If you are interested in my thoughts on the Giants draft haul, you can find those here. But how did the rest of the NFC East do in the 2019 NFL Draft and what was their logic for the approach each franchise took? Below is a thumbnail look at the remaining three teams in New York’s division.
The Cowboys didn’t have a first round pick due to the Amari Cooper trade that paid off nicely for Dallas last year and should continue to pay off big going forward. Cooper, whom Dallas is reportedly looking to soon sign to a long-term deal, is far more valuable than any wide receiver the Cowboys could have taken at that portion of the first round. Cooper also will be instrumental in Dak Prescott’s continued development, which of course is of the utmost importance to the Cowboys franchise as a whole. Dallas is also reportedly deep into contractual talks with Prescott. This could be tricky and if they overpay, which seems likely, it could really benefit the Giants and the rest of the NFC East.
While it was somewhat surprising that Dallas didn’t add more in the way of receiving help for Prescott in this draft class, they did find some very useful pieces for their defense in particular. The Cowboys defense is almost entirely home grown and has come on strong of late. The best could be yet to come. Trysten Hill is a very athletic upfield interior penetrator that Rod Marinelli might be able to mold into a Pro Bowl caliber defensive lineman. Dallas isn’t a blitz-heavy team, so having such talents is extremely important with their scheme. The other defensive selections should provide valuable depth and Joe Jackson in particular has a chance of making an immediate impact.
Dallas didn’t ignore the offensive side of the ball, though. They used a third round pick on Connor McGovern and a fourth on Tony Pollard. Pollard likely will not develop into Ezekiel Elliott’s true handcuff, but he is an exceptional return man as well as receiving threat. Expect the Cowboys to find ways to get him the ball, including possibly aligning Pollard in the slot when Elliott is on the field. McGovern, along with the hopeful return of Travis Frederick, could boost the Cowboys offensive line from an above average unit back to the elite front five that we saw Prescott and Elliott thrive behind as rookies. McGovern will push Connor Williams, who struggled quite a bit as a rookie, at guard. McGovern could play tackle as well.
Cowboys’ 2019 draft class
|2||26||58||Trysten Hill||DT||Central Florida|
|3||26||90||Connor McGovern||G||Penn State|
|5||20||158||Michael Jackson||DB||Miami (FL)|
|5||27||165||Joe Jackson||DE||Miami (FL)|
|6||40||213||Donovan Wilson||DB||Texas A&M|
|7||4||218||Mike Weber||RB||Ohio State|
The Eagles only made five selections, but three were in the top two rounds including the trading up for Andre Dillard. Dillard is a great offensive tackle athlete that is already an accomplished pass blocker. He should be able to hone is craft and learn from one of the best in the business in Jason Peters in 2019. This is especially important in the run game, where Dillard has a great deal of work to do. The Eagles are a diverse running game and this sets up very well for Dillard with Peters as his mentor. Surely the Eagles perceive having great offensive tackle play, with Lane Johnson entrenched on the right side, for quite a while to help keep Carson Wentz as secure as possible and hopefully out of the training room. Trading up for Dillard could pay off huge.
The Eagles then added Miles Sanders and JJ Arcega-Whiteside in Round 2, further improving the cast around Wentz. Sanders absolutely must show that he can hold onto the football, but he has every down ability and projects before long as Philadelphia’s true lead back. But like Dillard, Sanders doesn’t have to be rushed into action. This is especially after the acquisition via trade of Jordan Howard, who shouldn’t be slept on as a big time producer on the ground in 2019. Arcega-Whiteside has intriguing downfield ability, but is rightfully best known as an outstanding contested catch receiver with size and great ball skills. It might take time before Arcega-Whiteside cracks Philadelphia’s lineup on a regular basis, but we know Wentz isn’t bashful about throwing the ball into tight quarters. Arcega-Whiteside should not have lasted until the 57th selection overall. The Eagles look poised to have one of the league’s better offenses for years to come.
On the other side of the ball, Shareef Miller is a project, but Philadelphia greatly values defensive line depth. The Eagles are the team the beat in the NFC East and the best run organization in the division.
Eagles’ 2019 draft class
|1||22||22||Andre Dillard||T||Washington State|
|2||21||53||Miles Sanders||RB||Penn State|
|4||36||138||Shareef Miller||DE||Penn State|
The Redskins are infusing their roster with quite a haul of incoming young talent. Not only did Washington make 10 selections, but two were in the first round after trading back into that frame to select Montez Sweat. Sweat is a difficult prospect to evaluate because he really only fell to the 26th overall selection because of medical reasons. But on the field, he is exactly what Washington would want as a bookend edge player to Ryan Kerrigan. Remember that Preston Smith left for greener pastures in Green Bay. If Sweat is healthy, Washington’s defensive front should be quite good and difficult to deal with.
But obviously the biggest news surrounding the Redskins draft class is staying put in the middle of the first round and still getting their guy in quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Haskins isn’t very mobile and will need to be protected and when healthy, Washington’s offensive line is formidable. But the Redskins front five has dealt with a myriad of injuries over the past few years, which makes the mid-round selections of Wes Martin and Ross Pierschbacher all the more critical. Entering the draft, Washington’s wide receivers were amongst the worst in football. That still might be true after drafting Terry McLaurin, but the rookie who also excels on special teams shouldn’t have a lot of speed bumps on his road to playing time. Obviously the Ohio State connection between Haskins and McLaurin could pay off as well, both on the field and to help one another adjust to a new environment.
After drafting Derrius Guice in the second round last year (and Guice very well could be viewed as yet another incoming rookie talent) and resigning Adrian Peterson, the Redskins looked pretty set at the running back position. However, Guice and Peterson are much different types of weapons than Bryce Love. Love is also recovering from injury and won’t be rushed back. His selection also shows that Washington might not trust Chris Thompson to hold up for the long haul. Washington might have also gotten steals in the late rounds with their selections of Kelvin Harmon and Jimmy Moreland. Both were highly productive in college.
Redskins’ 2019 draft class
|1||15||15||Dwayne Haskins||QB||Ohio State|
|1||26||26||Montez Sweat||DE||Mississippi State|
|3||12||76||Terry McLaurin||WR||Ohio State|
|5||35||173||Cole Holcomb||LB||North Carolina|
|6||33||206||Kelvin Harmon||WR||North Carolina State|
|7||13||227||Jimmy Moreland||DB||James Madison|
|7||39||253||Jordan Brailford||LB||Oklahoma State|