2018 NFL Draft Needs by Team: NFC East
We’re now rapidly approaching the long-awaited arrival of the 2018 NFL Draft, and the daily rumor mill is in midseason form. It can be hard to navigate all the news and chatter that drop at a constant rate in the days leading up to the actual draft.
Even if a star player is released at this point, most NFL clubs have a pretty good idea of what they’re going to do in the draft, and we can analyze what those team’s draft approach and needs are likely to be. There are sure to be some surprises, but knowing the apparent needs of each NFL franchise certainly makes predicting the actual draft a much easier process. Continuing our look at the 2018 NFL Draft needs by each team, up next is the NFC East.
New York Giants
Draft Picks: No. 2, No. 23, No. 66, No. 69 (via TB), No. 108 (via TB), No. 139
Team Needs: RB, WR, Interior OL, Edge, LB, QB
The New York Giants were expected to be contenders in 2017 before injuries, and poor play derailed their hopes. The Giants have a lot of holes to fill. Their entire draft will be dictated by their choice with the second pick of the draft. If the Giants see a franchise quarterback available, that is a possibility with a 37-year-old Eli Manning entering the twilight of his career.
If the Giants do not see a franchise quarterback available, they are a likely trade partner with the Buffalo Bills who are looking to move up in the draft. The Giants would be able to address multiple needs with a package of picks. The Giants need upgrades at defensive line, linebacker, and offensive line.
At quarterback, Eli Manning has entered the decline phase of his career. He is still a serviceable starting quarterback, but the team will win because of his surrounding talent, not because Manning elevates the team. The landing spot would be attractive for a rookie quarterback with star receiving options like Odell Beckham Jr. and Evan Engram.
At the running back position, the Giants have amongst the worst depth charts in the NFL. Paul Perkins has been a disappointment, and Wayne Gallman is a not a long-term option. Jonathan Stewart is the best option but is a 31-year-old running back on a two-year deal. In a deep class, the Giants should have the opportunity to address the position with a significant upgrade.
The drama around Odell Beckham Jr. continued in the offseason with potential trades floating. Beckham is currently on the roster, but his future is uncertain. Sterling Shephard is also on the roster, but profiles as an ancillary option. Brandon Marshall was also recently cut. The Giants could be in a terrible situation at the position and address the position on day two of the draft.
The Giants signed Nate Soldier in free agency to play left tackle, which fills an enormous void on their offensive line. However, they need to do more, with Patrick Omaneh, Brett Jones, and John Greco, currently tabbed as starters. The value might not be great, but Quenton Nelson could be the best player in the draft and shore up a need using the second pick.
The trade of Jason Pierre-Paul was quizzical and leaves a pass rushing hole for the Giants. Bradley Chubb could address the need and fit on the other side of Olivier Vernon.
Draft Picks: No. 19, No. 50, No. 81, No. 116, No. 137, No 171, No. 192 (SEA pick via OAK), No. 208, No 236
Positional Needs: WR, DL, LB, TE
Dallas has youth at key positions, but they also have many important holes on offense and defense. They should be better in the run game with Ezekiel Elliott not facing a weekly court battle. In a good class, Dallas may look for a day three running back to operate as Elliott’s backup.
The Dallas Cowboys created a need by cutting Dez Bryant less than two weeks before the NFL Draft. Their approach to the position has been haphazard, signing Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson in the offseason while retaining Terrance Williams and letting Brice Butler sign with Arizona. They are left without a true number one receiver and have several redundant receivers in Cole Beasley, Ryan Switzer, and Allen Hurns. This type of instability at wide receiver can stunt a young quarterback’s growth.
The road to tight end purgatory is littered with Jason Witten’s replacements. He has withstood Dallas drafting his heir apparent, as he kept churning out fantasy production. Now he is 36 and eroding physically at this point in his career. Without a clear number one receiver, Dallas could be an excellent spot for a tight end to land on day two of the draft.
Dallas sits at the 19th pick of the NFL Draft, and are likely in the market for one of D.J. Moore, Courtland Sutton, or Calvin Ridley with the pick. Whichever receiver lands in Dallas is expected to see the opportunity for a substantial workload in their rookie season.
On defense, Dallas finished as PFF’s 25th run defense but were fifth in pass rush and 14th in pass coverage. Dallas could use linebacker help with Sean Lee aging and could upgrade linebacker and defensive line.
Picks: No. 32, No 130 (via MIN), No. 132, No. 169, No. 206, No. 250
Needs: RB, Edge, OL, TE
The defending champions have few needs, and any picks at skill positions are likely luxury picks. They have quarterback set with Carson Wentz on the mend and Nick Foles as insurance. Philadelphia is also strong at wide receiver with Alshon Jeffrey, Nelson Agholor, and Mike Wallace as their top trio, and at tight end with Zach Ertz. Trey Burton left in free agency, which could create a landing spot for a developmental tight end.
There has been a lot of smoke connecting Derrius Guice with Philadelphia. This is a great opportunity for a rookie back, despite what looks like a crowded backfield.
The Eagles have done well Michael Bennett to an already stout defense. While Philadelphia had an intense pass rush all season, their defensive line is aging, and Chris Long continues to flirt with retirement. A long-term speed edge rusher later in the draft is a potential option.
Picks: No. 13, No. 44, No. 109 (SF via DEN), No. 142 (via DEN), No. 163 (ATL via DEN), N0. 205 (NE via CLE), No. 231, No 241 (via LA)
Needs: CB, DL, RB
The Washington football team is in an interesting spot before the draft. They acquired Alex Smith acquired via trade with Kansas City and signed him to an extension. Under contract through 2022, Washington has a stable starter for the foreseeable position. The rest of the skill positions are filled with questions.
The running back position has Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley, and Chris Thompson. Perine fell into day three last season and entered the Jay Gruden doghouse early with some fumbles. He played well for a stretch late in the season, but there is little allegiance in draft capital and Washington has talked about addressing the position.
Rob Kelley is just a guy, but the coaching staff has some allegiance to him, while Chris Thompson is a receiving and satellite back. There is potential for Washington to take a pick in the first two days of the draft and for that back to develop a full three-down role in their first season.
The receiver position is also interesting. Josh Doctson enters a crucial third season with an inconsistent track record. Washington also added Paul Richardson to go with Jamison Crowder, but there is not a real number one receiver on the roster at this point. Washington could be a player for a later day two or day three receiver.
Washington has a dependable veteran in Vernon Davis to pair with the oft-injured Jordan Reed. Washington is unlikely to address the position with a premium pick but could add a player later on day three.
On the defensive side, Washington was the worst team against the run according to PFF. Washington added Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson in the first two rounds last season to improve their edge. Allen was injured and limited to five games while Anderson had a quiet season. Ziggy Hood was worst DT/NT according to PFF, so an upgrade is crucial in the interior of the defense. Washington also lost Kendall Fuller in the Alex Smith trade, so they may look to add a corner.
Jordan McNamara is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jordan, check out his archive and follow him @McNamaraDynasty.