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Recent Selections: WR Dez Bryant, CB Morris Claiborne, LB Sean Lee, RB DeMarco Murray, & OT Tyron Smith
Recap: Going back three years, Dallas has hit on several early-round picks. However, injuries have prevented many of their players from fulfilling their full potential. Most notably, Bryant, Murray, and Lee have all missed games in their short careers. The Cowboys would get a significant boost from all three playing 16 games in a season. The biggest red flag from Dallas’ drafting is the lack of depth. The Cowboys miss on several late-round picks, while other teams are able to pluck a starter or two.
Best Scenario: S Kenny Vaccaro, C Barrett Jones, & OT Reid Fragel
Draft Preview: Despite coming through with several skill players, general manager Jerry Jones has failed to put forth a quality offensive line. Safety is also a major need. While this is a deep draft at safety, it’s hard to imagine Vaccaro falling beyond the eighteenth pick. New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has routinely had solid safety play and Vaccaro could serve as the last line of defense in his defense. In addition, you can grab starting offensive lineman in rounds two and three. Jones immediately starts at center and Fragel could push right tackle Doug Free. Regardless of which priority comes first, Dallas needs to walk away with a safety and a couple of offensive lineman.
Recent Selections: CB Prince Amukamara, DT Marvin Austin, DT Linval Joseph, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, & RB David Wilson
Recap: One of the most respected general managers in football, JPP is Jerry Reese’s career highlight. He was a value pick in 2010, but developed into one of the most feared players in the NFL en route to leading New York to their second Super Bowl championship in five seasons. Joseph, who is also apart of the ‘10 class, is a key cog on the defensive line. Amukamara and Wilson are still wild cards, but this coming season is crucial for both players.
Best Scenario: OT D.J. Fluker, LB Khaseem Greene, & CB David Amerson
Draft Preview: Look for the Giants to address their offensive line early. They’ll have an excellent opportunity to add Fluker with the No. 19 pick. The Alabama right tackle is a massive mauler that could step in and start immediately. Defense would be the focus of their second and third picks. Greene is immensely productive and gives the Giants an athletic linebacker to counter Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III. There’s currently a lack of buzz about Amerson. He entered ‘12 with high expectations, but his play tailored off, so he represents excellent value in round three.
Recent Selections: S Nate Allen, DT Fletcher Cox, DE Brandon Graham, & OG Danny Watkins
Recap: You want to know why the Eagles fired Andy Reid. Just look at some of Philadelphia’s recent top picks. Allen, Graham, and Watkins are all certifiable busts, though Graham made strides last year. He’s expecting to transition to rush linebacker next season, which might be his ideal position anyway, so perhaps there‘s still hope. The jury remains out on Cox, who was last year’s first pick, but the early returns look good.
Best Scenario: DT Star Lotulelei & QB E.J. Manuel
Draft Preview: After significantly addressing their secondary via free agency, Philadelphia enters the draft needing to upgrade both their offensive and defensive lines. Drafting Lotulelei with the No. 4 pick takes care of the latter, though Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher makes sense, too. All hype may come from their second pick. They may be forded the opportunity to add their quarterback of the future. With good accuracy, athleticism, and arguably the quickest release in the draft, Manuel’s a great fit for head coach Chip Kelly’s quick-thinking offense. It’s such an ideal fit that it’d be hard to fault Philadelphia for moving back into round one with a package of picks No. 35 and No. 67.
Recent Selections: QB Robert Griffin III, DT Jarvis Jenkins, DE/OLB Ryan Kerrigan, & OT Trent Williams
Recap: The Redskins went all-in with the selection of RG3 and the results look great early. The reigning offensive rookie of the year led Washington to their first division championship since 1999, and has the city anticipating great things in the future. Williams has provided solid production and has the task of keeping RG3 upright (as long as he stays in the pocket). The Redskins also got production from Kerrigan and Jenkins on the defensive side of the ball. Overall, head coach Mike Shanahan has significantly upgraded the talent pool in Washington since taking over in 2010.
Best Scenario: CB Jordan Poyer & WR Markus Wheaton
Draft Preview: Coming away with a starting cornerback and wide receiver is a priority in Washington. All they have to do is turn to one school to accomplish their objective. Both Oregon State standouts took advantage of the pre-draft process with a strong Senior Bowl week. Poyer’s a physical corner with excellent ball skills (7 interceptions last year). Wheaton is somewhat overlooked because second and third-round valued wide receivers litter this draft. He’s a fantastic route runner, though, capable of stretching the field.