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Team-by-team draft needs: NFC East

Pat Kirwan breaks down each team's positional needs, listed in order of importance, entering the draft.

More team draft needs:

AFC: East | North | South | West
NFC: East | North | South | West


Dallas Cowboys

Safety: The Cowboys signed Gerald Sensabaugh, who's coming off a career season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he'll replace five-time Pro Bowl strong safety Roy Williams, whom Dallas released. Ken Hamlin will start at free safety, but after that, the Cowboys' depth is suspect. Pat Watkins isn't starting material, and Courtney Brown is promising but raw. Expect Dallas to address this need early in the draft.

Guard: Kyle Kosier is coming off a foot injury that held him to just three games last season, and backup Cory Procter struggled when pushed into a starting role. The Cowboys will look for a big-bodied player who can move his feet and fit in with their other offensive linemen.

Left tackle: Flozell Adams enters his 12th NFL season, but the Cowboys began to see signs of decline from him last season. It might be time for the team to draft an heir to the job, especially since this year's draft class is strong at the position.

Inside linebacker: The Cowboys can call Keith Brooking an upgrade over Zach Thomas if they want to, but the former Atlanta Falcon is 33 and entering his 12th NFL season. Brooking is athletic and a solid wrap-up tackler, but Dallas needs to consider finding a younger player to come in and spell Brooking or take over the starting job.

Cornerback: The plan is to let Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick fight it out for the starting job opposite Terence Newman, who is the only current Cowboys cornerback with substantial starting experience. Dallas likely will sign a veteran in case the young guys don't work out, but expect the team to find a couple cover guys in this draft.

Draft choices: Nos. 51, 69, 101, 117, 156, 166, 172, 197, 208, 210, 227


New York Giants

Wide receiver:Plaxico Burress' legal situation is being worked out, but the Giants have to plan for life without him because of a possible league-mandated suspension. There has been some talk of Mario Manningham, last year's troubled rookie, taking on a bigger role that includes Burress' spot. However, the Giants must consider taking a playmaking wide receiver, preferably one with some deep speed, in the first or second round.

Running back: Brandon Jacobs is a big, physical runner who is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. However, Jacobs hasn't played a full 16-game season since he was a rookie in 2005, and there is no guarantee that the smaller, quicker Ahmad Bradshaw can be anything more than a change-of-pace back. The Giants are accustomed to a three-back system and need another runner in the mix after losing Derrick Ward to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.

Tight end: Kevin Boss has been a nice story, and he does enough good things as a blocker and a receiver to provide the Giants with an effective, reliable tight end. But if the team is going to be without Burress on the perimeter for any period of time, it might look for more of a vertical threat on the seam.

Offensive tackle:David Diehl has done more than an admirable job since moving to tackle, but he's a natural guard. The sooner the Giants can find a top-tier tackle to cover Eli Manning's blind side, the sooner Diehl can move back inside, which will be better for him and the team.

Quarterback: Depth is the Giants' main priority all over their roster, and quarterback is no exception. As long as Eli Manning is healthy, the Giants are in good shape. If Manning goes down, David Carr gets the ball, which is a big step down.

Linebacker: The Giants did a magnificent job of bolstering their defensive front, signing DE Chris Canty and DT Rocky Bernard in free agency. Those two players will make everyone behind them better, but the Giants still need depth at linebacker. Antonio Pierce is 30, so his replacement needs to be in place in the middle. And while Michael Boley is a nice player on the weak side, finding an upgrade over Danny Clark on the other side wouldn't be a bad idea.

Safety: C.C. Brown was signed in free agency, but he's just a safety net in case Kenny Phillips can't do the job at free safety in his second NFL season. Michael Johnson is a hitter at strong safety, but the Giants need to find someone who can cover deep downfield with some effectiveness.

Draft choices: Nos. 29, 45, 60, 91, 100, 129, 151, 164, 200, 238


Philadelphia Eagles

Offensive tackle: Tra Thomas signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a free agent, and Jon Runyan, as much as he'd like to return, has age (35) and injury fighting against him. Right now, Winston Justice is slated to protect QB Donovan McNabb's blind side, and the Eagles can't be comfortable with that scenario.

Running back: Brian Westbrook will turn 30 this year, and the knee injury that slowed him for most of 2008 is a concern. He's a small back who can't be expected to put up more than 350 touches per season. With Correll Buckhalter gone to the Denver Broncos in free agency, the Eagles have to think hard about finding a complementary back.

Linebacker: Omar Gaither lost his starting job to second-year pro Akeem Jordan, an undrafted free agent, at the end of last season. Gaither will have a chance to win back the job in training camp, but with 12 picks in the draft -- four in the top 100 -- Philadelphia could find an impact linebacker early.

Tight end:Brent Celek had 19 catches in three postseason games last season and started seven regular season contests for the injured L.J. Smith, who signed a free agent contract with Baltimore. Celek is a capable receiver, but not a real vertical threat on the seam route, and not nearly the blocker Philly needs to get in front of the run game.

Draft choices: Nos. 21, 28, 53, 85, 121, 141,153, 157, 194, 195, 230


Washington Redskins

Defensive end:Andre Carter is the only true pass rusher on this defense, which is why the Redskins haven't been able to generate a pass rush without the aid of an extensive blitz package. Their plan of teaming aging DEs Renaldo Wynn and Phillip Daniels doesn't help the situation. Expect the Redskins to be in the market for a top-tier pass rusher in the first round of the draft.

Right tackle: Jon Jansen is 10 years into his NFL career and has faced serious durability issues. When Jansen isn't on the field, Stephon Heyer is the Redskins' starter, and he's not as strong a player.

Linebacker: Marcus Washington was cut this offseason after decreasing production the last two years, but the Redskins don't seem to have a viable player, other than career backup Alfred Fincher, to fill the spot. If Fincher isn't the answer, the team needs to find one in the draft.

Wide receiver:Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El have been the Redskins' starters, but at 5-foot-10, they lack the size to be viable red-zone threats. Taller targets Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, both second-round draft picks last year, have been slow to develop.

Cornerback:DeAngelo Hall was re-signed after his strong second half of the 2008 season for the Redskins. He and Carlos Rogers will start, with Fred Smoot playing in nickel packages. However, Rogers is coming off major knee surgery, and Smoot has been inconsistent. A cornerback with some healthy wheels and good speed could provide an upgrade to Washington's secondary.

Draft choices: Nos. 13, 80, 150, 186, 243

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