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NFC East: Draft is secondary for Eagles

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Cris Carter's draft analysis:
Overview | AFC: East - North - South - West | NFC: East - North - South - West

Craig James' draft analysis:
Overview - QBs - WRs - More offense - Defense

Editor's note: As part of Yahoo! Sports' coverage of the NFL draft, Cris Carter will break down the needs of each NFL team leading up to draft day.

Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles finished 12-4 last season, but once again fell short of making it to the Super Bowl. After a busy offseason, they pick No. 28 in the first round.

If you look at the Eagles and their draft history, they do a good job at adding quality players to replace veterans. Philadelphia knew that it would eventually lose Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor to free agency, so it drafted cornerbacks Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown in 2002.

While the Eagles feel like these two guys can fill the void left by Vincent and Taylor, I don't think they are done addressing the secondary. They did a good job acquiring a top-notch pass rusher in Jevon Kearse through free agency and now they may look for another cornerback.

I wouldn't be surprised if at No. 28, the Eagles take a chance on Shawntae Spencer out of Pittsburgh. He originally was projected as a third-round draft pick, but he is coming off a strong combine season and may jump into the first round.

Spencer had an excellent workout for scouts when they came to look at Larry Fitzgerald. Spencer impressed everyone as much as Fitzgerald. At 6-foot-2, he is not quite as tall as Bobby Taylor but is almost the same weight, and he has the same arm reach. I look for Philadelphia to try to put him in the nickel spot in his rookie year.

After last season, there was plenty of talk about how Philadelphia needed more offensive weapons to help Donovan McNabb. After the offseason acquisition of Terrell Owens, the Eagles should be done at wide receiver. When a team has Owens, it doesn't need much more. I think the Eagles have gone from the weakest receiving corps in the NFL to one of the strongest and should provide plenty of options for McNabb.

Freddie Mitchell now becomes their third receiver and they still have Todd Pinkston in a complementary position to Owens.

And at running back, the Eagles are set even after losing Duce Staley in free agency. Now they can feature the tandem of Correll Buckhalter and Brian Westbrook. Buckhalter is a workhorse and Westbrook is a highlight reel whom the Eagles love. He was the most exciting player they had on offense, making catches out of the backfield along with returning punts.

The offense in Philadelphia should be exciting this season.

Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys enjoyed a great turnaround during Bill Parcells' first season. After finishing with a 10-6 record, Dallas is picking at No. 22 in the first round.

The Cowboys need a running back. Parcells favors bigger backs, and Troy Hambrick isn't the long-term answer. In this draft, it may be very hard to get the running back they want.

I think they will have a good shot at getting Kevin Jones out of Virginia Tech. Jones is a big, bruising back and a good inside-outside runner.

Also, don't be surprised if they look at safety. Darren Woodson anchors a good secondary but is getting older. The Cowboys will need someone to fill his shoes in a couple of years. Dallas also needs to address another cornerback to play opposite of Terence Newman.

Washington Redskins
With the arrival of Joe Gibbs, the Redskins have a new system. They also have the No. 5 pick in the first round. The bad news is that they have only two more picks in the rest of the draft.

Washington did a great job in free agency and through trades, but this is going to be one of the toughest divisions in football. Just look at the coaches – Joe Gibbs is one of the best coaches of all time. But he needs to fill a couple of holes through the draft.

Gibbs' forte is offense, but he knows that an offense's success depends quite a bit on the defense getting it the ball back. He needs to get an effective pass rusher. The Redskins were unsuccessful in luring Jevon Kearse from the Tennessee Titans, losing out to rival Philadelphia for his services.

Also, Washington might look for a new cornerback and another linebacker. The folks in Washington have been unhappy with that group over the last two years.

The Redskins are in a very difficult position with only three picks in the entire draft and with so many marquee and impact players available at that No. 5 pick. They can't pass on someone like Sean Taylor and Kellen Winslow Jr., even if trading the pick would mean more draft picks in return. These are Pro Bowl players, and it's hard to trade out of that spot and miss out.

I look for them to stay at No. 5 and pick either of those two players. In a system under Joe Gibbs that is friendly to tight ends, Winslow would excel.

New York Giants
After a 4-12 season, the Giants have plenty of holes to fill. They start with the No. 4 pick in the first round and a great opportunity. They have found a player that perfectly fits their biggest need: left tackle Robert Gallery from Iowa. The question is: Will he be there when the Giants draft?

New York also could use a quarterback and a linebacker. If the Giants are looking for an insurance quarterback or a future replacement to Kerry Collins, they could trade down. That would still get them a solid quarterback and additional picks to use for their other needs. The Giants could use an additional pick to get an offensive lineman or inside linebacker late in the first round or in the second round.

But if I were the Giants and if Gallery is still around, I would take him. He is a guy whom you can't pass over. You can't let a prototype left tackle slip by, especially because they only come around every five or 10 years.

The answer might be even more evident when you look at new Giants coach Tom Coughlin. When he was with the Jaguars, he made tackle Tony Boselli the first pick in Jacksonville's franchise history. I think he will do the same thing with his first pick this season and aim for a franchise left tackle.

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