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2011 NFL Draft Recap - NFC East
John Tuvey
May 17, 2011
 

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DALLAS COWBOYS

NEEDS FILLED — The Cowboys hit two of their three biggest needs right out of the gate, securing future franchise left tackle Tyron Smith in Round One and following up with pass-rushing linebacker Bruce Carter in Round Two. Though they didn’t address the cornerback position until Round 5, they scored a solid value in Josh Thomas at 5.12.

NEEDS IGNORED — The back end of the secondary is a concern in Dallas, but by passing on safeties with all eight of their picks the Cowboys are apparently saying they’re comfortable with Barry Church and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah holding down the fort.

BEST PICK — Smith may not be the most pro-ready tackle, but he’s young and expected to mature into a fixture on the left side. Thomas was a good value in the fifth round as well.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY — Dallas may wind up regretting that they passed on Prince Amukamara in the first round; at least as a Giant they’ll get to see him twice a year to help make that decision.

FANTASY RAMIFICATIONS — The Cowboys added only two “skill” position players in this draft. DeMarco Murray (3.7) enters a crowded running back picture, but he brings pass-catching skills to the table and could move into a relevant role if Marion Barber is released and Felix Jones gets hurt again. Dwayne Harris (6.11) was a good value pick who would stand to benefit if Sam Hurd leaves via free agency, Roy Williams continues to underachieve, and Dez Bryant... well, just keeps on being a knothead.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

NEEDS FILLED — Washington went for the quantity approach to its need at wide receiver and found significant value in Leonard Hankerson (3.15), Niles Paul (5.24), and Aldrick Robinson (6.13). They also snagged an edge rusher in Ryan Kerrigan and an interior plugger in Jarvis Jenkins.

NEEDS IGNORED — With Donovan McNabb likely to be traded or released and Rex Grossman a free agent, John Beck is still atop the quarterback depth chart in Washington.

BEST PICK — Apparently the Redskins’ brain trust swiped Dan Snyder’s key to the draft room; instead of selling picks the Skins were buyers and wound up with 12 selections for the weekend. They also found value throughout their board, most notably with Hankerson--a first-rounder in some mocks and second-rounder in most others--in the middle of the third round.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY — Instead of drafting Blaine Gabbert with the 10th overall selection, the Redskins traded back with the Jaguars and stockpiled picks. It’s a different approach for Washington, but if they’re able to answer their quarterback question from a different direction no one will remember they had a shot at Gabbert.

FANTASY RAMIFICATIONS — Santana Moss is a free agent, meaning Hankerson will contend with the likes of Anthony Armstrong, Brandon Banks, and Roydell Williams for a starting receiver slot. Paul and Robinson should also be in the mix for a rotational spot as well. And don’t overlook fourth-round selection Roy Helu, who has good size, outstanding speed, and the one-cut-and-go style Mike Shanahan loves in his running backs. He’ll push Keiland Williams for at least a share of the touches and could usurp Ryan Torain as the starter.

NEW YORK GIANTS

NEEDS FILLED — The Giants had some unexpected fortune on the draft board, so they didn’t really start addressing needs until Day Three. Still, they checked off boxes and found value in offensive tackle James Brewer (4.20), linebacker Greg Jones (6.20), and running back Da’Rel Scott (7.18).

NEEDS IGNORED — As noted above, New York didn’t tackle a couple of their biggest needs—specifically linebacker and running back—until 200 picks were off the board. Whether they waited too long remains to be seen.

BEST PICK — Prince Amukamara was expected to go off the board as high as sixth or seventh, so him dropping to the G-Men at 19 was a stunner--but also a windfall for the Giants. Second-round selection Marvin Austin also had a first-round grade on many boards, but off-the-field concerns dropped him to 2.20; Tom Coughlin’s locker room should help keep him in line.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY — Austin is a solid pick-up, but if the Giants are truly thinking about going a different direction than a Brandon Jacobs/Ahmad Bradshaw backfield tandem they could have used that pick on just about any back in this class--most notably Mikel Leshoure (who went 2.25) or Daniel Thomas (who went 2.30).

FANTASY RAMIFICATIONS — Third-round pick Jerrel Jernigan should help immediately in the return game, but unless both Steve Smith and Derek Hagan leave via free agency he’ll have to fight for a relevant spot in the receiver rotation. Scott could wind up with a share of the carries if Bradshaw opts for free agency, but he’s no lock to leapfrog D.J. Ware.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

NEEDS FILLED — Philly wanted to solidify the interior of their offensive line, and they believe they did so both early (Danny Watkins at 1.23) and late (Julian Vandervelde at 5.30). They also came into the draft looking for help in the back seven defensively and picked up safety Jaiquawn Jarrett (2.22), cornerback Curtis Marsh (3.26), and linebackers Casey Matthews (4.19) and Greg Lloyd (7.34).

NEEDS IGNORED — The Eagles were expected to add some defensive line help, particularly at end, but they appear set to role with their current lineup--which includes a pair of picks from last year’s draft, Brandon Graham and Ricky Sapp.

BEST PICK — Watkins will start immediately for the Eagles and brings stability to an area that’s been a real trouble spot the past two postseasons. Matthews could also push for immediate playing time; he isn’t his brother, but he’s far more than just riding coattails.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY — Passing on cornerback Jimmy Smith in the first round, especially with Watkins still on the board, is forgivable. However, the Eagles opted to reach slightly for a safety rather than take Brandon Harris in the second round and by the time they pulled the trigger on Marsh in the third four more corners had gone off the board.

FANTASY RAMIFICATIONS — Fifth-round pick Dion Lewis could spell LeSean McCoy, but Michael Vick is already taking a bite out of the running backs’ fantasy points. The biggest rookie addition could be kicker Alex Henery (4.23), who is expected to replace free agent David Akers; all the Eagles provided for Akers last year was the opportunity to lead the NFL in scoring.

NFC North  |  NFC South  |  NFC East  |  NFC West  |  AFC North  |  AFC South  |  AFC East  |  AFC West


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