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The mid and late rounds of the NFL draft are just as critical to a team’s success as the first and second rounds. Every year there are late round grabs that become starters, and even all-pros. Let’s take a look at some day two and three projections that will be perfect fits for the NFC East teams.
Offense: Ian Book – QB, Notre Dame
Even though Book never had that moment that all Notre Dame fans were hoping for, he was able to guide the program to multiple College Football Playoff bids. In South Bend he had a good supporting cast but not the elite squad that Dallas possesses with its current skill players. Book’s nature to improvise and keep the play alive, along with mentorship from Dak Prescott, would help make Book successful.
Defense: JaCoby Stevens – S/LB, LSU
Stevens has the type of versatility that makes him a commodity for any style of defense. The Cowboys could use better depth at linebacker, but Stevens is a perfect fit for a hybrid role in a nickel package due to his abilities. He can cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield with his size, quickness and ball skills. Also he can make tackles all over the field, including the backfield, as he piled up 9.5 sacks as a Tiger.
Offense: Elijah Mitchell – RB, Louisiana Lafayette
It seems the Eagles are always devastated with injuries to their skill position players, and that’s why they need to draft players that can execute the scheme. With Jalen Hurts leading the offense, there is expectation that the read option and run-pass option (RPO) plays will be prevalent. Mitchell is great at taking handoffs from the shotgun and running downhill, then makes great jump cuts and always falls forward. If Miles Sanders goes down with an injury then Mitchell is capable of being a lead back in the NFL.
Bonus: The Eagles have so many picks and should grab Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger as well. The Eagles can call those same schemes as they do for Hurts and hardly skip a beat.
Defense: Dylan Moses- LB, Alabama
This could pay huge dividends for the Eagles if they can snatch up Moses, due to the lack of elite talent in their linebacker room. Few players’ stock outside of maybe Shaun Wade from Ohio State saw their draft projection fall harder than Moses did. However, he played nearly all season with a torn MCL, and was still moderately effective. When he is fully healthy, he definitely has that superstar potential.
Washington Football Team
Offense: Kenny Yeboah – TE, Ole Miss
The transfer from Temple down to Oxford to play for Lane Kiffin worked out well for Yeboah. This past season, he had double the yardage than he did in any year for Temple. The Football Team has tight end depth but even their number one guy, Logan Thomas, was a college quarterback. Yeboah is athletic and a born pass catcher who would be a valuable asset to Ryan Fitzpatrick and company.
Defense: Justin Hilliard – LB, Ohio State
It seems that every player on the Football Team’s roster is from Ohio State or Alabama, so this pick follows suit. The defensive line on this team is loaded but could always benefit from a coverage sack. Hilliard is just as effective in coverage as he is with stopping the run, being the only linebacker in the country to grade top 10 in both categories. Not the fastest linebacker but is strong enough to fight off blocks and has great instincts to fill holes in run support.
New York Giants
Offense: Jermar Jefferson – RB, Oregon State
Even though they only have six picks in the upcoming draft, the Giants should be fine due to a solid free agency. GM Dave Gettleman could try and trade sixth round picks 196 and 201 to slide back into the fifth round to address the running back depth. Behind Saquon Barkley is a drop off to Devontae Booker, and grabbing a guy like Jefferson would bridge that gap. He hits the hole hard, always seems to fall forward and has enough speed to break free.
Defense: Paulson Adebo – CB, Stanford
The Giants’ defense was actually a strong point last season, being top ten in total points allowed, really emphasizing that bend but don’t break mentality. An area that New York could improve is getting off the field on third down, allowing a 44.6% conversion rate (ninth worst in the league).
Since the Giants are bottom of the league in blitz percentage, a coverage player should be the pick to help them alleviate that downfall. Adebo was slated as a possible first round pick for many analysts, but his play dropping off coupled with sitting out last season dropped his stock. He has tremendous potential that could be unlocked in the correct setting.