Draft Grades

NFC East draft grades: Eagles nail first three rounds, while Commanders just keep reaching

Why provide instant grades on the selections of prospects who have yet to take an NFL snap? Well, you're reading this, aren't you? Considering the makeup of every roster and the factors surrounding each pick, Gennaro Filice and Dan Parr attempt a division-by-division assessment of the 2022 NFL Draft. Keep in mind that these grades are based on draft hauls alone -- picks traded for veteran players were not taken into account. Below is Gennaro's NFC East report card.

NOTE: Draft classes are displayed from best to worst within the division.

Grade
A-
Philadelphia Eagles
Total picks: 5

Round 1:

Round 2:

Round 3:

Round 6:

Round 6:


The most notable move GM Howie Roseman made over draft weekend was, undoubtedly, flipping a mid first-rounder and a late third for A.J. Brown. But as the three of you fine human beings who diligently read the intro atop this file already know, these grades are based on draft hauls alone -- picks traded for veteran players were not taken into account. And yet, even discounting the enormous impact of that blockbuster trade, the Eagles still landed in the "A" range, thanks to inspired drafting with the three premium picks they made. In the first round, Philadelphia leapfrogged Baltimore to snatch Davis. Wise move, considering everyone and their brothers from other mothers had mocked the 6-foot-6, 341-pound freak show to the Ravens. And with Fletcher Cox re-signed on a one-year deal in Philly, Davis will learn how to bull rush from a man who's made six Pro Bowls pushing pockets. That's not the only valuable mentorship set up by this draft haul, either. In Round 2, the Eagles pounced on Jurgens, an athletic pivot who essentially was handpicked by incumbent center Jason Kelce. "The Eagles have been using me to evaluate some of the centers coming out," Kelce said Friday on Bleacher Report's live draft coverage. "And of all the guys that I've looked at like for the past two to three years, out of all the guys that compare the most to myself, this guy is him." Should make for a nice transition once Kelce, who pondered retirement before re-signing on a one-year deal, hangs 'em up. In Round 3, Roseman rescued Dean from a surprising free fall, grabbing the highly decorated linebacker about 40-to-50 picks later than most anticipated he'd be available. Even if reported health issues ultimately cause him to miss significant time in 2022, the man is well worth the 83rd overall pick. After all, he was the alpha dog on that all-time Georgia defense that just rewrote NFL draft record books

Grade
B
New York Giants
Total picks: 11

Round 1:

Round 2:

Round 3:

Round 4:

Round 5:

Round 6:


When the first round ended on Thursday night, the Giants essentially fielded flower bouquets from across the football world -- and rightfully so. Having entered the draft with serious needs at edge rusher and offensive tackle, New York ticked those boxes in spectacular fashion. During the roller-coaster ride of rumors, innuendo and unnamed scouts that is the pre-draft process, Thibodeaux and Neal each spent time as the odds-on favorite to go No. 1 overall. Ultimately, Big Blue landed them both, at Pick Nos. 5 and 7. Two impact starters at two premium positions with the team's first two selections ... Huzzah! But wait a second: With that kind of sizzling start to the draft, how did the G-Men end up with a B? Well, they made five more picks over the next three rounds, and the returns weren't nearly as inspiring. The second-round selection, in particular, stood out as a curious move on multiple levels. Robinson feels like a smaller, less-explosive version of last year's first-round gadget selection, Kadarius Toney. And while Toney's brief tenure in New York hasn't exactly gone smoothly, leading to trade rumors, GM Joe Schoen contemptuously shut down that line of questioning in the wake of the Robinson pick: "We're not shopping Kadarius Toney." Some will dispute how unequivocal that statement might be, but even taking Toney out of the equation, what kind of raw value did the Giants collect with the No. 43 overall pick? NFL Media draft guru Daniel Jeremiah had 18 wide receivers ranked in his top 150 overall players. The 5-foot-8 Robinson was not among them.

Grade
B-
Dallas Cowboys
Total picks: 9

Round 1:

Round 2:

Round 3:

Round 4:

Round 5:

Round 6:


In the grand spectrum of draft grades, the Cowboys' mark generally seems to boil down to what you think of Dallas' polarizing first-round pick. We know how Jerry Jones feels, as the inimitable owner busted out the Cowboys' draft board before the assembled media to show reporters how highly the team had Smith rated. (Never change, Jerrah. The content machines NEED you.) So, how does your loyal NFL.com grader feel? Conflicted. Having entered the draft as a redshirt sophomore out of Tulsa, Smith's technique is sushi raw. In related news: He racked up a whopping 16 penalties in 2021 alone. But the explosive, unteachable traits packed into that 6-5, 324-pound frame are something special. As one of the younger prospects in this draft class, Smith's a ball of clay. The Cowboys could start the athletic mauler at left guard this season, while grooming him to eventually take over for aging LT Tyron Smith. With the way the board fell in Round 1, Dallas didn't have many instant-impact options at other areas of need. So, personally, I don't mind taking the long view on a naturally gifted blocker who received plenty of first-round buzz as the pre-draft process played out. Two more picks I'd like to spotlight for a quick moment: Tolbert in Round 3 and Clark in Round 5. Tolbert, a smooth route runner out of South Alabama, dismissed any small-school concerns by cooking all comers at the Senior Bowl. With the offseason departures of Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, Tolbert could get serious burn in the Cowboys' receiver rotation, especially with Michael Gallup on the mend from ACL surgery. Clark, meanwhile, might not see the field at all in 2022, having undergone spinal fusion surgery in March. Without that setback, the physical, athletic linebacker's long gone by the time the Cowboys are picking at No. 176. Look at this as a draft-and-stash move -- basically a lower-stakes version of the Jaylon Smith selection in 2016.

Grade
C
Washington Commanders
Total picks: 8

Round 1:

Round 2:

Round 3:

Round 4:

Round 5:

Round 7:


It's the one word you never want to hear as a fantasy drafter. The judgmental utterance that, when hurled in your direction, instantly elicits pangs of remorse and self-doubt. REACH!! In the wake of last week's reality draft, Commanders brass have taken an R-word onslaught for a number of their picks. Adding fuel to the fire: Washington's first two picks were both caught off guard by how highly they were taken. Dotson was watching the NBA playoffs and "couldn't believe it at first" when he got the call from Ron Rivera. "We were kind of thinking later first, early second," the No. 16 overall pick said, per NBC Sports Washington. Washington's second-rounder was even more surprised: "Oh, man -- I was thinking at least third, somewhere in the third or fourth round," Mathis said, via The Athletic. "That was just feedback we were getting. So, it most definitely wasn't expected early." Well, alright then. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Commanders' value assessment -- coming from the draftees themselves! Washington GM Martin Mayhew has heard the REACH chorus, and he's not having it: "We understand our needs and what we need as a football team much better than people on the outside looking in." One value pick we can all agree on: Howell at No. 144. Heading into the 2021 college season, the North Carolina quarterback was being discussed as a potential top-10 pick. But without the services of Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome -- all of whom went in the 2021 NFL Draft -- Howell and the Heels didn't enjoy the kind of season many predicted. That said, Howell was still the only FBS quarterback to eclipse 3,000 yards passing and 800 yards rushing in 2021. For a franchise that still has serious questions at the game's most important position, taking a fifth-round stab on a 21-year-old with 37 college starts under his belt is smart drafting.

Follow Gennaro Filice on Twitter.

Related Content

Gamepass_vert_web_r

Get exclusive access to the offseason for $9.99

Go behind the scenes and watch the offseason like never before.