NFL Draft Grades: NFC East

Evan Neal and Kayvon Thibodeaux help the Giants NFL Draft Grade
John Locher/Steve Luciano

The NFL Draft is officially over so it is time to hand out NFL Draft Grades! These NFL Draft Grades will cover all 32 teams who will be graded based on who they picked, team needs, and their overall draft process. Here are the NFL Draft Grades for the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys: B

I liked the Cowboys draft. They kept things pretty simple staying pat with all their picks they had coming into the weekend. Some aggressiveness might have been nice. Perhaps trading up for one of the top guards would get bonus points, but overall they were fine. I like Tyler Smith’s upside on the offensive line. He should be able to fill one of the starting positions they have open. He still needs to improve, but he’ll be able to start. They came within two picks of getting a good second round receiver during the run on the position. Instead of reaching, they brought in another edge rusher.

They were finally able to get their receiver in the third round in Jalen Tolbert, a dynamic down-field threat. In the fifth round they added Damone Clark. A second round talent who fell due to injury. If they can be patient and get him healthy he should be extremely productive for them.

New York Giants: B+

The New York Giants had a really impressive first round of the draft. With the fifth overall pick they took potentially the best player in this class in Kayvon Thibodeaux. Thibodeaux for two years was the consensus number one overall pick in this draft. Not only was the selection great, but so was the process.

With the early run on edge rushers and cornerbacks the Giants had a decision to make. They had their choice of offensive linemen, or Thibodeaux at fifth overall. Likely being happy with either linemen with the seventh pick, they chose Thibodeaux to ensure they would get him, and took Evan Neal at seven after Ikem Ekwonu went at six. Really smart there to ensure getting both of those guys, and not missing out on a top edge rusher.

With 11 total picks in this draft they were able to hit a lot of positions of need. Beyond the first round though, my favorite pick came with their last pick in the draft. Darrian Beavers is a 6’4, 250 pound linebacker with experience as a safety. He primarily plays as an off-ball linebacker who can fill gaps with his size, drop back into zone with his athleticism and safety experience, and even rush off the edge with his speed and strength. He can become a three down contributor for the Giants sooner rather than later.

Philadelphia Eagles: B+

The Eagles also had a strong draft. Trading up for Jordan Davis is a great move to take a guy with top five upside in the class. Nakobe Dean falling to them in the third round due to injuries gives them the best linebacker they’ve had in years (provided he stays healthy). Those two guys are high level players, and character guys, coming from the championship Georgia defense.

I’m not usually in favor of this sort of move, but I give them credit for the A.J. Brown trade. With the amount of recent draft picks they’ve made and draft assets they have in the future, much of their roster will be built on rookie contracts. And with a timetable to make a decision on Quarterback Jalen Hurts, providing as much offensive firepower as early as possible is crucial.

The only thing keeping them from “A” status for me, is their speed on the outside of their defense. This team still needs an infusion of talent at cornerback and edge rusher. And with only five picks made in this draft they were unable to hit them.

Washington Commanders: F

My one “F” I’ll be giving out in the whole league. The Commanders started the draft by selecting players within their top three position groups on the roster. WR, DL, RB. They traded down from 11 to 16 to take Jahan Dotson who was WR6 on most boards (and mine). On the roster they have Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Dyami Brown and Cam Sims. In the second round they took Phidarian Mathis despite the defensive line being arguably their best position. And in the third round they draft a running back despite Antonio Gibson (third round pick in 2020) and J.D. McKissic (just re-signed) being on the roster.

Now they did at least trade back from 11 to 16 to pick up assets. Assets they only needed to replenish because they traded for Carson Wentz…but fine. They still badly misread the board. If they really wanted a receiver, they should have just taken one of the top guys at 11 (Chris Olave, Jameson Williams). Instead they trade down for Dotson, and what ended up being RB Brian Robinson Jr., QB Sam Howell, and TE Cole Turner. Not a bad return, but the running back is still a negative.

Non-WR options they could’ve had at 11 or 16 were: Kyle Hamilton, Jordan Davis, Kenyon Green and Zion Johnson. All arguably players with higher upside, and in the case for all but Jordan Davis at positions of need. The Commanders have yet to replace their starting guards from last year which include All-Pro Brandon Scherff.

If they were really set on WR, they had all of the second round options available to them where they picked. That’s George Pickens, Alec Pierce, and Skyy Moore. And with the third round pick they acquired for trading back they could have addressed linebacker with Leo Chenal or Channing Tindall.

I could go on and on, but you can listen to the 10 minute rant on my podcast. The link will be below! I will say I liked them getting Sam Howell in the fifth. He’ll look good taking over after their bye week.

Be sure to follow along as I give NFL Draft Grades for all 32 teams, right here on Fantom Sports! And for more draft content you can listen to my podcast, the Simon Shortt Podcast, on Apple and Spotify!

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