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NFC East QB Picture Could Look Very Different After the Draft

Mauricio Rodriguez

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NFC East QB Picture Could Look Very Different After the Draft

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Draft Day. One of the most wild days in the NFL calendar that surprises us year after year. Fake storylines and rumors fill our social media feeds, surprising trades ruin every Mock Draft available, and things that we believe to be true change at the last second. Of course, one of the most intriguing things to watch during the Draft is the search from a handful of teams for a franchise quarterback.

While the Dallas Cowboys are worried about paying their guy, a couple of teams in their division are concerned about getting a quarterback for the future. The New York Giants should be ready to prepare for life after Eli Manning and the Washington Redskins need to find an exciting young player if they don't want to depend on Case Keenum and/or Colt McCoy.

This year's QB class doesn't look as good as last year's, but there are a few intriguing prospects worth considering. Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) is expected to go to Arizona at the first pick but he isn't the only QB expected to be drafted in the first round. Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), Drew Lock (Missouri) and Daniel Jones (Duke) have all made appearances in many first round mock drafts.

So what could the Redskins and Giants do to change how the four starting quarterbacks of the division look like?

NFC East QB Picture Could Look Very Different After the Draft 1

Duke QB Daniel Jones (Grant Halverson / Getty Images)

New York Giants

Holding the sixth overall pick in today's NFL Draft, the Giants look like the perfect candidate to draft a quarterback. Last year, they had a similar opportunity sitting at number two but decided to go for the surefire prospect in RB Saquon Barkley. A year later, fans and analysts still question whether that was the right call or not. They took a top-tier player but didn't address the most important position in football. The bottom line is Barkley killed it in his first year in the NFL and even won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

This year though, it could be time for them to stop passing on quarterbacks and take advantage of their position in the Draft. The name that's been the most linked to the Giants is Dwayne Haskins. Matt Miller from Bleacher Report has even said the Giants have done more work on him than any other team out there. A big surprise in the mock draft universe came a few days ago when Daniel Jeremiah mocked Daniel Jones at #6 to the Giants instead of Haskins.

The Giants could not have an easy task ahead of them if they do want Haskins. The Oakland Raiders at #4 are a threat to draft a QB along with many other teams that could be willing to trade up for the Ohio Sate product. Don't be surprised if the Giants need to move up to secure their guy.

The question remains: Does Giants GM Dave Gettleman want to be aggressive and draft a signal-caller even with Eli Manning still playing? Some say he will, some say he won't. We'll have to wait and see.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins are far more intriguing than the Giants. First of all, they hold the 15th pick. If they want to draft a first round quarterback, chances are they'll be forced to trade up. Although every year we think quarterbacks won't go early, there's a reason why most are taken by teams that traded up to get in position.

Grant Paulsen on Twitter

Just talked to a Redskins source who told me Dan Snyder has "taken over the first round of the draft." The last time that happened the Redskins traded two future No. 1's and a No. 2 to move up for Robert Griffin.

If the Raiders end up pulling a big-time trade during the Draft to get into the Top 5, we know what position they'll be looking at. Whether it's Haskins at the top of the round or Lock or Jones a bit later, make no mistake about it. The Redskins could be searching for a QB. Keenum isn't the answer and neither is McCoy. With Alex Smith's playing career being in question, looking for a quarterback only makes sense.

Then there's Josh Rosen. Assuming the Cardinals do what has been expected all along and take Murray, Rosen is going to get traded. Both the Giants and the Redskins could be among the potential destinations for the 2018 first-round pick.

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The Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys are the favorites to be the contenders within the NFC East division. However, we can't ignore the fact that the Redskins were doing pretty well prior to Alex Smith's injury in 2018. The Giants didn't do well, but they've gone a long way in improving their offensive line and count with a great running back in Saquon. Both teams could look very different with a change at QB.

If they do end up drafting a rookie QB or going after Josh Rosen, the NFC East QB picture could become one of the most intriguing and promising ones in the entire NFL. Then we'd be talking about one of the most competitive divisions in the league.

Tell me what you think about "NFC East QB Picture Could Look Very Different After the Draft" 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!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @MauNFL.

