NFC East NFL Draft Grades: Cowboys Take Need Over Flair; Redskins Reach

Zach Martin, Jerry Jones, Jason GarrettThe NFC East arms race doesn’t look any clearer after the 2014 NFL draft.

NESN.com will grade the selections made in each division this week, and we’re taking a look at the NFC East on Monday.

The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants had solid drafts on paper, while the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins appear to have reached for their top picks. The Eagles won the division in 2013, but it likely will be close again next season.

Check out our NFC East grades.

DALLAS COWBOYS

Round 1, No. 16 overall: Zack Martin, offensive lineman, Notre Dame
Round 2, No. 34 overall: Demarcus Lawrence, defensive end, Boise State
Round 4, No. 119 overall: Anthony Hitchens, linebacker, Iowa
Round 5, No. 146 overall: Devin Street, wide receiver, Pittsburgh
Round 7, No. 231 overall: Ben Gardner, defensive end, Stanford
Round 7, No. 238 overall: Ahmad Dixon, safety, Baylor
Round 7, No. 251 overall: Ken Bishop, defensive tackle, Northern Illinois
Round 7, No. 254 overall: Terrance Mitchell, cornerback, Oregon

Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones showed great restraint in selecting Martin over the much sexier pick: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Cowboys needed offensive line help much more than they needed another quarterback.

Lawrence should be able to replace DeMarcus Ware, and the Cowboys got good value out of the Street, Dixon and Mitchell picks. Good haul for Dallas.

Grade: A-

NEW YORK GIANTS

Round 1, No. 12 overall: Odell Beckham, Jr., wide receiver, LSU
Round 2, No. 43 overall: Weston Richburg, center, Colorado State
Round 3, No. 74 overall: Jay Bromley, defensive tackle, Syracuse
Round 4, No. 113 overall: Andre Williams, running back, Boston College
Round 5, No. 152 overall: Nat Berhe, safety, San Diego State
Round 5, No. 174 overall: Devon Kennard, linebacker, USC
Round 6, No. 187 overall: Bennett Jackson, cornerback, Notre Dame

The Giants needed a No. 2 receiver after Hakeem Nicks left in free agency, and it appears they actually upgraded there with the impressive Beckham. Beckham adds another option similar to Giants receiver Victor Cruz, but both players are versatile and should be able to play multiple receiver roles.

Richburg and Williams were great values that fill needs, and Bromley was Tom Coughlin’s requisite Syracuse pick.

Grade: B+

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Round 1, No. 26 overall: Marcus Smith, outside linebacker, Louisville
Round 2, No. 42 overall: Jordan Matthews, wide receiver, Vanderbilt
Round 3, No. 86 overall: Josh Huff, wide receiver, Oregon
Round 4, No. 101 overall: Jaylen Watkins, cornerback, Florida
Round 5, No. 141 overall: Taylor Hart, defensive end, Oregon
Round 5, No. 162 overall: Ed Reynolds, safety, Stanford
Round 7, No. 224 overall: Beau Allen, defensive tackle, Wisconsin

Smith wasn’t expected to be selected in the first round, so many analysts viewed the Eagles’ pick of him as a reach.

The Eagles needed help at wide receiver after releasing DeSean Jackson, and they got two great players in Matthews and Huff. Watkins was a steal in the fourth round, and he’s versatile enough to also play free safety for Philly.

Grade: B-

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Round 2, No. 47 overall: Trent Murphy, outside linebacker, Stanford
Round 3, No. 66 overall: Morgan Moses, offensive tackle, Virginia
Round 3, No. 78 overall: Spencer Long, guard, Nebraska
Round 4, No. 102 overall: Bashaud Breeland, cornerback, Clemson
Round 5, No. 142 overall: Ryan Grant, wide receiver, Tulane
Round 6, No. 186 overall: Lache Seastrunk, running back, Baylor
Round 7, No. 217 overall: Ted Bolser, tight end, Indiana
Round 7, No. 228 overall: Zach Hocker, kicker, Arkansas

The Redskins traded their first-round selection in 2012 as part of the deal that brought Robert Griffin III to Washington. With many great players still on the board, the Redskins likely could have done better than Murphy, who appears to have a limited ceiling in the NFL.

Moses was one of the best values in the draft as a third-round pick.

Grade: C+

Check out our other draft grades: AFC East|NFC East|AFC North|NFC North|AFC South|NFC South

Yardbarker

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 198,915 other followers