Many Eagles fans employ this strategy when watching the NFL Draft — pizza, maybe wings, something cold to drink and keeping a wary side-eye on the Dallas Cowboys.
Eagles fans scrutinize and, often, pick apart their own team’s picks. Then, they look for a reason to laugh at the Cowboys’ picks. Next on their list is to divisively look at what the New York Giants and Washington Commanders are doing.
You gotta keep your team close, and your divisional rivals closer. It seems none of the NFC East draft picks went under the radar this year.
In the NFL, your division is the gateway to the playoffs. Knowledgable fans know they need every nugget of information about their rivals. They lather up when they think one of the NFC East rivals landed a gem in the draft.
Everyone goes crazy when their local NFL team misses badly on a draft pick. Let me tell you about being part of an NFL Draft room. You’re staking your reputation for insight, scouting and smarts on a 21-year-old and his potential.
Choose 26-year-old firefighter Danny Watkins with your precious first-round draft pick, as the Eagles did in 2011, and risk being ridiculed in perpetuity.
NFL EAST TEAMS GO BIG, ESPECIALLY THE BIRDS
The NFL East teams appeared to have impressive drafts. You really don’t know for a full season or two, but each team legitimately left the draft happy.
We wrote in-depth about the Eagles rookies yesterday.
To recap: The Eagles selected at No. 13 overall Jordan Davis, a 6-foot-6, 340-pound mountain of a man who is expected to clog any team’s running game from his defensive tackle position. He is but one player expected to make an immediate impact.
With their second pick, the Eagles took offensive lineman Cam Jurgens, of Nebraska, who is expected to learn under the tutorship of All-Pro center Jason Kelce and be a backup along the line.
Much is expected from third-round pick linebacker Nakobe Dean. Sixth-round picks Kyron Johnson and Grant Calcaterra might be sleepers and help the team as rookies.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. graded the Eagles’ draft as a “B+.”
The Eagles’ NFC East rivals also made solid picks who could help immediately and who could be NFL stars.
New York Giants, a close second
The Giants had two top-seven selections and conventional wisdom says New York nailed its draft. At No. 5 overall, the Giants picked edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, of Oregon.
Throughout the college season, Thibodeaux was considered the likely No. 1 overall pick. Besides the Birds, these were easily the second-best NFC East draft picks of 2022.
At No. 7, the Giants picked offensive tackle Evan Neal, of Alabama. Neal is considered a can’t-miss pick, he’s as big as Wyoming and should provide years of protection for Daniel Jones or any future Giants quarterback.
In the second round, the Giants picked Wan’Dale Robinson, a wide receiver from Kentucky. Given the Giants’ troubles at wideout over the years, Robinson could be a key acquisition.
The Giants’ draft is getting high marks. USA Today gave the G-men an “A-.”
Kiper Jr. gave New York a “B.”
DALLAS GETS ‘C+’ GRADE
The Cowboys took offensive lineman Tyler Smith, of Tulsa, with the 24th pick. The Cowboys’ offensive line, among the NFL’s best when healthy, has been battered with injuries. Dallas needed to take an offensive lineman. Quarterback Dak Prescott is tough and resourceful but more effective when he has time to throw — like nearly every quarterback in NFL history.
Dallas’ second-round pick was Mississippi defensive end Sam Williams, who is expected to part of its defensive rotation. He was All-SEC first team last year after recording 12 sacks and 16 tackles for loss.
Dallas’ third-round pick filled an immediate need. South Alabama wide receiver Jalen Tolbert might get instant playing time since Dallas traded Amari Cooper and released Cedrick Wilson. Michael Gallup is coming off knee surgery and his availability is uncertain.
Kiper Jr., gave Dallas a “C+.”
Washington with the ‘B-‘
Washington went the wide receiver route with its first pick. The Commanders selected Penn State’s Jahan Dotson at 16th overall. Over the years, nearly every NFL team that has selected a Penn State player has walked away happy.
The Washington Post described Dotson as a “calm, steady and fast presence.” Dotson was the fifth receiver taken. He is smallish at 5-foot-11, 178 pounds but the NFL Network said Dotson has the “best [hands] in the draft.”
“We have really big expectations for [Dotson],” Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew told the Post. “He’s going to fit right into what we’re doing offensively.”
Dotson will join a fast and talented receiver corps that includes Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. Our old friend Carson Wentz can’t wait to start slinging the ball around to these talented receivers.
Washington’s second-round pick, defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis, of Alabama, is expected to get playing time in a defensive line rotation.
The Commanders’ third-round pick is interesting. Running back Brian Robinson Jr., of Alabama, runs over defenders as much as he goes around them. He gained 1,343 yards in 2021. If NFL teams made running back more of a draft priority, Robinson would have gone higher.
Their fifth-round pick is the most intriguing — quarterback Sam Howell, of North Carolina. Washington was looking for someone it could work with for the future. The Commanders now have Wentz, Taylor Heinicke, last year’s starter, and Howell. Not a bad quarterback room.
Kiper Jr., gave Washington a “B-.”
In June, every team loves its draft. Organized team activities are underway, training camps are on the horizon and the grades are in.