Center: The retirement of Travis Frederick took everybody by surprise. It seemingly sets up Joe Looney to again work as the full-time centerpiece of the Cowboys’ luxurious offensive line. Looney was fairly bad as the team’s starting center in 2018, finishing as PFF’s ninth-lowest graded center among 39 qualified players. At the very least, Dallas needs to add some depth to their front.eds to add some depth to their front.

Secondary: The Cowboys are a bottom-12 team in 2020 dollars devoted to both their corners and safeties. Re-signing Anthony Brown helps, but there’s still a massive hole left behind by Byron Jones. Meanwhile, the safety group swapped Jeff Heath for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. They’ve been in need of a true upgrade here for a while. The secondary was poor against No. 1 WRs (19th in DVOA), No. 2 WRs (25th), other WRs (20th), TEs (26th) and RBs (19th) alike in 2019.

Pass catcher: The Cowboys did a solid job adding pieces across the defensive line, but their one position that remains a true mystery is the No. 3 WR spot. Randall Cobb is in Houston, and Tavon Austin remains a free agent, so Cedrick Wilson and Devin Smith are the current frontrunners to work behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. It’d be borderline erotic if the Cowboys are planning to utilize backup RB Tony Pollard as a hybrid-slot WR, but either way it seems likely that Dallas will take a receiver at some point in the draft.

1 (17). CB C.J. Henderson, Florida – The Cowboys are sitting in a bit of an awkward spot, where their most immediate needs might align well with the middle of the first round. While Jeffrey Okudah deservedly draws all of the corner attention in this class, perhaps no one faced a more difficult receiver resume than Henderson. Week after week Henderson seemed willing to take on the challenge of the opposition’s top receiver, asked to win 1-on-1 isolated situations. This is the style of player who can slide into Byron Jones’ vacated spot.

2 (51). iDL Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M – The Cowboys signed band-aids on the interior in Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy. Depending on the team’s trust in Trysten Hill, the Cowboys could prioritize the interior early in the draft or wait. Madubuike is one of the few disruptors with pass rushing juice. You see enviable movement and a pass rush plan from the Aggie. Madubuike theoretically offers versatility, seeing snaps at 1-technique, 3-technique and also saw snaps outside of the tackle.

3 (82). LB Troy Dye, Oregon – It seems like the Cowboys face linebacker questions every offseason. Sean Lee to Jaylon Smith to Leighton Vander Esch – all have been outstanding, but each has faced significant injury hurdles. Dye is one of the few linebacker prospects who might be more comfortable in coverage than flying downhill against the run. He’s notably adept at trailing tight ends.

4 (123). WR KJ Hill, Ohio State – Perhaps this is too simple of a projection. With Randall Cobb out, the Cowboys currently don’t have a slot-focused receiver. Perhaps Tony Pollard will fill that role, but I’m sure the Cowboys won’t bank on that. Hill lives in the slot, attempting to create separation early in routes and adjusting to any targets off frame to bring in difficult catches.

5 (164). C Kyle Hinton, Washburn – Perhaps this is too early for a non-FBS player, as the Cowboys have not selected a prospect from a lower level of football since 2013 (if my research is correct). The center position looks a bit thin later in the draft, and Hinton, a collegiate left tackle, might be viewed as an upside project.

5 (179). S Julian Blackmon, Utah – Blackmon spent most of his time as a free safety, frequently in a single high role. His main job was to prevent big plays, but there are exposures of Blackmon flying downhill to stop the run in the alley or making a play in the passing game along the sideline after covering ground.

7 (231). EDGE Ron’Dell Carter, James Madison – Carter’s game is built on timing the snap. But if that fails, he’s very active with his hands to disengage and then chase down extended plays.

Click on a link below to jump directly to another NFC East team or continue to the next page:

Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins

The Rotoworld Football crew’s Ian Hartitz, Nick Mensio, John Daigle and Hayden Winks are breaking down every team’s biggest needs, division by division, and Josh Norris offers potential solutions in this month’s NFL Draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

Philadelphia Eagles

Notable Offseason Additions: DT Javon Hargrave, CB Darius Slay, S Will Parks, LB Jatavis Brown, CB Nickell Robey-Coleman

Starting Offense

QB: Carson Wentz

RB: Miles Sanders

WR1: Alshon Jeffery

WR2: DeSean Jackson

WR3: Greg Ward

TE: Zach Ertz

LT: Andre Dillard

LG: Isaac Seumalo

C: Jason Kelce

RG: Brandon Brooks

RT: Lane Johnson

Starting Defense

DE: Brandon Graham

DE: Derek Barnett

DT: Fletcher Cox

DT Javon Hargrave

WLB: Duke Riley

MLB: T.J. Edwards

SLB: Nate Gerry

CB: Darius Slay

CB: Avonte Maddox

SCB: Nickell Robey-Coleman

S: Rodney McLeod

S: Jalen Mills

 

Team Needs

Hartitz’s Analysis

Wide receiver: Philly was exposed at the end of last season without the likes of DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor on the field. Last year’s second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside finished the season with just 10 receptions for 169 yards and a touchdown despite playing all 16 games. The Eagles were the league’s fifth-worst offense in yards after the catch per reception. As good as Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert are, another legit WR would do wonders for this offense.

