The most anticipated part of the off-season is officially in the rearview mirror, as the 2020 NFL Draft has officially passed. Every team in the league added young talent to their squad, but which teams made the biggest improvements? This installment of the 2020 NFL Draft Grades features an in-depth breakdown of every team in the NFC East.
2020 NFC East NFL Draft Grades
Dallas Cowboys: A++
The Cowboys earned the best NFL Draft grades in both the NFC East and around the league. Dallas didn’t need another receiver, but CeeDee Lamb was just too good to pass up. Arguably the best receiver in the class, Lamb excels at getting open at all three levels of the field and is nearly impossible to take down after the catch. Combining him with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup gives Dallas the best receiver trio in football.
Trevon Diggs would have been a good pick if the Cowboys took him at 17, yet they somehow found a way to get him at 51. Diggs is no Jeffrey Okudah, but he could very well end up as the second-best cornerback in this class. Considering the need at the position, Diggs should be able to contribute right out of the gate. Neville Gallimore is raw, but his ceiling is through the roof. Getting him in the third is, once again, an absolute steal and only helps improve a strong front seven.
Dallas continued to find fantastic value on Day 3. Reggie Robinson might have been something of a reach, but Tyler Biadasz and Bradlee Adae could compete to start in Week 1. You’re not supposed to be able to find instant-impact starters at this point in the draft, but the Cowboys found a way. Ben DiNicci is an unremarkable quarterback that could compete for the backup job.
Philadelphia Eagles: B-
Most people feel the Eagles should have gone with Justin Jefferson over Jalen Reagor, but I am not one of those people. While Jefferson has better hands and ball skills, Reagor has the ability to line up wide, get open at all three levels of the field, and take the top off a defense. The Eagles needed a receiver, and Reagor had the highest ceiling of everyone left on the board.
Day 2’s pick, however, are harder to defend. Carson Wentz has an injury history, but taking a quarterback in the second round is a head-scratching decision. Jalen Hurts is athletic, and perhaps the Eagles are hoping to do a Taysom Hill thing with the Oklahoma product. However, with so many needs across the roster, there’s really no way to justify this selection. Davion Taylor is a fine selection, but he’s nothing special and probably won’t ever be anything more than a situational role player.
The Eagles turned it around on Day 3 by getting a solid safety in K’Von Wallace. Wallace should compete to start and, at the very least, provides valuable depth at a needed position. Jack Driscoll is a perfect swing tackle and is an intriguing option if Andre Dillard can’t handle starting duties. Philadelphia needed speed at receiver, and they got it by adding John Hightower and Quez Watkins. These guys are far from complete receivers but they’re exactly what Philadelphia needed on Day 3. Most analysts had Prince Tago Wanogho had a Day 2 pick, which means the Eagles got great value in the sixth. Casey Toohill probably won’t develop into much of anything, but that’s you expect out of seventh-round picks.
New York Giants: A+
The New York Giants needed a strong draft, and general manager Dave Gettlemen knocked it out of the park. Andrew Thomas may not have the upside of a guy like Mekhi Becton, but he’s the safest of the big-four tackle prospects and should be ready to start from Day 1. Chances are, he’ll be the left tackle and Nate Solder will move over to the right side.
Xavier McKinney is a fantastic selection that should’ve gone in the first round. His versatility and all-around skills will be a welcome addition to a secondary lacking in playmakers. Matt Peart offers plenty of upside and could even push Nate Solder and his massive contract off the roster. Even if he’s not ready to start out of the gate, he should be a solid swing tackle as a rookie.
Some don’t like adding yet another cornerback, but Darnay Holmes was too good to pass up. You can never have too many cornerbacks, and Holmes should start his career as a reliable depth option. Shane Lemieux can help bolster an offensive line that could use as much help as possible, while Cam Brown should be a great third-down linebacker in coverage. T.J. Brunson, meanwhile, is more of your traditional run-stuffing middle linebacker. He’ll face an uphill battle to make the roster, as will cornerback Chris Williamson and Mr. Irrelevant Tae Crowder.
Washington Redskins: B+
The Washington Redskins made the easiest decision in the draft with edge defender Chase Young. There isn’t much I can say about Young that hasn’t already been said, as the second-overall pick is the best all-around prospect to come out in quite some time. Putting him on the field with Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat, and the rest of Washington’s front seven should give every NFC East quarterback nightmares.
Washington didn’t have a second-round pick and had to wait until the third round to grab running back Antonio Gibson. Gibson is clearly the in-house replacement for Chris Thompson, and he offers even more upside as a pure receiver. Still, it’s hard to justify yet another pick on a running back when there are needs literally everywhere else on the roster.
Asking Saahdiq Charles to replace the great Trent Williams is a big task, but he should be able to compete for the left tackle job. Antonio Gandy-Golden is a fantastic contested-catch specialist that should help Dwayne Haskins in the red zone. Keith Ismael will need to dramatically improve his play strength, but he has the football IQ and instincts to make you think he could turn into a decent starter someday. Similarly, Khaleke Hudson and Kamren Curl are also undersized athletes with the mental fortitude for the position. All that remains to be seen is if they can overcome their build. James Smith-Williams, meanwhile, is a fantastic athlete that could be a steal if he can actually stay healthy at the NFL level.
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