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Draft grades for the Cowboys NFC East opponents

We know how the Cowboys fared in the draft, but how about their NFC East counterparts?

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Penn State v Washington Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

How did you like the Cowboys draft? Well, if you are like me, you have to be impressed with how many quality players the team selected. Not only did they grab starting caliber players in the first three rounds that each happen to play a position of need, but they kept picking off quality players in Day 3 of the draft. Normally, when a team takes a player in the seventh round, they’re just throwing darts and you’re not banking on them making the team. Since 2014, the Cowboys have taken 11 seventh-round players. Only Geoff Swaim and Noah Brown are still on the team. But the Cowboys seventh-round pick this year, Bo Scarbrough, has a real good shot to round out the team’s running back depth. The front office did a good job this year.

The Cowboys opted to just keep taking quality players over settling for mediocrity at positions where they needed help.

Most Cowboys fans are very pleased with what the team did in the draft, but how do you feel about the decisions of their NFC East divisional foes? Let’s check in and see what they hauled in over the weekend.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are the team that makes all the right moves, right? You’ve heard all those stories during the offseason. When you win the Super Bowl, you’ve earned the right for people to think you’re smart. The Eagles front office have rolled the dice and it has worked out nicely for them. There is a trade-off, however - and it comes in the form of their future, starting with their 2018 draft capital.

The Eagles had very little to work with. Making trades for Carson Wentz, Ronald Darby, and Jay Ajayi has taken a toll on their 2018 draft capability. So, what did they come away with this weekend:

1st Round - no pick

2nd Round (49th) - Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

3rd Round - no pick

4th round (125th) - Avonte Maddox, CB, Pittsburgh

4th round (130th) - Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State

5th round - no pick

6th round (206th) - Matt Pryor, OT, Texas Christian

7th round (233rd) - Jordan Mailata, OT, South Syndey Rabbitohs

The Eagles only had one pick in the top 100 and they used it for a tight end. People covering the draft will say the Eagles were clever to jump ahead of the Cowboys to take Goedert, but if that was their plan - it was a waste of resources. Just because Jason Witten is pondering retirement doesn’t mean the Cowboys are going to panic and reach for a player. Connor Williams was the guy the Cowboys wanted, Goedert wasn’t even in consideration. So now, Eagles fans will have to root for Dallas (Goedert) and that doesn’t sit well with them. They’ve already started a Go Fund Me to change his name.

The tight end rankings for this draft class have been all over the place with Goedert, Hayden Hurst, and Mike Gesicki ranging anywhere from first- to third-round projections. Goedert wasn’t very high on the BTB board (64th overall), but that’s because he isn’t a strong blocker and has a tendency to drop passes. While it’s way too early to project what type of player Goedert will be, you still have to wonder about this investment for the Eagles. They gave Zach Ertz a $42 million contract so it sure looks like they are committed to him for the next few years. What kind of targets does that leave for Goedart? Even Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation has a similar concern:

My only quibble with the Goedert pick relates to his potetial playing time. I don’t need him to make some huge impact as a rookie. I just wonder how much he’ll get on the field in the future with Ertz being 27 years old and signed through 2021. Then again, he doesn’t necessarily need to play a ton if he provides the team with a significant impact when he does get snaps.

Let’s hope Goedert is to Philly as second-round pick Gavin Escobar was for the Cowboys.

There is not much else to get excited about with the rest of the Eagles picks, besides possibly Josh Sweat. He has talent, but his knee condition is a worry.

There were a lot of great cornerbacks in this draft, but Avonte Maddox isn’t one of them. At just 5’9” and 184 pounds, this guy is tiny. He already has durability concerns after missing games due to a shoulder injury last year, but it’s just going to get tougher at the NFL level. NFL Draft Scout has Maddox as the 19th ranked cornerback and Dane Brugler had this to say about him:

“he is built small and plays small, lacking the consistency desired by pro coaches”

I like Matt Pryor as an offensive line sleeper pick (124th on the BTB board). If you’re not a rugby fan, you probably don’t know who Jordan Mailata is, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say he was a standout player for the Rabbitohs.

