The news of the season seemed to center around NFC East and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Would the team trade him? Release him? Where does Romo go after? Ultimately, Romo decided to retire and enter the press booth for CBS.
It seems fitting that Romo retired this offseason. The NFC East is one of the most up and coming divisions in the league with fellow Cowboys Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott leading the charge. Not to mention there is also the Eagles’ Carson Wentz and Giants’ receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard.
One of the major stories in the division was the (once again) dysfunctional Washington Redskins front office. They poorly managed contract negotiations with Kirk Cousins and now he seems all, but gone following the 2017 season. Then there was team president Bruce Allen unceremoniously canning GM Scot McCloughan.
Needless to say it was interesting to see what new talent would join this burgeoning division. Here is how things shook out in the 2017 NFL Draft…
Dallas Cowboys: B-
1.) Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
2.) Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
3.) Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
4.) Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina
6.) Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech
6b.) Marquez White, CB, Florida St.
7.) Joey Ivie, DT, Florida
7b.) Noah Brown, WR, Ohio St.
7c.) Jordan Carrell, DT, Colorado
The Cowboys hit on Charlton and Awuzie to kickoff the draft. Charlton was moved around a lot at Michigan, but eventually settled in at end in their 4-3 where he churned out 9.5 sacks in his lone season as a starter. The defensive secondary was a big area of need and the Cowboys loaded up on depth with Lewis, Woods, and White. Woods, will be a force on special teams while he develops. Switzer and Brown provide much needed depth at wide receiver. Switzer, is a clone of current Cowboys’ slot receiver Cole Beasley — short and shifty.
Best pick: Chidobe Awuzie
Awuzie, in Round 2 was a perfect selection. Addressed a need and gives them a versatile player to deploy all over the field whether it’s out wide, in the slot, or even as safety. Awuzie has good size and could help the Cowboys on Day One.
New York Giants: B+
1.) Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
2.) Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama
3.) Davis Webb, QB, Cal
4.) Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
5.) Avery Moss, DE, Youngstown St.
6.) Adam Bisnowaty, OT, Pittsburgh
This was a fantastic haul by the Giants. My only concern is they waited too long to address the offensive line. Granted, the player they did take, Bisnowaty, was a tremendous choice in Round 6. Bisnowaty, was a four year starter with the smarts and aggression to start, but a injuries pushed him down. Engram, gives Eli Manning another dynamic weapon in the arsenal. Tomlinson and Moss provide depth at their deepest positions on defense. Tomlinson could start Day One. Gallman, puts some thunder in the backfield, complementing current backs Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen well.
Best pick: Davis Webb
Eli Manning isn’t getting any younger and there isn’t much behind. Webb, created such buzz over the process some thought he could wind up in Round 1. To select him in Round 3 and allow him to mature to the NFL game could pay off in a big way.
Philadelphia Eagles: A
1.) Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
2.) Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
3.) Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia
4.) Mack Hollins, WR, North Carolina
4b.) Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego St.
5.) Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia
5b.) Nate Gerry, S, Nebraska
6.) Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington
The Eagles selected four potential starters with their first four picks. That is a job well done. Especially in the case of Sidney Jones. Some had Jones as the best cornerback prospect in the draft, but he suffered an Achilles injury at his pro day. A smart, long term investment by Philly. Barnett, broke Reggie White’s career sack record at Tennessee. That says something. Hollins, is a quality target for Wentz. He rounds a suddenly impressive receiving corps. Pumphrey, had three straight seasons of rushing for over 1,500-yards. Qualls’ is a perfect prospect to mold under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
Best pick: Rasul Douglas
A JUCO transfer to West Virginia, Douglas only started one year for the Mountaineers, but what a year it was with eight interceptions and eight passes broken up. Douglas, has tremendous size at 6’2″, if he continues to develop look out.
Washington Redskins: A
1.) Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
2.) Ryan Anderson,OLB, Alabama
3.) Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
4.) Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
4b.) Montae Nicholson, S, Michigan St.
5.) Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas
6.) Chase Roullier, C, Wyoming
6b.) Robert Davis, WR, Georgia St.
7.) Josh Harvey-Clemons, S, Louisville
7.) Joshua Holsey, CB, Auburn
Very similar to the Eagles, the Redskins hauled in four potential starters with their first four picks with a fallen star cornerback falling into their laps. Allen, is a Top 5 talent, but concerns over his shoulders pushed him down. Doctors say his shoulders won’t be a problem for Allen during his playing years. This a home run. Anderson, will provide some juice off the edge. The defensive secondary was a place of major concern. Moreau, was considered a first-round prospect before suffering a pectoral injury at his pro day. He could become a starter sooner than later. Harvey-Clemons, has a lot of talent, but some considerable off-field issues to overcome.
Best pick: Samaje Perine
How Perine, a man who rushed for over 4,000 yards and nearly 50 touchdowns in three years, fell to the fourth-round I will never know. He is not flashy, but he powers the ball between the tackles and is a smart runner with quality vision. This is a total steal.