Grading a draft just a few hours after the last pick is made is generally frowned upon by the more hardcore football fan who knows that drafts can’t really be graded until three to four years after the fact. But like the site of an accident, many people also find it hard not to look once such a grade is published, especially if the grade does not bode well for one of your competitors.
If the review of a Giants/Eagles/Redskins pick is bad, you cling to it and hope that it will carry over onto the field when the season starts. If it is good, you can simply shrug it off and say it doesn’t matter anyway and that post-draft grades are for the feeble-minded.
Regardless, what the grades do - to some extent - is they capture the media reaction about a draft immediately after it is over. In this post, we’ll look at seven sites that have submitted their grades for last night. We’ll start with an overall summary of the grades in the table below, follow that up with a look at the best and worst grade for each pick, and then finish with a draft grade for the Cowboys (yes, they got one!) and a little fun with Gettleman.
|NFC East First-Round Draft Grades 2019|
|6. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke||17. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson||30. Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia||15. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State||26. Montez Sweat, Edge Mississippi State||22. Andre Dillard, LT, Washington State|
BEST AND WORST GRADES
6. Giants: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Best: Sports Illustrated, C+
Only two first-round quarterbacks since 2005 have sat and learned from the bench their entire rookie year before becoming a franchise QB: Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. Daniel Jones has much less raw talent than either of those two. But, like the man—or ManNING—Jones will soon replace, he thrives with clean pocket mechanics and traditional execution. Also like Manning, Jones’s game must be predicated on shrewd pre-snap reads, as he didn’t make a lot of late-in-the-progression throws or second-reaction plays at Duke.
Worst: The Ringer, D-
His struggles in a few crucial categories casts doubt on his ability to develop into a starting-caliber quarterback: He displayed questionable decision-making, anticipation, and deep accuracy at Duke, and he now faces a steep learning curve as he transitions to the pros after running the Blue Devils’ RPO-heavy offense. His career statistics in that scheme are, let’s say, less than encouraging: Jones averaged just 6.4 yards per attempt, finished with a 60 percent completion rate, and threw 29 interceptions to go along with his 52 touchdowns in three seasons as a starter.
Jones came in at 100 on my big board, so clearly I’m not enamored of his value. He has some tools, but he’s a major project who doesn’t stand out in any particular area. On the bright side, I like the fit if only because he doesn’t have to start right away. He’ll have a chance to sit and learn from Eli Manning, which gives him better odds at turning into a starter.
15. Redskins: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Best: The Ringer, A+
I love this pick. Haskins is a prototypical pocket passer with size, toughness, and a big arm. The former Buckeye has just one year of starting experience under his belt, but was supremely productive during it, throwing for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns, and just eight picks. He’s most comfortable operating out of the pocket, and is a decisive passer who throws with accuracy and velocity downfield—but will need to prove he can operate both in the face of pressure and when forced to move off his spot. Haskins may need some time to acclimate to the speed of pro defenses, but he can recognize pre-snap coverages, set protections, and make changes at the line. I love Haskins’s long-term potential under head coach and play-caller Jay Gruden, and I love it even more that Washington didn’t have to move up to get him.
Worst: Sports Illustrated, C+
After Alex Smith’s possibly career-ending leg injury last season, Washington needed a quarterback. The question now becomes, How soon will Haskins play? Having such a small sample size from college, he’s expected to be a work-in-progress. Can he be consistently accurate and poised from the pocket?
17. Giants: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Best: CBS Sports, B
The Giants wanted to come away with one big guy, whether it be a defensive lineman or an offensive lineman and a quarterback in the first round. Gettleman is doing exactly what he wanted to do. He wanted to get a big, massive man on the line and he did just that.
Worst: USA Today, F
I mean, I guess this pick is on-brand for Dave Gettleman, who seems to be obsessed with building a team that can win the NFC East in 1993. Dexter Lawrence is a good player, but he’s a run-stuffer (a very good one) and that just isn’t a valuable skill. Look at it this way: The Giants traded Damon Harrison, the best run defender in the NFL, for a fifth-round pick. Then, essentially, traded Odell Beckham for a player they hope will turn into Harrison one day.
22. Eagles (from BAL): Andre Dillard, LT, Washington State
Best: USA Today, A+
The Eagles needed a franchise left tackle to replace Jason Peters, and they got one … at pick 22. That never happens. Dillard is the best pass protector in the class. He’s not overly powerful, but he doesn’t let people get by him. Washington State threw the ball a ton — and QB Gardner Minshew held the ball for an eternity — and Dillard gave up only one sack in all of 2018.
Worst: Walter Football, C
This pick is unnecessary. The Eagles already had a successor for Jason Peters in Jordan Mailata, so there was no need to select a tackle; let alone move up for one. Perhaps the Eagles just absolutely loved Dillard and thought he was too much of a steal, but this is a redundant pick for Philadelphia that should’ve been used on another position.
26. Redskins (from IND): Montez Sweat, Edge Mississippi State
Best: Walter Football, A+
The Redskins lost Preston Smith in free agency, so they needed a potent edge rusher. Sweat is even more than that. Had it not been for a potentially misdiagnosed heart condition, Sweat would’ve been a top-10 selection in this class.
Worst: CBS Sports, B
Yeah, there’s issues. There were teams that took him off the board with concerns about the heart. The ability is there. The ability is phenomenal. He’s fast, he made a lot of plays. Had a great senior year. Controversial pick to keep an eye on going forward after Redskins gave up picks to trade back into first round.
30. Giants (from SEA): Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Best: Bleacher Report, A-+
Baker is a safe pick. He can start in the NFL and cover most receivers. Plus, the Giants have almost no one at cornerback other than Janoris Jenkins, so trading up to take arguably the best cornerback on the board was, by far, the most logical thing they have done all night.
Worst: USA Today, D+
Let’s hear it for Dave Gettleman. No, not because he did a good job on Thursday night. He didn’t. But he did provide us with some genuine LOL moments. First, he over-drafted Daniel Jones. Then he took a nose tackle with his second first-rounder. And then, for his grand finale, he traded up to draft a zone corner with Greedy Williams, the best man corner in the class, still on the board.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com gave the Cowboys a straight “A”. Here’s why:
Amari Cooper showed what he could become when teaming with Dak Prescott last year. Yes, Dallas gave up a first-round pick to get him, but let’s remember -- he’s just 24 years old, not a veteran who will be in his 30s before too long. If the team can’t sign him to a long-term deal, then the grade gets adjusted downward, but I don’t see that happening.
SPECIAL BONUS SECTION: THE BIGGEST LOSER OF THE NIGHT
.@Giants can you please provide us with Dave Gettleman's mailing address this is too much we need to send him a fruit basket or amazon gift card or something, he is a treasure— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) April 26, 2019
As someone who tries to find fun ways to talk about football for a living, I’m so thankful for Dave Gettleman.— Robert Mays (@robertmays) April 26, 2019
PROTECT DAVE GETTLEMAN AT ALL COSTS. https://t.co/rerZZjylYi— Cameron Magruder (@ScooterMagruder) April 26, 2019
Folks, I think we have to confront the real possibility that Dave Gettleman doesn't know how to do this.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) April 26, 2019
I want to thank the Browns for not hiring Dave Gettleman.— Ken Carman (@KenCarman) April 26, 2019
I might buy a Dave Gettleman jersey— Cameron Magruder (@ScooterMagruder) April 26, 2019
Now that you’ve had a night to sleep over it, how do you feel about the draft so far?