The 2022 NFL Draft is fast approaching and, per usual, the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Commanders will all be vying for the same players as they have similar team needs. For instance, a big wide receiver like Drake London or Treylon Burks could slide right into most of these offenses. Draft day should be an NFC East bloodbath, per usual.
In this article we are going to look at each team and lay out what they have for draft picks. Then we’ll look at where they are set (unlikely to use high draft capital), where they have immediate draft needs (likely to use a pick in the first 2-3 rounds), or where they might need depth (mid to late round picks). So let’s get to it.
Dallas Cowboys - 9 Picks
- First Round: 24
- Second Round: 56
- Third Round: 88
- Fourth Round: 129
- Fifth round: 155, 167, 176, 178
- Sixth Round: 193
Set: Quarterback, Tight End, Edge
Quarterback - The Cowboys are a team that’s “set” for this year at a number of positions but most positional groups are fairly thin and it’s not a stretch for them to draft someone at nearly any spot - except quarterback. Not only are they locked into Dak Prescott for the foreseeable future but they have Cooper Rush, Will Grier, and Ben DiNucci under contract so they actually need to shed guys.
Tight End - They released Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz is only on a one-year franchise tag so it’s not crazy for them to take a tight end but they certainly have more pressing needs. I expect a long-term deal with Schultz to get worked out.
Edge - Pretty much every team could use pass rush but the Cowboys were able to bring back Demarcus Lawrence and bring in Dante Fowler. Micah Parsons helps in this category too as he quietly lined up at defensive end 332 times (41.3% of his snaps). Not to mention they brought back Dorance Armstrong who said he’s ready to compete for the job opposite Lawrence.
Immediate: Offensive Line, Defensive Tackle, Wide Receiver
Offensive Line - They lost La’el Collins and Connor Williams this off-season. Conner McGovern and Terence Steele step into the lineup but are both free agents next season. They still have Zach Martin and Tyrone Smith but Tyler Biadasz is a bit shaky himself at center. The pieces they have might be enough to make it work but they could be wise to go after a lineman. A guy like Kenyon Green can play multiple positions along the offensive line much like last year’s Jets pick Alijah Vera-Tucker so he’s a guy you could take and simply replace your weakest link with, for instance.
Defensive Tackle - The reason I have edge listed above is that I firmly believe this team can help the edge by improving one of their weakest areas - interior defensive line. And it’s much easier to find interior guys with the picks the Cowboys have then edge guys as the first two guys off the board are expected to be outside pass rushers. There are two stud defensive tackles from Georgie expected to go early: Devonte Wyatt is the best pass rush prospect from the interior numbers wise but the insane 40 time Jordan Davis ran at the combine speaks to his potential. Davis ran a 4.78 at 6’6” 340. To put that in perspective, Dalton Schultz ran a 4.75.
Wide Receiver - Dallas has two rock solid guys in CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup but the way the base 11 personnel they use requires three. And the VAST majority of difference makers at the position are picked within the first three rounds of the NFL draft so WR lands here. Lamb is best as a slot flanker. Gallup can play split end but is probably best as a flanker. They can be flexible but a big split end like Justyn Ross or Christian Watson could help there. The Eagles pick at 51 and need a similar type guy though so they need to be weary.
Potential early round picks: C Tyler Linderbaum (Iowa), T Trevor Penning (Northern Iowa), G Kenyon Green (Texas A&M), DT Devonte Wyatt (Georgia), DT Jordan Davis (Georgia), DT Logan Hall (Houston), WR Treylon Burks (Arkansas), WR Justin Ross (Clemson), WR Christian Watson (North Dakota State), WR David Bell (Purdue)
Depth: Linebacker, Running Back, Safety
Linebacker - We mentioned that Micah Parsons spends half his time rushing the passer. Leighton Vander-Esch is on a one year deal and his future is still shaky. No doubt they could use some help up at the second level and would not be surprised if they used an early pick here either.
Safety - The Cowboys are good to go at strong safety with Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker. But Dan Quinn’s defense notoriously relies on a single high safety and Damontae Kazee is still a free safety. This is another position that is in the mix for an early-round pick but they technically have enough to get by and Kazee returning isn’t necessarily out of the question.
Running Back - Some folks will say I’m crazy to suggest this but let's be realistic here. There are some calling for Ezekiel Elliott to be released after next season. And Tony Pollard is an unrestricted free agent. As of now you have zero leverage. If you release Zeke and extend Pollard, you still need depth. If you keep Zeke, paying Pollard ties A LOT of money at the position. Whichever direction you move in, taking a stab on another running back makes some sense.
New York Giants - 8 Picks
- First Round: 5, 7,
- Second Round: 36
- Third Round: 67, 81
- Fifth round: 147, 173
- Sixth Round: 182
Set: Wide Receiver, Quarterback
Wide Receiver - The Giants have Kenny Golladay at split end, Sterling Shepard worked out a restructure that keeps him for two more years at flanker, and Kadarius Toney is the go-to at the slot. Darius Slayton and Collin Johnson can both hang and they have, when you include futures contracts, they have an astounding 14 WRs attached to the team. Not a wise place to spend more capital.
