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NFC East rookie grades: QBs power Giants', Redskins' classes

With Super Bowl LIV in the books, the offseason is upon us. To get ready for the NFL Scouting Combine, free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft, Nick Shook and Gennaro Filice are taking a division-by-division look backward to evaluate each team's crop of 2019 rookies, weighing hits and misses -- then looking forward at areas for each squad to focus on in the coming months. Shook examines the NFC East below.

Round 1: (No. 6 overall) Daniel Jones, QB, 13 games/12 starts; (17) Dexter Lawrence, DT, 16 games/16 starts; (30) Deandre Baker, CB, 16 games/15 starts.

 **Round 3:** (95) 
 Oshane Ximines, DE, 16 games/2 starts. 
 **Round 4:** (108) 
 Julian Love, CB, 15 games/5 starts. 
 **Round 5:** (143) 
 Ryan Connelly, LB, 4 games/3 starts; (171) 
 Darius Slayton, WR, 14 games/9 starts. 
 **Round 6:** (180) 
 Corey Ballentine, CB, 13 games/2 starts. 
 **Round 7:** (232) 
 George Asafo-Adjei, T, 0 games/0 starts; (245) 
 Chris Slayton, DT, 0 games/0 starts. 
 **Notable rookie FA signing:** 
 Kaden Smith, TE, 9 games/6 starts. 

The Giants made the most of their haul from the Odell Beckham trade, which landed them, in part, the 17th overall pick, by selecting Lawrence, who had a solid rookie season. New York also might have found its franchise QB in Jones, answering a huge question for the team's foundation. Baker had a tough start but finished strong and stands to make a significant improvement in Year 2. Ximines was effective in his first season despite making just two starts, recording 4.5 sacks. Love is an exciting young player for the back end of New York's defense. Darius Slayton was an excellent find in the fifth round. Ballentine struggled with a position change to the slot, but he could improve with more time.

 **Free agency/combine focus:** Is New York going to attempt to retain 
 Leonard Williams, who was acquired via trade with the 
 Jets in October and is headed for free agency? 
 Darius Slayton, who led the team with 740 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches, was a nice find, but with second-leading receiver 
 Golden Tate (676 yards, six TD catches) at 31 years old, more capital needs to be invested at the position in a deep draft class. The 
 Giants also need to decide whether they're willing to pay to keep linebacker 
 Markus Golden (10.0 sacks) and right tackle 
 Mike Remmers, with the former serving as a pleasant revival and the latter helping bolster what was once New York's most glaring weakness. The 
 Giants are still going to need to address linebacker one way or another and decide whether to seek additional edge help or invest in Williams. 

Round 1: (No. 15 overall) Dwayne Haskins, QB, 9 games/7 starts; (26) Montez Sweat, DE, 16 games/16 starts.

 **Round 3:** (76) 
 Terry McLaurin, WR, 14 games/14 starts. 
 **Round 4:** (112) 
 Bryce Love, RB, 0 games/0 starts; (131) 
 Wes Martin, G, 9 games/5 starts. 
 **Round 5:** (153) 
 Ross Pierschbacher, G, 5 games/0 starts; (173) 
 Cole Holcomb, LB, 16 games/15 starts. 
 **Round 6:** (206) 
 Kelvin Harmon, WR, 16 games/8 starts. 
 **Round 7:** (227) 
 Jimmy Moreland, CB, 14 games/5 starts; (253) 
 Jordan Brailford, DE, 0 games/0 starts. 
 **Notable rookie FA signings:** 
 Hale Hentges, TE, 11 games/4 starts; 
 Steven Sims, WR, 16 games/2 starts. 

Haskins might be the Redskins' quarterback of the future, which earns plenty of points for this class. McLaurin was an excellent find in the third round and stands to make plays for years to come. Sweat recorded seven sacks and 50 tackles but can still improve to fulfill his first-round status. Martin needs to show he can hack it on the interior, as does Pierschbacher. Holcomb was excellent after he was thrust into an unexpected position following Reuben Foster's injury. Harmon was a nice find but will have to prove he can do more than just step up as a healthy body in Washington's depleted receiving corps. Moreland was a good depth addition and saw plenty of time in the defensive backfield as a rookie.

 **Free agency/combine focus:** Left tackle is a problem, because 
 Trent Williams refuses to play for the franchise, though we'll have to see if new coach Ron Rivera 
 has any effect on that. The 
 Redskins also need to solidify the interior, with former first-rounder 
 Brandon Scherff headed for free agency, but that issue was partly caused by injuries, and it could be remedied with players already on the roster. 
 Jeremy Sprinkle had a nice third season at tight end, but it would be worth looking into an addition there. McLaurin could use a legitimate complement at receiver. Cornerback 
 Josh Norman proved he is past his prime, and the 
 Redskins need to replace him. Edge rusher isn't a huge need, but the 
 Redskins could still end up taking Ohio State's Chase Young at No. 2, just because he'll likely be the best player available. Perhaps a trade back is in the team's best interest. This class was a big help, but Washington requires more again in 2020 to turn this franchise around. 

