NFL Redskins 

NFL Draft Grades: NFC East

The NFC East gets the most TV time of any division in football, and it could be one of the tighter division races this upcoming season. The Cowboys won the East a year ago, and will be competing with the evil genius led Eagles, and the up and coming Giants and Redskins. Big Blue is hoping Eli can muster one more season of magic, and Washington is trying to get back on track from two seasons ago.

 

Dallas Cowboys: 12-4 in 2015, 27th Overall

Round 1 Pick 27                 Byron Jones                       DB          Connecticut

The Cowboys needed help in a lot of areas in their defense, and the athletic Jones provides them with some Corner relief, especially after Morris Claiborne hasn’t performed to expectations. Jones blew up the Combine, and will help a secondary that lacks talent. It’ll also help the pass rush, which will be boosted by their next selection. I’d be surprised if Jones isn’t starting by midseason, if not Day 1. This is a very good value for Jones, who could have gone as high as #16 without second thought. Grade: A-

Round 2 Pick 60                 Randy Gregory                  DE           Nebraska

The tumble finally ends. Randy Gregory was arguably the most talented EDGE rusher in this draft, and a failed drug test as well as some potential psychological concerns led to Gregory’s fall on draft weekend. This is a solid fit for Gregory, as Jerry Jones is known for housing problem children from time to time, see: Dez Bryant. Gregory has top 5 talent, so this has to be considered a great value. Gregory will supplement a pass rush that lacks legitimate speed on the edge, other than last year’s Demarcus Lawrence. Gregory could flourish, and be one of the steals of the entire class. Grade: A

Round 3 Pick 91                 Chaz Green                        OT          Florida

This pick was a bit of a surprise, as Green had exhibited good athleticism for a man his size, as well as some solid talent on the field. Green was a bit perplexing to watch though, as he was rotated throughout the game regularly, along with teammate Trenton Brown. Green has some nice upside, and could be another piece to an ever growing Offensive Line juggernaut. This was a bit of a reach, but there had been worse picks to this point, so I’m okay with it. Grade: B-

Round 4 Pick 127              Damien Wilson                  LB           Minnesota

This was a pick that I liked a lot, and I have seen quite a bit of Wilson throughout his career, whenever he played the Badgers. He’s a physical run and hit Linebacker that will fit well in the Cowboy’s 4-3 scheme. He’ll likely play Will or Mike, but will be an absolute devil on Special Teams, and that will likely be his quickest way onto the field. This might be a bit high for Wilson, but he has potential. Grade: B

Round 5 Pick 163              Ryan Russell                       DE           Purdue

This is another depth selection, as Russell was a pretty underrated player at Purdue. The lack of legitimate talent along the Defensive Line was pretty evident as the team got further into the playoffs. Russell is a good run stuffer, but a bit of a middling athlete. He’s a depth guy, ultimately. Solid value here. Grade: B-

Round 7 Pick 236              Mark Nzeocha                   LB           Wyoming

More depth for the Linebackers, as Monte Kiffin’s defense will live and die by Linebacker play. It will mask poor play elsewhere, and the more talent they can add, the better. It’s a 7th round pick, so I can’t put too much stock into it. Grade: C

Round 7 Pick 242              Laurence Gibson              OT          Virginia Tech

Easily my favorite of the three 7th rounders for the Cowboys, Gibson is an ultra athletic Tackle, who could have been picked a bit earlier. He will compete with Chaz Green for the swing Tackle spot, and maybe eventually replace Doug Free when he leaves Dallas. Grade: B+

Round 7 Pick 246              Geoff Swaim                      TE           Texas

I have no idea who Geoff Swaim is, but I know that Dallas traded up in the 7th to get him, so Jones obviously liked him. My guess is they move him to Fullback, or could develop into a backup Tight End in a year or two. Either way, I can’t imagine that anyone would have jumped up in front of the Cowboys for Swaim, so they gave something up they may not have needed to. Grade: D

Undrafted                        La’El Collins                    OG        LSU

Arguably the best O-Lineman in this whole class, Collins was a victim of circumstance, and ultimately lost quite a bit of money due to the unfortunate passing of one of Collins’ ex spouses. The Cowboys managed to sign a Top 10 talent for chump change. This is the rich getting richer. Collins adds to the best Line in the league. Collins likely is the Cowboys’ starting Left Guard in Week 1. Grade: A

Overall Grade: A. The Cowboys certainly got better, and should still probably win the division. With the additions to the defense, it’ll make the offense that much more effective. The Collins signing was absolutely huge. Look for the Cowboys, barring injury, to again compete for a shot at the Super Bowl.