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PFF Ranks Cowboys Run Defense 13th In The NFL

Kevin Brady

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Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith

The Cowboys duo of young linebackers took the NFL by storm in 2018.

Rookie Leighton Vander Esch and former second round pick Jaylon Smith played well above expectations, as for the first time in years Dallas did not face a significant drop off in defensive production when Sean Lee was out and injured.

These young linebackers are the cornerstone of a run defense which should be among the league's best going forward, and Pro Football Focus agrees. Well, somewhat agrees.

PFF ranked all 32 run defenses heading into the 2019 season, slotting the Cowboys 13th overall. Better than half the league, but not quite top 10.

https://twitter.com/PFF_Cowboys/status/1151155572059717632

PFF's reasoning behind this ranking certainly makes sense, as they credit the young linebacker duo without mentioning much of what will be in front of them helping to stop opposing running games.

"The Cowboys’ run defense begins and ends with the league’s best young linebacker duo. Leighton Vander Esch ranked third in run-stop percentage as a rookie while Jaylon Smith checked in at 29th."

The playoff loss in Los Angeles has left a bad taste about the Cowboys' interior defensive line in a lot of mouths, but I do think they've improved the unit this offseason. Signing Christian Covington and drafting Trysten Hill was a nice start to do so, but having Maliek Collins healthy and Antwaun Woods back for a full season will also go a long way.

Interestingly enough, two of the Cowboys divisional foes came in ranked above them on this list. Washington was slotted as the 12th best run defense, while Philadelphia was placed at number 8. Both teams' units deserve respect, of course, but this further highlights how difficult it could be to run the ball in the NFC East this season.

While I hate simply throwing this term around, analytics suggest that passing is what wins games in the NFL. Passing and stopping the pass, I should say.

With strong run defenses in their division, the Cowboys will need to maximize their passing game efficiency if they want to repeat as NFC East champions.



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3 Reasons Amari Cooper is Primed for an All-Pro Season

Matthew Lenix

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3 Reasons Amari Cooper is Primed for an All-Pro Season

Amari Cooper changed life for the entire Dallas Cowboys offense in 2018. Finally, Quarterback Dak Prescott has the number one option at wide receiver he's desperately needed since his rookie campaign. Now, after half a season and multiple playoff games under his belt in Dallas, Cooper is set to have a monster year. Here are three specific reasons why.

1. Culture

Head Coach Jason Garrett has established a certain way of doing things in Dallas since taking over in 2010. His constant search for the RKG or "Right Kinda Guy" as he puts it has the culture in the locker room at a very positive and productive place. As criticized as he is, justifiably or not, he has his team all on the same page. This is something Cooper has been trying to find since he entered the league in 2015. An organization with the right mindset in order for him to perform and maximize his skill set. After being traded to Dallas, Cooper opened up in November about being unhappy during his days in Oakland.

"I wasn't really happy in Oakland or anything like that. But when I sat and thought about it [Monday} night, I thought about the fact that they traded me away. I don't know how to feel about it," Cooper told Yahoo Sports.

This may seem small to others considering these players make millions of dollars right? Well, it doesn't change the fact that they're human. When you feel unappreciated you don't play to the best of your abilities. Shortly after the trade, Cooper talked about how he's been different since putting a star on his helmet. "I feel like it did change me, as far as having that chip on my shoulder. Not that I wasn't passionate before, but playing with more passion, trying to intentionally have fun out there. It definitely has changed me, in terms of me going out there and just having fun with it," Cooper said. A change of scenery was just what the doctor ordered for Cooper and the Cowboys.

2. The other weapons around him

The Cowboys aren't just Amari Cooper or bust at the wide receiver position. Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb provide more challenges for defenses on a weekly basis. Gallup has firmly locked down the number two spot on the depth chart. It took a while for him to establish chemistry with Dak Prescott, as they would misfire on several big plays during the first half of the season. Nonetheless, by seasons end things started to pick up, and he finished with 33 receptions for 507 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the playoffs, he scored a touchdown in the Cowboys Wild Card win over Seattle. The next week against the Rams he performed well even in defeat, with 6 receptions for 119 yards. He's got speed, size, and versatility. Now with a full season and two games of playoff experience under his belt, I look for even more production from Gallup, as a possible breakout star.

