2019 NFL Draft Grades – NFC East

NFC East

Over the past two decades, the NFL Draft has become a national event every April. For months after the end of each season, front offices, NFL prospects, and the fans wait in anticipation for draft night. For those truly invested in the draft, they can equate it to Christmas Day. We scout the internet for what we want, hope for the best, and sometimes end up disappointed. However, dreams are coming true for several hundred young rookies who have been dreaming of this day since they could pick up a football. Now that this dream is complete, they now align a new dream with their new teammates.

That dream is to lead their new home and new team to a Super Bowl. Since 2008, three NFC East teams (in the New York Giants twice and Philadelphia Eagles) have hoisted the coveted Lombardi Trophy. Many throw shade at this division but it is one of the toughest divisions in the entire league. People see records barely over .500 and that is because each divisional game is highly competitive and the series are often split. Now that the draft is complete, it is time to delve into the newest additions of the four NFC East teams.

Divisional Draft Grades: AFC East – NFC South – NFC West – AFC North – AFC South – AFC West – NFC North

2019 NFL Draft Grades – Evaluating the NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles: A-

The Eagles have had an incredible off-season and the draft just continued to address any needs or just add depth. Although they came away with only five draft picks, their first three picks came at an incredible value. They Eagles were sitting at pick 25 to start the night but a huge run at defensive player pushed Andre Dillard (who was regarded as a top 15 pick) down to the 20s and the Eagles made a move with Baltimore to move up. From this point on, the Eagles were locked in to address the rest of their needs securing an incredible talent with their first pick.

1.22 – Andre Dillard, Offensive Tackle

This was one of the best value picks in the entire first round of the draft. Dillard was regarded by most as the best pass protection tackle in the draft. According to Pro Football Focus, Dillard only allowed 49 quarterback pressures in 2,391 pass-blocking snaps in his college career. In 2018, he only allowed one sack on 720 snaps while in pass protection. Jason Peters has battled injuries the past two years and is likely retiring after the 2019 season. Dillard will be able to step in as a starter if called upon this season and take over the role for years to come.

2.53 – Miles Sanders, Running Back

Now this pick is all about upside and projections. Miles Sanders took over Saquon Barkley‘s role as the primary ball-carrier at Penn State in 2018. In his lone season as a starter, in 13 games, he rushed 220 times, for 1,274 yards and nine touchdowns on a 5.8-yard average. While facing Illinois where he rushed 22 times for 200 yards and three touchdowns. Sanders needs to work on his pass protection skills but he is more than willing to do so and is known to be very coachable. Overall, Sanders should prove to be a great change of pace from Jordan Howard and should find the field in year one.

2.57 – J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Wide Receiver

This was a pick that confused some spectators. Not because they questioned his talent, more because they were not aware of who he even was. Additionally, polarizing receiver D.K. Metcalf was still on the board at this point. Arcega-Whiteside is one of the most intriguing receivers in the draft. At 6’2″ and 225 pounds, he has been clocked in the 4.4 range for his 40 and can absolutely jump out of the building. The most notable attribute is that he attacks the ball. In many ways, he plays a similar game to A.J. Green. He told the press yesterday that he grew up looking up to new teammate Alshon Jeffery. With the veteran receiver there to help mentor him, Arcega-Whiteside should come into his own sooner rather than later.

4.138 – Shareef Miller, Edge

The Eagles went after another Penn Stater in round four as they finally grabbed a player on the defensive side of the ball. Miller checks off every measurable that you look for in a pro-ready edge rusher. He needs to work on his hand skills but working with and against top-tier lineman on both sides of the ball should allow him to grow into a nice role.

5.167 – Clayton Thorson, Quarterback

This was the only head-scratcher. Thorson is a solid quarterback with good size and some versatility but a 17-15 TD to INT ratio as a senior is not ideal. Additionally, arguably better quarterbacks in Jake Browning and Tyree Jackson went undrafted. However, Thorson will be a good mind to have in the quarterback room and arm to have in camp.

Washington Redskins: A+

The Redskins were looking for something or anything that could give the fans something to spark some excitement going into this season. Their off-season was fairly quiet so fans held their hopes up for the draft. That faith was not misplaced. The Redskins put in some serious work in this year’s draft. They secured future quarterback Dwayne Haskins far down the draft at pick 15. Later in the first, they secured another top 10 talent in Montez Sweat. Even in the later rounds, the Redskins continued to load up on talent. Fans now wait in anticipation for the preseason to get a first look at their latest additions.

1.15 – Dwayne Haskins, Quarterback

Rumors were stirring that the Redskins were looking to move into the top 10 to secure their future play-caller. However, they stayed the course and at pick 15, Haskins dropped right to them. Haskins could have already been the best quarterback in this year’s draft but ended being third off of the board.

After throwing 50 touchdowns at Ohio State in 2018 and putting on a show at his Pro Day, the Redskins were convinced he was their guy. Haskins is a pure pocket passer who is insanely calm under pressure and absolutely stole the spotlight in big games. If the Redskins coach him up and surround him with a solid line and playmakers, his potential has no ceiling.

