Draft Needs - NFC East (04/21/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
NFL Team Needs – NFC East edition

The NFL Draft, which begins on April 30, is fast approaching. Every team hopes to use their picks to fill a position of need. In the days leading up to the draft we will evaluate each team's biggest needs, greatest strengths and the best case scenario for the draft.

To objectively answer many questions related to the NFL including how to rank individual units and at exactly which positions teams can and should improve we assign impact scores for every current NFL starter.

The impact score is a grade on a 0-10 scale based on a player's expected overall positive contribution at their current ages and relative to position. In the score, a seven or above can generally outperform a replacement player in the NFL at his position; an eight or above can be expected to start and a player with a rating over nine is a unique, standout player who stars.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

Top needs: Cornerback, Outside Linebacker, Safety

Greatest Strength: Offense

They say the best offense is a good defense but in Dallas' case it's the inverse. The Cowboys were one of the most efficient offenses in the league last year. The Boys' chewed up yards (383.6 total yards per game) and put up points (29.2 points/5th in NFL) behind the league's second best offensive line.

Best Case Scenario:

As prolific as the offense was a season ago, the defense ranked 18th and 27th respectively in defensive rushing and passing efficiency. Take your pick but Dallas needs help at defensive tackle, outside linebacker and most importantly in the secondary. Unfortunately for America's team, there isn't a lot of talent at corner or safety in this year's draft.

Philadelphia Eagles

Top needs: Receiver, Quarterback, Secondary

Greatest Strength: Offensive Line

The Eagles have the best offensive line in the league as every starter grades out as above average. Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis anchors the unit and has the highest impact score of any offensive linemen (9.7 out of 10). DeMarco Murray should be able to find holes and run downhill behind this line.

Best Case Scenario:

Given the string of curious moves by Chip Kelly in the offseason it would be a fool's errand to say what the Eagles will do. However, receiver and quarterback are both areas of need for Philly even with the addition of Tim Tebow. While it would be easy to concentrate on skill position players the greatest weakness is the secondary, it is the team's lowest rated unit.

New York Giants

Top needs: Offensive Line, Inside Linebacker, Running Back

Greatest Strength: Odell Beckham Jr.

The rookie receiver was a lone bright spot for a team that finished with a losing record for a second consecutive season, just the third time in 30 years that the franchise has had back-to-back losing seasons. Beckham finished with 91 receptions, 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in just twelve games. Beckham's impact score of 9.2 out of 10 is the highest among all receivers.

Best Case Scenario:

A team's weakness is often magnified in comparison to its division rivals. Philadelphia and Dallas have offensive lines that are the envy of the league, while Big Blue's is a mess. It is likely that New York addresses this issue with the ninth overall pick and narrows the gap between the best lines in the league.

Washington Redskins

Top needs: Receiver, Inside Linebacker, Secondary

Greatest Strength: Defensive Line

The Redskins beefed up their defensive line with the addition of Terrance Knighton (8.6 out of 10) in free agency. Washington now boasts the best unit in the division. Drafting inside linebacker Paul Dawson (9.0 out of 10) would give the Skins one of the best front sevens in the NFL.

Best Case Scenario:

It is a common misconception that Washington has talented skill position players. Sure, there are big names, RG3, DeSean Jackson, and Alfred Morris, but there isn't a single player that rates as above average. At No. 5, the Redskins could take Marcus Mariota if he slips or a receiver from a talent rich class.

NFC East Unit Rankings

Team Offense Defense Skill O-line D-line Front 7 Secondary
Philadelphia Eagles 4 9 14 1 12 8 16
Dallas Cowboys 3 22 7 2 17 21 24
Washington Redskins 21 13 23 13 6 15 17
New York Giants 15 14 16 21 7 17 15