The NFC East is regularly one of the best divisions in the league and it is home to the reigning Super Bowl champion. The Eagles became world champions after a wild shoot out with the New England Patriots that left them victorious. Now, they have to prove it wasn’t a fluke.
The Eagles are getting back Carson Wentz from injury. The Redskins finally concluded the Kirk Cousins debacle by trading for Alex Smith. The Cowboys are now giving total control over Dak Prescott. The Giants are putting their full trust in Eli Manning and gearing up for one last Super Bowl push under new head coach Pat Shurmer.
There is a lot of exciting story lines in the division and that was all before the draft. So how did the NFC East fare in the draft? Did they manage to obtain the missing pieces to their puzzles or are the Super Bowl champs still king? Lets break it down…
Dallas Cowboys: B
1.) Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise St.
2.) Connor Williams, OG, Texas
3.) Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado St.
4.) Dorance Armstrong, DE, Kansas
4.) Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford
5.) Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky
6.) Chris Covington, LB, Indiana
6.) Cedrick Wilson, WR, Boise St.
7.) Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama
The host team brought in a quality haul, but failed to address pressing needs. Before the draft the team cut Dez Bryant, then during the draft Jason Witten unofficially announced his retirement, and yet the Cowboys did not address those positions until Round 3 and Round 4. You can’t expect your quarterback to continue to grow if he doesn’t have a quality arsenal of weapons. That being said the team did take late flyers are a couple intriguing prospects in Cedrick Wilson and Bo Scarbrough. As for the early picks, they weren’t missed picks. The linebacking corps has been innjury plagued regularly and Vander Esch offers a wealth of potential. He’s a one year wonder, but if he’s a great fit. He just has to prove his one colossal season in college wasn’t a fluke. Williams, in the second round, fits a need at left guard. The offensive line is the strength of the team, it’s important to keep it that way. He should start Day One.
New York Giants: A
1.) Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn St.
2.) Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
3.) Lorenzo Carter, OLB, Georgia
3.) BJ Hill, DT, NC State
4.) Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond
5.) Rocky McIntosh, DT, Miami
What is better than going into your divisional rivals home and swiping a better a draft class? The G-Men’s draft haul is an impressive one. Some have problems with Barkley going second overall, but look, the best player is the best player and Barkley has the potential to be a generational player. The Giants then turned around and helped Barkley by giving him an absolute road grader in Hernandez. What a perfect union that is. New York is switching to a 3-4 defense and need the right personal to thrive. Carter as a rush linebacker is just what they needed and to get him in the third round is tremendous value. In a similar vein, adding Hill and McIntosh to really flesh out the nose and five-technique along the odd man front is smart. Lauletta, gives the team another quarterback to develop behind Manning.
Philadelphia Eagles: C
2.) Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota St.
4.) Avonte Maddox, CB, Pitt
4.) Josh Sweat, DE, Florida St.
6.) Matt Pryor, OT, TCU
7.) Jordan Mailata, OT, None
The team traded out of the first round to try and pick up some extra picks to help their cash strapped roster and then took those assets to move up and take Goedert. Yes, they have Zach Ertz, but Philly likes to run two tight end sets and Goedert can really work the seam and be a mismatch for defenses. Sweat, keeps the strength of the Eagles along their defensive line. He had 12.5 sacks over the last two years. Rounding out the draft with depth pieces at corner and tackle was wise. The most intriguing pick is Mailata, an professional rugby player from Australia who is trying his hand at American football.
Washington Redskins: B-
1.) Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
2.) Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
3.) Geron Christian, OT, Louisville
4.) Troy Apke, S, Penn St.
5.) Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech
6.) Shaun Dion Hamilton, LB, Alabama
7.) Greg Stroman, CB, Virginia Tech
7.) Trey Quinn, WR, SMU
To be honest, after the past few years I don’t have a lot of trust that the Redskins front office will do the right thing. That being said, they actually brought in a quality haul. The team had the worst rush defense in the entire league last year and needed to sure that up. They did so with Payne and Settle. Settle, could develop into the starting nose tackle, while Payne plays the five-technique opposite last year’s first round pick and former Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen. Guice, fell due to character concerns. Nonetheless, getting a first round target in the second round is always a plus. He could really help Alex Smith. Christian, is a developmental prospect with starter upside. Shaun Dion Hamilton, has serious injury concerns, but if he can beat them Hamilton has the ability to develop into a starter and a quality one at that on the inside of the Redskins 3-4 defense.