possibilities here.
2013 record: 3-13
Key player departures: C Will Montgomery, LB Darryl Tapp, Center J.D. Watson, CB Josh Wilson
Free-agent acquisitions: CB Tracy Porter, LB Akeem Jordan, DE Jason Hatcher, WR Andre Roberts, WR DeSean Jackson, QB Colt McCoy, S Ryan Clark, LB Darryl Sharpton, G Shawn Lauvao
Positions of Need: Safety, Cornerback, Offensive Line, Defensive Tackle
Analysis: The Redskins do not have a first-round pick this year, but do have the 34th pick in the draft, which should mean there will be plenty of talent still left on the board at the start of Day 2. Brandon Meriweather and Ryan Clark are a serviceable safety duo, but I could see Washington trying to get a little younger at the position and scooping up either Jimmie Ward out of Northern Illinois or Terrence Brooks out of Florida State. Defensive tackle could be a position the Redskins look to add depth to, as well. Two names that could be around at 34 — Arizona State’s Will Sutton and Florida’s Dominique Easley.