Round 1: (No. 22 overall) Andre Dillard, T, 16 games/4 starts.

 **Round 2:** (53) 
 Miles Sanders, RB, 16 games/11 starts; (57) 
 J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, 16 games/5 starts. 
 **Round 4:** (138) 
 Shareef Miller, DE, 1 game/0 starts. 
 **Round 5:** (167) 
 Clayton Thorson, QB, 0 games/0 starts (spent season on 
 Cowboys' practice squad). 
 **Notable rookie FA signings:** 
 Marcus Epps, S, 7 games/0 starts (8 games/0 starts with 
 Vikings before being acquired by Eagles); 
 Anthony Rush, NT, 9 games/0 starts. 

Dillard couldn't hack it as a replacement starter at either tackle position, but he still has natural talent that is worth working on. Sanders, who led all rookies with 1,327 scrimmage yards in 2019, was a revelation and a slam-dunk pick for the Eagles. Arcega-Whiteside found success in a barren receiving corps but wasn't anywhere near marvelous. Thorson ended up elsewhere in the NFC East, landing with the Cowboys. Miller played a total of two snaps in 2019. The Eagles earn a B for the quality of Sanders and potential of Dillard, despite not having a ton of picks to work with.

 **Free agency/combine focus:** Depending on 
 DeSean Jackson, who appeared in just three games, at his age (33) isn't wise. 
 Greg Ward was extremely helpful as a former undrafted rookie and practice-squad denizen making good on an opportunity, but he doesn't have a high ceiling; 
 Nelson Agholor, meanwhile is headed for free agency. Philadelphia should think about going after a wideout in the draft. Cornerback is a massive need for the 
 Eagles, as is safety, with 
 Malcolm Jenkins standing at 32 years old and entering the final year of his contract. A defense ravaged by injuries needs depth (at linebacker), but so does the offensive line, which is still reliant on 
 Jason Peters (38 and headed for the market) and 
 Jason Kelce (32 years old). Edge rusher could also use an addition. 

Round 2: (No. 58 overall) Trysten Hill, DT, 7 games/0 starts.

 **Round 3:** (90) 
 Connor McGovern, G, 0 games/0 starts. 
 **Round 4:** (128) 
 Tony Pollard, RB, 15 games/0 starts. 
 **Round 5:** (158) 
 Mike Jackson, CB, 0 games/0 starts (1 game/0 starts with Lions); (165) 
 Joe Jackson, DE, 5 games/0 starts. 
 **Round 6:** (213) 
 Donovan Wilson, S, 11 games/0 starts. 
 **Round 7:** (218) 
 Mike Weber, RB, 0 games/0 starts (spent most of '19 on 
 Cowboys' practice squad before heading to 
 Chiefs' practice squad); (241) 
 Jalen Jelks, DE, 0 games/0 starts. 
 **Notable rookie FA signing:** 
 Brandon Knight, OT, 7 games/1 start. 

The Cowboys' greatest contribution from this class came from Pollard, who served as an effective spell back to Ezekiel Elliott, rushing 86 times for 455 yards and two scores. The rest of the group wasn't able to do all that much. Wilson's footprint was limited to special teams. Hill played 121 defensive snaps but recorded just five tackles. As shown above, no draft picks made a single start. Jelks and McGovern headed to injured reserve in September, while Weber ended up with the Kansas City Chiefs on their practice squad. Mike Jackson ended up with the Detroit Lions.

 **Free agency/combine focus:** The 
 Cowboys will first need to figure out what will happen with 
 Amari Cooper. If the wideout departs via free agency, that will mean Dallas will have spent a first-round pick in the trade that landed them Cooper in October 2018 for a season-and-a-half of service -- and the 
 Cowboys will seriously need a replacement at receiver, with 
 Randall Cobb and 
 Tavon Austin also headed to the market. Will tight end 
 Jason Witten be able to return for a 17th season? Is defensive end 
 Robert Quinn (11.5 sacks) worth retaining with a new contract? (The answer: yes, but will they get a deal done?) What about corner 
 Byron Jones, who just wrapped the last year on his rookie contract? Veteran linebacker 
 Sean Lee (who could 
 end up elsewhere isn't getting any younger, either. With a projected $77 million in cap space, 
 per Over The Cap, the 
 Cowboys have the room to make some moves, but a hefty chunk of that will be allocated to quarterback 
 Dak Prescott, who is also up for a new deal. 

Follow Nick Shook on Twitter @TheNickShook.

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