New York Giants: A-
Picks: Rd 1, Pick 2 RB Saquon Barkley – Penn State; (2,34) G Will Hernandez – UTEP; (3,66) EDGE Lorenzo Carter – Georgia; (3,69) DT B.J. Hill – NC State; (4,108) QB Kyle Lauletta – Richmond; (5,139) DT R.J. McIntosh – Miami
Best Pick: QB Kyle Lauletta
Worst Pick: Not picking a cornerback
Overall – Saquon Barkley could be a generational talent at the running back position. With Barkley joining Beckham, Engram, and Shepard, New York now has one of the most potent offenses in the league… led by one of the most lethargic quarterbacks in the past couple seasons. The better choice for the future could arguably have been Chubb or Eli Manning’s successor. If the Giants truly believe Manning can play at a high level for a few more years, then they won’t be in a position to replace him as seamlessly again.
That’s where their best pick, Kyle Lauletta, comes into play. He’ll compete with 2017 pick Davis Webb to become Manning’s heir apparent. Lauletta has the edge thanks to being the pick of new GM Dave Gettleman. Areas of his scouting report are reminiscent of Case Keenum. Who was the offensive coordinator during Keenum’s breakout 2017 season? New Giants head coach, Pat Shurmur.
There wasn’t a singularly bad pick in the bunch for Gettleman. Will Hernandez should kick start the rebuild to New York’s line, just in time for Barkley to run the league ragged. Carter, Hill, and McIntosh all have the potential to start – and start quickly. That’s all you can ask of a draft. The only drawback is the absence of a slot corner.
Philadelphia Eagles: B
Picks: Rd 2, Pick 49 TE Dallas Goedert – South Dakota St; (4,125) CB Avonte Maddox – Pittsburgh; (4,130) EDGE Josh Sweat – FSU; (6,206) OT Matt Pryor – TCU; (7,233) OT Jordan Mailata – Sydney, Australia
Best Pick: EDGE Josh Sweat
Worst Pick: Not picking an ILB
Overall – The defending Super Bowl champions didn’t make a selection on day one. Instead, they moved back to pick 52 to move up seven spots in the fourth round and score Baltimore’s second round pick next year. That’s how team building is done once you make it to the mountaintop.
Philadelphia picked mostly for depth. Without a first or third round pick, there’s not too many selections to harshly criticize. Avonte Maddox can contribute as a slot corner once he fine-tunes his technique. Josh Sweat is a first round talent with injury concerns that made him slip to the fourth. He has the potential to be a top-five steal in the Draft.
The Eagles get bonus points for showmanship. On the day of Jason Witten’s retirement, Philadelphia leapfrogged the Cowboys, sent a kicker to the podium to mock America’s team, and promptly picked a stellar tight end named Dallas. Goedert will fill Trey Burton’s absence. He could’ve been a first round selection and can give defenses fits in two tight end sets with Zach Ertz.
Washington Redskins: B-
Picks: Rd 1, Pick 13 DT Da’Ron Payne – Alabama; (2,59) RB Derrius Guice – LSU; (3,74) OT Geron Christian – Louisville; (4,109) S Troy Apke – Penn St; (5,163) DT Tim Settle – Virginia Tech; (6,197) ILB Shaun Dion Hamilton – Alabama; (7,241) CB Greg Stroman – Virginia Tech; (7,256) WR Trey Quinn – SMU
Best Pick: RB Derrius Guice
Worst Pick: S Troy Apke
Overall – The Redskins like Alabama players (who doesn’t?). This is their second consecutive year selecting a Crimson Tide prospect in the first round. Payne’s addition at nose tackle addresses Washington’s biggest weakness from 2017. The defense was a sieve against the run. If Payne successfully transitions to the next level, that changes. They also added yet another Tide player, Shaun Dion Hamilton, in the sixth. DT Tim Settle should pair nicely with Payne and Jonathan Allen to fortify the defensive line.
Washington has been plagued by a revolving door at running back for years now. Recent players like Matt Jones, Rob Kelley, and Samaje Perine have become top dog only to fall off in a hurry. Derrius Guice could finally be the answer as long as his character concerns were overblown. He’ll run hard thanks for the chip on his shoulder from careening down the running back ranks. Redskins fans should be excited about a Guice-Thompson tandem.
Troy Apke is an athletic project who won’t make an impact for some time. Look for undrafted safety, Quin Blanding, to make a push for a roster spot. He lacks the burst to be trusted in coverage as a single-high safety, but Blanding was a tackling machine at UVA. There’s a place for him on defense.
Dallas Cowboys: C+
Picks – Rd 1, Pick 19 LB Leighton Vander Esch – Boise State; (2,50) G Connor Williams – Texas; (3,81) WR Michael Gallup – Colorado St; (4,116) EDGE Dorance Armstrong – Kansas; (4,137) TE Datlon Schultz – Stanford; (5,171) QB Mike White – Western Kentucky; (6,193) OLB Chris Covington – Indiana; (6,208) WR Cedrick Wilson – Boise St; (7,236) RB Bo Scarbrough – Alabama
Best Pick: G Connor Williams
Worst Pick: LB Leighton Vander Esch
Overall – How bad was the Cowboys’ draft? Tight end Jason Witten decided to retire in the middle of it. All joking aside, Dallas reached for a small-framed linebacker with concerning neck issues at number 19. Vander Esch has the measurables to be electric, but Dallas just seems to be playing with fire here. Between Sean Lee’s age, Jaylon Smith’s knee, and Vander Esch’s neck, there are injury red flags all over the team’s linebacker corps.
The Cowboys deserve credit for letting the wide receiver class come to them. Michael Gallup isn’t speedy enough to revolutionize their offense and can’t possibly replace Dez Bryant immediately, but he is a promising addition. He should start simply because of the dearth of playmakers at the wide receiver position. Dalton Schultz could also end up being a steal. Connor Williams makes the best offensive line in the league even better. Ezekiel Elliot is already one of the NFL’s best runners. It’s not fun to contain him when he doesn’t get touched before the second level.
Dallas also made a player-for-pick trade in the draft. No, not for Earl Thomas. The 6th round trade for Tavon Austin is low risk… low reward. He’ll likely be one of those typical Cowboys players that fans recognize by name, but rarely get to cheer for.
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