The NFC East has been a wide-open division for nearly a decade now, not having a repeat winner since the Philadelphia Eagles won the division in 2003 and 2004. Since then, the Dallas Cowboys have been able to claim themselves as champions five times, the Eagles five times, the New York Giants three times, and the Washington Redskins twice.
2020 will be no different, with the eventual winner of the East still up to debate. While Dallas and Philadelphia remain favorites, New York and Washington have opportunities to make strides towards the top of the division in this year’s NFL Draft. As things stand, he Redskins own the second overall pick, while New York will be selecting fourth. In this year’s loaded draft class, both teams have major chances of bolstering their roster for the better.
From a Cowboys perspective, staying above the competition in the division is important. While this team may have bigger dreams than winning the NFC East, it all begins there, playing these three teams six times a year. Therefore, their draft selections are a close second in importance to the selections Dallas makes. Some players of real quality could be lining up against the Cowboys next season.
Here are the best case and worse case scenarios in the NFL Draft for NFC East rivals in the eyes of the Dallas Cowboys:
Best case – Trading down
Rumors have been swirling around teams needing a quarterback, specifically the Miami Dolphins or Los Angeles Chargers, trading up to the second overall pick to select the quarterback of their choosing. What kind of deal would those two teams need to present for the Redskins to consider trading down?
If they were to take the deal, their first-round then becomes completely different than what it was before. If trading with Miami, Washington could be looking at three different picks in No. 5, No. 18, and No. 26. A wide range of players could be selected from, but an offensive lineman could make the most sense. Left tackle Trent Williams has continually voiced his displeasure with the organization and wants to be traded. With franchise quarterback Dwayne Haskins under center (at the moment) a new tackle could be needed.
The Redskins would be in quite an interesting position if they do decide to trade down. On one hand, they would be missing out on a generational talent in Chase Young, but on the other, they could acquire a plethora of draft picks for new head coach Ron Rivera. With Washington being Washington, anything is possible this time of year.
Worst case – Doing the smart thing and taking Chase Young
“Doing the smart thing” and “Washington Redskins” usually do not go hand in hand, but staying put and selecting Chase Young with the second overall pick is the smart thing to do. Young is widely considered the best player in this year’s draft but is being bumped down to the second spot due to the Cincinnati Bengals’ need for a quarterback. If there is one surefire, homerun pick in this year’s draft, it is Young. There should not be any kind of discussion in the war room for the Redskins besides selecting the Ohio State product.
New York Giants
Best case – Selecting Isaiah Simmons
Drafting Isaiah Simmons would be a great selection for the Giants, but there could be better situations. Their offensive line is in desperate need of a new tackle to protect franchise quarterback Daniel Jones. Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs, Mekhi Becton, and Andrew Thomas are all worthy of being selected inside the top five, with New York having plenty of options at the position.
If they were to pass on one of those four players, it would leave a glaring hole for next season, giving the Cowboys the chance to get to Jones even more than they did last season. In the Week 9 matchup, Dallas got to Jones five different times, the most they had in a single game in 2019.
Mix in with the Redskins and possibly the Cowboys going pass rusher in the first round and the Giants must respond with an offensive tackle. Simmons and his versatility would provide tremendous things for second-year defensive coordinator James Bettcher, but when you have invested the No. 2 overall pick from 2018 on your franchise running back and the No. 6 overall pick from 2019 on your franchise quarterback, getting them an offensive line is a must.
Worst case – Chase Young falls to them at No. 4
There have been discussions of both Washington and Detroit trading out of their picks, with teams more than likely coming up to get the quarterback of their choosing. In a scenario in which both teams trade out of No. 2 and No. 3, the Giants would have the best player in the entire draft drop into their lap at No. 4.
As much as of a need a tackle is for New York, when a player as good as Young is sitting three spots below where he should be, you take him and ask questions later. The Giants’ defensive line would then become a serious problem for the Cowboys, who already have to deal with a plethora of stars twice a year. New York took former Clemson star Dexter Lawrence 17th overall in last year’s draft and are still expected to re-sign for veteran Leonard Williams after trading for him last season.
Barring a miracle, Young is going to be a player in the NFC East for years to come. He’ll be sacking quarterbacks in either Washington DC or East Rutherford, but he will be facing Dallas twice a year no matter what. The Cowboys are going to have their hands full with him, as Young is expected to be a star instantly.
Best case – Staying put and drafting Jordan Jefferson
With such a deep class at wide receiver and the position being the biggest need for Philadelphia, the Eagles are bound to get a quality receiver no matter where they pick. Any other draft, Justin Jefferson is probably atop the board at wide receiver. Luckily for Philadelphia and Carson Wentz, he is the consensus fourth-best receiver this year and has a great chance of dropping into their hands at No. 21.
Part of the national championship-winning squad for LSU in 2019, Jefferson exploded for over 1,500 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. His best performances came in the biggest games of the season, with Jefferson’s best game coming against Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semi-final. 14 receptions, 227 yards, and four touchdowns led to a 63-28 route of the Sooners, the most points ever scored in a CFP game.
While this pick would be the “best case” for the Eagles, the selection is still something Cowboy fans should worry about. As much of a debate there is over whether Wentz is a solid quarterback, he was still able to complete 77% of his throws while having 319 yards in a do or die game against Dallas with no capable receivers. Improvement to the Philadelphia receiving core will be worrisome, no matter who steps in.
Worst case – Trading up and take one of the big three wide receivers
Having the 21st overall pick, the Eagles are not going to be in a position to take one of the big three wide receivers (Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs) that late in the first round. If Doug Pederson decides he wants one of them, he could very well move up in the draft to select one.
Much like the Jefferson selection, any kind of wide receiver is going to improve the Philadelphia offense. Adding in one of the special talents that are Jeudy, Lamb, or Ruggs makes them that much more of a threat. Reports are already starting to flood in about the Eagles moving up, specifically for Lamb. It would require getting as high as number 10 overall possible, but Philadelphia is desperate for a wide receiver.
With the Cowboys’ main question at the moment being cornerback, they must be able to respond if the Eagles make this kind of move. These receivers are generational talents, something Carson Wentz needs. Going toe-to-toe with Philadelphia for the NFC East division title will become much harder if they are able to execute a trade.
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