We do this every year around this “post-draft interlude” time and I’m starting to think it’s somewhat pointless. Sure I’m interested in how our division rivals drafted, but in the end the immediate effects of this draft on divisional wins and losses in 2017 cannot be known until December, if at all. For instance, you could not honestly tell me last May that a 4th-round draft pick named Dak Prescott would end up having a breakout year as QB of the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, we didn’t even learn until September that Carson Wentz would be the starting QB for the Eagles on Opening Day.
Nevertheless, once again I will recap the draft grades given to the NFC East by good old Bucky Brooks at NFL.com.
- Bucky Brooks, NFL Media Analyst, likes the Eagles draft in 2017—a lot.
» Round 1: (No. 14 overall) Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee.
» Round 2: (43) Sidney Jones, CB, Washington.
» Round 3: (99) Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia.
» Round 4: (118) Mack Hollins, WR, North Carolina; (132) Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State.
» Round 5: (166) Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia; (184) Nate Gerry, S, Nebraska.
» Round 6: (214) Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington.
“After devoting their free-agent resources to offense, the Eagles committed their draft capital to defense. Derek Barnett gives the Eagles one of the best pass rushers in the draft. He is a “Call of Duty” player — that is to say, he has exceptional hand-to-hand combat skills — with the potential to be a double-digit sack producer as a rookie. Sidney Jones isn’t expected to make a major contribution as a rookie, due to his lengthy recovery from a torn Achilles tendon suffered at his pro day in March. If he fully recovers, he gives the Eagles a Pro Bowl-caliber corner on the island. Mack Hollins is a slick vertical pass catcher with A-plus skills as a special teams demon. He could blossom into an impact player in that underrated phase of the game. GRADE: A- ”
» Round 1: (No. 17 overall) Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama.
» Round 2: (49) Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama.
» Round 3: (81) Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA.
» Round 4: (114) Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma; (123) Montae Nicholson, S, Michigan State.
» Round 5: (154) Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas.
» Round 6: (199) Chase Roullier, C, Wyoming; (209) Robert Davis, WR, Georgia State.
» Round 7: (230) Josh Harvey-Clemons, S, Louisville; (235) Joshua Holsey, DB, Auburn.
“The Redskins scooped up a number of solid players by simply allowing the draft board to come to them. Jonathan Allen was viewed as a top-five talent early in the pre-draft process, but dropped down boards due to possible concerns about his medical history. If he can move beyond his injury woes, Allen could serve as a nice complement to Ryan Kerrigan as a 5-technique pass rusher. Ryan Anderson is a backyard brawler with a rugged game on the edges. He isn’t a high-level pass rusher, but his non-stop motor will lead to a number of garbage-time sacks. Samaje Perine could take the RB1 job after coaches catch a glimpse of his hard-nosed running style in camp. GRADE: B+ ”
» Round 1: (No. 28 overall) Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan.
» Round 2: (60) Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado.
» Round 3: (92) Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan.
» Round 4: (133) Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina.
» Round 6: (191) Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech; (216) Marquez White, CB, Florida State.
» Round 7: (228) Joey Ivie, DT, Florida; (239) Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State; (246) Jordan Carrell, DT, Colorado.
“The Cowboys entered the draft intent on upgrading their defense with a handful of blue-chip prospects possessing outstanding skills. Taco Charlton is a classic “flasher” with the size, length and athleticism to excel. He needs to play with more energy, but the former Michigan standout gives the Cowboys a legitimate rusher off the edge. Chidobe Awuzie is a blue-collar cover corner with outstanding instincts, awareness, ball skills and versatility. He should be capable of performing on the outside or in the slot in the Cowboys’ Tampa 2 scheme. Jourdan Lewis is the best nickel corner in the draft, but he must resolve his legal situation. Ryan Switzer is a dynamic returner with the receiving skills to also thrive as a slot pass catcher. GRADE: B ”
» Round 1: (No. 23 overall) Evan Engram, TE, Mississippi.
» Round 2: (55) Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama.
» Round 3: (87) Davis Webb, QB, Cal.
» Round 4: (140) Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson.
» Round 5: (167) Avery Moss, DE, Youngstown State.
» Round 6: (200) Adam Bisnowaty, OT, Pittsburgh.
The Giants added some more firepower to an offense that is brimming with talent on the perimeter, particularly at the pass-catcher spots. Evan Engram is a Jordan Reed-like playmaker capable of playing “Y” or “H” in their scheme. He is the most polished route runner among the tight ends of the 2017 draft class. Davis Webb is a quick-rhythm passer ideally suited for playing in the Giants’ small-ball scheme. Dalvin Tomlinson is a space-eater with outstanding strength, power and hand skills. He plays with leverage and fills a void as a rock-solid run stopper. GRADE: B ”
Bucky Brooks always looks at the division as a whole and comes up with his “3 Most Notable Picks” prediction—interestingly enough, the Eagles did not place anyone on the list this season:
BEST PICK: Evan Engram, TE, Mississippi
New York Giants, Round 1, No. 23 overall
“The Ole Miss standout is an ideal fit in New York’s quick-rhythm passing game, which places a premium on quick routes and catch-and-run concepts designed to get the ball into the hands of playmakers on the perimeter. With a stellar receiving corps (Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard) flanking him, Engram should produce immediately in Big Blue’s high-powered offense.”
MOST SURPRISING PICK: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Washington Redskins, Round 1, No. 17 overall
“After being pegged as a top-10 pick for most of the pre-draft process, Allen unexpectedly fell to the middle of the first round due to medical concerns and a flurry of trades for the top quarterbacks in the 2017 class. As a natural 5-technique with a game built on brute strength and power, Allen might be the three-down monster Washington needs to overtake the Cowboys in the NFC East. If he can overcome the injury concerns that clouded his draft status, Allen will make the teams that bypassed him regret their decisions down the road.”
“Did Dallas just take Cole Beasley 2.0? Switzer is a dynamic playmaker with exceptional stop-start quickness and burst. He is slippery with the ball in his hands, particularly on punt returns, where he nearly equaled the NCAA’s all-time punt-return touchdown record. Switzer should step in as a WR4/PR and make early contributions as a two-phase playmaker.”
Well, like Tommy Lawlor always says and like Bucky Brooks also believes, you should know your enemy. But I’m still not sure you can project anything in the immediate future for the NFC East division based on the results of this draft. In fact, I’m less concerned with knowing the enemy right now—I’m more concerned with knowing ourselves. We’ve got a lot of new pieces to put together and still some older pieces to figure out, too.