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What NFC, AFC East teams seek in NFL draft

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is considered the best pass rusher in the NFL draft.
Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is considered the best pass rusher in the NFL draft.
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

The Times’ Sam Farmer analyzes team needs by divisions in four parts ahead of the NFL draft, to be held April 23-25. Today Part 1, the East in order teams will draft:

NFC East

Redskins: With Ron Rivera as head coach and Jack Del Rio as defensive coordinator, it’s logical to think Washington will be focused on building a defensive beast. That likely will start with Chase Young, the top defensive talent in this draft. But a lot of quarterback-needy teams might want to trade into that No. 2 spot. And do the Redskins really have an answer at quarterback?

Giants: The Giants need playmakers on defense. Markus Golden was their only player to reach five sacks last season. They can get a stud with the fourth pick. Then again, they still need to fortify the wall of protection for second-year quarterback Daniel Jones, so offensive lineman is a possibility too. At this point they have a line as porous as cheesecloth.

Cowboys: In Dallas, “Big D” does not stand for defense. The Cowboys need help on that side of the ball, and they’re in position to draft a replacement for departed cornerback Byron Jones. But they need run-stopping defensive tackles as well, and edge rushers who can get after the quarterback. Watch for the Cowboys to focus on that side of the ball high in the draft.

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Eagles: Good thing this draft is deep with receivers, because the Eagles need some help for Carson Wentz. Last season, he became the first quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards without any individual receiver reaching 500. The desperate need at cornerback was quelled by the trade for Darius Slay and signing of Nickell Robey-Coleman.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa could end up in Miami with the Dolphins.
(Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)

AFC East

Dolphins: Miami has three picks in the first round so it has the ammunition to trade up from the No. 5 spot to get the quarterback it wants. Looks like it will come down to Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert or Jordan Love. The Dolphins need a left tackle, too, after trading away Laremy Tunsil last season. Let’s face it, they need help all over the field.

Quarterbacks expert Greg Cosell talks with L.A. Times reporter Sam Farmer about top prospects in the upcoming NFL draft in this Zoom chat.

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Jets: Sam Darnold was sacked 52 times last season, fourth-most in the NFL, so the Jets need to fortify their offensive line. They’re in position to do so with the 11th pick, even after signing a tackle, center and guard in free agency. The Jets were terrible at corner last season too, and haven’t alleviated that need despite the signing of corners Arthur Maulet and Pierre Desir.

Patriots: For the second time in three years, the Patriots have the 23rd pick. They are in the market for a quarterback and could try to trade up for Tagovailoa. That would take a lot, though, and it’s more likely they stay put or trade down for a defensive player and more picks. It’s logical that they would look for a versatile linebacker to replace Kyle Van Noy.

Bills: No picks in the first round for the Bills, thanks to the trade for receiver Stefon Diggs. Their pass rushers have gone gray, and the addition of 33-year-old Mario Addison doesn’t help in that regard, so that’s an area they will look to fill. The Bills also could use a bookend to cornerback Tre’Davious White, their terrific first-round pick from three years ago.

NEXT: South divisions.

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The Times examines the top prospects ahead of the 2020 NFL draft, to be held April 23-25.


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