NFC East Roundup: Draft Review


Jake Roth / USA TODAY Sports

Jake Roth / USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 NFL Draft finished up over the weekend, so let’s take a look at how the national media are reacting to the picks made by the other teams in the NFC East. Included are local reporter’s reaction to the picks, Bryan Fisher’s draft grades and Todd McShay’s favorite pick for each team.

DALLAS COWBOYS

CB Byron Jones (No. 27 overall),
DE Randy Gregory (No. 60 overall)
OL Chaz Green (No. 91 overall)
LB Damien Wilson (No. 127 overall)
DE Ryan Russell (No. 163 overall)
LB Mark Nzeocha (No. 236 overall)
OL Laurence Gibson (No. 243 overall)
TE Geoff Swaim (No. 246 overall)

Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News compares the Cowboys’ current situation with Gregory to the problems they faced with star receiver Dez Bryant:

During Gregory’s pre-draft visit to Valley Ranch, he requested that the Cowboys put a structure in place for him that will help keep him out of trouble off the field, he said. The structure the Cowboys use to help Gregory, a source said, will be similar to how they assisted receiver Dez Bryant after he was arrested in the summer of 2012 and charged with assaulting his mother.

The Cowboys had a rotating three-man security team – led by private investigator David Wells – that called for at least one man to always shadow Bryant. But Gregory is described as a player who doesn’t like to party as much as Bryant and won’t need as much security, a source said.

Fisher graded Dallas’s first two days as an A- and A+ respectively, but they received an F for their work on Day 3 for an overall grade of a B-:

The skinny: The star of the NFL Scouting Combine jumped from under-the-radar prospect to first-round pick after testing well and showing scouts he could cover better than everyone thought. Jones fills a huge need on the Cowboys’ defense, and his versatility will allow him to play a number of spots in the secondary. On Day 2, the Cowboys got a top-10 talent at pick No. 60 in Gregory — obviously, a tremendous value at a big area of need. If the team can get a good support system in place, Gregory could be the steal of the draft a few years from now. Green fills a void along the line and can play multiple spots, but whether he can stay healthy is a question.

Bottom line: Jerry Jones got off to a great start by filling a big need at corner and landing a top-10 talent in the second round. He made some questionable decisions after that, including passing on a number of potential quality DeMarco Murray replacements.

McShay thought Gregory was the top pick of the weekend for the Cowboys:

The Cowboys needed to get better at corner and Byron Jones has all the physical tools to be a really good one in the NFL. He has very good size and explosiveness, and will give defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli a lot to work with. But I’m going with Gregory here. Obviously, he is a major risk, even late in the second round, because of his off-field issues. But his upside is huge. He is the best edge rusher in this draft with his combination of length, explosiveness and ability to convert speed to power. If the Cowboys can surround him with a good support system, he could really upgrade their pass rush and the defense overall.

Meanwhile, La’el Collins came in with a splash.

“This is going to be the best offensive line in NFL history,” he said during his press conference.

The Dallas Morning News is already trying to come up with a nickname for the five guys up front.

NEW YORK GIANTS

OL Ereck Flowers (No. 9 overall)
Landon Collins (No. 33 overall)
DE Owa Odighizuwa (No. 74 overall)
Mykkele Thompson (No. 144 overall)
WR Geremy Davis (No. 186 overall)
OL Bobby Hart (No. 226 overall)

Jordan Raanan of NJ.com gave the Giants a B+ for their 2015 draft haul:

The Giants landed two Day 1 starters with Flowers and Collins. Odighizuwa and Thompson will have a chance to compete as well. It’s a top-heavy group, but a promising haul, especially if Flowers is anywhere near as good as expected. They’ll need one of the Day 3 picks to pan out for this ultimately to be a memorable class.

Fisher graded the Giants’ first round pick as a C+, their Day 2 picks as an A+ and their Day 3 picks as C- for a total grade of a C:

The skinny: Flowers has tremendous ability and upside, but the team might have reached a little bit with this one. He’ll certainly fill a need on a team that badly needs to upgrade along the line, but Flowers will have to refine his technique sooner rather than later. At least Eli Manning will be happy the Giants upgraded their pass protection. The Giants gave up a fourth-round pick to the Titans to move up and grab Landon Collins in the second round, but he’ll be a great fit for this team. He fills a huge need and can bang with the best of them in a physical division. Odighizuwa is a tremendous value in the third round, and if he’s fully healthy, he could be a monster along the line for New York.

Bottom line: Mediocre start and ending, but the team got better with a pair of fantastic Day 2 values.

Flowers was McShay’s favorite pick by New York:

I really liked the Giants’ first three picks. Second-rounder Landon Collins fills a major need as an in-the-box safety who is very stout against the run. Owa Odighizuwa brings versatility to the defensive line and was a good find in the third round. But I’m going with the Giants’ first-round pick Flowers here. He can make some improvements to his game, but he’s very coachable and his physical tools are outstanding. He has a massive frame with really good length and rare athleticism for his size. He could start at right tackle as a rookie.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

OL Brandon Scherff (No. 5 overall)
DE Preston Smith (No. 38 overall)
RB Matt Jones (No. 95 overall)
WR Jamison Crowder (No. 105 overall)
OL Arie Kouandjio (No. 112 overall)
LB Martrell Spaight (No. 141 overall)
Kyshoen Jarrett (No. 181 overall)
CB Tevin Mitchel (No. 182 overall)
WR Evan Spencer (No. 187 overall)
Austin Reiter (No. 222 overall)

Mike Jones of The Washington Post makes sense of the Redskins passing on Leonard Williams in order to pick Scherff:

Draft analysts had Williams rated higher, but that doesn’t mean NFL teams actually did. After all, Jacksonville and Oakland also passed on him. Jacksonville at one point had Williams rated above Dante Fowler, but their decision-makers eventually changed their mind. The Raiders could’ve used Williams’ talents, but they saw Amari Cooper as a better fit. Washington brass felt better about Scherff and his potential both as a player and a person.

McCloughan & Co. really liked Fowler, but when he came off the board, Scherff was their guy. He satisfied all of the items on their checklist, and Williams – although impressive – did not. I was told by one source that some off-field issues sparked a degree of concern at Redskins Park about taking Williams.

Fisher gave the Redskins a grade of a C+ for Day 1, an A- for Day 2 and a B for day three. His final grade was a B-:

The skinny: GM Scot McCloughan is one of the best evaluators in the league, but Scherff was a big reach, even if he lives up to his potential. Failing to trade down and passing on the best player in the draft (Leonard Williams) is going to be something the team might regret, even if Scherff becomes a top-flight tackle or guard. Smith is a big player who can really get up field and brings some versatility to the line as well. Jones could have a long career in the league; he does all of the little things nicely and will be a nice complement to Alfred Morris. Crowder will be RG3’s best friend as a reliable option out of the slot.

Bottom line: It’s pretty clear the team wanted to beef up in the trenches, but that caused it to bypass some more talented players.

McShay’s favorite Redskins pick was Scherff:

I really like what new GM Scot McCloughan did with his first draft with the Redskins. It seemed like every player he chose was really tough, regardless of position. DE Preston Smith is a tone-setter, and Jamison Crowder could become a very effective slot receiver in this league. But my pick here is first-rounder Scherff, who is the nastiest offensive lineman in this class. He might never develop into an NFL left tackle because of his lack of ideal length, but he’s a powerful run-blocker who gets the job done in pass protection as well — and is one of the toughest players out there.


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