Some believe the front office will opt to take a versatile linebacker such as Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch, Alabama’s Rashaan Evans, or even trade up for Georgia’s Roquan Smith.
Others think the release of Dez Bryant all but guarantees the team will draft a potentially elite wide receiver with their first-round selection, such as Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, Maryland’s D.J. Moore, or Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk.
But Dallas isn’t the only team in the NFC East looking to bolster its roster with young talent. Even though the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles depth chart looks well balanced, they will likely look to add a piece or two that could allow them to make another title run.
The New York Giants are coming off an abysmal 3-13 season, but could find Eli Manning’s successor with the No. 2 overall pick. Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins could be in the market for a quarterback of their own, after the departure of Kirk Cousins to the Minnesota Vikings via free-agency.
Here are some of the directions the other three teams in the division might take in the first round next Thursday night:
New York Giants
2017 record: 3-13, Pick- No. 2; Positions of need: QB, RB, DE
As the general manager of the Carolina Panthers and assistant GM of the Giants, David Gettleman loved drafting pass rushers (Kawann Short, Kony Ealy, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, and others). And Bradley Chubb of N.C. State has been compared to Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
However, the Giants offense has been a mess for the past years, particularly the backfield. Penn State running back Saquon Barkley could have the same type of impact that Ezekiel Elliott had in his tremendous rookie campaign. Ultimately, the Giants' need to find a young quarterback trumps everything else, so the club will likely select either Josh Allen or Josh Rosen to learn from and, eventually, replace Eli Manning a year from now.
2017 record: 7-9, Pick No. 13; Positions of need: QB, OT, DT
The Redskins are in a tough spot. In all likelihood, they will to put together a major package to trade up and select one of the top five rated quarterbacks. They also have to find a replacement for oft-injured left tackle Trent Williams. The problem is that many experts have pegged this as a weak draft for offensive tackles.
Last season, Washington’s defense allowed 134 rushing yards per game, which was the worst mark in the NFL. Look for team president Bruce Allen (the organization does not currently employ a general manager) to provide second-year defensive coordinator Greg Manusky with a space-eating nose tackle such as Washington’s Vita Vea (6-foot-5, 335 pounds) or Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne (6-foot-2, 311 pounds) for his 3-4 defensive scheme.
2017 record: 13-3, Pick No. 32, Positions of need: OT, CB, TE
This team returns the majority of its starters on both sides of the ball, including 2017 MVP candidate Carson Wentz, who should be recovered from major knee surgery before the start of the season. Considering Philadelphia doesn't have a second or third-round selection, it's a good bet that general manager Howie Roseman trades down to acquire a few more mid-round picks.
If the team stays put at No. 32, it could shore-up the offensive tackle position by targeting a versatile prospect such as Connor Williams of Texas or Isaiah Wynn of Georgia. The could also enhance their pass-rush by adding a defensive end such as Harold Landry out of Boston College.
Cornerback Daryl Worely, who was signed in February and released a month later due to a recent arrest, might have created a minor need at cornerback. Fortunately for Roseman, the end of the first round provides plenty of value at that position with possibilities such as Mike Hughes of Central Florida, Joshua Jackson of Iowa and Jaire Alexander of Louisville, amongst others.