The Eagles are a better team than they were 2 weeks ago. They added some talented players in the draft and signed a couple of interesting UDFAs right after that. But as many like to point out, all 32 teams got better. So let’s compare the Eagles class to those of the other NFC East teams. Doing it against all 32 teams would be complicated. Maybe on slow days in the summer we’ll look around the NFC. For now, the NFC East.
1 – LB Marcus Smith
2 – WR Jordan Matthews
3 – WR Josh Huff
4 – CB JaylenWatkins
5 – DE Taylor Hart
5 – SS Ed Reynolds
7 – NT Beau Allen
1 – OL Zack Martin – Notre Dame
2 – DE Demarcus Lawrence – Boise State
4 – LB Anthony Hitchens – Iowa
5 – WR Devin Street – Pitt
7 – DE Ben Gardner – Stanford
7 – LB Will Smith – Texas Tech
7 – SS Ahmad Dixon – Baylor
7 – DT Ken Bishop – Northern Illinois
7 – CB Terrance Mitchell – Oregon
1 – WR Odell Beckham – LSU
2 – OC Weston Richburg – Colorado State
3 – DT Jay Bromley – Syracuse
4 – RB Andre Williams – Boston College
5 – SS Nat Behre – San Diego State
5 – LB Devon Kennard – USC
6 – CB Bennett Jackson – Notre Dame
1 – no pick due to RG3 trade
2 – LB Trent Murphy – Stanford
3 – OT Morgan Moses – Virginia
3 – OG Spencer Long – Nebraska
4 – CB Bashaud Breeland – Clemson
5 – WR Ryan Grant – Tulane
6 – RB Lache Seastrunk – Baylor
7 – TE Ted Bolser – Indiana
7 – PK Zach Hocker – Arkansas
None of the teams had a sexy draft that landed tons of Top 100 guys or a bunch of big college stars.
If I’m rating the drafts on how I liked the players in a general sense:
2 – Skins
3 – Giants
4 – Cowboys
Rating them on immediate impact
1 – Skins
2 – Giants
3 – Eagles
4 – Cowboys
Rating them on long term potential
1 – Giants
3 – Skins
4 – Cowboys
As you can see, I’m not a big fan of the Cowboys draft. I loved Martin. Terrific player. Safe pick who can help right away and offer some impact. He helps protect Tony Romo, who is the team’s most important asset. Martin can be a big help if he’s just a solid blocker. I got nervous that Jerry Jones had gained his sanity.
Then Jones went and traded a 3rd round pick to move up for Lawrence. Good news. Bad Jerry is still alive and kicking. Lawrence is a good fit for their scheme, but I think they erred in moving up for him. Lawrence isn’t a player you build around. They had a ton of holes on defense. I didn’t think they could afford that move. Jerry Jones is fixing one of the worst defenses in NFL history with an edge rusher from Boise State, an Iowa LB and a bunch of 7th round picks. Color me skeptical. Oh yeah…and Lawrence has some off-field issues. I did love the pick of Mitchell in the 7th. He’s a player to watch.
The Giants will sink or swim on the play of Eli Manning. So they went and got him a WR in Beckham and a good blocker in Richburg. That’s smart. They also added a RB. The Giants have been hit with RB injuries in recent years, which just put a ton of pressure on Eli. He didn’t respond well. That offense needs a legit running game. I didn’t like the Kennard pick. He looked like a 3-4 player to me. The Giants will use him at SAM. We’ll see how that goes.
Washington didn’t have a 1st round pick, but did some good things overall. I really didn’t like them taking Murphy in the 2nd round. I think he is meant to play in the 4-3. He would have been ideal for Dallas. I know Murphy played OLB for Stanford, but I don’t think he’ll handle that role well in the NFL. Moses and Long could be the RT and RG of the present and future. I loved Breeland in the 4th. That’s who I wanted the Eagles to take. Grant adds depth at WR. Seastrunk would have fit the Shanahan offense. We’ll see how he does in Jay Gruden’s attack. That will be more WCO based. Seastrunk can run, but must work on becoming a more complete RB. Good potential if he works hard and develops.
The Eagles won the NFC East in 2013 and I don’t think the other teams have closed the gap much, if at all.
Injuries and player development will be key factors. You never know when a guy will get healthy or emerge from nowhere to become a key player. Based on what I know right now, I’d pick the Eagles to win the division.
How do you guys feel?