With NFL training camps beginning soon, fans will be looking at how the stars and the high draft picks for their favourite team will do this season. What fans often do not look at are potential sleepers that could make a big impact unexpectedly.
Today, we look at the NFC East. This division is well documented for its competitive nature and is all round a very close division.
Taken in the seventh round of this year’s NFL Draft, former Ohio State wide receiver Noah Brown was taken by the Dallas Cowboys.
At the NFL Combine, Brown impressed with a time of 4.33 in the 40 yard dash, and his play shows that speed. The Cowboys got a steal by taking him in the seventh round and he could make a big impact sooner rather than later.
Taken in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Florida, tackle Chaz Green was taken to be a depth player for the already elite Cowboys offensive line.
With Doug Free retiring, there is an empty spot at the right tackle position. Asssuming La’el Collins stays permanently at left guard, Green is a shoe-in for the right tackle spot and could play very well this season.
Taken in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft, cornerback Jourdan Lewis out of Michigan was taken by the Cowboys in order to replace what they lost in Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr.
While at Michigan, Lewis played with stout cornerback play and played with a feistiness the Cowboys secondary hasn’t had in a while. Lewis also has special teams upside, so watch out for him this season.
New York Giants
Taken in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft, running back Wayne Gallman out of Clemson will be able to immediately compete with Paul Perkins for the starting running back role.
Although he played along with Deshaun Watson and Mike Williams, Gallman was a large piece to Clemson winning the national championship. His effort to get every last yard he can muster got scouts intrigued. Watch for Gallman to make an impact either starting over or splitting carries with Perkins.
Taken in the sixth round of this year’s NFL Draft, tackle Adam Bisnowaty out of Pittsburgh was drafted by the Giants.
Although he has many quality strengths in terms of being a good tackle, his inability to stay healthy over his college career made his draft stock slip. His athleticism and technique will make him able to immediately start on this struggling offensive line.
Taken in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft, defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson out of Alabama was taken by the Giants.
Tomlinson will be able to replace former defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, who signed with the Colts this offseason. Tomlinson will be on a solid defensive line who will help him make plays, but he’ll also contribute his fair share. Look for Tomlinson to become a key member of this defense.
Taken in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft, wide receiver Shelton Gibson out of West Virginia was taken by the Eagles.
Gibson will be able to compete with Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor for the number three receiver spot immediately. His ability to stretch the field and his decisiveness make him a good selection for a team that is relatively bare at wide receiver other than Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Matthews. Look for Gibson to become a reliable target for sophomore quarterback Carson Wentz to rely on.
Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan was traded by the Baltimore to the Eagles in exchange for a swapping of third round draft picks.
Jernigan has quietly had a productive NFL career thus far. Last season, Jernigan eclipsed 16 tackles, 15 assisted tackles, 5 sacks and even an interception. His production makes him a valuable piece to any defense, and with the stout defensive line the Eagles have with Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and first round pick Derek Barnett, Jernigan will be able to once again quietly produce at a high level.
Taken in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft, cornerback Rasul Douglas out of West Virginia was taken by the Eagles.
Douglas, a long-rangy corner, was taken to help the very poor Eagles cornerback group that plagued their chances of winning last season. Now, with the help of Douglas and second round pick Sidney Jones, the group is much more formidable.
With Jones missing the first part of the season with an achilles injury, Douglas may be forced to play the number one corner position. His athleticism and knowledge of the game makes him a potential lockdown number one corner.
No, he isn’t starting over Kirk Cousins.
Taken in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Indiana, the Redskins took Sudfeld as a developmental QB and hoped he had the chance to beat out Colt McCoy as the number two QB.
This year, Sudfeld has a solid chance to do that.
In a radio interview, senior vice president of player personnel for the Redskins, Doug Williams stated that the way Sudfeld has been practicing this offseason would have made him a first or second round pick for the 2017 NFL Draft. Although that may be just a vote of confidence, it shows that the Redskins do believe in his ability. Watch out for Sudfeld to be the number two QB and if Cousins goes down, we may be able to see him play.
Taken in the sixth round of this year’s NFL Draft, center Chase Roullier out of Wyoming was selected by the Redskins in order to compete for the starting center job.
While at Wyoming, Roullier made himself stand out on tape by being technically sound and having a good first initial punch. His lack of playing big competition made him dip in the draft process, but Roullier’s upside is quite high. Look for him to immediately compete for a starting job on the interior of this offensive line.
Going undrafted this year, Smithson is a very instinctual safety who can play sideline to sideline. His lack of size and subpar tackling ability got him undrafted, but Smithson has loads of upside.
The Redskins are not deep at safety, and Smithson has the play-making ability the other safeties on this team do not possess. Smithson and Su’a Cravens can become a formidable duo, as Smithson plays the centerfielder and Cravens can play the in-the-box safety role.