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2022 NFC East Team Needs and Prospect Fits

Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

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With free agency in the books, all eyes are now on the 2022 NFL Draft. Having previewed every team as soon as the offseason ended, I have a working knowledge of all of the rosters in the NFL. What I’m missing is a deep understanding of every prospect available via the draft. That’s where Tyler Forness comes in. He covers college football for NBC and will be filling in the best fits for each team given their needs and the picks they hold. I’ll add some context beyond the general position of need to clarify differences within a broad category (i.e., if a team needs a run-stuffing nose tackle or a 4-3 tackle with pass-rush chops). Tyler will find the best fits for each team while also giving us some notes on the players.

New York Giants

Offensive Tackle

Matt Peart entered the 2021 season as a backup for New York, but injuries forced him into the starting lineup. He struggled at times before a torn ACL ended his season in Week 16. Peart is currently projected to start at right tackle.

1.05 & 1.07 Options: Alabama’s Evan Neal, NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu, Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning

2.36 Options: Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele, Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann

3.67 Options: Washington State’s Abraham Lucas, Ohio State’s Nicholas Petit-Frere

Tyler’s Notes: New general manager Joe Schoen is likely to build through the trenches. Neal has played all over the line, allowing for maximum flexibility early as they figure out their best five.

Outside Linebacker

The Giants ranked 21st in sacks and 30th in pressure rate last year. They will be eying pass-rushing outside linebackers as early as the first round.

1.05 & 1.07 Options: Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux

2.36 Options: Minnesota’s Boye Mafe, Michigan’s David Ojabo

3.67 Options: Oklahoma’s Nik Bonitto, USC’s Drake Jackson

Tyler’s Notes: A successful pass rush is key for Wink Martindale’s defense. Securing Thibodeaux in the top-10 would go a long way toward fixing the defense.

Tight End

The Giants are relying on Ricky Seals-Jones to replace the production of Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph. RSJ played well in his spot starts last year, but there is a reason the Giants are his fifth team in as many years.

1.05 & 1.07 Options: NA

2.36 Options: Colorado State’s Trey McBride

3.67 Options: Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert, UCLA’s Greg Dulcich

Tyler’s Notes: Tight end is a position where you don’t see a lot of production immediately, but this class has some offerings that could buck that trend. McBride is a do-it-all player that will help Daniel Jones in protection and as a safety valve.

Washington Commanders

Wide Receiver

Terry McLaurin has been elite ever since Washington drafted him, but he has been their only notable pass-catcher for three years. The Commanders are in desperate need of a true X receiver who will allow McLaurin to constantly pressure opposing corners on deep throws.

1.11 Options: USC’s Drake London, Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson, Ohio State’s Chris Olave

2.47 Options: NDSU’s Christian Watson, Georgia’s George Pickens

4.113 Options: Boise State’s Khalil Shakir, Nevada’s Romeo Doubs

Tyler’s Notes: Giving Carson Wentz reliable options other than McLaurin on the outside should be a priority for the Commanders. London provides a great compliment to McLaurin and a large target for Wentz.

Cornerback

The Commanders signed William Jackson to start opposite Kyle Fuller on the outside last year. His play dipped in Washington, and he is now a candidate to be replaced.

1.11 Options: Cincinnati’s Sauce Gardner, LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr

2.47 Options: UTSA’s Tariq Woolen, Washington’s Kyler Gordon

4.113 Options: Alabama’s Jalyn Armour-Davis, Nebraska’s Cam Taylor-Britt

Tyler’s Notes: With the depth at the corner position lasting through round two, they can afford to wait. Gordon is a player that, while best suited on the inside, can play anywhere you need him.

Linebacker

First-round rookie Jamin Davis struggled at MIKE and could be moved to another role to make the most of his size and speed. If that’s the case, Washington will be searching for a new MIKE to replenish their depleted linebacker room.

1.11 Options: Utah’s Devin Lloyd

2.47 Options: Wisconsin’s Leo Chenal, Wyoming’s Chad Muma, Alabama’s Christian Harris

4.113 Options: Oklahoma’s Briah Asamoah, Cincinnati’s Darrian Beavers, Nebraska’s JoJo Doman

Tyler’s Notes: As alluded to, Davis is likely best suited to play in an off-ball role. Adding Asamoah, who is also athletically gifted, would allow that and for the defense to become more dynamic.