Randall Cobb is a much-needed upgrade in the slot for the Cowboys. Unlike former receiver Cole Beasley, Cobb can line up inside or outside. Giving new Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore a bigger bag of tricks at his disposal. Now, he can lineup Cooper inside or outside and play with a plethora of different looks, keeping defenses off balance because of the uncertainty of how the Cowboys will attack through the air.

Then, of course, there's Ezekiel Elliott. The two-time rushing champion is the tone-setter on offense and dictates how defenses will attack. With Cooper being such a threat in the air you basically have to pick your poison. 8-9 man fronts against the run can make you vulnerable to play action down the field or quick slants with Cooper's exceptional route running. The more productive Elliott is the more honest it keeps opposing defenses, opening up more opportunities in the passing game. Averaging 101.2 yards per game for his career, second all-time to Hall of Famer Jim Brown, Elliott can make create even more opportunities for Cooper in 2019 with a full season of playing time together.

3. Motivation

Amari Cooper is currently looking to sign a long-term deal with the Cowboys. Preferably, both sides would like to get this deal done before the season starts considering he's in the last year of his rookie contract that is set to pay him 13.9 million in 2019. However, it isn't just a new deal that motivates Cooper heading into the new season.

"It's kind of a weird situation, just being that I've never been in this situation before, talking about a contract. But also, I'm under a fifth-year option, so I'm not too familiar with it. I really don't ask my agent many questions. I'm not really worried about it that much. I'm more focused on actually playing and really earning the respect and then the contract," Cooper said.

Being motivated by earning respect is a very mature approach from Cooper. Now, add that to the fact that I'm sure he wants to firmly put his name alongside Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr, and Michael Thomas as the best receivers in the game, you have a fully motivated number one option heading into the new season.

Amari Cooper has already made three pro bowls, but now there's another level for him to reach. In just nine games last year with the Cowboys he caught 53 passes for 725 yards and 6 touchdowns. Also, he caught another 13 on 18 targets in the playoffs for 171 yards and a score. He's in the right culture, he has a number of other weapons around him and he has multiple reasons to be motivated heading in the new season. With a full offseason of building chemistry with Dak Prescott, I see Cooper taking that leap to the All-Pro level in 2019.



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Is La’el Collins Playing For A Contract On A Different Team?

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys at Raiders: La'el Collins Faces Toughest Test Yet In Khalil Mack

How good is La'el Collins?

This is a question that Cowboys fans have disagreed on since his rookie season. Collins, who originally joined the team as their left guard replacing an injured Ronald Leary in 2015, moved out to right tackle in 2017, starting all 32 games there the last 2 seasons.

Collins' play has been somewhat up-and-down, as should be expected when a lineman not only switches from guard to tackle, but from the left side to the right side as well. Still, he's been a solid right tackle and a stable presence for a Cowboys offensive line which has struggled with major injuries at other positions over the last couple of years.

While Collins has not been the "elite" level player fans had hoped for when signed after the 2015 draft, he's been a solid player nonetheless. Dak Prescott has faced more pressure from the right side of the line than the left, but a good portion of that pressure has to do with him struggling to sense pressure from that right side.

The Dallas Cowboys seem rather undecided about La'el Collins' future with the team themselves, though. Dallas went out and draft guard Connor McGovern in the third round of the 2019 draft, starting the whirlwind of rumors that McGovern will be the starting left guard in 2020. This would kick second year player Connor Williams out to right tackle, allowing Dallas to let Collins walk without too much worry.

While this is well and good on paper, on the field the transition will likely not be as smooth. We've already seen how tough it is to move from left guard to right tackle in just one offseason, even if you were a college tackle once upon a time. Connor Williams could face these same struggles, despite possibly even anticipating the change a year out.

Regardless, La'el Collins is now in a contract year and is playing for that new deal come 2020. Dallas may not be looking to extend him, mostly due to the plethora of new deals they'll be handing out to other players, but he will be a hot commodity come free agency if and when he hits the open market.

Collins could very well be playing for a new contract elsewhere this season, as his days in Dallas look to be numbered.



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