Thursday, March 21, 2013
NFC East draft look-ahead
By Dan Graziano
Over at our NFL Draft blog, Steve Muench is taking a look at the way the offseason activity so far in the NFC East has affected the way each team may approach next month's draft. Let's take a team-by-team spin through Steve's evaluation along with a list of each team's draft picks, per the official draft order the league released Thursday.
DALLAS COWBOYS (6 picks -- Nos. 18, 47, 80, 114, 151, 185)
Steve's take: "Dallas taking Alabama G Chance Warmack or North Carolina G Jonathan Cooper with the 18th overall pick makes sense from both a value and need standpoint... But don't be surprised to see the Cowboys go in another direction and take a different Tar Heel at No. 18. They need talent and depth at defensive tackle to make a successful transition to a base four-man front, and North Carolina DT Sylvester Williams can provide both with his quick feet and hands, agility and range."
My take: By now I'm kind of all-in on this. I think not coming out of the first round with a new starter on the offensive line would be franchise negligence by the Cowboys. And the way their offseason has gone so far, with pretty much all of their available resources committed to franchising defensive end Anthony Spencer, only strengthens that belief.
NEW YORK GIANTS (8 picks -- Nos. 19, 49, 81, 116, 152, 187, 225, 253)
Steve's take: "The Giants re-signed LT Will Beatty before he hit the open market, but right tackle is arguably the Giants' most pressing need as it stands now... Alabama's D.J. Fluker is a name to keep an eye on. While he isn't an elite athlete in pass protection, his wide frame (6-4], 339) and 36.7-inch arms make that less of a concern than it would be for most prospects. Plus, Fluker is a mauling run-blocker who can move defenders off the ball."
My take: Fluker would work fine for the Giants, who rely on quarterback Eli Manning's quick release to aid the pass protection and need to be stronger and tougher in the run game. The Brandon Myers signing takes the first-round tight ends out of play for the Giants, they've worked on the secondary depth and we all know they don't like to take linebackers in the first round. Offensive line makes a lot of sense.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9 picks -- Nos. 4, 35, 67, 101, 136, 210, 212, 218, 239)
Steve's take: "There has been some buzz about Philadelphia taking Oregon OLB Dion Jordan, who played for Kelly in college, or Alabama CB Dee Milliner at No. 4 overall. Both are talented prospects who can help this team, but I would still be surprised if they don't take an offensive tackle at that spot ... Central Michigan's Eric Fisher is the most likely candidate. Fisher has starting experience at right and left tackle, is an excellent pass-blocker who has the length and foot speed to protect the edge and is an above-average run blocker who gets into position and seals off defenders."
My take: I still think there's a chance they make a play for a right tackle in free agency, but absolutely no issue with them taking a tackle at No. 4. My position is that the Eagles need to find a franchise building-block player with this pick, and with 31-year-old left tackle Jason Peters coming off two Achilles ruptures and right tackle Todd Herremans able to slide inside and play guard, a tackle would be a worthy short-term and long-term investment.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (7 picks -- Nos. 51, 85, 119, 154, 162, 191, 228)
Steve's take: "The wise decision to trade up and acquire QB Robert Griffin III last year leaves Washington without a first-round pick, so barring another trade, the Redskins won't get in the mix until No. 51 overall. Should they be unable to re-sign TE Fred Davis, they could find good value in San Diego State TE Gavin Escobar. ... Safety is another area of need, and FIU's John Cyprien is an interesting early Day 2 prospect. While there are some concerns about Cyprien getting caught out of position, he has the range and athletic ability to develop into an effective starting free safety."
My take: Interesting name at tight end, though I still don't see how a market develops that lands Davis anywhere but Washington. My belief is that the Redskins will try to use their first pick in this year's draft to solve free safety, even if it's by finding a prospect they can develop behind a low-cost veteran in the meantime.