NFC East Pre-Draft Special
What’s up Scout Army?!?!
I know what you’re thinking, “What the hell is The Daily Armory doing up this early in the year?’ Well friends I will tell you. The Armory is expanding its reach into more of the seasonal game, which was tested out last summer with articles focusing on individual teams and where players line up for our fantasy football drafts. Since I get bored easily, I thought it might be worthwhile to get started even earlier and hit the ground running before the annual NFL draft. What this means is that I have started the process of building depth charts for each team with both offensive and defensive players which you will find included right here. All teams have been updated with free agent moves as of March 29th, 2018. These will be updated weekly through the season and will be posted at the end of every month (Early May for rookie insertion post draft). I will also be attending this year’s draft in Arlington, TX so I can be more immersed in the pageantry and frankly……I need what amounts to a vacation and there’s nothing I would like more than to work on The Daily Armory while enjoying the warmer temps. Each Sunday in April will find a new Armory article focusing on draft prospects that mean the most to us. Of course, I mean running backs, wide receivers, quarterbacks and tight ends. Well, I’ve rambled on enough. Let’s get started…….
What I’ve got for everyone is a quick overview of each team with a recap of 2017 and more importantly, where I’m seeing deficiencies on the offensive and defensive sides of the football. What I also have is some DVOA numbers (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) to share from footballoutsiders.com. It’s my favorite site for looking at strengths and weaknesses of an offense and defense and using the data to help make weekly decisions in dfs. DVOA is also used for offenses as well and helps determine its true authenticity. The site also uses a weighted DVOA which adjusts weekly so that earlier matchups become less important and helps to determine that offense or defense’s true rank. I will show these values as such……
Offensive Rank/Weighted O Rank/Rush O Rank/Pass O Rank
Defensive-Rank/Weighted D Rank/Rush D Rank/Pass D Rank
I will also include offensive and defensive line ranks which will look like this….
OL Rush Rank/OL Pass Rank
DL Rush Rank/DL Pass Rank
Confused? It should make sense in the end. Like I said earlier, check out the site. It’s very good at explaining the numbers in full.
HC: Jason Garrett (9-7)
What a difference a year made. The Cowboys quickly fell behind in 2017 due to regression on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. It would be too easy to blame the whole issue on the suspension of running back Ezekiel Elliott, but it did play its part. Zeke is the battery that makes this car run without a doubt, but it can also be chalked up as a failure by both players and coaches not stepping up to the plate. It was terrible that he was suspended, but it gave us a real look at the rest of the team’s true mental and physical nature. They were just not good! I’d expect this team to rebound in 2018 with a full season of Zeke.
OC: Scott Linehan
This team should rebound offensively. With no looming issues off the field, the Cowboys should get back to what they do best. That is running the football behind a solid, but slightly flawed offensive line and play action passes via Dak Prescott. There has been rumors of Dez Bryant being cut just after the draft, so I will be keeping an eye on any potential wide receivers via the draft that Dallas may think of bringing on board. They did acquire Allen Hurns this offseason, but he is far from a number one option. Like I said, the offensive line is slightly flawed and not as great as it once was two years ago. This could be since Elliott makes them better because he is such a stud and the fact that left tackle Tyron Smith couldn’t stay on the field. They are talented enough to rebound, but I would expect them to build better depth along the front. They may also look late for a back up at running back. Someone who can fill the role better than Rod Smith in case of injury.
NEEDS: OL, WR, RB
DC: Rod Marinelli
The defense wasn’t great but had to endure some heavy pressure because of the offense failing to stay on the field continually. It’s a talented unit or at least its more talented than what its stats would tell you. They improved down the stretch, but still had their letdowns. They could use help at both the outside linebacker and defensive tackle positions. They should also look at increasing their cornerback depth because that area is a little thin. The focus should be on the defense early unless an offensive value comes around at wide receiver for the offense.
NEEDS: OLB, DT, CB
New York Giants
HC: Pat Shurmur (NEW) (3-13)
Last season was a catastrophe for the Giants. This team just couldn’t keep anyone on the field and the talent behind the starters was weak. This still doesn’t excuse Ben McAdoo for being a bad Head Coach. He was just another example of another coach best suited to stay at a coordinator position.