1.26 – Montez Sweat, Edge Rusher

Sweat was regarded as a top 10 talent after his incredible year at Mississippi State and after putting on a show at the NFL Combine. However, NFL doctors red-flagged Sweat with a heart issue and his draft stock took a hit. The Redskins could not stand idle as they traded back into the first round to nab Sweat at a huge discount. Amazingly enough, the NFL revealed that his medical reports were read incorrectly and they now believe that there was never an issue. Sweat will now enter the off-season completely healthy and join an already stacked defensive line in Washington.

3.76 – Terry McLaurin, Wide Receiver

Every superhero needs a side kick and the Redskins hope that Haskins’ old teammate in McLaurin will prove this true. The pair of Ohio State stars connected 35 times for 701 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018. McLaurin is a smooth route runner and his best years may be on the horizon as he is already familiar with his quarterback.

4.112 – Bryce Love, Running Back

Love went into 2018 as a Heisman favorite; however, injuries and an up/down year for Stanford as a whole hurt his chances. Bryce is an explosive player who reminds many of Phillip Lindsay from the Denver Broncos. To much of second year Redskin running back Derrius Guice’s displeasure, the Redskins selected Love. Love and Guice play completely different games but Love enters an already loaded running back room with Adrian Peterson, Guice, Chris Thompson, and Samaje Perine.

4.131 – Wes Martin, Guard

This was a great pick for the Skins. On their current depth chart, there is a blank spot for the left guard position. If they are to keep Case Keenum or Haskins upright, they need to reinforce that line. Martin had a solid career at Indiana and is a compact blocker.

5.153 –Ross Pierschbacher, Center

Again, the Skins continue to stock up the line. The NFC East pass rushers are among the best in the league and you can never get enough help upfront. He has the most starts as a positional player in the history of Alabama football.

5.173 – Cole Holcomb, Linebacker

The Skins have great linebackers but depth was an issue. Holcomb is blazing fast and will be fighting for a starting spot in camp.

6. 206 – Kelvin Harmon, Wide Receiver

Receiver was a big grey area for Washington. Several players stepped up but no one really stood out. Harmon has great size and had an awesome junior year hauling in 82 receptions for 1,186 yards and seven touchdowns.

7.227 – Jimmy Moreland, Cornerback

The James Madison product has great ball skills and will learn to be more hands-on from his new teammate Josh Norman. He was super productive in college and was a high energy guy from the first snap to the final whistle every game.

7.253 – Jordan Brailford, Edge Rusher

Brailford is a raw talent but his combination of good size and quickness makes him a great late round flyer. Learning behind Ryan Kerrigan will pay dividends.

New York Giants: B

The Giants off-season has been a whirlwind to say the least. The trading of Odell Beckham Jr. will be remembered as one of the most notable trades in NFL history. Whether you like OBJ or not, he has taken the league by storm in his first four years and is now headed to Cleveland to team up with his old LSU teammate Jarvis Landry.

Giant fans were sad to see Odell leave but they had to optimistic about what they would receive in return. Additionally, they held the sixth overall pick in the entire 2019 draft. Well about that… The New York Giants selected quarterback Daniel Jones. This selection was met with anger and confusion from the fans and laughter from the other 31 teams and their fans. That being said, Jones is certainly a talented player. He has a lot of work to do but the potential is there. Luckily, the Giants did fare well in the rest of the draft as Giants fans hope that there is a plan in place.

1.6 – Daniel Jones, Quarterback

The Duke product showcased his skills in the Senior Bowl as he came away with the MVP trophy from the game. In his final college start versus Temple in the Independence Bowl, Jones went 30 for 42 for 423 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions and a 73.2 completion percentage. Jones most certainly can do some big things but the main issue is that no quarterback can survive behind that terrible offensive line.

It is not too crazy to say that Eli would have been much more successful if he had more than one second to throw or even hand the ball off. There are still a lot of issues surrounding this team but there is hope for Jones if he can continue to grow as the Giants hopefully go all in to surround him with talent.

1.17 – Dexter Lawrence, Defensive Tackle

Here is a guy who was the core of a top defense in all of college football. Lawrence will not kill you with his power, speed, or size but it is his effort that you will fall in love with. Every play he is willing to go sideline to sideline and lay it on the line for his team. He won’t fill up a stat sheet but his presence is undeniable. With the loss of Damon Harrison, Lawrence should fit right in and thrive.

1.30 – DeAndre Baker, Cornerback

The Giants moved back into the first to grab arguably the best corner in the draft. Baker is someone who is not the biggest, fastest, or strongest but he held it down against some of the best competition in the country while at Georgia. He is extremely balanced at all times and has top tier football I.Q. His tackling needs improvement but he is one of the most complete defensive backs in the entire draft.

3.95 – Oshane Ximines, Edge Rusher

Ximines is a smaller school standout but he has all of the skills that you love to see. He is super athletic and has great versatility. He punches with force and does not get overpowered. His lateral quickness is incredible and he can disengage blockers with ease. Coming from Old Dominion, there will obviously be a learning curve but if he is coached up right, he can be a star in this league.

