NFC East Roundup: Reaction To the Norman Signing
Hope everyone is having a good weekend. Here are some headlines from around the NFC East as we head into the week of the draft.
The addition of Norman now gives Washington an aggressive cornerback with an edge, particularly when he faced New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant last year. Norman sparred with Beckham and engaged in a few verbal confrontations with Bryant when the Panthers faced the Giants and Cowboys last year. Norman will face both receivers twice a year in the NFC East.
The Redskins will now receive some flexibility in the secondary and in the draft. Although Chris Culliver (torn ligaments in his left knee) and Kyshoen Jarrett (nerve issue in his right shoulder) continue to recover from injuries, Washington has two solid outside cornerbacks in Norman and Bashaud Breeland. This will allow Redskins Coach Jay Gruden to possibly move certain cornerbacks to safety, a position of need. He mentioned during the NFL’s annual meeting last month that Will Blackmon and Deshazor Everett will receive some repetitions at safety to see how they perform during offseason practices.
Washington holds the 21st overall pick in the NFL draft, which begins on Thursday. It can now use that pick to add depth at defensive line or safety or even trade out of the first round to acquire more picks for [Scot] McCloughan.
Opinions differ around the league on the Norman signing, writes John Keim of ESPN.com.
As for Norman, he’s a legitimate No. 1 corner who, one coach texted me this morning, is a legitimate top-four player at the position. That’s not tough to debate given how he played last season, but considering it was his first year at that level, the point is the coach didn’t view him as a fluke or just a system guy. He liked Norman’s length, competitiveness and ball skills, all of which are evident when watching his play last season.
But another coach asked one big question: What did Norman do before last season? And another: How much was it the result of playing with the right defensive front — and the fact that he was in a contract year? The coach wasn’t sold that this was a wise move, not for $15 million per season. The Redskins have a history of failed moves.
Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News notes that the Cowboys comprehend their looming need at quarterback, but don’t feel the same sense of urgency that compelled the Eagles to trade up to number two in this year’s draft.
The Cowboys have done their due diligence this offseason. They coached [Carson] Wentz in the Senior Bowl, then used seven of their 29 official draft visits on quarterbacks, bringing Wentz, Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch, Connor Cook, Christian Hackenberg, Jacoby Brissett and Dak Prescott to Valley Ranch for further scrutiny.
Yes, the Cowboys clearly understand the need for a young quarterback. Just maybe not the sense of urgency.
Jerry Jones is already on the record saying that he believes Tony Romo will be the quarterback of the Cowboys for the next “four or five years.” If you believe that, selecting a young quarterback in this draft makes no sense. He won’t see the field until at least 2020. That’s too long to allow a talented arm to sit, much less wait.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein has the Cowboys taking Jalen Ramsey with the fourth pick in the draft, after both of the top quarterbacks are taken by the Rams and Eagles.
Dallas could be torn between Ramsey, Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott here, but Ramsey has rare size and athleticism as a dual-position talent who can step in as a starter at either cornerback or safety.
Paul Schwartz of the New York Post details the Giants’ draft philosophy this year.
For those who shout the “Giants have to take a defensive player in the first round,” or others who insist “it’s got to be an offensive lineman,” here is another reminder: That is not the way it works.
The Giants, as always — or, almost always — will stay true to their draft board and, with the No. 10 pick in Thursday night’s first round of the NFL draft, select the player who is rated more highly than the others.
Sure, all ties or extremely close calls will be broken by glaring needs at certain positions, but the Giants target value and talent. They do not need a quarterback, but at virtually every other spot on the field, they could use a player who might develop into a star and difference-maker.
Coming off consecutive 6-10 seasons and no playoffs since 2011, general manager Jerry Reese cannot afford a miss here. No team wants to be picking in the top 10 — it’s a lofty draft status reserved for losers — but when taking up residence so high in the draft sky, coming away with an impact player is essential.
CBS Sports’ Rob Rang has Elliott falling to the Giants at ten.
After investing heavily in free agent defensive linemen Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon, the Giants may look to the other side of the line in the first round of the draft. Head coach Ben McAdoo might be best known for the work he did in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers passing attack, but he recognizes the value of a versatile running game. Elliott is the only true bell-cow back of this draft, offering immediate impact ability on a team built to win now.