OC: Mike Shula (NEW)
This team is in a bad spot for player talent, but that’s on the old regime and its now Shurmur and company’s problem to fix. Everyone is pretty sure the Giants will select Eli’s replacement with their first draft pick. The rest of the draft could go any number of ways. They need help along the offensive line even with the additions of Solder and Omameh in free agency. Ereck Flowers was better suited for the right side of the line and showed promise last season so it would be nice to see them pick up a new guard and a new center in the draft. I don’t see them adding another running back after the addition of Jonathan Stewart but can see them possibly attacking wide receiver if they have worries about Odell Beckham Jr. coming back and if they aren’t sold on the rest of the receivers. It’s also possible to see them pick up a new tight end if they think about moving Evan Engram to the slot. It’s unlikely, but I don’t hate the idea.
NEEDS: QB, OL, WR, TE
DC: James Bettcher
The defense regressed last year and looked disinterested. I’m not going to make any excuses for them, but I don’t blame them either. They must step up and do it with no JPP who was sent to the Bucs this offseason. They need help at all levels of the defense. They could use a defensive end, possibly a middle linebacker and a safety. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a competent offense that can sustain drives. With the offense needing so many pieces the defense should be better even if they can only get one or two of these new pieces.
NEEDS: DE, MLB, S
HC: Doug Pederson (13-3)
Your 2017 Super Bowl Champion Eagles! Even after a season ending knee injury to quarterback Carson Wentz the Eagles did the improbable and beat the New England Patriots with a back up quarterback. It was truly an impressive feat and one that shouldn’t be forgotten about the importance of having a quality back up at QB. They did get pillaged this offseason, but that’s not to be unexpected. They even lost their offensive coordinator to the Colts where he became their new Head Coach. It’s tough to repeat, but they’re giving it a go in 2018.
OC: Mike Groh (NEW)
The offense was pretty good despite not having a workhorse running back for most of the season. The addition of Jay Ajayi clouded the mix even more, but Blount is now gone and hopefully it gives Ajayi more carries. Torrey Smith was traded away to Panthers and Mike Wallace was brought in to replace him. He’s not as good as he once was, but he is an upgrade over Go Route Torrey! The offense doesn’t need much outside of some offensive line depth and maybe a backup quarterback to groom for when Nick Foles leaves after the season. They could also look at wide receiver, but don’t see them drafting a high end wideout unless it’s a value they can’t pass up.
NEEDS: OL, QB, WR
DC: Jim Schwartz
As with the offense, the defense doesn’t need much for upgrades outside of middle linebacker which is the primary weak spot. I see them going after depth pieces and guys who will have a shot to start in 2019. They need to stay ahead of the game in case they lose free agents after this upcoming season. This defense looks to be pretty good for 2018 barring injuries.
NEEDS: DL, LB, CB
HC: Jay Gruden (7-9)
This team is about as consistent as the quarterback they just let go in free agency. Injuries played their part in derailing Washington’s plans for another postseason run. As soon as the offensive line started breaking down the whole offense went down the tubes and brought the defense down with it. The Redskins have a lot of needs and it starts at that offensive line if they want to have any chance of being competitive in the coming years.
OC: Matt Cavanaugh
Kirk Cousins out, Alex Smith in. The Redskins were never going to pay Cousins the money he wanted as they had a first hand look at how inconsistent he really is. This could be attributed to the pieces around him, but in the end, if you want to be considered a franchise quarterback you must elevate the talent around you. He never did that. Alex Smith will bring in a more consistently bland style of play that the Redskins will need to succeed. The Redskins should focus their attention on the offensive line right from the start of the draft. They are weak up front and Trent Williams just can’t make it through a whole season. Perine should eventually settle in as the started at running back which should shift draft focus over to the wide receiver and tight end positions. The wide receivers could use some depth, but the tight end spot needs a guy who can take over for Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. At this point it is clear that Reed never should’ve been brought back.
NEEDS: OL, WR, TE
DC: Greg Manusky
The defense got lit up on the ground last year and that’s where the team should focus during the draft. All three tiers need upgrades up the middle. Not only could they use a couple of new pieces along the defensive line, but they need middle linebackers and a safety as well. They must get the run defense fixed if they want to have any shot for success in 2018. They need some depth at the cornerback positions but would prefer they focus on the other positions first.
NEEDS: DL, MLB, S, CB
As always, any questions or comments leave them here or reach me on Twitter @roydawg_13