by Dave Syvertsen, Ourlads’ Draft Analyst
Below is a quick overview of the each team’s draft within the NFC East with a focus on what they really tried to do with this class. Also noted is their best value pick and top undrafted free agent signing. Value is based on where they were selected and where I had them graded.
2 (47) – Trent Murphy – OLB/Stanford
3 (66) – Morgan Moses – OT/Virginia
3 (78) – Spencer Long – G/Nebraska
4 (102) – Bashaud Breeland – CB/Clemson
5 (142) – Ryan Grant – WR/Tulane
6 (186) – Lache Seastrunk – RB/Baylor
7 (217) – Ted Bolser – TE/Indiana
7 (228) – Zach Hocker – K/Arkansas
The Redskins were one of two teams in the league without a first round pick and after an abysmal 2013 season, it was a hard fact to swallow. Their main focus had to be up front along the offensive line. Without the proper protection of Robert Griffin III and reliable run blocking, this team simply won’t compete. They brought in two NFL-ready offensive linemen that can handle the power and strength of the game, but won’t ‘wow’ anyone with their movement ability. This is a class that doesn’t stand out in any one area but Washington is just a couple pieces away from winning the division. They did a nice job of attacking those holes without compromising the value of the picks they did have.
Top Value Pick: Lache Seastrunk – RB/Baylor (5th round value)
While I never bought in to the Seastrunk-for-Heisman talk prior to the 2013 season, there is no denying that Washington brought in a potentially dynamic big play threat to an offense that already has some fear-factor elements that opposing defenses need to gameplan against. Seastrunk is a quick reaction type back that can explode up field and get away from defensive backs. There are the overlooked aspects of the position that he needs work on (pass blocking, catching) but there will be opportunity for him to make an impact every week. His explosion can be used effectively.
Top UDFA: Robert Thomas – DT/Arkansas (7th round value)
Thomas is not a sexy player and he won’t make a huge impact in the NFL. But what he can do is create a role for himself as an early down run defender that will take on blocks and eat up running lanes. Thomas is the kind if player that Washington needed along the inside of that defensive line last year. How good he will be is a question, but I like the fit considering his ability and the scheme..
NEW YORK GIANTS
1 (12) – Odell Beckham Jr. – WR/LSU
2 (43) – Weston Richburg – C/Colorado State
3 (74) – Jay Bromley – DT/Syracuse
4 (113) – Andre Williams – RB/Boston College
5 (152) – Nat Berhe – S/San Diego State
5 (174) – Devon Kennard – LB/USC
6 (187) – Bennett Jackson – CB/Notre Dame
The Giants could have went in several directions considering the amount of holes they had throughout their depth chart. They stuck to their board and made the effort to upgrade the level of play in the trenches at the skill positions to fix their anemic offense. Beckham and Richburg are likely going to find their way in to the starting lineup respectively, with Williams having a role as a power back in addition. There were a couple puzzling picks when it came to overall value but the Giants went hard after intangible-based prospects, with each one of these guys being former team captains in college. Not a sexy group of prospects after Beckham but they are all blue collar players that can play different roles.
Best Pick: Bennett Jackson – CB/Notre Dame (4th round grade)
Jackson is relatively new to the defensive side of the ball, originally playing WR for the Fighting Irish. His aggressive nature eventually landed him at corner and he steadily progressed over the past two years in to quality prospect. He showed tightness here and there when changing direction, but Jackson is a smart and quick reactor. His upside is huge for where the Giants drafted him and don’t be surprised to see him playing some safety down the road, as I think his tool set will work best there.
Top UDFA: Kelcy Quarles – DT/South Carolina (4th round grade)
There were a lot of mixed views on Quarles heading in to the weekend with some people labeling him a day two guy. I was shocked to see him go undrafted and looking at the Giants group of DTs, I think there is a legit shot of him making the final 53 man roster. He can be explosive and powerful in short space with the knack for flowing towards the action and finishing plays. There is a natural pass rusher here and he enters a situation that is looking for someone inside to do just that.
1 (16) – Zack Martin – OT/Notre Dame
2 (34) – DeMarcus Lawrence – DE/Boise State
4 (119) – Anthony Hitchens – LB/Iowa
5 (146) – Devin Street – WR/Pittsburgh
7 (231) – Ben Gardner – DE/Stanford
7 (238) – Will Smith – LB/Texas Tech
7 (248) – Ahmad Dixon – S/Baylor
7 (251) – Ken Bishop – DT/Northern Illinois
7 (254) – Terrance Mitchell – CB/Oregon
Dallas has really struggled to bring in a healthy quantity of young players via the draft in recent years. Their depth chart on both sides of the ball has been poor but they had enormous holes on the defensive side of the ball heading in to the draft. With that in mind, they spent 7 out of 9 picks on that side of the ball but there is a catch here. 5 of those selections were in round seven. I don’t see any impact players here besides Martin, who could likely start at RT or either guard right away. The rest of these guys are average prospects that may never start in this league.
Top Value Pick: Devin Street – WR/Pittsburgh
One word I think of every time I see Street play is simply ‘smooth’. He is an easy mover in space with nice length and strong hands. There is an explosive element to his game that a lot of people don’t talk about. He can out jump a lot of defensive backs and also burst away from guys that are chasing him. The Dallas WR situation is not a weak one, but there is room for a young kid to see 10-20 snaps per game.
1 (26) – Marcus Smith – DE/Louisville
2 (42) – Jordan Matthews – WR/Vanderbilt
3 (86) – Josh Huff – WR/Oregon
4 (101) – Jaylen Watkins – CB/Florida
5 (141) – Taylor Hart – DT/Oregon
5 (162) – Ed Reynolds – S/Stanford
7 (224) – Beau Allen – DT/Wisconsin
Head Coach Chip Kelly has struck fear in to his counterparts, showing that his offensive scheme matched with the right talent could be absolutely lethal on a weekly basis. With a season under his belt, he appears to have a personnel plan set up for that side of the ball, replacing Pro Bowl WR Desean Jackson with Matthews and Huff, two guys I had really high grades on. Some viewed the Smith selection as a surprising reach, but I had an early 2nd round grade on him. The Eagles really need more presence on defense up front and between Smith, Hart, and Allen I think they’ll get it.
Top Value Pick: Jordan Matthews – WR/Vanderbilt (Top 10 grade)
Matthews was my second highest grade among WRs behind Sammy Watkins and this offense Is going to be the best possible fit for him. He was used in the screen game package often in college because of ability after the catch. Kelly loves that part of his scheme but Matthews will also run himself open all over the field consistently. He doesn’t have the elite athletic tools, but his skill set is NFL ready. He’ll make a difference quickly.
Top UDFA: Daytawion Lowe – S/Oklahoma State
The Eagles defense really held this team back in 2013, especially in the secondary. Lowe could be the most talented safety on this team within a few months and I think he could break in to the rotation early on. He is explosive, fast, and quick and showed the knack to be around the action at all times. If Lowe can grasp the new scheme put in front of him, he could be a big find for Philadelphia.