 

New York Giants: 6-10 in 2015, 9th Overall

Round 1 Pick 9                   Ereck Flowers                    OT          Miami (FL)

Ugh. Okay, this is easily my worst grade I’ll give out in this draft. Man alive, I knew someone was going to draft this kid way too high. Flowers has good athletic upside for a guy his size, but he is SO raw. He weighs around the 330 range, and a play that sticks in my mind, is when a likely under 230 pound Randy Gregory rag-dolled him. Flowers should be a starter eventually, but shouldn’t start for a year or two, and could benefit from playing Guard first. I had him graded as a late 2nd round player. This is way too early. I don’t dislike the person, I dislike the pick. Grade: F-

Round 2 Pick 33                 Landon Collins                   S              Alabama

This pick makes up for the first one. The Giants traded three picks to the Titans to move up to 33 and grab Collins. Collins probably should have been the 1st Safety drafted, but he should immediately replaced the departed Antrel Rolle in the Giants’ secondary. Collins is a big hitter, who is best suited playing in the box than in coverage. He reminds me a lot of Donte Whitner, and is a very good value in the 2nd round. Grade: A

Round 3 Pick 74                 Owamagbe Odighizuwa                DL           UCLA

Another great make up pick by the Giants. “Owa Diggy” as Draft Twitter affectionately named him, is a good EDGE presence, and I was surprised when he wasn’t selected in the 1st round, and extra when he wasn’t picked in the 2nd. Some degenerative hips may have caused this, but the Giants get another steal to add to their defense, and the Giants love replenishing the trenches. Great value and a great player fall to the 3rd round. Grade: A

Round 5 Pick 144              Mykkele Thompson        S              Texas

More Safety help for the Giants, who are also looking to replace Sergio Brown. Thompson is an athletic kid who should immediately compete for playing time, and was an appropriate value at this point in the draft. The Giants needed quite a bit of depth in the secondary, so I wasn’t surprised to see them double dip. Grade: C+

Round 6 Pick 186              Geremy Davis                    WR         Connecticut

Another solid value by the Giants, Davis could have easily been selected earlier than this. An ultra productive kid at UConn, Davis will compete for playing time immediately. These are the type of picks that, when they hit, can help catapult teams over the hump, getting unexpected production from thought to be role players. Grade: B

Round 7 Pick 226              Bobby Hart                         OG         Florida State

Another good pick by Big Blue. Bobby Hart was a three year starter for the Seminoles, and his age is something of note. He’s 20 years old, and won’t turn 21 until into the preseason. He started a few games as a 17 year old at Florida State. He played Right Tackle in Tallahassee, but he projects to Guard in the NFL. He’s a big waist bender who struggles with speed rushers, but he could be a good pro. Grade: A-

Overall Grade: B+. If you swapped Owa and Flowers, I’d have been much happier on draft weekend. However, looking back they still got the same amount of talent, just in the wrong places. The Giants definitely improved some of their weaknesses, and should get at least 3 or 4 starters down the line from this group, not bad for a 6 man class.

 

Philadelphia Eagles: 10-6 in 2015, 19th Overall

Round 1 Pick 20                 Nelson Agholor                 WR         USC

This pick was definitely a little out of Left Field, but only because so many, including myself, looked for them to add a Defensive Back. This pick makes a lot of sense, as they lost Jeremy Maclin to Free Agency, and Agholor is pretty similar both body and style wise. Don’t be surprised at all if Agholor is the most statistically productive of the rookie receivers this upcoming season. Chip Kelly takes another Pac 12 kid, surprise. Grade: B

Round 2 Pick 47                 Eric Rowe                            DB          Utah

Speaking of Defensive Backs in the 1st round, this was the widely regarded to be the likely pick at 19, so it was no surprise that Chip decided to trade up to grab Rowe, a versatile Defensive Back that Utah has become accustomed to producing. Rowe’s ability to play both Corner and Safety make him extremely valuable, and he should succeed at either spot. This was a really nice pick by Philly. Rowe could be a starter at Safety Week 1. Grade: A-

Round 3 Pick 84                 Jordan Hicks                       LB           Texas

Another ultra athletic player for the Eagles, Hicks was a big time High School recruit, ranked the #1 prep Linebacker his Senior year. He was never able to stay healthy until his final campaign for the Longhorns, and he finally showed his ability. The Eagles seem to have a master plan that no one else can completely figure out, and having more athletes on the field makes everything easier. I like this pick, but it was a little early. Grade: C+

Round 6 Pick 191              JaCorey Shepherd             CB           Kansas

More secondary help. I was watching film of the Kansas Linebacker Ben Heeney, who drafted by Oakland, and stumbled upon JaCorey Shepherd. He’s a long, athletic Corner who, if he can develop some better ball skills, could be more than a depth player. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but doesn’t get beat often. This was a steal for Philly. Grade: B+

Round 6 Pick 196              Randall Evans                     CB           Kansas State

Again, more secondary help. Two Kansas kids in 5 selections, the Eagles knew they were gonna need help in the back 4 of the defense. I honestly can’t tell you much about Evans, I hadn’t seen him leading up to, or since the draft. But it’s late in the 6th, and if he pans out, Chip looks like a genius. Grade: C

Round 7 Pick 237              Brian Mihalik                      DL           Boston College

This pick has Chip Kelly all over it. It seems like Philly and Seattle have a plan to accumulate all of the athletes that they can, in case any of them develop into what they could. Mihalik is a 6’9″ 295 pound lineman who is an impressive athlete for his size. He’s a 7th rounder who likely won’t make the team, but if he does, he’s a monster sized person who could be a chore for offenses to stop. Grade: C

Overall Grade: B-. Just like with Seattle, their drafts never look great on paper, but the top picks should hit, and if any of the wildcards develop into good players, like they did in Seattle, you can be looking at a bevy of young, cheap talent in a hurry. Chip Kelly has a master plan that will either lead him to be ruler of the universe, or out of a job in 3 or 4 years, we’ll all just have to sit back and watch it happen.

