2012 NFL Draft: 1st-Round Picks for Each NFC East Team
While it's difficult to accurately predict the outcome of the NFL Draft, here's an attempt at proving myself as a clairvoyant.
After the Washington Redskins finalized their trade with the St. Louis Rams for the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, the NFC East will be positioned to draft in the beginning, middle and end of the first round.
Some teams will address their areas of weakness through free agency, but this is how they'll draft on April 26.
Dallas Cowboys: Michael Brockers, LSU, DT
Although the Dallas Cowboys need some serious help along the offensive line and in the secondary, Jerry Jones would be wise to select the best available player with the 14th pick.
Since Dallas has several holes in the back-end of their defense, they should steal a play from the New York Giants' playbook and use superb defensive line play to disguise their coverage issues.
The Cowboys already have a four-time Pro Bowler at defensive tackle in Jay Ratliff, however, he’ll be 31 at the start the 2012 season and hasn’t been impressive in run support or pass-rush for the last two years.
At 6’6” 306 lbs, Brockers is an absolute terror in the middle and if selected, wouldn’t be the first non-traditional 3-4 nose tackle that Jones has drafted.
Brockers brings high-energy, freakish athleticism and a winning background to Big D.
While he has the size and power to immediately overtake Ratliff as the starter, he could also find himself at the defensive end position in obvious passing situations as a pass-rusher.
New York Giants: Coby Fleener, Stanford, TE
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The New York Giants lost their top two tight ends in their Super Bowl victory against the New England Patriots.
Super Bowl hero wide receiver Mario Manningham is also unsure if the team will resign him as a free agent.
Seeing how the team is already over the salary cap and recently released Brandon Jacobs in order to avoid paying him $4.5 million, chances are that New York won’t be returning their third receiving threat.
Stanford tight end Coby Fleener could fill both needs for the Giants and would be an ideal late pick in the first round.
At 6’6” 244 lbs, Fleener has the frame and vertical to be a top-notch receiver. His game is centered on speed and fits the mold for the new breed of hybrid tight ends.
Fleener possesses strong hands, good balance and agility—making him difficult to defend as he comes off the offensive line.
His experience playing with a top-notch quarterback in Andrew Luck is also something that can’t be undervalued.
Philadelphia Eagles: Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State, DT/DE
The popular pick for the Philadelphia Eagles first round selection is Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.
However, I believe the team will address this issue through free agency and look to add depth in later rounds.
It’s also important to note that Andy Reid has never drafted a linebacker in the first round throughout his 13-year tenure.
Philadelphia started three linebackers at three different positions last season who were under the age of 25, so getting younger would almost seem counterproductive.
This is where Fletcher Cox comes in.
Cox has been mocked as a mid-to-late pick in the first round, but I see him getting lost amongst the shuffle on draft day. Aside from his impressive combine performance, I’ve already explained why he is such an intriguing prospect.
Since Mike Patterson is set to undergo brain surgery and Antonio Dixon, Derek Landri and Trevor Laws are all scheduled to enter free agency, the Eagles may find themselves very thin at this position.
Under defensive line coach Jim Washburn, Cox may be able reach his full potential and display his tremendous versatility.
Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, Baylor, QB
This one’s easy, right?
About a month ago, I explained why the Washington Redskins must trade up to obtain Robert Griffin III.
Seems like they’ve listened to me and are now in a position to obtain their franchise quarterback.
Although giving up three first-round choices and a second-round pick may seem like a steep price to move up four spots, it really isn’t—franchise quarterbacks don’t grow on trees.
In today’s pass-happy NFL, you need a reliable signal caller if you want success.
Griffin III fits both of those molds.
The Redskins haven’t had a franchise QB in a very long time and will finally be able to boast someone who is comparable to Michael Vick.
RGIII had an impressive showing at the NFL Combine—all but locking up his status as a top-two choice.
Might as well let him pick out his jersey number now.