NFC East NFL Draft Grades
May 12, 2014 in NFC East
Round 1, Pick 16 (16)
Zack Martin OT Notre Dame
Round 2, Pick 2 (34) (From Redskins)
Demarcus Lawrence DE Boise St.
Round 4, Pick 19 (119)
Anthony Hitchens OLB Iowa
Round 5, Pick 6 (146) (From Raiders through Seahawks and Lions)
Devin Street WR Pittsburgh
Round 7, Pick 16 (231)
Ben Gardner DE Stanford
Round 7, Pick 23 (238) (From Chiefs)
Will Smith OLB Texas Tech
Round 7, Pick 33 (248) (Compensatory selection)
Ahmad Dixon SS Baylor 5.2
Round 7, Pick 36 (251) (Compensatory selection)
Ken Bishop DT Northern Illinois
Round 7, Pick 39 (254) (Compensatory selection)
Terrance Mitchell CB Oregon
OVERALL GRADE: C+
The Cowboys made the right call passing on Johnny Manziel in the first round. Not only is Tony Romo a very good quarterback, but that contract made it prohibitive for the Cowboys to cut him any time soon. Instead the Cowboys land one of the top offensive linemen in the draft in G/T Zach Martin. Though Dallas could have used a defensive lineman, there wasn't anyone worth taking at that spot and it was such a deep group that they knew they could wait till the 2nd round. Martin should be an immediate starter for the Cowboys and should help improve the offensive output this season. In the 2nd round the Cowboys maybe got a bit too desperate and traded up for edge rusher Demarcus Lawrence. Not only did they give up their 3rd pick in the process, but Lawrence is a bit raw so he might not make much of an early impact. Lawrence is a good prospect overall and has the potential to be a right side edge rusher, which the Cowboys desperately lack at this point.
In the 4th round the Cowboys reached for LB Anthony Hitchens, who wasn't highly rated on many draft boards. With some of the talent still on the board the Cowboys seemed to reach here and might not get as much of an impact from this pick. In the 5th round the Cowboys traded up for Devin Street a bigger WR from Pittsburgh who's been pretty productive in his career. Street may never be a star, but he should be a solid 3rd or 4th receiver and will help make up for the loss of Miles Austin. In the 7th round the Cowboys had a number of picks and loaded up on defensive depth. Many of these guys could make the team do to how thin this roster was heading into the draft.
Overall the Cowboys did a really good job in the first round landing Martin, but trading away a mid-third round pick probably will be something that costs Dallas going forward. Martin and Lawrence will likely be the only guys that really make an impact from this draft class, and for a team like Dallas they could have used more impact from this class.
NEW YORK GIANTS:
Round 1, Pick 12 (12) Odell Beckham WR LSU
Round 2, Pick 11 (43)
Weston Richburg C Colorado St.
Round 3, Pick 10 (74)
Jay Bromley DT Syracuse
Round 4, Pick 13 (113)
Andre Williams RB Boston College
Round 5, Pick 12 (152)
Nat Berhe SS San Diego St.
Round 5, Pick 34 (174) (Compensatory selection)
Devon Kennard OLB USC
Round 6, Pick 11 (187)
Bennett Jackson CB Notre Dame
OVERALL GRADE: B-
The Giants went with receiver in the first round in Odell Beckham Jr, and they landed themselves a pretty good one. Unfortunately that meant they passed up OL Zach Martin and DT Aaron Donald, both of whom were higher rated and probably would have made a greater short and long term impact. The Giants needed a receiver, but it wasn't a desperate need, not to mention it was such a deep receiver class that they could have found some talent later in the draft. Beckham should beat out fellow LSU WR Rueben Randle for a starting role for the Giants and will team up with Victor Cruz to form a very good 1-2 punch for Eli Manning. In the 2nd round the Giants continued to support Manning by grabbing Weston Richburg, who was considered the highest rated center in the draft. Richburg should be in line to start immediately and should quickly become one of the top tier centers in the league. The Giants reached in the 3rd round grabbing DT Jay Bromley from Syracuse. Bromley is a solid defensive tackle, but he doesn't project to be an every down guy and this was probably two rounds to high for him.
Later in the draft the Giants did pretty well filling a lot of depth needs and getting some interesting players. Running back Andre Williams from Boston College was the top runner in the nation this past season, he's not a complete back but as a 4th rounder offers nice value to the Giants. Devon Kennard has played both end and outside linebacker and he could develop into a situational rusher for New York down the line. Bennett Jackson isn't the most athletically gifted corner, but he could develop into a slot option and should at the very least become a core special teamer.
Overall the Giants bolstered their offense considerably with their first two selections in Beckham and Richburg. They also landed a nice value pick in Andre Williams in the 4th round and he could get into the running back mix this season. The defense though didn't get much help in this draft and that could prove a bit costly going forward. The Giants need a pass rusher to step on defense and could have tried to land one in the early rounds of this draft, but choose not to. That decision could end up being costly.
