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Draft Preview: NFC East

NFC East 2021 First Round

10th Pick - Dallas Cowboys

With the future of Dallas Cowboys offense skill players wrapped up with the extension of Dak Prescott in the offseason, the franchise are likely to look at upgrading their once great offensive line or defence in this year’s draft. After starting two undrafted tackles for the majority of 2020 and the secondary needing a lot of much needed help it is expected that the Cowboys will look into these positions. At the 10th pick the Cowboys will have their pick of corners with 3 names touted as the top of their position group for in this year’s draft. With Caleb Farley opting out of football for the Hokies in 2020 and having back surgery this off season it appears that it is a choice between Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II and South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn. It is widely believed that Surtain is the likely pick if the Cowboys decide to go cornerback.

In regards to offensive line it is unlikely that the Cowboys will see Penei Sewell fall to them at 10, but the 2nd top rated OT Rashawn Slater has every chance to fall to the Dallas franchise to help reinvigorate the line that once dominated football and helped Ezekiel Elliot become the rushing leader in 2016 and 2018.

While it is believed that this is the direction that the Cowboys will go, you can never underestimate Jerry Jones’ in the draft. There have been rumours circulating in the last couple of weeks that Jerry has become infatuated with Florida’s Kyle Pitts. The TE has rocketed up draft boards and could easily land to any team inside the top 10, baring those with quarterback needs.

Likely Pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Wildcard Pick: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

11th Pick – New York Giants

The New York Giants’ Daniel Jones spent the second most time being pressured last year at 41.1% of his drop backs resulting in pressure so the offensive line needs strengthening especially after having to cut Kevin Zeitler to create cap room this off season. At 11th pick it is expected that Penei Sewell will be off the board and the next best available linemen are Northwesterns Rashawn Slater and USCs Aligah Vera-Tucker.

Rumours are growing stronger that the Giants are considering all options for pick 11, including trading down, which would be a first for GM Dave Gettleman. If the Giants are unsure of the linemen in the draft they do have the option of trading down to gather more picks and taking the best player available. It is rumoured that they are in the market at wide receiver despite handing Kenny Golladay $72million over 4 years this off season, signing John Ross to a 1 year deal and TE Kyle Rudolph to a 2 year $12 million deal.

In addition to the wide receiver position, a potential pick after trading down would be at edge rusher. For the first time in a number of years the premier edge rushers are not positioned at the top of the draft. If this is a position that the Giants are targeting it would make sense that they trade down to get their player of choice as well as picking up some draft capital.At the top of this position group for 2021 is Kwity Paye, Jayson Oweh and Jaelen Philips.

Likely Pick: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern

Wildcard Pick: Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan

12th Pick – Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles enter the 2021 draft with the most picks of any team, with 11, and have moved down from the 6th overall pick to the 12th. After drafting Jalen Raegor early in last years draft and having failed to produce as expected Eagles fans are crying out for a number one receiver and this year’s draft could well be the time to draft a true number one receiver. With a range of potential franchise changing wide outs in this year’s draft it is not inconceivable that Philadelphia could pull the trigger and draft a wide receiver in the first round for the second year in a row. With at least one wide receivers like Heisman winner DeVonta Smith, speedster Jaylen Waddle and LSU standout Ja’Marr likely to be on board by the time the Eagles are on the clock it seems like the Philadelphia front office will have one of the top choices come draft night.

Another option for the Eagles would be at cornerback. After acquiring Darius Slay as a free agent in 2020 the Eagles could also look into pairing him with a high quality defensive back on the other side of the field. If the division rival Cowboys draft a corner back this still leaves Philly with several options in the likes of Jaycee Horn, Greg Newsome II or Caleb Farley.

With the Giants rumoured to be moving out of the 11th pick, it is possible that a team may decide to jump up and take one of the top corners in the draft depending on what Dallas decide to do with their first pick. This may leave Philadelphia with no choice but to go somewhere other than corner with the 12th pick.

Likely Pick: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Wildcard Pick: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

19th Pick – Washington Football Team

Washington have failed to replace Trent Williams at left tackle since he signed with San Francisco, it now appears that the franchise is planning on finding their new player. It has been rumoured during the weekend that the WFT were interested in the Raven’s Orlando Brown before he was ultimately traded to the Kansas City Chiefs so it is not beyond the realm of possibility that this is the position that is being targeted in the first round of this year’s draft. It is likely that Washington are looking at Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw and Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood.

If Trey Lance starts to slide towards the end of the top 10 it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see Washington trade up to try and take the North Dakota State signal caller. Lance protects the ball better than any of the quarterbacks in the 2021 draft having thrown 1 interception in 3 years and 17 college starts, albeit at the FCS level, and the one interception coming in a 2020 show case game against Central Arkansas. Lance’s measurables are similar to Cam Newton who Ron Rivera coached in Carolina. After signing Ryan Fitzpatrick in this off season there aren’t many veteran quarterbacks who are more qualified to start the season under centre and mentor young stars coming into the league.

Likely Pick: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

Wildcard: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

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