Linebacker: The Eagles didn’t quite manage to replace LB Jordan Hicks, leading to only Nigel Bradham (No. 35) ranking among PFF’s top-50 LBs in 2019. Bradham remains a free agent. The Eagles boasted the league’s third-best defense in adjusted line yards allowed per rush … but ranked 23rd in open field yards allowed per carry. They currently have the second-fewest 2020 dollars devoted to the LB position.

Safety: Long-time stud Malcolm Jenkins has re-joined the Saints, meaning converted-CB Jalen Mills is now expected to slot in next to Rodney McLeod. Perhaps the position change will spark better performance from Mills, but it would still be surprising to see Philly refrain from adding somebody else to compete for the spot. They’ve seemingly fixed their CB problem; now isn’t the time to create a new problem in the middle of the defense. The Eagles were a top-10 defense in yards allowed per game to TEs in each of the past five seasons.

 

Eagles’ 2020 Draft Picks

Norris’ Options

1 (21). WR Justin Jefferson, LSU – It was shocking to see the Eagles bypass wide receiver during free agency, but there is no better year to double down on the position. Jefferson is ready-made for the NFL. He contributed 109 receptions out of the slot last year, leading the country, but his contributions to an offense exceed that area of the field. Jefferson possesses outstanding body control and strong hands to haul in contested catches at a high rate and forced 25 missed tackles last season. He makes plays. That’s the definition of creating yards others simply cannot.

2 (53). S/LB Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois – Malcolm Jenkins’ role and production might be difficult to replace. The veteran is obviously comfortable in coverage and consistently made plays when moving toward the line of scrimmage. This draft class houses an unusual number of prospects who did the same at the college level – the only question is if they will do the same in the NFL. Chinn is an insane athlete (99th percentile) with linebacker size, so if safety doesn’t work, perhaps he’ll make the shift inside, similar to Thomas Davis.

3 (103). EDGE Terrell Lewis, Alabama – Lewis got in a trip to the Eagles just before prospect visits were halted. The Eagles certainly have a lot of young edge rushing depth on rookie contracts, but none have taken that next step. Lewis presents “freak” moments of appearing to be on another tier above collegiate tackles, and he can close in a flash when looping inside or on effort sacks.

4 (127). WR John Hightower, Boise State – Again, it is surprising the Eagles did not prioritize another vertical playmaker after seeking out DeSean Jackson before the 2019 season. Hightower is not Jackson, few are, but he could fill the role after averaging 16 and 18 yards per catch over the last two seasons.

4 (145). LB Markus Bailey, Purdue – Bailey might be this year’s Jordan Hicks – a linebacker coming off an injured season who displays playmaking skills against the run and in coverage.

4 (146). OL Danny Pinter, Ball State – Pinter has plenty of experience at right tackle, but some teams could project him inside. The Eagles always boast great offensive line depth, and Pinter might be an ideal utility blocker.

5 (168). QB Anthony Gordon, Washington State – There’s just one year left on Nate Sudfeld’s contract. Perhaps they will choose to extend him, or the team may look to a backup on a rookie contract.

6 (190). RB James Robinson, Illinois State – Miles Sanders should dominate backfield touches for the Eagles, and Boston Scott certainly had his moments. Robinson presents a different skill set at 219 pounds with balance to break tackles.

Click on a link below to jump directly to another NFC East team or continue to the next page:

Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins

The Rotoworld Football crew’s Ian Hartitz, Nick Mensio, John Daigle and Hayden Winks are breaking down every team’s biggest needs, division by division, and Josh Norris offers potential solutions in this month’s NFL Draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

New York Giants

Notable Offseason Additions: CB James Bradberry, LB Blake Martinez, TE Levine Toilolo, OLB Kyler Fackrell, OT Cameron Fleming, QB Colt McCoy, S Nate Ebner, RB Dion Lewis, DT Austin Johnson, TE Eric Tomlinson

