Draft Grades: NFC East

The NFL’s favorite division was a bit of a mess last year, as the mediocrity and injury attrition led to Tom Coughlin leaving, Chip Kelly being fired, and the Redskins went from worst to first in the NFC East. This year was a bit odd, as the Cowboys ended up with the 4th pick, despite being likely a top 10 talented team in the NFL. The Eagles made some radical moves, trading up twice in the first round. Let’s take a peak at how they came out of draft weekend:

Dallas Cowboys:

Round 1 Pick 4: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Round 2 Pick 34: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Round 3 Pick 67: Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
Round 4 Pick 101: Charles Tapper, DE, Oklahoma
Round 6 Pick 189: Anthony Brown, CB, Purdue
Round 6 Pick 212: Kavon Frazier, S, Central Michigan
Round 6 Pick 216: Darius Jackson, RB, Eastern Michigan
Round 6 Pick 217: Rico Gathers, TE, Baylor

Analysis: It was refreshing to see a prominent NFL team heavily invest in the runningback position, as the Cowboys got the best prospect at the position in quite some time. Elliott should become a force almost immediately. This was a bit earlier than I expected Jaylon Smith to be drafted, but if he can return to pre-injury form, the Cowboys will gotten two of the top 5 players in this draft. Collins and Charles are high upside projects in the middle. Collins will contribute before Tapper, however. Anthony Brown was an underrated corner while on a really bad Purdue team, but could surprise in Dallas. Frazier and Darius Jackson were both workout warriors, but could both provide solid depth for the Cowboys. Gathers was a bit of a throwaway pick to me, the Cowboys likely could have gotten him as an UDFA. I don’t see him making the roster.

Grade: B (A- if Smith can return to his prior form)

New York Giants:

Round 1 Pick 10: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
Round 2 Pick 40: Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
Round 3 Pick 71: Darian Thompson, S, Boise State
Round 4 Pick 109: B.J. Goodson, LB, Clemson
Round 5 Pick 149: Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
Round 6 Pick 184: Jerrell Adams, TE, South Carolina

Analysis: So the Giants reached quite a bit with Eli Apple, here’s why: reportedly, Jack Conklin and Leonard Floyd were the top two players on their board. The Giants saw the Titans and Bears trade up in front of them for those two players, so the Giants were scrambling to make their pick. Apple has plenty of upside, but was seen as a pretty big reach. Other than that, the Giants killed this draft. Sterling Shepard will immediately alleviate pressure from Odell Beckham Jr, and he’ll be a fantasy stud. Darian Thompson is a starting caliber safety in the third round. B.J. Goodson will likely start for them at Mike linebacker, not bad for a fourth rounder. Paul Perkins fell due to the depth of this class, but he’ll contribute immediately. Jerell Adams was another good value, as he was valued by many draft analysts as a fourth round prospect.

Grade: A-

Philadelphia Eagles:

Round 1 Pick 2: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Round 3 Pick 79: Isaac Seumalo, OL, Oregon State
Round 5 Pick 153: Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia
Round 5 Pick 164: Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT, TCU
Round 6 Pick 196: Blake Countess, CB, Auburn
Round 7 Pick 233: Jalen Mills, S, LSU
Round 7 Pick 240: Alex McCalister, EDGE, Florida
Round 7 Pick 251: Joe Walker, LB, Oregon

Analysis: I’m just gonna say it, I’m not a huge fan of trading up for quarterbacks. Especially average quarterback prospects elevated due to media hype. However, if Wentz turns out as a good starter, this trade was worth it. Seumalo was one of my favorites throughout the process. Smallwood is a bad tweeter, but a solid scat back. Ha Vaitai could push for playing time early, he was a nice value. Countess, the former Michigan transfer, will add depth to the corners. Jalen Mills and Alex McCalister are my two favorites in this class. Mills is a stud who fell due to off-field concerns. McCalister is all upside right now, but he’s 6’6″ and long. He’s an enticing prospect, especially this late. Joe Walker was also a nice pick up, he’ll make the roster.

Grade: B-

Washington Redskins:

Round 1 Pick 22: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
Round 2 Pick 53: Su’a Cravens, LB, USC
Round 3 Pick 84: Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Round 5 Pick 152: Matt Ioannidis, DL, Temple
Round 6 Pick 187: Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana
Round 7 Pick 232: Steven Daniels, LB, Boston College
Round 7 Pick 242: Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia

Analysis: For the second straight year, this was a very Scot McLoughan draft. He’s heavy on physicality and “football players.” Doctson and Cravens should contribute from day one. Kendall Fuller, the fourth of his brothers to make the NFL, should also boost a secondary that was just gifted Josh Norman. Ioannidis screams throwback football player. He’ll add some nice depth to this defensive front. Sudfeld to me was a throw away pick, he’s not very good. But if he can stick as a #3 for a year or two he could become a serviceable backup. Steven Daniels would have been a top four round player 15 years ago, as he’s the classic downhill, thumper inside linebacker. Keith Marshall is very low risk-high reward for the Redskins here, as the former stud recruit was derailed by injuries, but could end up a better pro than college player.

Grade: B+

Written by 

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

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