It was yet another wild and crazy season in the always unpredictable NFC East. After a huge playoff run in 2014, the Dallas Cowboys entered the season as the division favorites and failed to repeat due to Tony Romo going down with an injury. Even then, the Cowboys were in the midst of a media maelstrom having signed Greg Hardy, a convicted woman abuser.
But that wasn’t all. The Eagles plummeted after Chip Kelly was given full control of the roster. He lost the locker room and subsequently fired. The Giants lost their long-time head coach Tom Coughlin, who was virtually pushed out. As for the Redskins, ownership finally succumbed to reality and benched Robert Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy winner who Washington sacrificed three years of first-round picks to move up and select, and they ended up the division winner.
With each team trying to push past the issues of 2015, each team put their attention on the draft to continue to distance themselves from the previous seasons media circuses. It didn’t take long either, as the Eagles shipped a boat load of picks to the Cleveland Browns to move up to second overall. Here is how the rest of the draft shook out.
Dallas Cowboys: A
1.) Ezekiel Elliott, RB Ohio St.
2.) Jaylon Smith, OLB, Notre Dame
3.) Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
4.) Charles Tapper, DE, Oklahoma
4.) Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi St.
6.) Anthony Brown, CB, Purdue
6.) Kavon Frazier, S, Central Michigan
6.) Darius Jackson, RB, Eastern Michigan
6.) Rico Gathers, TE, Baylor
The Cowboys have done great each year with Stephen Jones, taking over as the loudest voice in the room. The Cowboys stuck to their board and got a huge weapon in Elliott. The team got tremendous value in Smith, early in the Round 2. Smith, was a lock Top 5 pick before blowing out his knee. They must have faith in the medicals to make this selection and if Smith returns to full health — look out. Collins and Tapper, are perfect fits for the Cowboys Tampa-2 defense. Tapper could grow into a starter sooner than later. Prescott, finally gives Dallas a legitimate backup and potential heir apparent to Tony Romo.
Sleeper: Rico Gathers
This is a no risk, huge reward pick. Gathers, was a standout basketball at Baylor over the past three years and hasn’t played football since middle school. However, all you need to do is look at Antonio Gates. A basketball star at Kent State turned undrafted prospect, turned future NFL Hall-of-Famer. I’m not saying Gathers is going to go to the hall of fame, but he has the size and skill set to excel.
New York Giants: B
1.) Eli Apple, CB, Ohio St.
2.) Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
3.) Brandian Thompson, S, Boise St.
4.) B.J. Goodson, ILB, Clemson
5.) Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
6.) Jerrell Adams, TE, South Carolina
The Giants surprised many by selecting Apple over Florida Gator Vernon Hargreaves. There is star potential with good size and movement skills, but he is raw and is a bit overly physical with receivers which could lead to flags. Shepard is the perfect pick for Giants new head coach Bob McAdoo’s west coast offense. He is a sharp route runner and has vacuums for hands. Thompson, could develop into a quality center fielder for the G-Men and allows Landon Collins to play more in the box. Goodson and Perkins add depth extra bodies to positions under producing.
Sleeper: Jerrell Adams
The Giants always seem to pluck tight ends out of obscurity and turn them into quality starters. Adams could be the next. He isn’t the most elite blocker, but is an absolute matchup nightmare with his size-to-speed ratio and strong hands.
Philadelphia Eagles: C+
1.) Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota St.
3.) Isaac Seumalo, OG, Oregon St.
5.) Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia
5.) Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT, TCU
6.) Blake Countless, CB, Auburn
7.) Jalen Mills, S, LSU
7.) Alex McCalister, OLB, Florida
7.) Joe Walker, ILB, Oregon
The Eagles made a big leap up to get Wentz. While, the ability is evident as he lead a powerhouse school in the FCS division, the jump in competition wil have to be something to watch. Also, the Eagles muddied their quarterback position due to the selection, having already invested a lot of guaranteed money to veterans Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel. Seumalo, is a raw talent with tremendous strength. Smallwood, averaged 116 yards a game last season and has good hands out of the backfield, but has some serious red-flags off the field. Vaitai, besides having an awesome name, has starter upside and tremendous size, but is very raw.
Sleeper: Jalen Mills
A versatile defensive back, Mills has the tools to succeed and excels in man coverage. He won’t mix it up in the running game, but could be a top-end nickleback. The only concerns are off-field issues and injuries.
Washington Redskins: B
1.) Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
2.) Su’a Cravens, LB, USC
3.) Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
5.) Matthew Ioannidis, DT, Temple
6.) Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana
7.) Steven Daniels, ILB, Boston College
7.) Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia
The Redskins stuck to their board and made a smart selection in Doctson. Many regarded him as the top receiver in the draft and with, potentially, two starting receivers up for free agency next year, Doctson gives them leverage. The Cardinals revolutionized the inside linebacker position after moving safety Deone Bucannon to the position. Cravens, fits the new hybrid linebacker/safety mold and is a tremendous talent. He can do anything and do it at a high level. Ioannidis, gives Washington a bully in the trenches. He is a classic five-technique, he has a nonstop motor and can set the edge. Marshall, was the fastest player at the combine.
Sleeper: Kendall Fuller
Fuller, could have been a first-round selection had it not been for tearing his meniscus three games into his junior year. A three-year starter, Fuller has the size and coverage skills to be a top corner.