NFL DRAFT REVIEW: NFC EAST
By Simon Carroll
The NFL Draft is in the books. And whilst it is far too early to assign grades to these draft classes we can analyse how they have affected team’s rosters, and the outlook of the divisions ahead of the upcoming season.
We continue this series with a look at the NFC East:
|7||231||Ben DiNucci||QB||James Madison|
Maybe Jerry Jones should co-ordinate every draft from a luxury yacht. In the simplest of terms, The Dallas Cowboys smashed draft weekend from the first pick to the last. At first glance the move for CeeDee Lamb may seem a touch decadent – a luxury piece on a team with some holes on defense. But he was quite clearly the best player available and had no right to be falling to seventeen. With Gallup on one side and Lamb and Cooper spitting slot or outside duties on the other, this offense is now complete.
The rest of the draft followed a similar trajectory. Trevon Diggs and Neville Gallimore could well have been first round picks but were taken in the second and third rounds respectively. That interior defensive line was looking bare three months ago – now with McCoy Poe and Gallimore it looks stacked. Diggs will be joined by fellow rookie Reggie Robinson in a new-look secondary.
Day three was just as impressive. Tyler Biadasz was touted as the best center in the draft nine months ago. Injury caused him to drop and one Wisconsin Badger replaces another with the retirement of Travis Frederick. And getting Bradlee Anae in the fifth round is downright ludicrous. The Utah standout might not possess the measurables you look for and won’t be the answer to all of Dallas’ pass rush needs, but he just knows how to get the job done. Top marks Jerry – you nailed it.
New York Giants
|6||183||Cameron Brown||LB||Penn State|
|7||238||TJ Brunson||LB||South Carolina|
Dave Gettleman put some of his trust into ‘computer folks’ and it seemed to do the trick, with the Giants getting excellent value with their early selections. Andrew Thomas wasn’t everyone’s idea of the best tackle, but he’s regarded as the most NFL ready. With OTA’s and minicamps all in doubt this is a savvy move. Thomas can play both sides of the line and should immediately start in place of Mike Remmers, moving over to the left in a year’s time once Nate Solder is done.
I compared Xavier McKinney to Minkah Fitzpatrick, and that kind of versatile piece is exactly what this defense needs. They tried a similar thing with Jabril Peppers and it hasn’t quite worked out. Perhaps Peppers finds a more permanent role as a box safety or dimebacker with McKinney moving around the secondary to create mismatches with his athleticism and playmaking skills.
Some intriguing picks after that in Peart and Holmes, but as day three wore on Gettleman reverted to type. After grabbing a couple of linebackers in free agency he proceeded to select three more in the last five picks – four more if Carter Coughlin converts to off-ball as I expect in this defense. A leopard never changes his spots, regardless of how many computer folk you surround him with.
|5||168||John Hightower||WR||Boise State|
|6||200||Quez Watkins||WR||Southern Mississippi|
|6||210||Prince Tega Wanogho||OT||Auburn|
Okay. I’m not going to rile up Eagles fans any more than they already are. Instead I’m going to take a positive view of what was an extremely unorthodox draft for Howie Roseman. Passing on Justin Jefferson for Jalen Raegor was a shock, but if you look at the rest of their moves at wide receiver this offseason it shows a significant migration to speed. DeSean Jackson is now joined by Raegor, John Hightower, Quez Watkins and Marqise Goodwin who came over from the 49ers. All of these guys are serious burners – none of them ran slower than 4.4 seconds at the combine. If Raegor can rule out the drops, this could be one of the hardest passing games to control in the NFL.
But which quarterback will be throwing the football? The Eagles continued to mystify draftniks with the selection of Jalen Hurts. I would have loved to see Hurts go somewhere he had a legitimate chance of starting. Instead, he heads to Philly to back up Carson Wentz who has had trouble staying on the field the last three years. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Doug Pederson utilise Hurts as a gadget guy or with two QB’s on the field, but Eagles fans can be forgiven if they fail to see how this helps their team right now.
|1||2||Chase Young||EDGE||Ohio State|
|5||156||Keith Ismael||IOL||San Diego State|
|7||229||James Smith-Williams||EDGE||North Carolina State|
There’s a new regime in Washington, and apparently Ron Rivera has the power. So whilst we don’t know for certain who outside Dan Snyder had a say in the drafting, we can all agree that they nailed their first selection. To be fair, they couldn’t really go wrong. Chase Young was considered by most the best player in the draft, and he transforms what was an already talented defensive line into the best in the NFL.
After that it was a draft that left more questions than answers, although some of the names they brought in are intriguing. Antonio Gibson is a movable weapon that will offer an x-factor this team maybe lacked. And Antonio Gandy-Golden should provide the possession receiver that Dwayne Haskins desperately needs now it is confirmed he’ll be the starting quarterback at FedEx Field next year. At least to begin with anyway. Cam Newton still lingers out there…
The trade of Trent Williams to the 49ers was a sad but inevitable end to the left tackle’s career in Washington, and it meant that addressing the offensive line became even more of a need in this draft. Saahdiq Charles could very well be the next Williams on talent alone, but his character concerns leave you wondering if he’ll ever realise his potential. A 4th round pick is well worth the risk.
Feature Image Credit: DallasCowboys.com
previously the founder of nfl draft uk, simon has been covering college football and the nfl draft since 2009. based in manchester, simon is also co-creator & weekly guest of the collapsing pocket podcast.