Philadelphia Eagles

Wide Receiver

The Eagles have DeVonta Smith and a bunch of role players on the roster. Smith’s svelte size and high-end speed make him the ideal flanker. Adding a true X or a big slot option would balance out the receiving group well.

1.15 & 1.18 Options: USC’s Drake London, Alabama’s Jameson Williams, Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson

2.51 Options: NDSU’s Christian Watson, Georgia’s George Pickens

3.83 Options: Memphis’ Calvin Austin III, Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce

Tyler’s Notes: Howie Roseman loves his big receivers and London fits the bill. Adding him with Austin III to join Smith would finally give Jalen Hurts the plethora of weapons he needs.

Safety

Anthony Harris is versatile enough to play both free and strong safety, but the Eagles moved him around frequently last year while keeping Rodney McLeod back in coverage. McLeod was not re-signed in free agency and now the Eagles are searching for a new, single-high coverage safety.

1.15 & 1.18 Options: Michigan’s Daxton Hill, Georgia’s Lewis Cine

2.51 Options: Penn State’s Jaquan Brisker, Baylor’s Jalen Pitre

3.83 Options: Illinois’ Kerby Joseph, Maryland’s Nick Cross

Tyler’s Notes: With safety becoming more important in the league, expect the Eagles to draft one early. Cine and Hill both have the ability to play center field, giving Jonathan Gannon the freedom to continue moving Harris around.

Cornerback

Darius Slay can still cover elite receivers but is 31 now and the Eagles don’t have a solid plan on the other side of the field. They will be looking for a No. 2 corner who can eventually develop into their top option once Slay is gone.

1.15 & 1.18 Options: LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr, Florida’s Kaiir Elam,

2.51 Options: UTSA’s Tariq Woolen, Washington’s Kyler Gordon

3.83 Options: Alabama’s Josh Jobe, Cincinnati’s Coby Bryant

Tyler’s Notes: Adding Slay was a necessary piece to their defense. Bringing in Elam to play opposite of Slay gives them a solid CB2 now and a CB1 down the road.

Dallas Cowboys

Guard

Connor McGovern proved not to be the long-term answer at guard last year and Tyler Biadasz has drawn mixed reviews at center. Dallas could use someone who can fill in at guard and center as a rookie and take over as the starting left guard by their second season.

1.24 Options: Boston College’s Zion Johnson, Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green

2.56 Options: Kentucky’s Darrian Kennard, Georgia’s Jamaree Salyer

3.88 Options: UCLA’s Seah Rhyan, LSU’s Ed Ingram

Tyler’s Notes: After the turmoil with the offensive line last season, addressing it should be a priority. Either Johnson or Green would be plug-and-play improvements over last season and beyond.

Wide Receiver

Cap constraints forced Dallas to trade Amari Cooper and let Cedrick Wilson walk in free agency. Michael Gallup is also recovering from a torn ACL and may not be ready for Week 1. It makes sense for Dallas to replace Cooper with CeeDee Lamb in the slot and a rookie on the outside in three-receiver sets.

1.24 Options: Ohio State’s Chris Olave, Alabama’s Jameson Williams, Arkansas’ Treylon Burks

2.56 Options: Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore, Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce

3.88 Options: Memphis’ Calvin Austin III, Clemson’s Justyn Ross, South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert

Tyler’s Notes: Though Lamb can play the slot, the Cowboys have made it clear that they want him and Gallup on the outside. Drafting Moore would give them a dynamite athlete in the slot and someone with a future on the outside as well.

Outside Linebacker

The Cowboys’ defense was so successful in 2021 because of the absurd rate at which they made big plays. To keep that up, they will need to find an outside linebacker who can consistently generate pressure.

1.24 Options: Georgia’s Nakobe Dean, Utah’s Devin Lloyd

2.56 Options: Wyoming’s Chad Muma, Wisconsin’s Leo Chenal, Georgia’s Quay Walker

3.88 Options: Georgia’s Channing Tindall, Penn State’s Brandon Smith

Tyler’s Notes: The Cowboys have spent a lot of premium assets at the position over the last decade and they only have Micah Parsons to show for it. Going back to the well with Smith would give them a lot of versatility on the second level.