Thursday, April 19, 2012

2012 Draft Preview: NFC East

With Free Agency pretty much wrapped up, the NFL Draft is quickly approaching once again. As we have done in the past, we're going to take a quick look at the other teams in the league and preview their team needs and how they will likely approach the Draft. Today we take a look at the NFC East.

For reference, we compiled the draft picks each team currently has. Compensatory picks are listed in parentheses.

2011 Record: 9-7
NFC East Champion, Super Bowl XLVI Champion

Draft Picks: 32, 63, 94, 127, (131), 167, 201, 239

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From a statistical perspective, the Giants had a very unimpressive 2011 season. They were 19th in run defense, 29th in pass defense, and 32nd in rushing offense. However, the only thing that really mattered is that this team ended the season hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Eli Manning is an elite quarterback and the Giants defensive front is the best 4-3 front in the game. The Giants aren't without needs, specifically in front of Eli Manning to provide a bit more protection and keep him from getting slaughtered while delivering passes. A lot of mocks have the Giants looking at tight ends, specifically Stanford's Coby Fleener, who is easily the best TE in the class. He would provide Eli another yet weapon on offense and help draw the eyes of the safeties down the middle, taking some pressure off Nicks and Cruz.

2011 Record: 8-8

Draft Picks: 14, 45, 81, 113, (135), 152, 186, 222

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On paper, this looks like a team that should be competing in the playoffs. But injuries and late-game collapses have been the Achilles Heel of "America's Team" for the better part of this decade. Tony Romo has a plethora of weapons on offense with Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten. They were in the top 10 in the league in both run defense and sacks, led by OLB DeMarcus Ware. However, their secondary is downright awful, which has led many to speculate that the Cowboys will target Alabama safety Mark Barron. The Cowboys could also look to address their offensive line with Stanford guard David DeCastro or tackle Jonathan Martin. The Cowboys will have a lot of options with their first round pick and might even hear some offers from teams looking to move up ahead of Philly and the Jets.

2011 Record: 8-8

Draft Picks: 15, 46, 51, 88, 114, 153, 172, 194, 200

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What was supposed to be the "Dream Team" came crashing down to earth almost before the season started. The Steelers torched them in the preseason on the strength of a strong interior rushing game. While usually you can't put too much stock in what happens in the preseason, the Eagles weakness in the middle of the defense was apparent from the start and carried over into the regular season. Their offense is explosive and has playmakers all over the field, as long as Michael Vick stays healthy. The Eagles need help on the interior of their defense. Luckily, the first round is stacked with talent all the way down the middle. There are 5 DT's capable of being taken in the first round (Fletcher Cox, Dontari Poe, Devon Still, Michael Brockers, and Jerel Worthy), 2 ILBs (Luke Kuechly, Dont'a Hightower), and 1 safety (Mark Barron). The Eagles should be able to find someone to help improve their run defense.

2011 Record: 5-11

Draft Picks: 2, 69, 102, 109, 141, 173, 213

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