NFL Draft Grades: NFC East

Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith being introduced as the Eagles picks in the NFL Draft
(Matt Slocum – The Associated Press)

The 2023 NFL Draft is now in the books, so it’s time for the annual NFL Draft Grades by Simon Shortt. Today we will be discussing the: NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys – B

Team Needs: RB, DL, DB

The Dallas Cowboys didn’t really have any huge holes in the draft. I’m actually worried a bit about their running back room because of the Tony Pollard injury, and Mike McCarthy’s desire to run the ball more.

The Cowboys were one of two teams in the draft I was fine with taking Bijan Robinson in the first round, even if they had to trade a good haul to get to him. But eight overall would’ve been too high anyway, so sticking and picking was fine.

If you had to pick one need, it would be help stopping the run, and they took care of that with DT Mazi Smith in the first round. They even went back to the front seven again in the third and fourth rounds taking DeMarvion Overshown and Viliami Fehoko respectively.

I was actually happy with the sixth round selection of RB Deuce Vaughn, which is closer to my normal RB approach, although it may have had to do with this video:

The one thing I wasn’t a fan of was Luke Schoonmaker in the second round. Schoonmaker was a round 4-5 talent and they took him in the second. I also never understood the tight end need for them despite Dalton Schultz leaving in free agency. I thought they would be fine with Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot taking over.

To my own surprise, I would have been happier had they used the second rounder on a running back, or even find a way to trade up for one earlier in the draft for Robinson.

New York Giants – A-

Team Needs: IOL, WR, DB

In the first round the Giants moved up and got their guy in CB Deonte Banks. This was a great move because the New York defensive backs played above their heads all season. Banks will provide high level talent and potential from day one.

In the second round the Giants get their starting center in John Michael Schmitz. Schmitz will being some consistency, steadiness and high play at the position that New York hasn’t had in years. Andrew ThomasJoshua EzeuduJohn Michael SchmitzMark GlowinskiEvan Neal should be a very strong group.

In the third round they select WR Jalin Hyatt. I wasn’t the biggest Hyatt fan because I thought he was mostly a product of scheme. But at 73 overall a downfield speedster like Hyatt is great value.

If it weren’t for another mid round running back this draft could even be an A/A+ because of those first three picks.

Philadelphia Eagles – A+

Team Needs: OL, DL, DB

Do I even need to say anything? Grabbing Jalen Carter is a fantastic pick from a scheme and culture fit. He can continue to work in a defensive line rotation and play to all his strengths. And off the field, the Eagles will know how to give him a chance to succeed.

Nolan Smith at 31 is incredible value. I thought he could’ve been in consideration for them as high as 10.

Third round picks Tyler Steen and Sydney Brown and fourth round pick Kelee Ringo all have the potential to be starters on this team in the next year or two. And getting three of those types of guys in the middle rounds is great. With their sixth and seventh round picks they re-open the QB Factory with QB Tanner McKee, and add another versatile defensive lineman in Moro Ojomo.

Washington Commanders – C

Team Needs: IOL, TE, DB

It’s another strange one with the Washington Commanders. CB Emmanuel Forbes at 16 was odd with Christian Gonzalez, Deonte Banks and Joey Porter Jr all available. If they had taken Forbes over just Banks and Porter you could see it, but Gonzalez?

And then they double up on DB with a nickel corner/safety in the second round and take Jartavius Martin. The value of this pick will be determined by what role Martin earns in camp. There’s currently no clear picture for the now crowded DB room.

I do like the depth they added to the offensive line in this draft. In the third round they took Center Ricky Stromberg and in the fourth round they selected the versatile OL Braeden Daniels.

K.J. Henry was a good pickup in the fifth round for some depth at the edge rusher, but I don’t love another running back here on Day 3.

I thought Washington left some key positions unaddressed in tight end and linebacker. I even might’ve gone with an edge rusher a little earlier than they did considering the news about Chase Young from last week. With the now muddled roles in the defensive backfield, and potential lack of depth elsewhere, this draft wasn’t a great one.

Coming off of a Super Bowl appearance the Philadelphia Eagles are the clear-cut leader in the division going into next season. Nothing in the weekend’s NFL Draft did anything to change that.

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