ESPN's famed NFL draft guru, Mel Kiper, is running a series of division-by-division "summer audits" that address each team's remaining needs post-draft and pre-free agency. Today's entry is on the NFC East, which is of course why I bring it up. It's an Insider piece, so I'm not going to give it all away (because we want you to pay for the Insider access, of course). But I'll offer a taste of what Mel had to say on each of our four teams.
Mel was fine with Tyron Smith as the first-round pick, though he thinks you can't take a tackle that high and not play him on the left side. Overall, no surprise, he says defensive line, safety and cornerback remain as serious issues the Cowboys still must resolve: "The big question is whether the Cowboys can get help on the defensive line, particularly at defensive end. This was the league's 23rd-ranked defense, and I think it started up front."
Mel thinks the Giants would have gone for an outside linebacker in the first round if Prince Amukamara hadn't fallen into their laps. That linebacker spot remains an issue, and Mel (a wise, wise man) thinks (as I do) that New York still could stand to address the offensive line: "How long will this aging offensive line hold together? We saw them struggle last year, so expect the G-men to do some scouring for starting help in free agency, or at least adding some depth. Same situation at linebacker, where the team was frankly terrible in 2010."
It doesn't seem like anyone knows what to make of a decision to pick a guard in the first round even if starting guard was one of your main needs. Mel was surprised the Eagles didn't take Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi over Danny Watkins, though he does like Watkins' potential. And he likes that the Eagles addressed the secondary, though he's not sold on the ability of either Jaiquawn Jarrett or Curtis Marsh to help right away. "This team may need to look for some free agent help there and at defensive tackle to shore up the defense. Remember, too, the big question involves what they can get for Kevin Kolb. Can they add some help, or will it only be picks?"
Mel is fine with the Redskins' decision not to draft a quarterback if they didn't see their long-term answer in this draft. He's not a big Jarvis Jenkins fan, but he likes the picks of Leonard Hankerson and Roy Helu as guys who can help on offense immediately. "For whoever is taking the snaps, the offensive line will need to continue to progress, and Hankerson will need to quickly add an element in the passing game. Obviously, the biggest questions all start on the offensive side of the ball, where you have to hope Shanahan can get the running game he made famous untracked with some new talent."