Starting Offense

QB: Daniel Jones

RB: Saquon Barkley

WR1: Sterling Shepard

WR2: Darius Slayton

WR3: Golden Tate

TE: Evan Engram

LT: Nate Solder

LG: Will Hernandez

C: Spencer Pulley

RG: Kevin Zeitler

RT: Cameron Fleming

Starting Defense

DE: Leonard Williams

DE: Dexter Lawrence

DT: Dalvin Tomlinson

MLB: Blake Martinez

MLB: David Mayo

OLB: Kyler Fackrell

OLB: Lorenzo Carter

CB: James Bradberry

CB: Deandre Baker

SCB: Grant Haley

S: Julian Love

S: Jabrill Peppers

 

Team Needs

Hartitz’s Analysis

Secondary: The Giants were fairly awful against No. 1 WRs (32nd in DVOA), TEs (21st) and RBs (24th) alike in 2019. They replaced Janoris Jenkins with James Bradberry, but this isn’t enough: exactly none of their CBs ranked inside of PFF’s top-100 overall corners. Last year’s first-round pick Deandre Baker will need to improve drastically in his second season with this group to take a step forward.

Offensive line: This offensive line was one of just 10 units to average fewer than four adjusted line yards per rush in 2019. Meanwhile, Daniel Jones joined Sam Darnold as the only QBs to be pressured on at least 40% of their dropbacks. RT Mike Remmers was replaced with OT Cameron Fleming, but more work needs to be done here.

Defensive line: Trading for former-Jets DE Leonard Williams was a solid enough idea, but they failed to come to an agreement on a long-term deal and he will now play the 2020 season on the franchise tag. The team needs to invest more resources into the entire defense, as only the Seahawks have fewer 2020 cap dollars devoted to the defensive side of the ball than the Giants.

 

Giants’ 2020 Draft Picks

Norris’ Options

1 (4). T Tristan Wirfs, Iowa – During his time with the Panthers, Dave Gettleman was consistent with the phrase “left tackle feet,” a trait only a few prospects possessed. This class is loaded with tackle talent at the top, but when he’s at hist best Wirfs tops the list. He has all of the skills to hold up on a pass protection island series after series … but his consistency can be lacking. Wirfs has a nasty habit of overextending or losing his balance and ending up on the ground. I bet decision-makers see fixable moments. It helps that Wirfs has experience of both sides of the line.

2 (36). C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan – Gettleman has doubled down on a need in drafts when that area of weakness is evident and pressing. Defensive tackle (Lotulelei and Shot) and cornerback (James Bradberry and Daryl Worley). The Giants’ offensive line qualifies. Ruiz is an active and athletic center who might project as an immediate starter.

3 (99). S Ashtyn Davis, Cal – With Jabrill Peppers operating best closer to the line of scrimmage, the Giants could be on the lookout for a versatile playmaker in the secondary. Davis isn’t locked into one spot, spending time at free safety, in the box and in the slot, succeeding in all three spots. Safeties with range can change the success of a defense – Davis possesses that.

4 (110). EDGE Alton Robinson, Syracuse – The Giants’ roster numbers on the edge in terms of pass rushers after focusing on top talents along the inside. While Robinson likely fits in the “numbers” category, he offers a fantastic motor with explosion that leads to production.

5 (150). CB Javelin Guidry, Utah – Grant Haley and Corey Ballantine didn’t perform well enough in 2019. Guidry will be drafted into the slot for an NFL team, and I absolutely can see Gettleman citing “rare 4.30” speed after selecting the Ute.

6 (183). WR Tyrie Cleveland, Florida – The Giants smashed last year’s vertical receiver pick in Darius Slayton. Why not go back to the well? Cleveland boasts similar athleticism to Slayton and likely will do his best work downfield.

7 (218). RB Benny LeMay, UNC Charlotte – With Dion Lewis signing, the Giants could be on the lookout for a younger, between the tackles runner. Lemay reads his blockers well and has 54 career receptions to his name.

7 (238). LB Mykal Walker, Fresno State – Gettleman always seems to add a late round linebacker to his pocket. He even brought one to New York in David Mayo.

7 (247). G Cordel Iwuagwu, TCU – Call it a triple dip. These late round selections frequently wind up on practice squads. Iwuagwu likely projects as a utility interior lineman.

7 (255).  CB Delrick Abrams, Colorado – Gettleman tends to drift towards size at many positions. That’s true at corner, where Abrams boasts 33-inch arms.

