Chase Young not the only first-rounder to challenge NFC East foes ESPN logo
Monday, May 4, 2020

By most accounts, the NFC East fared rather well in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft.

Holders of the No. 2 and No. 4 overall picks, respectively, the Washington Redskins and New York Giantswere expected to nail their selections. Washington added the best pass-rusher, Chase Young, to a talented defensive front. The Giants added offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, who should help protect New York's recent first-round investments in quarterbackDaniel Jones(2019) and running backSaquon Barkley(2018).

The Dallas Cowboys were fortunate enough to see wide receiver CeeDee Lamb fall to them at No. 17 overall. While receiver might not have been a first-round need, the Cowboys went with the best player and added him to an offense that could be better than last season. The Philadelphia Eagles also went the receiver route with Jalen Reagor(No. 21 overall), a home-run threat to pair with quarterbackCarson Wentz.

NFC East reportersTodd Archer (Cowboys),John Keim (Redskins), Tim McManus (Eagles) and Jordan Raanan (Giants) break down how each of these first-round picks affect the teams they cover:

Redskins, No. 2: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

What it means for the Giants: Well, the Redskins drafted Young to get after quarterbacks -- including Jones -- for the next decade. With Jones' well-being in mind, the Giants answered with the selection of Thomas. That's now the matchup to watch this season and beyond. The Giants know what Young brings to the table. They loved him as a player as well, and deep down might wish they hadn't beaten the Redskins in Week 16 last season, moving below them in the draft order. But they did. Now, they have to try to stop Young, Montez Sweat and Ryan Kerrigan from pounding Jones into the turnover machine he was as a rookie. It's a scary proposition for a team that is trying to fix its offensive line once and for all. -- Raanan

What it means for the Eagles: Wentz could get blindsided. Young is a menace no matter where he lines up, generating a similar number of pressures from the right side (26) as the left (30) last season, per Pro Football Focus. The matchup Philadelphia needs to be particularly concerned with is Young versus left tackle Andre Dillard, who is expected to take over the post for free agent Jason Peters. Dillard, a 2019 first-round pick, has potential, but not everyone exited last season convinced he was ready to be a full-time starter. There are numerous college highlights of Young dipping past left tackles and smacking the ball loose from unsuspecting quarterbacks. There could be plenty more generated at Wentz's expense if Dillard is not up to the task. -- McManus

What it means for the Cowboys: Perhaps Young will fall in line with the most recent Ohio State pass-rushers, the brothers Bosa, Nick and Joey, and be an immediate hit. But the Cowboys feel good about their offensive tackles. Left tackle Tyron Smith has been to the Pro Bowl seven times and right tackle La'el Collins is coming off his best season. Smith has been hit by injuries, missing three games in each of the past four seasons. He has had a chronic back issue in addition to knee and elbow problems, but remains strong at the point of attack. That helps against speed rushers, but he has problems on inside moves requiring quick change of direction. The Cowboys won't look to help their tackles a ton, especially given the strength of Washington's front, but they will know where Young is lined up. -- Archer

Giants, No. 4: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

What it means for the Eagles: It sounds up in the air as to whether Thomas will play right or left tackle. Either way, it should be a little tougher sledding for the pass rush compared to seasons past. The Eagles feasted on Jones during their one game against him last season (Eli Manning started the other), pummeling him for four sacks and 10 QB hits in a 34-17 Philly win. It's no secret that offensive line has been the Giants' primary weakness, and the Eagles are one of the teams that took advantage of it. New York has the playmakers on offense to inflict some damage, but Jones needs time to operate, and Barkley could use some holes to work with. Thomas should help in that effort, even if he proves not to be the best of the 2020 tackle class. -- McManus

What it means for the Cowboys: DeMarcus Lawrence enjoyed going against Manning over the years because he knew where the quarterback would be, and he had an advantage on the Giants' tackles. Manning was the second-most-sacked quarterback by Lawrence. But now the Giants have copied the Cowboys' plan by drafting an offensive tackle early (Dallas used a first-round pick on Smith in 2011), which has to be at least partly impacted by former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett's arrival as New York's offensive coordinator. No matter where Thomas lines up, the Giants' line figures to be improved. And the Cowboys' pass rush, outside of Lawrence, is something of a mystery at the moment. Jones and Barkley should benefit from the arrival of Thomas. But, remember, the Cowboys have won six straight against the Giants. -- Archer

What it means for the Redskins: After Washington added Young, the Giants countered by giving Jones blindside protection. It will be necessary. In a deep tackle class, there's a debate as to who the best tackle was, but Thomas was always in the discussion. However, last season, the Redskins sacked Jones one time in their two games -- out of a combined 80 dropbacks. So protection wasn't a huge issue, but it should be this season. The Redskins have a stronger defensive coordinator in Jack Del Rio, and Young is a dynamic pass-rusher. If the Giants had selected defensive weapon Isaiah Simmons at No. 4, they might have left Jones in a bad state against Washington. Now? It will be fun to watch the Young-Thomas battle unfold. -- Keim

