NFC East team needs
By John Murphy, Yahoo Sports
April 3, 2007
CB: The Cowboys have solidified the interior by adding free safety Ken Hamlin to pair with All-Pro Roy Williams. On the outside, though, they need to draft another capable man cover corner that can challenge for playing time right away. Henry has clearly lost a step and the same can be said for veteran nickel back Aaron Glenn. If they go after this position in the first round, they could deal back in order to obtain an extra first-day choice. Names to remember at No. 22 are Chris Houston and Aaron Ross. The Cowboys have also shown a lot of interest in Texas A&M safety Melvin Bullitt.
WR: They have a pressing need to get younger at receiver, although Patrick Crayton seems ready to have a breakthrough campaign. In addition, former undrafted free agents Sam Hurd and Miles Austin played well in limited chances a year ago. The name most intriguing is Ohio State's Anthony Gonzalez, but they may need to trade up from pick No. 53 in order to secure his services. That shouldn't be a problem as they have seven second-day picks and owner Jerry Jones has a history of wheeling and dealing during the draft.
OL: Even after signing Leonard Davis and re-signing tackle Marc Colombo, they could still use one or two younger prospects to challenge for backup spots at both tackle and possibly a center to bring along slowly behind Andre Gurode. If they concentrate on that right guard spot, than it is possible they could keep Texas Tech's Manny Ramirez in-state with a day two choice.
DT: Former late-round choice Jay Ratliff has proven to be a productive role player off the bench, but starting nose tackle Jason Ferguson is getting older. Ferguson's durability has never been questioned – 32 straight starts with the Cowboys – but it is time to find a future replacement that can take 15-20 snaps per week. It would not be surprising if they made this a relatively-high priority, if the right prospect is available, since it's hard to find an ideal space-eater for a 3-4 scheme.
LB: Rookie Bobby Carpenter, who showed promise late last season, will likely enter the season as one of their starting linebackers – though the spot he plays will be determined in training camp. The Cowboys could really use a situational pass rusher-type lineup opposite DeMarcus Ware on passing downs or even to challenge for a starting job if Carpenter slides inside. Look for head coach Wade Phillips to find a Shaun Phillips-type to match with Ware.
New York Giants
LB: After ridding themselves of Lavar Arrington and Carlos Emmons, they will turn to the draft to find a new face for a position that has long been the staple of the franchise's defensive units. A number of names have been associated with their possible selection at No. 20, but no matter the choice, the Giants need him to be an immediate impact defender.
OL: They have moved David Diehl from guard to left tackle, while inserting Rich Seubert into the left guard position. Besides the fact that this new alignment puts a lot of pressure on the shoulders and footwork of Diehl, it also removed any semblance of depth. They could use multiple choice choices here: one on an experienced college tackle and the other on a versatile blocker that could be groomed at either guard or center.
DT: The Giants have dumped a number of draft choices and free-agent dollars to fortify this spot, but have yet to receive ideal results. In fact, the play of last year's fourth-round pick Barry Cofield was noticeably better than anything they have been able to get out of former first-round pick William Joseph. Another high-energy defender that has a little more size than Cofield would be an ideal choice as they could use a run stuffer off the bench that could eventually replace Fred Robbins in the starting lineup.
WR/TE: With the retirement of Tiki Barber, the Giants ideally would like to use more 3-4 wide receiver schemes, but their current lack of depth would prevent that from happening. In addition, they need to seek out a future replacement for Amani Toomer, who is coming off a season-ending knee injury. Also expect the Giants to use a mid-to-late round choice on a tight end that can give them some productive downs off the bench.
K: The Giants have yet to replace Jay Feely, who joined the Dolphins this offseason. They will likely be one of a handful of teams that will consider taking Colorado kicker Mason Crosby on the first day of the draft.
DE: Within the next year or two, the Eagles will find themselves waving goodbye to former All-Pro defensive end Jevon Kearse and fellow starter Darren Howard, who could be a June 1 cut if the team makes a day one move to solidify this position. They have bulked up the middle of their defense, so the time has come to turn their attention to the outside. It should come as no surprise if they trade up for the chance to select one of the top-rated pass rushers that could possibly slide past the first 15-18 choices. If not, Victor Abiamiri, Baraka Atkins or Daniel Bazuin could be options in the second round.
DB: This has been a position of strength in recent years as the Eagles have sent multiple members of their secondary to the Pro Bowl on a regular basis. However, they have some depth concerns at cornerback and should begin looking for a future replacement at free safety for aging star Brian Dawkins. They could also use a backup strong safety that can replace the depth lost when former starter Michael Lewis left via free agency.
WR: Even though they added Kevin Curtis after losing Donte' Stallworth, a closer look at this position makes me believe that they could go after one of the top-rated receivers that has more size than most of their receivers. Possible targets early are Dwayne Bowe or Dwayne Jarrett.
P> RB: It seems like this has been written as a need area for the Eagles the past three-four drafts. I will not be shocked if they sit tight in the first round and select Rutgers combo back Brian Leonard. If not, they could spend their third-round choice on someone like Chris Henry, Brandon Jackson or Kenneth Darby.
QB: The addition of veteran Kelly Holcomb gives them another alternative if Donovan McNabb isn't at full speed early in the season and backup A.J. Feeley struggles. They have not spent a first-day choice on a signal caller since drafting McNabb in 1999, but would do well to find a young, fresh arm to nurture over the next few seasons. Jared Zabransky and Isaiah Stanback are possible day two names they might consider and it would not be shocking if they took a long look at Ohio State's Troy Smith if he is still available in the third round.
DE: They need a pass rusher, but they have to decide if it's worth bypassing a chance to take Gaines Adams or Jamaal Anderson to trade down for an extra choice. If the Redskins were to deal down, they could set their sights on someone like Jarvis Moss or Charles Johnson, and then still have the ability to add a defensive back from the extra pick for dropping down.
CB: Shawn Springs could be a cap casualty come June 1 and Carlos Rogers needs to rebound from an average campaign last season. They have only one choice on the first day, so unless that changes, they will be finding more of a raw-tools prospect in the later rounds.
OG: They lost Derrick Dockery via free agency and have failed to a long-term replacement on the open market, although they feel veteran Todd Wade might be able to fill the void for next season. It would be a good investment to spend a late-round choice on a guy like Robert Turner, Aaron Brant or Corey Davis.
S: The Redskins signed and then misused Adam Archuleta, who was recently dealt to the Bears. They now have an array of veterans on the roster that they will try to pair with All-Pro Sean Taylor. Second-year pro Reed Doughty may have the best upside, but either way, this position needs an upgrade in quality depth.
LB: Even with the signing of London Fletcher and the expected development of Rocky McIntosh, this is still an area of concern. However, they have been the market-setters in terms of trying to acquire Bears All-Pro OLB Lance Briggs. There is a chance that veteran outside linebacker Marcus Washington could be a June 1 cap casualty. If not, he is likely to be jettisoned after next season, so finding a mid-to-late round prospect is a smart move.
John Murphy is Yahoo! Sports' NFL personnel and college prospect evaluator. Murphy's seventh annual NFL Draft Bible package for the upcoming 2008 NFL Draft coverage is now available. Learn more at www.nfldraftbible.blogspot.com.
Updated on Tuesday, Apr 3, 2007 10:45 pm, EDT