4.108 – Julian Love, Cornerback

The second corner off the board to New York had a big year for Notre Dame. He plays better when he is aggressive and hits receivers early on. He absolutely dominates in the flats and has patience at the line of scrimmage. Him and Baker could very well be the future starters.

5.143 – Ryan Connelly, Linebacker

At 6’2″ and 242 pounds, Connelly is a hammer in the middle of the defense. He will play well filling in the gaps behind Lawrence and company. Connelly has great size and good enough speed to find a spot in the New York defense.

5.171 – Darius Slayton, Wide Receiver

Anyone who watched a single Auburn game knows that Slayton is an absolute burner but he is looking to prove he is so much more. Slayton could be the perfect complement to Sterling Shepard who is the primary target underneath but who also possesses big play ability. His numbers are not going to jump out at you but his explosiveness in his routes most certainly will.

6.180 – Corey Ballentine, Cornerback

In an insane turn of events, Ballentine went from living his dream to living a nightmare in a matter of hours. The recent pick was with his teammate Dwane Simmons at Washburn University as gun fire struck both Ballentine and Simmons. Corey is likely to make a full recovery. However, Simmons did not survive. Ballentine is an incredible player and this is just going to fuel him to continue the hard work. He is an Academic Honor Roll student and is beloved by his teammates. It’s hard not to root for the kid.

7. 232 – George Asafo-Adjei, Offensive Tackle

At 6’5″ and 315 pounds, the Bronx born Asafo-Adjei has great size and is happy to be close to home after spending his college career in Kentucky. He will likely be a project player but it is hard to deny that he does not have potential to have a future in the NFL.

7. 245 – Chris Slayton, Defensive Tackle

This is someone who slid way too far down the draft board. Slayton was incredible at Syracuse. In four years, he collected 107 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks. He is an absolute force in the middle and is best known for disrupting run plays at the point of attack.

Giants Draft Review

Dallas Cowboys: A-

The main reason that the Cowboys can receive an A- grade is because Amari Cooper can technically act as their first-round pick in this years draft. Cooper proved to be a solid addition and looks to contribute on the final year of his rookie contract. The Cowboys have a solid roster as a whole but this has to be the year for them. The core of their team are all free agents come next year and cap constraints could see them losing a few star players. As a whole, the Cowboys just needed to add depth and it seems as if they found a few solid players in the later rounds.

2.26 – Trysten Hill, Defensive Tackle

Hill is a massive defender who clogged the middle of the UCF defense for years. However, it has been made public that he may have a work ethic issue. The first thing the Cowboys did was make him sign off on a “work ethic contract” before he was selected as the Cowboys first pick in the second round. That was quite odd. Hill could be an incredible add to an already stout defense. At 6’3″ and 310 pounds, Hill will look to clog the middle as well as take on double teams so the other pass rushers can take advantage of 1v1 match ups.

3.90 – Conor McGovern, Guard

McGovern was a part of a core at Penn State that allowed running back Miles Sanders and Saquon Barkley rushing for 1,000+ yards back-to-back years. He moves really well inside and has the quickness to get to the next level. He needs to diagnose blitzes better but overall, Mcgovern could be another great addition to a long line of successful lineman in Dallas.

4.128 – Tony Pollard, Running Back

The Memphis back is a Swiss-army knife. He has great burst and is an electric receiver in space who can burn defenders in the open field. His moments are so natural and his feet just fluidly guide him through the holes. Pollard’s one issue is drops; he does not track the ball well. I see a lot of similarities between Pollard and Ronald Jones. He is a high effort blocker but often finds himself whiffing on key blocks. His best trait is that he can move all over the field and can break for a touchdown any play.

5.158 – Michael Jackson, Cornerback

Ignore the corny joke but Jackson truly is a smooth criminal. He makes incredible plays on the ball and often wore the coveted “turnover chain” while at Miami. He is super physical, makes great reads on the ball, and uses his body positioning to make up for his lack of long speed.

5.165 – Joe Jackson, Edge Rusher

This guy fell way too far down the board. Jackson was a day one starter in Miami and dominated his entire career. He is physical specimen and he bullies tackles with his athleticism. Jackson was productive every season and he made plays early and often every game. Just watch his tape against Florida State and you’ll be excited about his potential at the next level.

6.213 – Donovan Wilson, Safety

Wilson is a high character and high profile player. At Texas A&M, Wilson collected 207 tackles, five sacks, and eight interceptions. Most importantly, he missed 2017 due to injury but came back for his redshirt senior season to prove NFL teams could trust that he was ready.

7.218 – Mike Weber, Running Back

Weber is a late round flyer that could prove to be an absolute steal. He has 4.4 speed and was productive against great Big Ten competition. He finished 2018 with 1,066 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns.

7.241 – Jalen Jelks, Edge

The redshirt senior from Oregon may be one of the best value picks for Dallas if he continues to work hard at the next level. At 6’5″ and 245 pounds, Jelks is not only massive, but he is also incredibly quick. He is always disruptive and just needs to fine-tune some skills such as his hands before he can become an every down impact player.

Cowboys Draft Review

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