NFC East 2017 NFL Draft Grades: Division Officially Up For Grabs | Def Pen
2017 NFL Draft
The entire NFC East rocked the 2017 NFL Draft. Take a look at the draft grades below (LM Otero, AP)

The NFL Draft is the staple for building a winner in the NFL. While the process isn’t an exact science, the draft is the most important part of the offseason. Flushing your system with young talent can go a long way into defining a winning culture. Missing in the draft often times costs people their jobs. Now that the 2017 NFL Draft is in the books we can look at who did well. We start with the NFC East that is compiled of the Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, and Eagles. Of those four teams, it’s time to look at the winners and losers. Who won the 2017 NFL Draft in the NFC East?

Dallas Cowboys: Draft Grade A

  • Round 1, Pick 28 (No. 28 overall) Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
  • Round 2, Pick 28 (No. 60) Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
  • Round 3, Pick 28 (No. 92) Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
  • Round 4, Pick 27 (No. 133) Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina
  • Round 6, Pick 7 (No. 191) Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech
  • Round 6, Pick 33 (No. 216) Marquez White, CB, Florida State
  • Round 7, Pick 10 (No. 228) Joey Ivie, DT, Florida
  • Round 7, Pick 21 (No. 239) Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State
  • Round 7, Pick 28 (No. 246) Jordan Carrell, DT, Colorado

The Dallas Cowboys have drafted more Pro Bowlers than any other team the past 10 years. After a 13-3 season, Dallas was picking at the bottom of the draft in every round and nailed each one of their selections. To grab Taco Charlton with the 28th pick is a great value selection. Charlton is a natural 4-3 defensive end and will thrive under defensive line guru Rod Marinelli. Taco’s length makes him an interesting prospect to develop. I compared him to Chandler Jones leading up to the draft process.

The Cowboys were also fortunate to snag an elite cornerback prospect late in the 2nd round. In my opinion, Chidobe Awuzie warranted a first round pick. Awuzie has elite movement skills and almost glides like a gazel in coverage with ease. Putting him in that Tampa 2 zone cover defense is a perfect fit to bring out the best in the Colorado cornerback. Dallas doubled down at corner in the 3rd round with Jourdan Lewis. The Michigan product is facing a domestic violence charge but is an elite talent. While his case is still pending in the court system, the pick is risky but Lewis has shown the ability to be a press shutdown corner. Lewis put an excellent showing on at the Senior Bowl and will likely be used as a weapon in the slot as a nickel corner.

I also love what Dallas did with the Ryan Switzer pick. Switzer is Cole Beasley at the core and gives Dallas two quicker than fast demons to roam the middle of the field. Switzer thrives as a route runner, the only question mark he faces is his size. Finally, let’s hit some quick notes on Dallas’ late round picks that I was particularly in favor of. Xavier Woods is an elite safety prospect and I had a 3rd round grade on. Marquez White from Florida State had a really good Senior Bowl showing. Joey Ivie was one of the standouts at the East-West Game. Noah Brown is a development receiver from Ohio State that is raw but has good measurables to work with.

New York Giants: Draft Grade A-

  • Round 1, Pick 23 (No. 23 overall) Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
  • Round 2, Pick 23 (No. 55) Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama
  • Round 3, Pick 23 (No. 87) Davis Webb, QB, Cal
  • Round 4, Pick 34 (No. 140) Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
  • Round 5, Pick 23 (No. 167) Avery Moss, DE, Youngstown State
  • Round 6, Pick 16 (No. 200) Adam Bisnowaty, OT, Pittsburgh

The Giants hit home runs in their first three picks. The late round selections keep them from the A or A+. Evan Engram is a sure fire playmaker at the next level. Engram is a weapon in the passing game and sure be looked at more as a big-bodied receiver. Engram also has elite speed for the position and will be a matchup nightmare in the middle of the field. My comp for Engram was Jordan Reed.

Dalvin Tomlinson is just a solid football player. Tomlinson was a standout at the Senior Bowl showing the ability to push the pocket. When you watch him at Alabama, he has a better skillset for stopping the run which, is perfect considering you play Zeke Elliot twice a year. The most impressive part to Tomlinson is the incredible balance he shows which translate from his wrestling and soccer days. Tomlinson did have knee troubles in the past so you have to hope those hold up in the NFL.

The Giants got out in front of the developmental quarterback market the right way. New York let the most gifted passer fall right to their lap in the 3rd round. Webb came into the draft process as the number one quarterback on my big board. The California signal caller has elite size, a cannon arm, and the intangibles you look for in a franchise quarterback. Whether it’s showing up to the Senior Bowl two days early or coming into camp calling Eli Manning sir, you have that feeling Webb is the kind of guy you want to pour your time into. I encourage all readers to check out my articles about Davis Webb, you will get as excited as I’ve been the past year. Webb is a raw quarterback prospect and landing in New York will give him the necessary amount of time to hone in on his talent.