Round 1, Pick 26 (26) (From Colts through Browns)
Marcus Smith OLB Louisville
Round 2, Pick 10 (42) (From Titans)
Jordan Matthews WR Vanderbilt
Round 3, Pick 22 (86)
Josh Huff WR Oregon
Round 4, Pick 1 (101) (From Texans)
Jaylen Watkins CB Florida
Round 5, Pick 1 (141) (From Texans)
Taylor Hart DE Oregon
Round 5, Pick 22 (162)
Ed Reynolds FS Stanford
Round 7, Pick 9 (224) (From Bills)
Beau Allen DT Wisconsin
OVERALL GRADE: B
The Eagles traded back in the first round picking up an extra 3rd rounder for their trouble. When they did make their selection they choose rush linebacker Marcus Smith from Louisville. This pick opened some eyes because Smith wasn't widely considered a first round guy, but he's a very good edge rusher who has the ability to play the all important right side role on defense. Pass rushers typically get drafted higher than you expect, and in another weaker draft class this wouldn't have seemed like much of a shock. Smith should rotate with Trent Cole who is nearing the end of his career and Connor Barwin who isn't as strong of a pass rusher to give the Eagles a good group of guys at this position for 2014. By 2015 Smith could be the starter at ROLB for the Eagles going forward. In the 2nd round the Eagles traded up to land wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Matthews is a bigger physical receiver, who should do well in the Eagles offense that prioritizes the run. Matthews succeeded in the SEC despite subpar QB play, and should transition quickly in Philadelphia. In the 3rd round the Eagles reached for WR Josh Huff, but given his familiarity with Chip Kelly it makes more sense than other possible reaches.
Later in the draft the Eagles hit on a number of defensive needs grabbing depth both along the defensive line and in the secondary. Corner Jaylen Watkins and safety Ed Reynolds both could have future starting potential, and both should contribute some as rookies as quality depth options and special teamers. Defensive end Taylor Hart is another player with an Oregon connection, but he also is a guy who could be a strong rotational player along the defensive line. Nose tackle Beau Allen isn't probably ever going to be a starter, but he could be a solid back-up guy who excels in his run defense.
Overall the Eagles did a really nice job making this a defensive focused draft with adding a pair receivers. Philadelphia had serious needs at all their defensive positions and wide receiver. they did a nice job landing depth and some guys who can contribute early on. Smith and Matthews both should make really good early contributions to the Eagles roster and long term could be key pieces of this organization.
Round 2, Pick 15 (47) (From Cowboys)
Trent Murphy OLB Stanford
Round 3, Pick 2 (66)
Morgan Moses OT Virginia
Round 3, Pick 14 (78) (From Cowboys)
Spencer Long OG Nebraska
Round 4, Pick 2 (102)
Bashaud Breeland CB Clemson
Round 5, Pick 2 (142)
Ryan Grant WR Tulane
Round 6, Pick 10 (186) (From Titans)
Lache Seastrunk RB Baylor
Round 7, Pick 2 (217)
Ted Bolser TE Indiana
Round 7, Pick 13 (228) (From Titans)
Zach Hocker K Arkansas
OVERALL GRADE: C
The Redskins were missing their first rounder from the RGIII trade so off the bat it was going to be hard for them to get a lot of impact from this draft class, particularly early on. With their first pick in the high 2nd round the Redskins traded back to the middle of the round with the Dallas Cowboys netting a mid-3rd rounder in the process. This was a positive trade for the Redskins as they made the Cowboys pay a high price to move up. When the Redskins did draft they landed outside linebacker Trent Murphy who led the nation in sacks at Stanford last season. Murphy has experience playing in a rush linebacker role at Stanford and does a really nice job fighting off blocks to get after the quarterback. In many ways he's very similar in skill set to Ryan Kerrigan. In a vacuum Murphy is a good player who isn't much of a reach for this pick. How he fits into the Redskins though is another story. He can be used in a situational role, but he seems like a poor fit if the Redskins are drafting him in hopes of replacing Brian Orakpo as the right side pass rusher longterm. Though boosting the pass rush was a major need, it would have been easier to justify with a down lineman as it is tough to see how Murphy will play more than 40% of the time next year, with a murky situation going forward.
The Redskins got great value with their next pick in local product OT Morgan Moses, who could challenge for the starting role this year. Moses had an up-and-down career at UVA, but he is known as a strong pass protector and improved his senior year. He needs to work on a few things, but this was a 2nd round talent who many thought might sneak into the first round given the need of offensive tackles in the draft. With the 3rd round pick from Dallas the Redskins picked up guard Spencer Long. Long was on draft radars as a 4th-6th rounder during the year, but his stock took a turn with a torn MCL and PCL that forced him out of the rest of the season and had him miss the pre-draft circuit. Had he not been injured and was able to impress down the stretch, as well as in an All-star game and at the Combine this might not be considered such a reach. But Long was injured and it's unclear what he would have been able to show to NFL scouts. It's also unclear his status for the Redskins going forward as he may need to miss some time this offseason as he recovers from the injury. The Redskins rebounded with some strong picks on the third day in CB Bashaud Breeland and RB Lache Seastrunk, both of whom are strong value picks and have a lot of upside for the future. As for their other picks in WR Ryan Grant, TE Ted Bosler and K Zach Hocker it is hard to see the value and possible impact of them going forward.
Overall the Redskins were lacking a first round pick and then made a number of questionable decisions throughout the draft. Murphy should help bolster their pass rush, but unless they find a way to utilize him more the Redskins may lack impact from this pick. Moses figures to have the best shot of being a starter on this team, though Breeland and Seastrunk could offer value down the road. This draft could hinge on what Spencer Long ends up being. If he's just a back-up or worse it will be body blow to this class, if he becomes a starter or even a quality starter it could make this a strong class considering the lack of a first rounder.