It should be noted that the Eagles will receive the Baltimore Ravens second-round pick next year (so root for the Ravens!) as part of them trading out of 32 this weekend.

Grade: C-

If we’re talking about overall haul, they get an F because there just isn’t much here. But if it’s based on what they had to work with, it’s still not very good.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins are always doing stuff. Whether it’s good stuff or bad stuff is left to the discretion of each individual, but the team likes to shake things up on a regular basis. A couple years ago, they went younger at RB. Last year, they let Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson walk in free agency. And this offseason, they’ve changed out Kirk Cousins for Alex Smith at quarterback.

Here are their draft choices:

1st round (13th) - Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

2nd round (59th) - Derriuce Guice, RB, LSU

3rd round (74th) - Geron Christian, OT, Louisville

4th round (109th) - Troy Apke, S, Penn State

5th round (163rd) - Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech

6th round (197th) - Shaun Dion Hamilton, LB, Alabama

7th round (241st) - Greg Stroman, CB, Virgina Tech

7th round (256th) - Trey Quinn, WR, SMU

Vita Vea was my “slam dunk” choice for the Cowboys first round pick, but I came to terms early on that he wasn’t going to make it to Dallas. The Redskins and Los Angeles Chargers had the absolute worst run defense in the league last season, each allowing over 130 yards per game. With both of those teams picking ahead of the Cowboys - the best 1-tech in the draft wasn’t making it to 19.

As it turns out, Vea didn’t even make it to Washington at 13 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers grabbed him at 12 right before the Redskins picked. That didn’t deter Washington from taking a DT however, as they selected Da’Ron Payne. I’m a big fan of Payne, but 13 might be a little high for him. I do love the value they got in Tim Settle in the fifth round as I would have loved the Cowboys to come away with him that late in the draft. The Redskins doubled-up on DT and they got two good players at the position.

It wouldn’t be a Redskins draft without a running back being taken. For the 10th straight season, Washington has called up a rookie RB to join the team. With the exception of Alfred Morris, none of them have panned out. Most recently, they’ve turned to Matt Jones (2015) and Samaje Perine (2017), but apparently - they aren’t content with those choices. The selection of Derriuce Guice is a risk/reward pick, but at 59th overall, they have to love that value. Guice is a talented player and was the second RB on the BTB board (23rd overall).

Safety Troy Apke was a player we had as a deep sleeper pick on our board. He had himself a great combine.

Grade: B

Coming away with two quality interior defensive players helps considerably. And the big playmaking ability of Guice makes him a great pick in the second round.

New York Giants

If there is one thing you can count on the Giants front office to do, it’s to botch up their draft. That is one of the reasons they have to resort to so much spending in free agency in recent years. But for some reason, unexplained by anyone - they drafted extremely well this year. Having high draft picks certainly helped, but they did a good job of being patient and not reaching based on need.

Here are their draft picks:

1st round (2nd) - Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

2nd round (34th) - Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

3rd round (66th) - Lorenzo Carter, OLB, Georgia

3rd round (69th) - B.J. Hill, DT, N.C. State

4th round (108th) - Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond

5th round (139th) - R.J. McIntosh, DT, Miami

My biggest fear was that Barkley would go to the Giants at pick two and that is exactly what happened. Barkley was the top-rated player on my board. He’s an electric player and now we’ll have to see that twice a year.

And if the Barkley pick didn’t leave a sick feeling in your stomach, the selection of Will Hernandez certainly did. The Giants got something in the draft they’ve needed for a long time - some good offensive line help.

Like the Redskins, the Giants also doubled-up on defensive tackle help. Both B.J. and R.J. are solid value picks.

There were two sneaky-good quarterbacks that became afterthoughts because of all the hype of the big name QBs. The great news is that the Cowboys were able to take one of them in Mike White. The bad news is that the Giants grabbed the other one in Kyle Lauletta. Smart move by the Giants to get a young QB with good upside.

Grade: A

They not only picked some really talented players, but they play positions the team needs help at. There are a lot of things to be excited about from this draft haul. But good luck getting a fourth-round quarterback to pan out into something great. I mean, when has that ever worked for anyone?

How do you think the Cowboys’ divisional rivals did in the draft?

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