Quarterback - Now, I’m not saying the Giants are all set at QB forever. But this just isn’t the draft to do it. They are going into the year with Daniel Jones and TyRod Taylor. If the offense is once again at the bottom of the league in scoring, next year is when you look at that.
Immediate: Edge rush, Offensive Line, Secondary, Tight End
Edge Rush - The Giants have Azeez Ojulari but they still need someone on the other side of their 3-4. The dream of course is for one of Aiden Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux to slide and you never know for sure in the NFL draft. One of Travon Walker or George Karlaftis at picks 5 or 7 might be just as good so I don’t see any reason to pay for a trade up.
Offensive Line - I truly think the Giants can make life easy on themselves this year in the first round. Take the best edge rusher available and the best offensive tackle available. Let’s just do some simple math here and assume all of the top picks are somehow offensive line or edge rush. You have Hutchinson, Thibodeaux, Walker, and Karlaftis for edge and Evan Neal, Iken Ekwonu, and Charles Cross for tackles. If all four edge rushers go, you get the top tackle. If all three tackles go, you get Thibodeux or Hutchinson. I know with the James Bradberry trade rumors some folks want to see a defensive back here but what maximizes your talent better - losing a good corner and replacing him with a rookie (which is never a guarantee) or extending that corner in a way that works on the cap and improving another position?
Secondary - The starters at safety are Xavier McKinney and Julian Love. That’s not going to cut it. They have five picks in the first three rounds. If they are dead set on trading James Bradberry then maybe they should take Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner but I don’t think it’s worth missing out on a high end OT and EDGE at 5 and 7. In the modern NFL teams run enough nickel that you can realistically just take the best corner OR safety available at pick 36 and then just lean into the group you have. Maybe even take two DBs. At pick 36, both Jalen Pitre out of Baylor and Daxton Hill from Michigan are great examples of guys who actually played corner in college but project to possibly play safety in the NFL.
Tight End - Evan Engram left in free agency and they filled that spot with Ricky Seals-Jones who is “discount Evan Engram” as a pass-skewing option that doesn’t do much blocking. The reality of RSJ is that, if he were that great of a player, he probably would have hung around with the Cardinals or Browns or Chiefs or Commanders. He’s better as a part-time tight end like a Cameron Brate or Anthony Firkser type. The reality though is that, outside of Trey McBride, there aren’t many high-end options so, if they don’t spring for him, it’s more likely a third round pick or even day three. Perhaps someone like Greg Dulcich or Jelani Woods could work.
Potential early round picks: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan), EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon), T Charles Cross (Mississippi State), T Ikem Ekwonu (NC State), T Evan Neal (Alabama), EDGE Travon Walker (Georgia), EDGE George Karlaftis (Purdue), DB Jalen Pitre (Baylor), DB Daxton Hill (Michigan), DB Jaquan Brisker (Penn State), DB Kerby Joseph (Illinois), DB Nick Cross (Maryland), TE Trey McBride (Colorado State), TE Greg Dulcich (UCLA), TE Jelani Woods (Virginia)
Depth: Running Back, Inside Linebacker, Nose Tackle
Inside Linebacker - Blake Martinez is a free agent next year and your options at will linebacker are less than inspiring. This one could honestly be a third round pick or they could just go for depth now and address it later.
Running Back - You probably don’t spend up on it but the prudent thing to do here is draft some depth at running back with a later pick. Not only would it give you a backup and take the workload off Barkley, but it’s also leverage for negotiation time. Or, if he’s good enough, a successor. RBs can be found cheap.
Nose Tackle - Wink Martindale uses a lot of blitzing so pass rush from this spot is not a priority. Plus they signed Justin Ellis. But I could see them going for some depth here as Ellis is just on a one-year deal.
Philadelphia Eagles - 10 Picks
- First Round: 15, 18
- Second Round: 51
- Third Round: 83, 101
- Fourth Round: 124
- Fifth round: 154, 162, 166
- Seventh Round: 237
Set: Quarterback, Interior Offensive Line, Defensive Tackle
Quarterback - As of this moment, they have Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew. And it’s not even that great of a class. They should just ride with what they have and, if the team is bad again, the Saints trade gave them the draft capital they would need to move up and take a quarterback next year.
Interior Offensive Line - This team isn’t really “set” at many places but for now they have what they need to compete up the middle. The threat of Jason Kelce hanging them up obviously means they could go for someone here but they have bigger fish to fry.
Immediate: Wide Receiver, Linebacker, Cornerback, Defensive End
Wide Receiver - This one has to sting a bit after taking guys like Jalen Reagor and JJ Arcega Whiteside so early. But seeing what DeVonta Smith looked like made it clear that those two simply aren’t the answer. They could absolutely use one of their top three picks at WR. Smith is likely best at flanker and one of Reagor, Quez Watkins, Zach Pascal, or Greg Ward can man the slot so a big split end would be ideal. In the first round you might be looking at Drake London or Treylon Burks. At 51, Justyn Ross or Christian Watson perhaps.