Cowboys, No. 17: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

What it means for the Giants: The Cowboys' offense has a chance to be nasty. That could be problematic for the Giants, who aren't exactly loaded on defense. It's now Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Lamb against James Bradberry, DeAndre Baker and rookie fourth-round pick Darnay Holmes? Advantage, Dallas! Especially until we know if Baker and Holmes can be competent players at this level. Gallup produced 158 yards in the opener last season against the Giants, with most of the damage against Baker. Lamb against Holmes, Grant Haley or whomever the Giants place in the slot will be a matchup that Cowboys quarterbackDak Prescott looks to exploit. -- Raanan

What it means for the Eagles: Trouble, on a couple of fronts. The Eagles are much better equipped to handle top-end receivers with the trade acquisition of cornerback Darius Slay, but the 1-2 punch of Cooper and Lamb still promises to give them fits. Teams with balanced attacks and game-breakers at receiver are most dangerous to this Philadelphia defense, as the blowout losses to the Minnesota Vikings and Cowboys last season demonstrated. Lamb could torment Philadelphia in another way as well over his career: he fell farther in the draft than expected and into striking distance for the Eagles, who knew it would take a second-round pick and maybe more to trade up and leapfrog Dallas. The Eagles sat tight and drafted Reagor at No. 21 -- a fact that won't be forgotten should Lamb shine as brightly as some predict. -- McManus

What it means for the Redskins: This one hurts more than Reagor, because Lamb is being added to a strong receiver group and offense. The Redskins' strength should be its defense this season, but the Cowboys can attack them like no other. Their line is equipped for solid battles against Washington's front, which could be among the best in the NFL. But if Prescott has any time, the Redskins' biggest question mark -- the secondary -- will be tested. Cooper's route-running skills have hurt Washington the past two seasons; in three games as a Cowboy, he has caught 16 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns vs. the Redskins. It's a new day for Washington's defense, but it still must contend with the outside talent with two cornerbacks -- Ronald Darby and Fabian Moreau -- who have to prove themselves. But if Lamb plays the slot as expected, that's where Washington will be helped by the return of Kendall Fuller. Lamb is considered a good route runner and dynamic after the catch. The Cowboys needed to improve their defense, but adding Lamb could lead to a scary offense. -- Keim

Eagles, No. 21: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

What it means for the Giants: This one isn't causing the Giants to shake in their boots. Reagor is a speedster who doesn't handle physical press coverage especially well. Well, guess what the Giants are going to play? A lot of physical press-man coverage under coordinator Patrick Graham. They're going to beat up Reagor and the Eagles' speedy wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. That is going to be the plan. The downside is if they miss, the result is likely to be a touchdown. And it's not as if the Giants' pass rush will get the ball out of Wentz's hands quickly. He should have time to find Reagor downfield. -- Raanan

What it means for the Redskins: Washington did a pretty good job limiting big plays against Philadelphia last season, holding the Eagles to a combined six plays of 20 yards or more in two games. The Giants (11) and Cowboys (10) fared worse in that area, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Eagles lacked the speed to truly hurt Washington -- and other teams -- down the field. Reagor showed a lot of speed at TCU (although his scouting combine time of 4.47 in the 40-yard dash was considered disappointing). Reagor's strength is more about after the catch than anything else; getting to the ball to him quickly will be key. He was inconsistent in college, and his skeptics considered him more about speed than productivity. The Eagles clearly focused on speed at receiver, and that can provide dangerous moments. What helps the Redskins is their expected starting outside corners -- Darby (4.38 in the 40) and Moreau (4.35) -- both have speed. It is refined route running that will hurt them. -- Keim

What it means for the Cowboys: More speed with a supposed healthy DeSean Jackson and the trade for Marquise Goodwin. The Cowboys know all about Reagor from his TCU days and were high on him as well. But the Cowboys are much happier that they have Lamb on their team and that he did not fall to the Eagles in the first round. A lot was made how the Eagles stole tight endDallas Goedert in the second round from the Cowboys in 2018. Perhaps the Cowboys stole Lamb from the Eagles, because they did not think Dallas would take a receiver. Reagor was hurt by poor quarterback play last season, but he is a playmaker. With the talent around him, he does not have to be a savior as a rookie in the passing game, but he should see a lot of one-on-one coverage. It will be interesting to see if a matchup of Reagor versusTrevon Diggs, the Cowboys' second-round pick, becomes a thing over the years. -- Archer

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