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NFL.com Grades and NFC East Draft Results

Draft Grade Reference from NFL.com

96-100 Future Hall of Famer
Top Pick A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played

85-95 Immediate Starter
1st An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).

70-84 Eventual Starter
2nd-3rd A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.

50-69 Draftable Player
4th-7th A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.

20-49 Free Agent UDFA
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.

NFL.com Grades

Rnd

Redskins

Grade

Cowboys

Grade

Eagles

Grade

Giants

Grade

1

Robert Griffin III

95

Claiborne

91.5

Fletcher Cox

89.5

David Wilson

85

2

Mychal Kendricks

79.7

R. Randle

86

2

Vinny Curry

85

3

Josh LeRibeus

64.7

T. Crawford

77.5

Nick Foles

71

Jayron Hosley

84

4

Kirk Cousins

73

Kyle Wilber

60.5

Brandon Boykin

82

Robinson

52

4

Robinson

68.2

Matt Johnson

49.2

Mosley

73

5

Adam Gettis

52.2

Danny Coale

58.2

Dennis Kelly

45

6

Alfred Morris

47.5

James Hanna

65

Marvin McNutt

68.2

Matt McCants

56

6

Tom Compton

68.2

Washington

66

7

Crawford

45

Caleb McSurdy

52.7

Bryce Brown

49

Markus Kuhn

49

7

Bernstine

45

Cowboys

Eagles

Giants

Redskins

85-95

Immediate Starter

1

2

2

1

70-84

Eventual Starter

1

3

2

0

50-69

Draftable Player

4

2

2

3

20-49

UDFA

1

2

2

2

Total Picks

7

9

8

6

Players Graded

w/Starter Potential

2

5

4

1

Analysis

How a team approaches the draft is guided by where the general manager and front office see the team in its developmental process. Teams with marginal or losing records typically approach the draft with a focus on accumulating as many draft picks as possible in an attempt to add and upgrade as much talent as possible. Teams with marginal records typically place an added emphasis on collecting and protecting 1st and 2nd round picks, certainly if you are drafting in the first half of rounds, because these low round picks historically provide a high probability of delivering players that will become starters on your team.

Jerry's Assessment of the Cowboys

In my opinion, Jerry's decision to trade up to acquire Morris Claiborne with the 6th pick indicates that he thinks the Cowboys are more complete, deeper, and closer to the top than an 8-8 record would indicate. Jerry said as much after the draft:

"I honor and respect the Giants, but I thought we could have won nine games with this team [last year]," Jones said. "And if we could win nine, then maybe we could have the same run as the Giants had. That's where I thought we were then. I think we are better now. Certainly, we are better with what we did in free agency. After the draft, we are better all the way round."

The Decision to Trade Up

The decision to trade picks 14 and 45 to move up 8 spots is essentially a decision to select one very elite starter in exchange for 2 quality starters. To be fair, one thing we can all agree on is that the draft is not an exact science and there is a certain element of chance involved draft selections. Was it a sure thing that Jerry would have found two quality starters with the 14th and 45th picks, no. But what history shows is that many quality starters are selected in the first round and in the first half of the second round.

If you are not single player away from being an elite team then there is a strong case to me made that 2 quality starters are more valuable to your team's rebuilding process than a single elite player. This is the core argument against selecting Clairborne. It has nothing to do with Clairborne's talent; it certainly appears that he will be a phenomenal player in the NFL. The issue is whether or not your team has the level of talent up and down the roster with a balanced mix of elite players, quality starters, and adequate role players and depth to provide the luxury of selecting one elite player over 2 high quality foundational starters. I'm not arguing against the decision to trade up, just pointing out if you feel this team is still rebuilding, then it's fair to argue that acquiring 2 quality starters is philosophically and strategically the wiser approach.

Just How Close are The Cowboys to Being a Super Bowl Contender?

Let's take a closer look at 2011 Dallas season from a more objective, critical perspective. In 2011 the Cowboys had one of the most favorable schedules in recent history. NFC East teams struggled throughout the season, yet Dallas was swept by the Giants and Eagles and barely squeaked by the Redskins in two nail-biters while posting a 2-4 divisional record. Among the 10 non-division opponents the Cowboys faced in 2011, only 3 of those teams completed the season with a winning record. The Cowboys were 1-2 against those opponents. Yes, Dallas posted an 8-8 record but 7 of those 8 victories came against teams that would finish the season with a losing record.

Yes, Dallas was one win away from the NFC East title. But to look at last year's 8-8 season on the heels of a 6-10 season and conclude that your team is one win from being a Super Bowl contender, in my opinion, is the type of myopic perspective that has confused Jones' decision making and is at the core of this teams historic run of mediocrity.

Grading the Draft and the Cowboys Approach

So back to evaluating the Cowboys draft relative to the rest of the division. Let's begin with the disclosure that all draft grades are mere projections and conjecture. In this instance, the projections are Mike Mayock's assessment of a given players potential and probability of being a future NFL starter.

Based on the scouting grades provided by Mike Mayock via NFL.com, the Eagles added 5 players graded as probable future NFL starters, the Giants added the second most probable starters with 4, followed by the Cowboys with 2, and lastly the Redskins with only 1 player graded as a probable NFL starter.

Where There is Smoke There's Fire

A quick glance at the respective success of the division members over the past 12 years makes one wonder about Jerry's approach to the draft and if this year's draft is a microcosm of a larger over-arching pattern. Since 2000 the Cowboys Postseason record is 1-4, the Redskins is 1-2, the Eagles is 9-7, and the Giants is 10-6. Based on the only record that matters in the end, your postseason performance, some teams in the division are clearly head and shoulders above the others at acquiring talent and fielding championship caliber football teams.

Only time will tell if this draft can change the Cowboys course and begin to correct an abysmal pattern of organizational failure. But if you take Mike Mayock's opinion to mean anything, then Jerry clearly fell short of the Cowboys division rivals in acquiring a collection of players with the highest probability of becoming foundational starters on our team.

What This Means Moving Forward

I have been a passionate fan of this team for over 35 years and want them to win as much anyone in the BTB community. But as you can tell, I am tired of the mediocrity that has defined this team over the past 15 seasons and I'm very skeptical of Jerry Jones' leadership. Here's to hoping NFL.com's grades turn out to pure folly and that Mike Mayock has missed on his evaluation of the players the Cowboys selected. But if history tells us anything, the philosophical approaches to the draft of the Giants and Eagles are more consistent with organizational success, and the Cowboys still have some ground to cover before they regain their rightful place as the team to beat in the NFC east.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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