Click on a link below to jump directly to another NFC East team or continue to the next page:

Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins

The Rotoworld Football crew’s Ian Hartitz, Nick Mensio, John Daigle and Hayden Winks are breaking down every team’s biggest needs, division by division, and Josh Norris offers potential solutions in this month’s NFL Draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

Washington Redskins

Notable Offseason Additions: CB Kendall Fuller, OG Wes Schweitzer, LB Thomas Davis, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, RB J.D. McKissic, S Sean Davis, OT Cornelius Lucas, TE Logan Thomas, QB Kyle Allen, RB Peyton Barber, TE Richard Rodgers, WR Cody Latimer, CB Ronald Darby

Starting Offense

QB: Dwayne Haskins

RB: Derrius Guice

WR1: Terry McLaurin

WR2: Kelvin Harmon

WR3: Steven Sims

TE: Jeremy Sprinkle

LT: Cornelius Lucas

LG: Wes Schweitzer

C: Chase Roullier

RG: Brandon Scherff

RT: Morgan Moses

Starting Defense

DE: Montez Sweat

DE: Ryan Kerrigan

DT: Jonathan Allen

DT: Daron Payne

MLB: Thomas Davis

OLB: Cole Holcomb

OLB: Kevin Pierre-Louis

CB: Fabian Moreau

CB: Ronald Darby

SCB: Kendall Fuller

S: Sean Davis

S: Landon Collins

 

Team Needs

Hartitz’s Analysis

Offensive line: Dwayne Haskins (3.72 seconds to attempt, PFF) proved much better at holding off sacks compared to Case Keenum (2.91). Still, Washington was one of just eight teams to average fewer than two yards before contact per rush attempt. This entire unit needs help regardless of how the Trent Williams and Alex Smith sagas play out. RG Brandon Scherff received the franchise tag, but LG Ereck Flowers and LT Donald Penn have been replaced by Wes Schweitzer and Cornelius Lucas, respectively. Nobody really deserves the benefit of the doubt here.

Pass catcher: Terry McLaurin‘s rookie season was nothing short of spectacular, as his average of 9.88 yards per target ranked 12th among 127 players with at least 50 targets in 2019. Meanwhile, each of Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Paul Richardson are gone. Other than McLaurin, Steven Sims was the only other pass catcher to really flash all season.

Secondary: Washington was a bottom-10 pass defense by most metrics in 2019. They were particularly incompetent against opposing TEs, ranking 31st in DVOA and allowing the fourth-most PPR per game to the position. The Josh Norman era is over, while upgrading from FS Montae Nicholson (PFF’s seventh-worst safety) would also be nice. Still, the focus needs to be on the CB room. Trading Quinton Dunbar to the Seahawks and then replacing him with Kendall Fuller is a net loss in my book.

 

Redskins’ 2020 Draft Picks

Norris’ Options

1 (2). EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State – While it isn’t a listed need, all signs point to Washington selecting Young based on uncommon talent. Young won in every way imaginable at the college level. He seems to have a counter to the offensive tackle’s counter. Washington certainly invested plenty on the defensive side of the ball in recent years, but Young might be on another level. However, it’s not irrational for fans to wonder if it is the right selection. There’s a growing sentiment that coverage is more connected to winning football than pass rusher, so is Jeffrey Okudah the correct pick? Or is a trade down to select an offensive tackle the right move?

3 (66). OT Matt Peart, UConn – Trent Williams has made it clear he will not return to the team. Without a second-round pick, the Redskins might miss out on the top talents at the position. Luckily, Peart has starting upside. He is fluid and athletic enough to hold up on a pass rushing island and gives great effort in the running game.

4 (108). WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan – Ron Rivera and Scott Turner seemed to gravitate to athletes at receiver in their final few years in Carolina. On Washington’s side, Terry McLaurin posted one of the best athletic profiles in last year’s class. Peoples-Jones’ profile projects in the 99th percentile and shouldn’t come at the cost of a top two round pick.

4 (142). TE Devin Asiasi, UCLA – The Redskins lack a real receiving threat at tight end despite it being a mainstay of a Turner offense. Asiasi recorded 44 receptions last season, averaging over 14 yards per catch. All in a frame that can hold up inline.

5 (162). G Cameron Clark, UNC Charlotte – Not only do the Redskins need at least one starter along the offensive line, but they also lack depth. Clark played left tackle but might learn to operate inside in order to fill the utility role on an NFL roster.

7 (216). WR Darnell Mooney, Tulane – It’s always a longshot for late round receivers to hit, but Mooney might be my favorite dart. He’s a legitimate vertical threat who frequently operates at a different speed than his opposition. Despite his smaller frame, Mooney was super competitive on contested catches.

7 (229). RB Jason Huntley, New Mexico State – Washington could still be on the lookout for pass catchers out of the backfield despite signing J.D. McKissic. Huntley has nearly 40 catches to his name in each of the last three seasons.

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