With the 2016 NFL Draft on tap at the end of this month, Bucky Brooks is breaking down the biggest areas of need for every team in the NFL, division by division. Below is his look at the NFC East.
Dallas Cowboys (9 total picks)
» Round 1: Pick 4 overall
» Round 2: Pick 34
» Round 3: Pick 67
» Round 4: Picks 101 and 135 (compensatory selection)
» Round 6: Picks 189 (from Raiders), 212, 216 and 217 (all compensatory selections)
Biggest needs: defensive back, pass rusher, running back.
The Cowboys must decide whether to take a "win now" approach on draft day or stay the course with their current blueprint, which places an emphasis on building a solid roster with long-term potential. Thus, they must determine if a blue-chip defender provides more value at the top of the board or if a Pro Bowl-caliber runner can mask issues on both sides of the ball by facilitating a "keep-away" offensive game plan. If the Cowboys look to add a blue-chip back in Round 1, Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott is the only guy to consider with a top-five pick. The former Buckeye is a three-down playmaker capable of delivering explosive plays as a runner or receiver from the backfield. On Day 2, Alabama's Derrick Henry or Utah's Devontae Booker could fit the bill as rugged runners with 1,500-yard potential. If the Cowboys focus their efforts on upgrading the defense, the team could take a pass rusher (Ohio State's Joey Bosa or Oregon's DeForest Buckner) or playmaking corner/safety (Florida State's Jalen Ramsey), but perhaps they'd be best served by taking the safety/cornerback early and identifying a high-motor pass rusher down the line. Oklahoma State's Emmanuel Ogbah and Penn State's Carl Nassib are players to watch on Day 2; Dallas could also have interest in Grand Valley State's Matt Judon as a mid-to-late-round prospect. If the Cowboys bypass defensive back on Day 1, expect the team to closely examine Miami's Artie Burns and Baylor's Xavien Howard at the top of Round 2. North Carolina Central's Ryan Smith, Maryland's Sean Davis and Notre Dame's KeiVarae Russell could also garner strong consideration as early-round picks.
New York Giants (6 total picks)
» Round 1: Pick 10 overall
» Round 2: Pick 40
» Round 3: Pick 71
» Round 4: Pick 109
» Round 5: Pick 149
» Round 6: Pick 184
Biggest needs: linebacker, wide receiver, offensive tackle.
The Giantsspent big bucks on defensive personnel during the offseason, but the unit still needs a playmaker on the second-level to complete the makeover. UCLA's Myles Jack and Georgia's Leonard Floyd would qualify as good fits in Round 1, but the team could have its eyes on a Day 2 talent -- like LSU's Deion Jones, who could enhance the speed and athleticism of the defense. Ohio State's Joshua Perry and West Virginia's Nick Kwiatkoski also could garner consideration. The Giants aren't shy about adding big bodies along the offensive line; Michigan State's Jack Conklin and Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley would allow the team to shift Ereck Flowers to right tackle and shore up the edges. If New York looks beyond Round 1, Indiana's Jason Spriggs and Texas A&M's Germain Ifedi could be in the mix as potential starters at right tackle. At wide receiver, the Giants need a complementary pass catcher to alleviate some of the pressure on Odell Beckham Jr. on the perimeter. Pittsburgh's Tyler Boyd and Ohio State's Michael Thomas would fulfill the WR2 role as sure-handed pass catchers with superb route-running skills. Rutgers' Leonte Carroo and Ohio State's Braxton Miller are also worthy of consideration on Day 2.
Philadelphia Eagles (7 total picks)
Biggest needs: running back, offensive tackle, quarterback.
The Eagles have a few offensive needs heading into the draft, but the blockbuster trade with the Browns to move into the No. 2 overall pick has seemingly put many of those pressing needs on the back burner, given that Philly will presumably attempt to find its next franchise quarterback with that selection. Cal's Jared Goff and North Dakota State's Carson Wentz are the only candidates for the role, based on their impressive talent and long-term potential. With the rest of their picks, the Eagles will focus their efforts on finding an undervalued running back with the potential to develop into an electric bell cow. Notre Dame's C.J. Prosise and Alabama's Kenyan Drake appear to be perfect fits, but the team should also target a few late-round possibilities, like Arkansas' Jonathan Williams and Indiana's Jordan Howard. At offensive tackle, the Eagles can roll the dice on a developmental player like UCLA's Caleb Benenoch, Western Michigan's Willie Beavers or North Dakota State's Joe Haeg in the later stages of the draft.
Washington Redskins (8 total picks)
Biggest needs: center, defensive line, inside linebacker.
The Redskins will attempt to be repeat as NFC East champions behind a roster that been tweaked and refined throughout the offseason. Heading into the draft, the team doesn't have glaring holes on the roster, but a few spots need some refreshing. On D, Washington could use a disruptive defensive tackle capable of clogging the middle on early downs. Alabama's A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed are Day 1 candidates, but the team could also pinpoint Notre Dame's Sheldon Day, Penn State's Austin Johnson and Ohio State's Adolphus Washington on Day 2. At inside linebacker, the Redskins could take a chance on a developmental playmaker like Clemson's B.J. Goodson or Oklahoma's Dominique Alexander on Day 2. Stanford's Blake Martinez and Florida's Antonio Morrison could be down-the-line considerations. On offense, the Redskins need an interior blocker to solidify the line. Alabama's Ryan Kelly would be a terrific pivot in the system, but USC's Max Tuerk and Michigan State's Jack Allen also could fit the bill.