Overall, I would grade the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft as a success for the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, I would give it a B+ at least, perhaps even an A-. Still that is only part of the story. Now we turn our attention momentarily to the other three squads in the NFC East.
"With the second overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft the Washington Redskins select Auburn OT Greg Robinson." Wait, that's not right. It was the St. Louis Rams who took their franchise left tackle with the selection that they received from Dan Snyder in return for the opportunity to make Robert Griffin III the second selection in the 2012 draft. For the Redskins, it was another round of frustration as they watched the Rams exercise the selection that, except for the ill-advised trade for RGIII, would have been theirs.
Instead, Washington fans were treated to the opportunity to set back and watch as their competitors were able to make choices of their own in hopes of bettering their own squads. At least they have the chance to rest securely in the knowledge that the dearth of first-round selections cannot last forever; well unless Danny Boy gets trade happy again.
New York Giants
Odell Beckham, Jr WR LSU
OK, I will admit that this selection concerns me. I was in hopes that GM Jerry Reese would really drop the ball on Thursday night and fail to make his team better. That was not the case, the first round is usually Reese's thing, and again it was as the Giants went out and found a new weapon for Eli Manning, one who in some was is in the mold of another guy whom the funny faced one has experienced success throwing to. From our friend Invictus XI over at Big Blue View we have this perspective.
I said it in my prospect profile, but he reminds me so much of a Hakeem Nicks....only faster, healthier.
I kept banging the drum. he plays like he's 6-foot-5 even though he's only 6 foot. It's because it's true.
Route running....check. Superior movement skills, flashes speed, flashes acceleration in and out of his cuts.
Speed...check. Unofficial 4.31 40-yard dash at the combine, 4.4 official. Plenty fast.
Catch radius...check. He high points the ball better than anybody in this draft not named Mike Evans.
Reliablity....check. Doesn't drop balls.
Certainly that is not something that Cowboys fans, who are familiar with the teams struggles in the secondary, really wanted to hear. Sorry folks it does get worse.
People will compare him to Victor Cruz. He runs routes similarly to Victor Cruz. Except faster and with a bigger catch radius.
You guys said no more square pegs into round holes. This isn't Kevin Gilbride's offense anymore, it's Ben McAdoo's. If his is anything like what I think it's going to be, you've got your perfect fit right here.
Although he may have less than ideal taste in teams, Invictus does have an eye for talent and as I often do, I find myself in agreement with his assessment of Beckham. This is a player that is going to be a thorn in the Cowboys side for years to come.
Marcus Smith DE Louisville
Defense is a need for Chip Kelly's feathered flock, although I would have graded the defensive secondary as a bigger priority that defensive end. Still Smith is in a place where he can make an immediate impact on his new squad. In the words of Mike Mayock:
"Marcus Smith is a pretty exciting edge player. The important thing ultimately is 'can this kid play?' They have Connor Barwin on one side and Trent Cole, who will turn 32 years old, on the other. In that scheme he's a perfect fit. The pick attacks an area of need for the Eagles, and they got some extra picks in the process." -- Mike Mayock
The Eagles got better during the first round, but the best news for Cowboys fans is that it could have been much worse. As I said, a safety might have been a better choice for the team to make, but Marcus Smith will have plenty of opportunities to take shots at Tony Romo over the next few seasons. He will put the revamped "Great Wall II" to the test. From our sister site Bleeding Green Nation we have Coach Kelly's views on his new edge rusher.
Think he's an outstanding athlete. He actually got recruited to Louisville as a quarterback. [Louisville head coach Charlie] Strong had seen him in a football camp, and he went to Louisville. I talked to Charlie the other week about him and he just gave us rave reviews. He's a big kid. He transitioned to the outside linebacker position. I think he has a huge upside. He's a very, very good athlete. He's over 6'3", in the 250, 255 pound range, ran 4.68, He's got speed coming off the edge. We thought adding a pass rusher was a big thing for us.
There you have it folks, the low-down on how the BEast attempted to become more beastly on Thursday night. Two rivals improved themselves while another one stayed the same, or perhaps hurt themselves by not having a selection. Such is the nature of the draft. Stay tuned, we still have two more days of this stuff left, folks, and then I will be back with further looks at how our enemies improved themselves during the off-season.