In our March series of Enemy Intel articles, we examined the balance of power in the NFC East two weeks into free agency. This weekend, we’re taking a look at the impact last month’s draft could have on the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants.
2012 record: 9-7, 3-3
Free agent activity: WR Louis Murphy, TE Brandon Myers, LB Dan Connor, LB Aaron Curry, DT Cullen Jenkins, CB Aaron Ross, S Ryan Mundy, K Josh Brown
Draft picks: OT Justin Pugh, DT Johnathan Hankins, DE Damontre Moore, QB Ryan Nassib, S Cooper Taylor, OG Eric Herman, RB Michael Cox
Updated 2013 outlook: After a 9-7 season in 2012, GM Jerry Reese has enjoyed a productive offseason thus far.
In free agency, he filled his team’s immediate needs by signing tight end Brandon Myers, linebacker Dan Connor and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins – all of whom are expected to step into the starting lineup and make a significant impact.
Reese also received (mostly) positive reviews for his draft. First rounder Justin Pugh (Syracuse) can play any number of positions along the offensive line and could win a starting job at guard or tackle – if not this season then next season for sure. Some analysts, though, thought Reese reached a bit to grab Pugh at No. 19.
On defense, tackle Johnathan Hankins (Ohio State) and pass rushing end Damontre Moore (Texas A &M) will contribute as rookies on a unit that ranked 31st in yards allowed last season. Neither is expected to start right away, but they could become core players beginning in 2014. Moore, by the way, was rated by some analysts as a potential first round pick.
Reese also got good value when he traded up to nab quarterback Ryan Nassib (Syracuse) in the fourth round. Eli Manning never misses a game, but now they can begin to groom a signal caller some had pegged as first or second round talent – just in case.
In all, the Giants’ offseason hasn’t been a flashy one. But it’s been solid (as long as they get wide receiver Victor Cruz under contract, that is).
And, as a result, the team that entered the offseason as the biggest threat to the Redskins’ reign as division champs remains just that.