Linebacker - Jonathan Gannon uses a lot of looks but whether it’s 3-4 or 4-3 or 4-2-5, the Eagles are weak up the middle. Not only that but TJ Edwards and Kyzir White are free agents after this year. They could potentially use a first round pick if the right guy is there, like Devin Lloyd.
Cornerback - They have Darrius Slay on one side and Avonte Maddox in the slot. They could use another full time starter opposite Slay but that doesn’t come cheap. Derek Stingley will probably be gone but maybe Trent McDuffie or Sauce Gardner could be there? If all three are gone, they either need to reach for someone, trade back, or just take a lesser name.
Defensive End - Brandon Graham isn’t getting any younger and, even though they brought Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat back, this important position can’t be ignored. If one of the top guys slide to you, you have to take them. Basically just take the four guys I named above for the Giants and add David Ojabo and Jermian Johnson. Those are the guys you’d be looking at as legit pass rush does not come cheap.
Potential early round picks: WR Drake London (USC), Treylon Burks (Arkansas), Justin Ross (Clemson), WR Christian Watson, LB Devin LLoyd (Utah), LB (Nakobe Dean (Georgia), LB Chad Muma (Wyoming), LB Christian Harris (Alabama), CB Trent McDuffie (Washington), Ahmad Gardner (Cincinnati)
Depth: Safety, Running Back, Tight End
Safety - This one can go up top of this section because they could easily use a third round pick here or even their second. The only reason it’s not under “immediate” is that they have more glaring needs but even a third round safety could find himself starting week 1.
Running Back - Miles Sanders is a free agent next year so it might be wise to opt for a RB in the later rounds. Maybe someone great in short-yardage situations to pair with Sanders’s pass-catching prowess. Boston Scott fills that role for now on a one year deal.
Tight End - After Dallas Goedert, the position is pretty thin. If you go two TE sets with Jack Stoll, he’s weak in pass-catching. Converted QB Tyree Jackson is weak in blocking. They might just want to opt for someone a little more balanced.
Washington Commanders - 6 Picks
- First Round: 11
- Second Round: 47
- Fourth Round: 113
- Sixth Round: 189
- Seventh Round: 230, 240
Set: Quarterback, Running Back, Defensive Ends,
Running Back - Antonio Gibson is the starting and JD McKissic is great in passing situations. Jaret Patterson looked good and, if Gibson goes down, Jonathan Williams can be the plodder for short yardage. Good to go at RB.
Immediate: Wide Receiver, Secondary, Interior Offensive Line
Wide Receiver - Riverboat Ron likes to use a highly consolidated snap share when he can. Ideally, 11 personnel with three WRs, one TE, and one RB. He’s got Terry McLaurin who is ideally a flanker. He’s got Curtis Samuel who is a slot gadget guy. So, much like the Cowboys and Eagles, they could use a big split end. They tried to find the guy with later picks like Antonio Gandy-Golden or Kelvin Harmon but that didn’t work so it might be time to pay up on a Drake London or Treylon Burks. They pick before the Eagles and Cowboys in the first so they could have their pick of the big dogs if they want.
Secondary - I say “secondary” and not safety here because the Commanders find themselves in a similar situation to the Giants above. In the modern NFL teams use enough nickel that you sometimes just want to take the best player available and work around it. They could take a true free safety or they could take a nickel corner and use him in a hybrid role. At their top pick, Kyle Hamilton is the real difference-maker in this draft but probably won’t be there. At pick 47 they could get one of the guys I mentioned above for the Giants like Pitre or Daxton Hill but might need to trade up.
Interior Offensive Line - No matter how you slice it, losing Brandon Scherf is big. Andrew Norwell is familiar with Ron Rivera’s offense but Wes Schweitzer and Chase Roullier are not amazing. With their second pick they could go after the best guy available. The flexible Kenyon Green can play all over but more realistic might be Dylan Parham or Donovan West.
Potential early round picks: WR Drake London (USC), Treylon Burks (Arkansas), S Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame), DB Daxton Hill (Michigan), DB Jalen Pitre (Baylor), DB Jaquan Brisker (Penn State), G Dylan Parham (Memphis), C Dohnovan West (Arizona State)
Depth: Tight End, Defensive Tackle
Tight End - You only have two picks in the first three rounds and it’s unlikely either is used on tight end. John Bates can fill in for Logan Thomas if he isn’t ready to go for the start of the season. But depth could certainly help.
Defensive Tackle - The starters are set in Da’Ron Payne and Jonathan Allen. But they had to cut Matt Ionnadis to free up money for the Wentz deal which reportedly came as a blindside to him and his agent. I imagine that move was not planned until it had to be done which likely leaves a hole in their depth chart. They also lost Tim Settle so depth could be good here.