Avery Moss is a relentless motor type of guy who can be a rotational pass rusher. Gallman from Clemson is a solid back that figures to play into the time share with Paul Perkins. Adam Bisnowaty had a shaky showing at the Senior Bowl and will have to kick inside to guard if he has a shot to make it in the NFL.

2017 NFL Draft
Derek Barnett gives the Eagles a big time pass rusher (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

Philadelphia Eagles: Draft Grade B+

  • Round 1, Pick 14 (No. 14 overall) Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
  • Round 2, Pick 11 (No. 43) Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
  • Round 3, Pick 35 (No. 99) Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia
  • Round 4, Pick 12 (No. 118) Mack Hollins, WR, UNC
  • Round 4, Pick 26 (No. 132) (From Vikings) Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State
  • Round 5, Pick 22 (No. 166) Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia
  • Round 5, Pick 41 (No. 184) (Compensatory pick, from Dolphins) Nate Gerry, S, Nebraska
  • Round 6, Pick 31 (No. 214) Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington

Derek Barnett is a guy who hasn’t gotten the proper respect during the draft process. Eagles fans should be happy to land a guy that has consistent sack production in the SEC. Barnett reeled in 33 career sacks at Tennessee passing Reggie White as the school’s All-Time leading sack artist. He isn’t going to blow you away with elite burst and explosion but he has polished technique and can get to the quarterback.

Sidney Jones is a bit of a projection pick because you are hoping he can recover from the Achilles injury. Jones was my number one corner prior to the injury. If he can bounce back, Jones represents a true number one corner as the team plays the long game with Carson Wentz continuing to develop. Go watch the Alabama game, they refused to throw to his side of the field.

Rasul Douglas was another excellent pick by Philly. Douglas reminds me of a young Richard Sherman. Douglas has absurd length and led the NCAA in interceptions this past season for West Virginia. Douglas really caught my eye at the Senior and excelled in press coverage.

Philadelphia tripled down on weapons after that. Mack Hollins is an interesting prospect from UNC. If you haven’t heard by now he also thrives on special teams which seem to be all the rave about him. I wasn’t a fan of the Pumphrey pick but maybe he becomes the next Darren Sproles for them. Shelton Gibson is likely the Torrey Smith long term replacement as a one-trick pony deep threat.

Even the late two picks have some upside. Elijah Qualls has been overlooked along the defensive line having a really good season for Washington. Qualls was one of the strongest athletes at the combine this year and can provide an anchor up front. Nate Gerry reminds me of former Eagle Kurt Coleman who Philadelphia could really use right now.

Washington Redskins: Draft Grade A

  • Round 1, Pick 17 (No. 17 overall) Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
  • Round 2, Pick 17 (No. 49) Ryan Anderson, LB, Alabama
  • Round 3, Pick 17 (No. 81) Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
  • Round 4, Pick 7 (No. 114, via Jets): Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
  • Round 5, Pick 10, (No. 154, via Saints) Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, University of Arkansas
  • Round 6, Pick 15 (No. 199, from Vikings) Chase Roullier, C, Wyoming
  • Round 6, Pick 25 (No. 209, via Texans) Robert Davis, WR, Georgia State
  • Round 7, Pick 12 (No. 230, via Vikings, Eagles) Josh Harvey-Clemons, S, Louisville
  • Round 7, Pick 17 (No. 235) Joshua Holsey, DB, Auburn

How can you not love what the Redskins did? To grab Jonathan Allen with the 17th pick is a great value who could have easily gone in the top 5. Allen, the monster from Alabama, brings an instant nastiness along the defensive line. He will go a long way towards creating interior pass rush for the Skins.

Ryan Anderson in round two is another great pick. He reminds me of Courtney Upshaw who can really set the edge in the run game. That skill set isn’t talked enough about. Anderson has short arms and mostly relies on the bull rush but could be a double digit sack guy. Anderson also had his fair share of picks in college with the ability to move in space.

My favorite pick of Washington’s draft was Fabian Moreau in round 3. Moreau has the chance to be the best corner of the entire draft class. The UCLA corner was unchallenged at the East-West Game. He also recorded an elite 40 time at the combine and showed incredible movement skills. Washington is going to love this guy who could be the team’s best cornerback immediately.

To grab Semaje Perine and Jeremy Sprinkle in round 4 and 5 goes to show how well the Redskins nailed this draft. Perine to me is a clone of Maurice Jones-Drew as a tough, physical inside runner. Perine was higher rated on my board than his teammate Joe Mixon and has really nimble feet for a big power back. Sprinkle is a perfect fit for the offense as an elite blocking tight end. That’s all he did at Arkansas at a run-heavy offensive scheme. Sprinkle can also catch but with Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, Sprinkle’s ability to block at the tight end spot is a highly coveted trait.

Chase Rollier has the chance to start at center. Also, keep an eye out for Josh Harvey-Clemmons. He was a really highly recruited player that originally wound up at Georgia. Don’t be surprised if he turns out to be a late round steal.

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