Recapping the NFC East moves after the first round of the draft

A fast-paced Day 1 of the NFL draft is in the books. Quarterbacks ruled the evening as six were selected in the top 12, including a stunning selection of Michael Penix Jr. by the Atlanta Falcons with the eighth pick. Meanwhile, the run on quarterbacks pushed several skill positions down the board, leaving prospects such as Cooper DeJean and Kool-Aid McKinstry still waiting to hear their names called. In the NFC East, you could make the case that all four teams vastly improved their futures with their lone selection of Thursday night. Here’s where the NFC East sits entering the draft’s second day.

Washington Commanders

The rebuild in the nation’s capital is officially underway following an offseason of poaching the Dallas Cowboys, including naming their former defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their head coach. New Washington Commanders owner Josh Harris seeks to re-brand the franchise, beginning with the most visible position in the sport. Washington selected LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels to be the new face of the franchise.

The Heisman trophy winner took the NCAA by storm, accumulating nearly 5,000 yards of offense in 2023. After trading away last year’s starter Sam Howell, Daniels is poised to start immediately for the team. The offensive line is a question mark, but Daniels will have two good building blocks in wide receiver Terry McLaurin and free agent addition running back Austin Ekeler.

New York Giants

The New York Giants were a team to watch in the early portion of the draft. Some believed the Giants could be tempted to trade up as high as number three to select a quarterback but chose to stay at the sixth pick. Entering Thursday night, the Giants are in a precarious spot where they pay a premium salary of $40M annually to their inconsistent and oft-injured incumbent starter, Daniel Jones. Still, they are waiting to see a return on their investment.

The Giants were rumored to be in the market for Drake Maye, who ultimately was taken by the New England Patriots with the third overall pick, as well as Michael Penix Jr. and JJ McCarthy. New York’s pursuit of a new signal-caller will have to wait for another year, it seems, after New York “settled” on Malik Nabers. Nabers is a high-end prospect who is an explosive playmaker. He runs precise routes and can take over a game. Nabers provides a much-needed jolt for the Giants after they lost Saquon Barkley to the Philadelphia Eagles and could also lose tight end Darren Waller, who is mulling retirement.

Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia sat patiently during the draft as they did last year and got excellent value for their selection, this time taking Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell. Mitchell was expected to go earlier in the draft, but the quarterback crunch at the top made it possible for the Eagles to land the uber-talented defensive back. Mitchell tested exceptionally well at the combine, running a 4.33 40-yard dash and having 22 reps on the bench press.

Philadelphia picking Mitchell fills a desperate need to rejuvenate their cornerback position. James Bradberry has lost a step and was susceptible to big plays when isolated in man coverage. Additionally, Darius Slay is aging, and his exit from Philadelphia has been discussed since last season. Mitchell appears to be the future at cornerback for the Eagles alongside last year’s fourth-round pick Kelee Ringo.

Dallas Cowboys

You have to tip your cap to the Dallas Cowboys for their approach in the draft’s first round. Despite reports of interest in Duke center Graham Barton, Dallas appeared to have their sights set on Tyler Guyton all along. By not panicking and standing firm, the team could trade down five spots with the Detroit Lions, ensuring the Cowboys could have their cake and eat it. The trade nets the Cowboys the 73rd overall pick in the draft, in addition to their 56th and 87th picks on the second day of the draft.

This much-needed ammunition affords the Cowboys the luxury of finding good value in the middle rounds, where the team will find good interior linemen after passing on Barton and what is a significant position of need. As for the pick, Tyler Guyton is a behemoth, nearly 6’8” and 322 lbs., with terrific mobility and great athleticism for his size. Guyton will need to gain strength and refinement, but the expectation is he will step in as the replacement for the departed and eventual Hall of Famer Tyron Smith. The hope is that Guyton will play alongside Tyler Smith as the left tackle for the future, keeping Smith as the left guard. Guyton is oozing potential and upside.


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