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NFC East draft needs: Is O.J. Howard the Giants' missing piece?

With the 2017 NFL Draft around the corner, former NFL scout Bucky Brooks and Around The NFL's Conor Orr are breaking down the biggest areas of need for every team in the NFL, division by division. Below is Conor's look at the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys (7 picks)

» Round 1: Pick 28 overall
» Round 2: Pick 60
» Round 3: Pick 92
» Round 4: Pick 133
» Round 6: Pick 211
» Round 7: Picks 228 (from Bills) and 246

Biggest needs: Pass rusher, interior defensive line, cornerback, safety.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones never seems afraid to telegraph his draft strategy and the phrase on his tongue this year has been "war daddy." The Cowboys desperately need an every-down, big-body pass rusher to stabilize their front four, though that might be difficult after a 13-3 season that gave them the 28th overall draft slot. Luckily for Dallas, there will be plenty of good defensive backs still sitting around to help fill the void left by the secondary exodus in free agency. We'll see if Jones' vision for a unit led by punishing linebackers like Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith ever comes to fruition (the team cleared Smith for OTA workouts -- his first time back on the gridiron since the career-threatening knee injury he sustained in Notre Dame's Bowl Game back in early 2016), but it's always nice to have dependable corners and defensive ends if everything else breaks down.

New York Giants (7 picks)

» Round 1: Pick 23 overall
» Round 2: Pick 55
» Round 3: Pick 87
» Round 4: Pick 140
» Round 5: Pick 167
» Round 6: Pick 207
» Round 7: Pick 241

Biggest needs: Offensive tackle, cornerback, linebacker, tight end.

The Giants are one player away from having a top-10 offensive line, though this could always be the year the light comes on for former first-round pick Ereck Flowers. Personally, I would kill two birds with one stone and trade up for Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, whom the Giants met with at the NFL Scouting Combine. Howard might be the most complete blocking and receiving tight end to come out in years and would allow the Giants to run a no-huddle, 11 personnel grouping without interruption. Howard also could provide a helpful hand for Flowers in pass protection. That said, this draft could be about the future of Big Blue's very good defense, which means a replacement plan for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or a defensive tackle to fill in for the departed Johnathan Hankins.

Philadelphia Eagles (8 picks)

» Round 1: Pick 14 overall (from Vikings)
» Round 2: Pick 43
» Round 3: Pick 99 (compensatory selection from Ravens)
» Round 4: Picks 118 and 139 (compensatory selection from Browns)
» Round 5: Pick 155
» Round 6: Pick 194
» Round 7: Pick 230

Biggest needs: Wide receiver, offensive tackle, cornerback, defensive tackle/pass rusher.

The loss of Bennie Logan will impact the Eagles and their usage of Fletcher Cox, who is still a premier defensive player but could use a stalwart playing next to him. Snagging a D-lineman might be the safest bet for the Eagles at pick No. 14 and beyond, though's group of mock drafters have presented some intriguing options. Should he remain available, Christian McCaffrey would be the most obvious system-fit running back in a long time and could be a gigantic boost for second-year quarterback Carson Wentz. Philly also has to consider the possibility that Alshon Jeffery plays well enough to earn a top-of-the-market deal in 2018 -- and that Dorial Green-Beckham might not be good enough to make the cut. The Eagles were in dire straits at receiver before the Jeffery deal and would be right back to square one without taking a look at the receiver crop coming up.

Washington Redskins (10 picks)

» Round 1: Pick 17 overall
» Round 2: Pick 49
» Round 3: Pick 81
» Round 4: Picks 114 (from Jets) and 123
» Round 5: Pick 154 (from Saints)
» Round 6: Picks 201 and 209 (from Texans)
» Round 7: Pick 220 (from 49ers) and 235

Biggest needs: Quarterback, interior offensive line, cornerback.

Do the Redskins actually believe Kirk Cousins will sign with them in 2018? After a horrendously bungled series of franchise tags, the floor on Cousins' next deal with Washington will be an insane amount of money for any player, let alone a quarterback the Redskins aren't even sure they want to commit to long-term. If they do not feel that way, they must get his replacement in the pipeline or risk going down a scary road without a signal caller to believe in. The 'Skins also could use help on the interior of their offensive line, and they would benefit from the addition of a defensive tackle. With the No. 17 pick, though, they might need to keep their eye on the bigger plan.

Follow Conor Orr on Twitter @ConorOrr.

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