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NFL Draft: Team Needs - NFC East
John Tuvey
April 2, 2008
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Dallas Cowboys

Primary Needs
What the Cowboys need most is a restraining order for Jessica Simpson and a way to win a first-round playoff game. The former won’t be available on draft day, but two first-round picks could be enough to help Dallas accomplish the latter. With Julius Jones in Seattle the Cowboys want a complement to Marion Barber in their backfield. Dallas could also stand to get younger at the wide receiver position, perhaps even seeking someone talented enough to challenge Patrick Crayton and Terry Glenn for a starting gig. And the secondary would love to add enough speed to compensate for linebacker-disguised-as-safety Roy Williams.

Fantasy Impact
There is potential for two Cowboy picks to walk off their respective college campuses and into a productive fantasy role. While Barber can be dominant Dallas doesn’t want 16 games of 25 carries to wear him down for the postseason, and Jerry Jones has had his eye on a pair of runners who share his Arkansas allegiance. Glenn is on the downslope of his career and Crayton showed flashes but didn’t make anyone forget Terrell Owens was on the other side; another weapon for Tony Romo might be enough to get his head off the beach bunnies in Cabo and back in the huddle in Big D.

Potential Targets
That Jones covets Darren McFadden is the worst-kept secret this side of Romo’s love life. Barring a trade up using at least the Cowboys’ two first-rounders, however, he may have to settle for Razorback running mate Felix Jones—a pretty nice consolation prize. Several quality receivers should still be on the board late in round one, giving Dallas its pick between Devin Thomas of Michigan State, DeSean Jackson of Cal, and LSU’s Early Doucet. If speed is what the Cowboys want in their secondary they’ll take a long look at Penn State’s Justin King and Tracy Porter of Indiana.

New York Giants

Primary Needs
The defending Super Bowl champs aren’t without holes, though there is little of a glaring nature to be addressed. The most pressing needs fall on the defensive side of the ball, where Sammy Knight may not be enough to replace Gibril Wilson at safety and the linebacking corps could stand some depth. The G-Men’s much-maligned offensive line held up quite well through the postseason but wouldn’t be averse to some understudy help as well. 

Fantasy Impact
Giant wideouts aren’t without their questions, but it’s unlikely they’ll add anyone who will leapfrog Steve Smith and David Tyree to become a fantasy factor. The backfield is loaded and Big Blue found a quality backup to Jeremy Shockey last season. That doesn’t leave much room for a fantasy impact in Gotham’s lineup.

Potential Targets
The Giants will be hard-pressed to duplicate the amazing success of last year’s draft class, but with the luxury of drafting for talent instead of need it would be foolish to bet against them. New York could snap up Penn State’s Dan Connor if he’s available at the end of round one, but if a quality cornerback such as Mike Jenkins of South Florida falls they may go that direction. Defensive backs such as Patrick Lee of Auburn and Tyrell Johnson of Arkansas State should be available in the middle rounds, and if the Giants do go shopping for a wideout it will likely be later if a value like Coastal Carolina’s Jerome Simpson or Paul Hubbard of Wisconsin remains on the board. 

Philadelphia Eagles

Primary Needs
Philly addressed two of its largest perceived needs—tight end and cornerback—by franchising L.J. Smith and signing free agent Asante Samuel. Next up? How about a defensive end to replace the pass rush Jevon Kearse gave them in between injuries, more corner depth (especially if Lito Sheppard is on his way out), and a go-to wide receiver for Donovan McNabb… and, ultimately, Kevin Kolb. Any corners and receivers the Eagles look at should also bring return skills to the table so Philly doesn’t have to use Brian Westbrook in that role.

Fantasy Impact
A pure pass rusher could step into Philly’s defense and rack up some IDP-friendly numbers, but there’s less likely to be much fantasy impact on the other side of the ball. It’s possible that the Eagles will draft a wide receiver capable of blowing by not only opposing corners but also Reggie Brown and Hank Baskett on the depth chart. But truth be told, the primary contribution the Eagles will want from a wideout this year is in the return game.

Potential Targets
Defensive ends such as Derrick Harvey, Philip Merling, and Calais Campbell are most certainly on the Philadelphia radar. However, a receiver or corner with return skills—Cal’s DeSean Jackson or Michigan State’s Devin Thomas, for example—might trump a pass-rusher. More likely is that Philly goes defensive early, then comes back with a receiver/returner such as Appalachian State’s Dexter Jackson or Jordy Nelson from Kansas State in the middle rounds.

Washington Redskins

Primary Needs
Wait, the Redskins actually have draft picks? Not only have they retained six of their original seven selections, the Skins actually added three compensatory picks by virtue of a net loss in free agency—and we’re not just talking about Danny Snyder’s pocketbook. So Washington can actually use these two days at the end of April to add depth to an offensive line ravaged by injury last season, augment their overpaid, underproductive receiving corps, upgrade their pass rush, and fill a gap in their secondary created by the tragic loss of Sean Taylor.

Fantasy Impact
Barring another spate of injuries it’s unlikely the Skins will need to force a rookie into their lineup, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The exception might come at receiver, if Washington chooses to add a taller target to Jason Campbell’s arsenal—though such a role would hardly warrant serious fantasy consideration in most redraft leagues.

Potential Targets
It might be unfair to throw Miami safety Kenny Phillips into the Redskins’ secondary in Taylor’s stead, but he should be on the board at No. 21 and there’s no denying Washington could stand to address that position. This draft isn’t top-heavy on receivers; however, there is a collection of talent that the Redskins should be able to tap into in rounds two and three. The emphasis would likely be on size, bringin Indiana’s James Hardy, Kansas State’s Jordy Nelson, and Coastal Carolina’s Jerome Simpson into the picture.


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