NFC East 2022 NFL Draft Grades

NFC East 2022 NFL Draft
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The NFC East 2022 NFL draft was both exciting and head-scratching. There were a lot of trades, unexpected draft picks, and homerun picks for the NFC East. The NFC East has struggled to keep pace with the rest of the NFL for the last several seasons. The Dallas Cowboys have far and away paced the NFC East when Dak Prescott is healthy. Perhaps with big trades for the Philadelphia Eagles and tremendous drafts for the New York Giants and Washington Commanders, another team can push to challenge Big D for division winner.

NFC East 2022 NFL Draft Grades

Dallas Cowboys: C-

The NFC East 2022 NFL draft grade starts in the basement with the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys entered the draft with several positional needs. Jerry Jones immediately addressed the need for an offensive lineman by drafting Tyler Smith from Tulsa University with their first-round pick. This was a great strategic move, however, Smith plays left tackle for the Golden Hurricane—a position already occupied by Tyron Smith. The Cowboys offensive line struggles at the center and the guard positions after losing La’el Collins, Cameron Erving, and Travis Frederick to free agency and retirement over the last few seasons.

While Tyler Smith fills a void he is also susceptible to committing penalties. Smith racked up 14 penalties in 2020 and another 12 in 2021. Dallas had problems with Connor Williams and his penalties issues in 2021, especially their first-round playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Hopefully, Smith can turn this narrative around and clean up his play.

Dallas took some good shots on players like Sam Williams, Damone Clark, and John Ridgeway to sure up the defense. The Cowboys stayed in the SEC drafting some of the best defensive players last season. Big D gets some credit here for taking advantage of opportunities with late-round fliers to find defensive impact players.

The Cowboys also selected Jalen Tolbert out of South Alabama University. Tolbert is a physical receiver with great speed. He also specializes in the deep ball with an average of 17.6 yards per catch throughout his collegiate career. He could help to stop some of the bleeding and compliment CeeDee Lamb after losing Amari Cooper in a trade to the Cleveland Browns.

Read the full Dallas Cowboys NFL 2022 Draft Review

Washington Commanders: B

The Washington Commanders had a solid draft in 2022. They made some moves pre-draft and during the draft to improve depth everywhere except linebacker. The Commanders turned heads prior to the draft by trading for Carson Wentz. During the draft they traded back from the 11th overall pick to the New Orleans Saints before selecting Jahan Dotson at 16 overall.

Dotson is a threat all over the field will elite speed. He ran his 40-yard dash in blazing 4.43 seconds. He also earned a reputation for having possibly the best hands in college football and the draft with a 1.5% drop rate, only dropping two passes. Dotson is in a great position to help the Commanders push Dallas for the NFC East title.

The Commanders also added Sam Howell and Percy Butler, two other names who could turn heads in training camp. Butler has tremendous speed and could earn significant playing time as a great centerfielder with premiere tackling skills. Sam Howell was drafted from an especially talented University of North Carolina team that also featured Javonte Williams, Dyami Brown, Dazz Newsome, and Michael Carter. Howell could be the heir-apparent quarterback of the future for Washington.

Read the full Washington Commanders NFL 2022 Draft Review

Philadelphia Eagles: A-

The Philadelphia Eagles were making big moves before the draft even began. The Eagles moved their 18th pick and their 101st pick to acquire former Tennessee Titan A.J. Brown in a blockbuster trade. This move alone catapults Philly into contention for the NFC East title, and above average in the NFC. The Eagles then drafted very well acquiring Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, and Grant Calcaterra.

Philadelphia has struggled on both sides of the ball with inconsistent play the last several seasons. The defense has struggled despite superstars like Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and Darius Slay. Adding Dean and Davis is sure to make an immediate impact in the NFC East.

Despite the defensive additions, the offense was the side of the ball making the biggest improvement in the NFC East. Calcaterra is an underrated tight end from SMU who slid lower in the draft thanks to health issues. Calcaterra will compliment Dallas Goedert as safety vales for Jalen Hurts. Brown as a primary wide receiver adds a whole different chapter to the playbook in Philadelphia, not to mention grooming and opening the field up for the developing start DeVonta Smith.

New York Giants: A+

The New York Giants had the best draft in the conference by far and one of the best drafts in the NFL. New York hit a homerun taking Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon with their first pick. Thibodeaux is a violent, physical, and talented edge rusher that is sure to wreak havoc throughout his career. The former Oregon Duck was at one point projected number one overall and the Giants were able to grab him fifth.

The Giants had an additional first-round pick selecting Evan Neal from Alabama. Daniel Jones has struggled mightily in the NFL since he was drafted. Poor offensive line play has Jones running for his life and unable to get comfortable in the pocket. Neal will play a big role in protecting Jones and working to solidify the ground game. New York also added some depth to their already stellar secondary with Cordale Flott at 81st overall. Flott is very young with an extremely high ceiling who could fit well with Don Martindale’s defensive scheme.

NFC East NFL Draft Grades Summary

New York took advantage of its opportunity to close the skill gap in the NFC East. They hit two home runs with the fifth and seventh overall picks taking Thibodeaux and Neal, two guys previously projected to go first overall. Bolstering the offensive and defensive lines could be the catalyst Jones needs to develop and live up to his first-round pedigree.

After New York, the Eagles make the biggest splash on draft night trading for Brown and drafting Jordan Davis. Nick Sirianni has to be excited about his new-look offense and defense, plus seeing Hurts develop in year three.

Washington and Dallas have the least impactful draft nights. Washington traded for Carson Wentz before the draft which is not much of an upgrade from Taylor Heinicke. Jahan Dotson is an interesting name to keep an eye on across from Terry McLaurin, but ultimately the Commanders did not change their team makeup in an impactful way.

Dallas has taken a step back this off-season losing big names like Connor Williams, Randy Gregory, and Amari Cooper. To make matters worse Tyron Smith, their star left tackle, is aging rapidly and has difficulty staying healthy. Tyler Smith is a good addition with youth and potential, yet is very penalty prone. Penalties are a big issue for Dallas and one of the reasons Jerry Jones let Connor Williams walk in free agency. Dallas should look forward to a healthy Dak Prescott and look to develop Jalen Tolbert. A dwindling offense will be the Cowboys strength in a much-improved NFC East in 2022.

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