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NFL Draft

NFC East Draft Preview: Team Position Needs and Draft Pick Summary

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NFC East Draft Preview: Team position needs and draft pick summary
Photo credit: Sports Illustrated / si.com

Taking a look at all NFC East team needs and draft capital heading into the last week before the 2017 NFL draft in Philadelphia.

Dallas Cowboys - Top 5 needs: CB, DE, S, RT, TE

The Cowboys front office has made no secret about the focus being on the defensive side of the ball in this draft. That would certainly address the most obvious needs, despite a recent focus on drafting the best player available.

I’m sure you probably have your own opinion on who the Cowboys should draft by now, but I’ll save mine for another time. As for now, let’s just hope these quarterbacks and running backs push talented players down.

Current Draft Capital:

  1. Round 1, Pick 28
  2. Round 2, Pick 60
  3. Round 3, Pick 92
  4. Round 4, Pick 133
  5. Round 6, Pick 211
  6. Round 7, Pick 228 (from Buffalo in Sanchez deal)
  7. Round 7, Pick 246

Seven picks in all, with three in the top 100 and no fifth round pick.

New York Giants - Top 5 needs: OT, LB, QB, RB, CB

Although New York has arguably the best wide receiver corps in the division, they could be looking to upgrade the rest of their offense. Ereck Flowers has not met expectations, Eli Manning’s arm looked tired last season, and the Giants have been searching for an answer at running back for quite some time.

Aside from that, they could use a run stopping LB *cough Zeke cough* to go with their monstrous defensive line and an upgrade at cornerback to compliment Landon Collins' performance in the defensive backfield.

Current Draft Capital:

  1. Round 1, Pick 23
  2. Round 2, Pick 55
  3. Round 3, Pick 87
  4. Round 4, Pick 140
  5. Round 5, Pick 167
  6. Round 6, Pick 207
  7. Round 7, Pick 241

Seven picks in total, with three in the top 100.

Philadelphia Eagles - Top 5 needs: WR, CB, RB, DE, LB

In year two of the Carson Wentz era the Eagles will be looking to upgrade the skill position players around him on offense. Even with signing Alshon Jeffery to a one year deal, wide receiver remains the top priority on a team that wants to showcase their second overall pick.

Combine Ryan Mathews’ injury concerns with an aging Darren Sproles and a deep running back draft and you can bet your bottom dollar the Eagles will draft someone to add to their backfield.

Additionally, they’re going to need some fresh meat for Dez Bryant to toast at cornerback. Adding some talent for Jim Schwartz to utilize is fairly important. Plenty to fix when you finish last in the division. Still, the future is bright in Philly with a quarterback seemingly in place for the next decade.

Current Draft Capital:

  1. Round 1, Pick 14 (from Minnesota)
  2. Round 2, Pick 43
  3. Round 3, Pick 99
  4. Round 4, Pick 118
  5. Round 4, Pick 139
  6. Round 5, Pick 155
  7. Round 6, Pick 194
  8. Round 7, Pick 230

Eight picks, three in the top 100.

Washington Redskins - Top 5 needs: LB, RB, DL, S, QB

The Redskins defense ranked 25th in passing yards allowed and 24th in rushing yards allowed, so naturally they'll look to upgrade at every level. Su’a Cravens had a great rookie season but they could still be looking for a long-term solution beside him.

Matt Jones is not an answer in the backfield.

A commanding presence in the middle of the defense – either a linebacker or defensive tackle – would go a long way in improving a below average defense. The Kirk Cousins situation is still in flex, someone to push him would help negotiations. Or make him mad enough to spitefully pull a Brock Osweiler.

Current Draft Capital:

  1. Round 1, Pick 17
  2. Round 2, Pick 49
  3. Round 3, Pick 81
  4. Round 4, Pick 114 (from Jets)
  5. Round 4, Pick 123
  6. Round 5, Pick 154 (from Saints)
  7. Round 6, Pick 201
  8. Round 6, Pick 209 (from Texans)
  9. Round 7, Pick 220 (from 49ers)
  10. Round 7, Pick 235

Ten picks, three in the top 100.



A third generation Dallas Cowboys fan currently residing in Alaska. I still manage to fire up the charcoals in below zero temperatures to get ready for 9:00 a.m. Sunday games. Father of two young Cowboys fans. An accountant by day, a photographer and baker by night.