 

Washington Redskins: 4-12 in 2015, 5th overall

Round 1 Pick 5                   Brandon Scherff               OL           Iowa

Scot McCloughan entered this draft looking to reshape the Redskins, and it became quickly evident as to how he was going to do it. Just as he had in San Francisco, physicality. Scherff was the best run blocker in this class, and plays with a nasty disposition. He likely plays Guard in the NFL, but he can play Right Tackle, and he’ll be pretty darn good at either spot. Scherff was right behind La’El Collins as my top Overall and Interior Lineman. I liked this pick more than most of the analysts. If you want Robert Griffin to succeed, more protection is never a bad idea. Grade: A-

Round 2 Pick 38                 Preston Smith                   LB           Mississippi State

Another nasty player. Smith could have easily gone in the 1st, and was even mocked in the Top 10 by some. Smith is a versatile player who can play in multiple schemes and has the size to succeed in many spots within schemes. This is a nice value, and Smith is another big, physical piece for the Skins. Look for Smith to replace Brian Orakpo’s spot in the lineup. Grade: A-

Round 3 Pick 95                 Matt Jones                         RB           Florida

I really liked Jones, and I really like this fit. Jones is a big back with some speed and catches the ball pretty well. He was never the sum of his parts at Florida, but he could end up better than a lot of backs in this class. He’s also a physical and aggressive runner. This is a little early for Jones, but I like the pick. Remember, in McCloghan’s first draft in San Fran, he took Frank Gore in the 3rd round. That turned out okay. Grade: C+

Round 4 Pick 105              Jamison Crowder             WR         Duke

This pick is the antithesis of the previous three. Crowder is a scat type slot receiver who is quicker than fast, but should have no issue getting open. This is a little later than I thought Crowder might go, so I like this pick. If Washington wants to help RG3, get him more weapons. Grade: B

Round 4 Pick 112              Arie Kouandjio                  OG         Alabama

This is another solid pick. Kouandijo was one of my top interior linemen, especially if you didn’t consider Collins and Scherff true interior players. The brother of last year’s 2nd rounder Cyrus, Arie should immediately step in at the opposite Guard spot of Scherff. The Redskins certainly can’t be blamed for not addressing the Offensive Line. Grade: B+

Round 5 Pick 141              Martrell Spaight                LB           Arkansas

Spaight isn’t overly athletic, but he’s instinctive, and plays hard. He reminds me a bit of London Fletcher as a player, which should make Redskin fans happy, and at the very least should make for a good Special Teamer. These are the type of picks that McCloughan has struck on in the past, and that creates good quality depth on winning teams. Grade: B

Round 6 Pick 181              Kyosheon Jarrett              S              Virginia Tech

Jarrett is a solid Safety, and enjoyed a nice career at Virginia Tech. A very poor offense kept them from winning as many games as in the past, but he was a major part in them defeating Ohio State. I don’t think Jarrett is ever a starter for Washington, but it’s another depth pick that should prove valuable. You want kids with heart at this juncture, and Jarrett is a nice fit. Grade: C+

Round 6 Pick 182              Tevin Mitchel                     DB          Arkansas

I don’t know a ton about Mitchel, other than that he’s a hybrid Linebacker and Defensive Back, and in today’s NFL, the ability to defend Tight Ends with bigger slot defenders can be key. Each player will have their role. Grade: C

Round 6 Pick 187              Evan Spencer                     WR         Ohio State

Evan Spencer was a very under-appreciated member of the National Champions. He is a solid athlete, but he plays with physicality. He’s a good run blocker, and although that’s not why you draft a receiver, it’s an indication of what McCloughan wants to do with this team. Spencer should excel on Special Teams, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him make the roster. Grade: C+

Round 7 Pick 222              Austin Reiter                      OC          South Florida

Reiter is a guy who again, exemplifies what the Redskins are trying to become. He’s a tough run blocker who was voted a team captain for South Florida. If he makes the roster, he can be a utility interior blocker. This is more of a statement pick than looking for a roster producer. Grade: C

Overall Grade: B+. Scot McCloughan made it exceedingly clear what direction he wants the Redskins to go in, and he made a darn good start in that direction. Scherff, Preston Smith, and Arie Kouandijo should all be Day 1 starters, and are all big, nasty, physical, and maybe most importantly, well coached. The Redskins will contend for the East, it just might not be in 2015. I expect the Redskins to pick high again next season, but not for long.

 

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Adams-Friendship Green Devil and Carroll University Pioneer for life. Aspiring to be great. @RieseDraft

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