Yesterday, I analyzed the AFC East draft haul. Today, it’s time to look at Big Blue’s competition. The Washington Redskins addressed their defensive line need by drafting defensive end, Ryan Kerrigan in the first round. The team did not address the quarterback position in the draft, but that may just be Mike Shanahan realizing that no player could help the Redskins this season. The Dallas Cowboys addressed their woeful offensive line by drafting tackle, Tyron Smith with the ninth overall selection. Finally, the Philadelphia Eagles came away with bit of a mixed bag, drafting eleven total players including Casey Matthews, brother of Clay. Overall, the NFC East addressed needs and added some interesting prospects that will have immediate impacts in 2011.

 

Hilarious. Eli and Alex at the Super Bowl

1. Washington Redskins: The Redskins traded down in the first round, passing on quarterback Blaine Gabbert at the time and selecting defensive end, Ryan Kerrigan. The Purdue product recorded 70 tackles and 12.5 sacks 2010. Kerrigan will step in right away and look to terrorize NFC East quarterbacks with fellow rusher, Brian Orapko. Defensive tackle, Jarvis Jenkins was a decent value in the early second round and wide receiver, Leonard Hankerson is an interesting third round prospect. Hankerson had 1,156 yards and 13 TDs in 2010 for Miami (FL) and will challenge for a starting role in 2011. Everyone knows that Shanahan loves his running backs and is clearly high on Roy Helu. The Redskins traded in the fourth round to grab the Nebraska product. Helu ran for 1,245 yards and 11 scores in 2011.

Quarterback will be interesting to watch going forward. What will the Skins do with Donovan McNabb? Who will start Week 1?

2. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys addressed their offensive line early, drafting the top rated tackle, Tyron Smith with the ninth overall selection. Smith will likely start at right tackle for the Cowboys. After drafting Smith, the Cowboys waited until the fifth round to draft their other pressing need- cornerback. Buffalo corner Josh Thomas is not a highly rated prospect, but provides some depth and should step in on special teams. Could this be a clear sign that Dallas will target corner, Nnamdi Asomugha?

The Cowboys nabbed outside linebacker Bruce Carter in the second round. Carter was rated as the third best outside linebacker by Scouts Inc. Carter recored 57 tackles before tearing his ACL in 2010.

The most intriguing pick? Third round selection, running back DeMarco Murray. The pick tells me that the Cowboys will let Marion Barber walk and may even deal Tashard Choice. The high pick of Murray also reiterates that Dallas doesn’t see Felix Jones as an every-down contributor. Jones’ big play ability makes him dangerous, but he’s not an every-down back. Murray rumbled for 1,214 yards and 15 TDs for Oklahoma last season and added 1,462 yards (27.6 average) on kick-off returns. Murray can give the Cowboys every-down production.

Free agency will be big for Dallas. Their offense is mainly set, but they need secondary help.

3. Philadelphia Eagles: Overall, the Eagles addressed their biggest needs with their first three picks. The Eagles made a surprising pick in the first round when they drafted guard/tackle Danny Watkins. Watkins was the top rated guard in the NFL Draft, but the Eagles view him as a tackle. It’ll be interesting to watch going forward. Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett provided good depth in the second round and corner Curtis Marsh should step in and help right away. Keep an eye on Oregon outside linebacker, Casey Matthews. Brother Clay has taken the NFL by storm, but Casey isn’t Clay. Casey is a little smaller than his big brother, but his motor is just as high. The Eagles drafted the first kicker in the draft when they selected Alex Henery. The David Akers era may be ending soon after his embarrassing post season performance against the Green Bay Packers.

Kevin Kolb will be traded as soon as the league opens back up, so it’ll be interesting to see what the Eagles get back in return. It’s almost a forgone conclusion that Kolb will be dealt to the NFC West (likely to Arizona).

The NFC East is one of most talented divisions in football. Expect the Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys to duke it out once again. The Redskins will likely finish last and need a quarterback for the future.