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft Target: South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel

Our search for a new pass catcher for the Cowboys in this years' draft class continues, this time with a wide receiver.

South Carolina's Deebo Samuel put himself on the map with a strong Sophomore season, but fell off a bit due to a severe leg injury early in 2017. After a strong 2018 campaign, and an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, Samuel has played himself back into early Day Two draft discussions.

The Player

I don't know that anyone "won" Senior Bowl week more than Deebo Samuel did this January. Samuel, who had to deal with some poor quarterback play throughout his college career, didn't get much of a break in that department either at the Senior Bowl. But, he did show out every day at practice, and seemed to go viral on Twitter at least once a day.

During his actual collegiate season, Samuel finished with 882 yards and 11 touchdowns on 62 catches, solid production especially coming off an injury and playing in a limited offense. Initially in the NFL, Samuel is going to make his money in the slot. He's a shifty yet explosive receiver type than can quickly beat defenders with his speed. He's not the speedster than someone like Marquise Brown is, but he is explosive enough in his own right, especially in terms of short-area quickness.

Samuel isn't someone who will go up and grab the ball consistently, or even make up for inaccurate throws as often as some others might be able to. But he does have reliable hands, and his ability to get open quickly and create separation should give someone like Dak Prescott easy windows to find him in for completions.

What makes Deebo Samuel so fun for me to watch, though, is his ability after the catch. Despite his lack of size, Samuel is tough as nails, and rarely defers out of bounds or avoids contact. He's built well enough to withstand that contact as well, and when he gets free, he's hard to catch and bring down.

The Fit

Drafting Deebo Samuel 58th overall would be a heck of a haul for the Dallas Cowboys. In need of another playmaker in the passing game, the Cowboys could make immediate use of Samuel's talents in 2019, specifically as a slot receiver.

As has been mentioned ad nauseam, it seems unlikely that Cole Beasley will be returning to the team this season, which makes the need for a slot wide-out that much greater. Samuel has big play ability from the slot already, and has traits which project him to potentially work outside as well. If he tests well enough at the combine, reps on the outside could very well be in his future.

Samuel should be on every Cowboys fans' shortlist of draft targets in the second round this year.



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NFL Draft

3 Potential Day 2 Tight End Prospects for the Dallas Cowboys

Brian Martin

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3 Potential Day 2 Tight End Prospects for the Dallas Cowboys

By now it's no secret the Dallas Cowboys don't have a first-round draft pick in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft. The Amari Cooper trade took care of that, meaning sitting through the entire Day 1 could be a little tiresome for us fans. But, Day 2 of the draft could get really interesting for the Cowboys, especially as it pertains to the players/positions they could target.

Today, I wanted to take a look at a few of the Day 2 tight end prospects the Dallas Cowboys could be interested in. This would be the second tier of TEs behind the likes of T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant, and Irv Smith, all of which should be gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock at 58th overall in the second round.

I really believe that if the Dallas Cowboys plan on drafting a starting caliber tight end in this year's draft class they are going to have to do it with either their second or third round selection. The TEs available beyond that point probably aren't much of an upgrade over Blake Jarwin or Dalton Schultz, which is praise in itself about the upside of the young TEs they currently have on the roster.

With all of that in mind, I put together a list of three tight ends I would personally target on Day 2 if I were the Cowboys. I tried to identify what they typically look for in a starting TE (size, speed, athleticism), while also taking into account the ones that are are versatile enough to contribute on all three downs in both the running and passing game.

Isaac Nauta, Georgia

Isaac Nauta

Georgia TE Isaac Nauta

Isaac Nauta is a former five-star recruit who never really lived up to his billing during his time with the Georgia Bulldogs. He is a top-notch blocker both in line and when split out wide, but due to the Bulldogs run heavy offense he never really developed into the pass catcher many envisioned him becoming. He possesses good speed and terrific hands to be a threat in the passing game though, even if he doesn't show a lot of separation ability on film.

Nauta looks and plays like a prototypical Dallas Cowboys tight end. He has the desired size (6'4", 246), athleticism, and skill set to step in and be the Cowboys TE1 as a rookie. His blocking ability alone will get him on the field early, but he also shows enough pass catching ability to be a threat in the passing game as well. Overall, Nauta is a pro-ready three down TE who is a high floor prospect with very little downside.

Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M

Jace Sternberger

Texas A&M TE Jace Sternberger

Jace Sternberger is a former three-star recruit and the definition of a one-year wonder. He was basically a complete unknown before the 2018 season and had just one catch for 5 yards during his two years at Kansas before deciding to transfer to JUCO. He didn't fare much better at Northern Oklahoma A&M, but Jimbo Fisher thought enough of him to bring him aboard a Texas A&M, essentially turning him into an All-American and first team All-SEC.

Sternberger is almost the exact opposite of Isaac Nauta, but still has the desired traits the Dallas Cowboys look for in their tight ends. Unlike Nauta, Sternberger is much more accomplished as a passing threat. He runs and moves like a big wide receiver and possesses good separation ability. Due to his size (6'4", 250) and athletic ability he is difficult to bring down after the catch as well. He's not as accomplished as a blocker as Nauta, but he shows good technique and will improve in time with added strength. He has the ability to be the Cowboys TE1 as a rookie.

Dawson Knox, Ole Miss

Dawson Knox

Ole Miss TE Dawson Knox

Dawson Knox is a former walk-on quarterback at Ole Miss, but spent the last two years playing tight end for the Rebels. He is one of the more difficult tight ends to evaluate in this draft class due to the unorthodox offense he played in and his usage in the system, but may actually be more pro-ready than many of us believe. He does have the size (6'4", 250), speed, and natural hands to be a complete three-down TE in the NFL and reminds me a little bit of George Kittle when he was entering the league.

Knox is still pretty raw as a player, but moldable and he has the upside to be one of the best tight ends in this entire draft class. He could probably compete to be the Dallas Cowboys TE1 as a rookie, but it might be better for him to be in a timeshare of sorts while he develops his God-given talent. Nevertheless, I have a hard time seeing him making it out of Day 2 of the draft, especially after he puts on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine. His talent might be too much for the Cowboys to pass up.



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NFL Draft

Could Cowboys Take Another 2nd Round Risk On DT Jeffery Simmons?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Could Cowboys Take Another 2nd Round Risk On DT Jeffery Simmons?

The Dallas Cowboys have taken a few risks when on the clock in the second round of the NFL Draft in recent years. Randy Gregory and Jaylon Smith, both important starters on defense, were drafted to the Cowboys after they went down on many teams' draft boards. In 2019, they'll have the opportunity to take yet another risk. Recently, one of the best defensive tackles in this year's class, Jeffery Simmons, suffered a torn ACL while going through a drill during his workout in Florida.

Simmons took to Twitter to share the unfortunate news that will drastically affect his draft stock only a couple of months before the Draft.

Jeffery Simmons on Twitter

Jeffery Simmons on Twitter

https://t.co/0NAzPv0bvY

Before the injury, Jeffery Simmons was seen as a top draft prospect. Some even envisioned him being drafted in the top 10. As a 21-year old defensive tackle from Mississippi State, Simmons had an impressive career during his time in college football. In three seasons he managed to rack up 157 tackles and seven sacks.

If one thing is clear it's that the Mississippi State product will be an impact player when he gets on the field on Sundays. His quick reaction on the get-off will still interest a lot of teams despite his injury. A sound defender on the running and passing game, he'll pay big dividends for whichever team decides to pull the trigger on him come April.

Due to their recent second round draft history, I can't help but wonder if the Dallas Cowboys will consider him when they're on the clock in the second round. This year though, there will be a big difference. Pick #58 will be the first time the Cowboys will be on the clock in this year's draft after trading away their first rounder for Amari Cooper last year.

It will be tough for them to wait until the third round to pick a player they could actually put on the field for the 2019 season. Specially considering the fact that they're a football team with title aspirations this year. Despite their history and the fact that Simmons will be one hell of a pro, I believe the team will not want to make such a pick in the second without a first round selection.

The team has a big need at DT, although Antwaun Woods and Maliek Collins were very serviceable in 2018. We'll see how tempted they are if Jeffery Simmons is still on the board when they're on the clock.

Tell me what you think about "Could Cowboys Take Another 2nd Round Risk On DT Jeffery Simmons?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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