NFC East Roundup: Super Bowl And Draft Predictions
With less than a week to go until the start of the 2015 NFL Draft, let’s take a final look at mock drafts for the other NFC East teams.
But first, a couple players from around the division have been making some predictions of their own for the 2015 season.
While accepting the Nancy Lieberman Lifetime Achievement Award, Cowboys QB Tony Romo closed his speech with a bold statement:
“This award is very meaningful to me, mostly because I get to be associated with this and to be associated with Nancy,” Romo said. “It’s incredible and I really appreciate you, and we’re going to win a Super Bowl next year. Thank you.”
Meanwhile, Romo’s newest teammate, DE Greg Hardy, was reportedly involved in a verbal altercation with a teammate:
The dispute between Hardy and [Devon] Coleman arose from Hardy’s questioning Coleman’s effort during conditioning drills, a source said. Hardy is working out with his new teammates after signing with the team earlier this month. He was suspended 10 games for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy following charges of domestic abuse last year, though he’s permitted to take part in the team’s offseason program.
Coleman’s agent, Michael Loeffler, confirmed there was a confrontation between Hardy and his client, though Loeffler said it was only a verbal argument and not a physical fight. Sources said teammates got in between the two players before the argument could escalate.
Like Romo, Giants RB Rashad Jennings believes his team has a chance to play into February:
“You look around the locker room, we’ve got great players,” he said. “Everybody’s coming back healthy, flying around, going into Year 2 of the same system. That makes a tremendous difference. [Ben] McAdoo explained it to us. Last year, we installed a system. This year, we get to run our offense.
“There’s a difference. Different attitude, different command in the huddle, different understanding of what’s going on. It’s not about lining up in the right place now. It’s about making plays. That’s what we expect. We’ve got explosive players. Great offensive linemen, we got the capability at every single position to make sure we’re in this playoff push.”
It will be intersting to see if anybody from the Eagles or Redskins decides to throw a Super Bowl-or-bust declaration before the start of the season. But for now, here is the latest draft buzz from around the division, including Mel Kiper’s draft needs and Todd McShay’s latest mock draft.
Round 1, Pick 27 (27)
Round 2, Pick 28 (60)
Round 3, Pick 27 (91)
Round 4, Pick 28 (127)
Round 5, Pick 27 (163)
Round 7, Pick 19 (236)
Round 7, Pick 26 (243)
Top needs: CB, RB, DT, S
Obvious: You can flip a coin between adding another pass-rusher or adding a potential starter at cornerback and you won’t be wrong. I know RB is a need on paper, but it isn’t a Round 1 need, if that makes sense. Plenty of rookie RBs can run behind that offensive line.
Quiet: Every year I see Sean Lee penciled in as a starter, but aside from 2011 he’s missed major chunks of time. I’d look for depth at weakside linebacker.
Todd McShay has the Cowboys picking UConn DB Byron Jones with the 27th pick:
[Wisconsin RB Melvin] Gordon is an option for the Cowboys if he drops this far, but they can also look to add a running back later in the draft. Cornerback is their second-biggest need, and Marcus Peters is a possibility here, but I’ll have them take Jones. His recognition skills in coverage can improve, but he’s an exceptional athlete with good size and great intangibles who could really help upgrade the corner position for Dallas.
Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas think the Cowboys will look for a running back on Day 2 to replace DeMarco Murray:
The Cowboys need a running back, but it does not have to come with the 27th pick in the first round. After losing DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys signed Darren McFadden, who has not averaged better than 3.4 yards per carry since 2011. They also have Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams under contract. While the Adrian Peterson rumblings will not go away, a deep running back class allows the Cowboys to look in the second, third or even fourth round to find somebody to lead the expected committee approach at running back in 2015.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Round 1, Pick 9 (9)
Round 2, Pick 8 (40)
Round 3, Pick 10 (74)
Round 4, Pick 9 (108)
Round 5, Pick 8 (144)
Round 6, Pick 10 (186)
Round 7, Pick 9 (226)
Round 7, Pick 28 (245)
Top needs: OL, DE, S, TE
Obvious: The Giants could consider drafting multiple safeties in this draft depending on how the board lines up.
Quiet: Jason Pierre-Paul had 12.5 sacks last year. Assuming he’s healthy, this pass rush can remain at least average. If he’s hurt at all, the drop-off looks pretty significant. Depth would be useful.
Todd McShay has the Giants addressing their offensive line needs by picking Iowa’s Brandon Scherff:
Giants fans are probably getting sick of this pick, as I’ve had Scherff going No. 9 to the Giants in four consecutive mock drafts now. But he’s a great fit because of his toughness, versatility and strength as a run-blocker. I also considered cornerback Trae Waynes here, and while Kevin White wouldn’t fill a need, he’d be a good value here and would give the Giants a very talented tandem at receiver with Odell Beckham Jr. for the foreseeable future. Lastly, if [Todd] Gurley gets to this spot, he’s an intriguing option for the Giants.
Giants tackle Justin Pugh offered his thoughts on what the team should do with the 9th overall pick:
As a draft analyst, New York Giants tackle Justin Pugh is anything but wishy-washy. In this season of hems and haws and disclaimers and smokescreens, we asked Pugh on Thursday who he’d like the Giants to take at No. 9 next Thursday night and he didn’t hesitate.
“I like the kid from Iowa,” Pugh said, referencing Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff. “Just from what I’ve seen. Seems like a tough kid. I mean, I just watched a few games on him, and that’s someone I would like. I’d like to play with someone like that.”
Round 1, Pick 5 (5)
Round 2, Pick 6 (38)
Round 3, Pick 5 (69)
Round 4, Pick 6 (182)
Round 5, Pick 5 (141)
Round 6, Pick 6 (182)
Round 7, Pick 5 (222)
Top needs: OL, OLB, ILB, S
Obvious: I know the secondary (see: safety) is a mess, but I think Washington should add at least one O-lineman. I’d look hard at Brandon Scherff at No. 5 if the Redskins don’t have a good trade-down offer.
Quiet: The depth chart at cornerback might look improved, but I still consider it a problem area.
McShay thinks the Redskins will select Missouri OLB Shane Ray with their first pick:
I expect Washington will be looking to trade back and add picks, and in this scenario, the team could find potential trade partners like the Bears or Browns looking to move up to draft Leonard Williams. I think that a trade back is the Redskins’ best option, because they could likely fill their biggest need — edge rusher — several picks later, including with Ray. But absent a trade, I think the Redskins will be looking to take an edge rusher here. Randy Gregory is the perfect fit from a football standpoint, but I don’t think they can afford to take a character risk with this pick. That leaves Ray as the next-best available player at the position, and while there’s some concern about his ability to rush from a two-point stance and drop into coverage, he has elite first-step quickness and was very productive at getting to the quarterback at Missouri.
There has been plenty of talk that the Redskins would be happy to take Williams, who visited Redskins Park on Wednesday. Many evaluators believe that he is the best player in the draft. But scenarios that put Williams in burgundy and gold have him dropping to the fifth pick, not the Redskins going up to get him.
If the Titans want to make sure they end up with [Marcus] Mariota they would not be able to do a straight draft pick trade with the Redskins. Although the Jaguars and Raiders, the two teams picking in between the Titans at 2 and Washington at 5, aren’t likely to pick a quarterback they could pull off a trade with someone who will snatch Mariota. So the Titans would have to take Williams, the Redskins would take Mariota (causing major tremors in the DC region) and then the trade would be executed.