2024 NFL Draft Review: 4 rookies who will be a problem in the NFC East Year 1

4 rookies to watch in the NFC East in Year 1.
Iowa's  Cooper DeJean
Iowa's Cooper DeJean / Matthew Holst/GettyImages

The NFC East could shape up to be one of the more competitive divisions in the NFC if each team got stronger through the 2024 NFL Draft.

In looking at the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Commanders, each team did add some talent at keys positions.  How well those players mesh and adapt in Year 1 could help propel a team like the Commanders and Giants while helping teams like the Cowboys and Eagles become favorites in the conference.

Has each team drafted one or more of those players?

2024 NFL Draft selections who will be a problem in the NFC East

NFL Mocks looks at each NFC East team’s 2024 NFL Draft selection who will present a problem for opposing teams in the 2024 NFL season and beyond.

Dallas Cowboys – DE Marshawn Kneeland (Round 2– Selection No. 56)

The Dallas Cowboys took care of a big need in the first round with the selection of Oklahoma OT Tyler Guyton.  While he will help fill a void on the offensive line, the player in the draft that will be a problem for opposing offenses as a rookie is defensive end Marshawn Kneeland out of the University of Western Michigan.

Drafted with the No. 56 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, this Day 2 pick will add some youth and energy coming off the edge.  In taking some key losses via free agency with the departures of Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler Jr., the Cowboys needed to address the defensive end position in the draft and Kneeland should help fill that void. 

Although he has never had more than 4.5 sacks in a season throughout his college career, he is the type of player who could flourish in Mike Zimmer’s defense while playing behind DeMarcus Lawrence and in a defensive featuring Micah Parsons.

In all, watch for Kneeland to get a big opportunity in his rookie season where his bullrush ability and motor will fit right into that Cowboys’ defense.

New York Giants – WR Malik Nabers (Round 1– Selection No. 6)

Are you ready for the next great wide receiver out of LSU?  Well NFC East beware because Malik Nabers will be a problem in the division from Day 1.

Drafted with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, Nabers will instantly become the man in a Giants offense that didn’t garner much excitement in 2023.  With Daniel Jones returning from injury, the former LSU star receiver will give Jones an instant target and give fans a jolt of excitement they haven’t seen since the days of Odell Beckham Jr., another former LSU standout.

Speed, versatility, athleticism…it’s all there for Nabers and he will give defensive secondaries in the NFC West nightmares with his playmaking ability.  Whether working out of the slot or on the outside, Nabers will be the team’s WR1 immediately and could find himself as an NFC Rookie of the Year candidate by midseason. 

Philadelphia Eagles – CB Cooper DeJean (Round 2– Selection No. 40)

The Eagles enter the draft with a need at cornerback and they got themselves two of the top defensive back prospects in the entire draft.  How did the Eagles pull off drafting both Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean with their first two picks?

However, it happened, new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will have a field day teaching these two young studs.  While each will help improve the Eagles’ secondary, the player who will present the biggest problem for offenses as a rookie is Dejean, who has the versatility to play both corner and at the safety position.  Which position will he play at the pro level?

Whether at corner or safety, he’ll have to compete for playing time but his versatility and playmaking skill as a difference maker will earn him snaps.  In all, the Eagles will be satisfied with Mitchell, but over thrilled with how DeJean helps improve the defensive secondary for this NFC East squad.

Washington Commanders – TE Ben Sinnott (Round 2– Selection No. 53)

With six of the top 100 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Washington Commanders have a few players who can make some noise as rookies in 2024.  It starts with No. 2 overall pick Jayden Daniels who will have his moments throughout the season, but the playmakers around him will be the story and that includes second-round pick Ben Sinnott.

Washington Commanders second round pick Ben Sinnott will be a problem in the NFC East.
Washington Commanders Rookie Minicamp / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The former tight end out of Kansas State should fit Kliff Kingsbury’s offense as a versatile pass-catching tight end.  Coming off a final season at KSU in which he caught 49 receptions for 676 yards and six touchdowns, Sinnott probably would’ve gotten more buzz if not for Brock Bowers defining himself as the top tight end prospect in the draft.

Even with the Commanders having established playmakers on offense, Sinnott should see snaps right away as the team’s top tight end target.  He’ll not only establish immediate chemistry with Daniels, but his versatility and ability to lineup anywhere on the field will make him a favorite of Kingsbury as the Commander offense will make some noise in the NFC West.