The 2017 NFL Draft, which will be held in Philadelphia from April 27 to 29, is now less than three months away. While the NFC East sent two teams to the playoffs last season, neither was able to win a game. The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants should be competitive again next season, while the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins have a little more work to do. Regardless, all four of the NFC East teams must have strong drafts.
Here are the latest mock drafts from various experts and analysts from around the league.
Dallas Cowboys (Pick No. 28) — Defensive End
While the Cowboys had one of their best seasons in years, they lost in the divisional round of the playoffs to the Green Bay Packers. In quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys fans have a lot to be excited about, but the team still needs help on the defensive end of the football.
According to a recent mock draft from Sports Illustrated, the Cowboys could be targeting Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton.
“Even on his worst days, Charlton is a good bet to disrupt a pass play or two simply by unleashing his speed off the edge. The way he closed his college career hinted at the possibility that he could become borderline unblockable.”
Using first-round picks on defensive players is rarely exciting, but the Cowboys need to generate more pressure on the quarterback. While their rushing defense was elite last season, they finished 26th in passing defense. A recent mock draft from NFL agrees, as all four of their experts believe the Cowboys will select a defensive end. While they all agree on the position, each one thinks the Cowboys will target a different player.
- Charles Harris — Defensive End from Missouri
- Solomon Thomas — Defensive End from Stanford
- Derek Barnett — Defensive End from Tennessee
- Taco Charlton — Defensive End from Michigan
Philadelphia Eagles (Pick No. 15) — Running Back or Cornerback
While many thought the Eagles were going to target running back Ezekiel Elliott in last year’s draft, they instead opted for trading up and selecting Carson Wentz. Elliott would have been off the board anyway at the Eagles’ original draft position of No. 8 after a trade with the Dolphins, but there was still a chance they could have selected him at No. 2.
Regardless of the decision, the Eagles still need help at running back. When healthy, Ryan Mathews is one of the most talented running backs in the league, but he cannot seem to stay on the field. At 33-years-old, Darren Sproles still looks as fast as ever, but he is not an every-down player at this point in his career. While the Eagles also need to add a talented wide receiver to their roster, a recent mock draft from Sports Illustrated believes they could target Florida State running back Dalvin Cook.
“The Eagles don’t need a running back as badly as they need a receiver, but Cook would be a steal in mid-Round 1. He does not require much room to be able to take on the distance”
In addition to running back and wide receiver, the Eagles also need help in their secondary. While they are solid at safety, they still cannot seem to put together a solid group of cornerbacks. A recent mock draft from NFL believes the Eagles will indeed take a cornerback, but all four of the analysts have them taking a different player.
- Sidney Jones — Cornerback from Washington
- Teez Tabor — Cornerback from Florida
- Marlon Humphrey — Cornerback from Alabama
- Marshon Lattimore — Cornerback from Ohio State
Washington Redskins (Pick No. 17) — Defensive End/Outside Linebacker
While the Redskins flirted with the playoffs for most of the season, they ultimately ended up missing it at the very end. They need to be better on the defensive end of the football, and a recent mock draft from Sports Illustrated believes they could target Tennessee defensive end/outside linebacker Derek Barnett.
“There is more of a need in Washington for help between the tackles than another edge presence. Barnett, though, is strong enough and active enough to play hand in the dirt up front at times, which would max out how many athletes the Redskins can get on the field in their front seven.”
New York Giants (Pick No. 23) — Offensive Tackle
At 36-years-old, Giants quarterback Eli Manning is still extremely effective, but he needs to be protected. While the Giants finally made it back to the playoffs last season, they lost to the Packers in the opening round. A recent mock draft from Sports Illustrated believes the Giants will target Wisconsin offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk.
“One of the class’s other tight ends (say, David Njoku) would be intriguing here. However, the Giants’ offense can only do so much—no matter the number of weapons—without better line play. Ramczyk is a plug-and-play candidate.”
As the 2017 NFL Draft approaches, many of the players in early mock drafts will be shaken up. Regardless, expect each team to target the positions mentioned above in the first or second round.
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