The NFC East was viewed as the weakest division in the conference last season but still sent two teams to the playoffs. OK, they both made fast exits but it was still a pretty good achievement and an improvement on the last few seasons. In 2020 Washington won the division at 7-9 and although they reached the same mark it was only good enough for 3rd place! The final finishing order was as below but will the draft change it?
2021 Finishing Positions
Dallas Cowboys 12-5
Philadelphia Eagles 9-8
Washington FT 7-10
New York Giants 4-13
The relatively poor showing of late combined with a lot of pick trading left all four teams with a strong hand and although it will take a few years to know for certain overall we like what they have done…
Tulsa OT Tyler Smith (No. 24 overall)
Ole Miss DE Sam Williams (No. 56 overall)
South Alabama WR Jalen Tolbert (No. 88 overall)
Wisconsin TE Jake Ferguson (No. 129 overall)
North Dakota OT Matt Waletzko (No. 155 overall)
Fresno State CB DaRon Bland (No. 167 overall)
LSU LB Damone Clark (No. 176 overall)
Arkansas DT John Ridgeway (No. 178 overall)
Oklahoma State LB Devin Harper (No. 193 overall)
We were not overly impressed with either of the Cowboy’s first two picks. Tyler Smith at 24 looks like a knee jerk reaction to the run on O-Linemen. Given that Tyler Linderbaum was still on the board they could have upgraded massively at Centre. Tyler Biadasz is ok but if they want to replicate their formidable OL of old that’s a good place to start.
Sam Williams has potential but might need time to adjust and needs to get better against the run. Wide Receiver Jalen Tolbert looks good value and should go some way towards filling the gap left by the Amari Cooper trade, while Damone Clark would have gone much higher had he not been injured.
Overall Grade C+
Dallas has picked up a few potential starters but overall the draft doesn’t look to have moved the needle much.
New York Giants
Oregon Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux (No. 5 overall)
Alabama OT Evan Neal (No. 7 overall)
Kentucky WR Wan’Dale Robinson (No. 43 overall)
North Carolina OG Joshua Ezeudu (No. 67 overall)
LSU CB Cordale Flott (No. 81 overall)
San Diego State TE Daniel Bellinger (No. 112 overall)
Iowa S Dane Belton (No. 114 overall)
Indiana LB Micah McFadden (No. 146 overall)
Arizona State DT DJ Davidson (No. 147 overall)
North Carolina G Marcus McKethan (No. 173 overall)
Cincinnati LB Darrian Beavers (No. 182 overall)
The Giants had a great draft picking 11 times and getting impact players with both of their first-round picks. Evan Neal can play multiple positions and they must have been delighted when he slipped to them at pick seven. Their OL needed to get better and it has thanks to the additions of Ezeudu & McKethan and adding the elusive if slightly undersize slot receiver Wan’Dale Robinson will give Jones a useful outlet.
The pass rush should be better too and Thibodeaux lining up across from veteran Leonard Williams actually looks quite scary. He will take over from Raymond Johnson who only managed one sack in 2021. The extra depth in the secondary will help too and Dane Belton could be one to watch given he was a turnover machine in Iowa in 2021 playing a hybrid linebacker/safety role.
Overall Grade A
This will undoubtedly be Daniel Jones last chance to prove himself with the Giants but at least they have given him a chance with these picks. Is it enough to move them from the NFC East basement? Probably not but they are moving in the right direction and if Jones finally makes the leap who knows.
Georgia DT Jordan Davis (No. 13 overall)
Nebraska C Cam Jurgens (No. 51 overall)
Georgia LB Nakobe Dean (No. 83 overall)
Kansas LB Kyron Johnson (No. 181 overall)
SMU TE Grant Calcaterra (No. 198 overall)
The Eagles only ended up picking five times but still had a great draft, thanks to their trade moves. They gained an extra first-round pick next year in the Saints trade and that gives them a bit of insurance if Jalen Hurts doesn’t step up. They made his life easier too by getting a quality veteran WR in A.J Brown. Their O-Line should be better with Cam Jurgens at Centre and the defense is improved with the Davis pick. Their best move though could be taking a chance on Nakobe dean who slipped due to injury issues. He was otherwise a first-round talent and possibly even top 10.
Overall Grade A
It’s hard to fault their draft and with those future picks ( they also have the Saint’s 2nd rounder in 2024) they could be heading towards being the team to beat in the NFC East for a few years to come.
Penn State WR Jahan Dotson (No. 16 overall)
Alabama DT Phidarian Mathis (No. 47 overall)
Alabama RB Brian Robinson (No. 98 overall)
Louisiana S Percy Butler (No. 113 overall)
North Carolina QB Sam Howell (No. 144 overall)
Nevada TE Cole Turner (No. 149 overall)
Tulsa G Chris Paul (No. 230 overall)
Oklahoma State CB Christian Holmes (No. 240 overall)
The newly named Washington Commanders ended up with eight picks and pulled off a nice trade back with the Saints. They used this pick to add Brian Robinson who should see plenty of action in 2022. They filled their biggest need with Dotson who should help new QB Carson Wentz settle in and if he doesn’t work out then maybe Sam Howell can step in. We thought they would draft a couple of Tight Ends given the lack of depth there, but otherwise, this looks like a pretty solid haul.
Overall Grade B
Washington added depth all over the roster and filled a couple of glaring holes on the offense. Maybe they should have gone for another TE but Cole Turner will at least get the chance to shine early.
Despite only adding five rookies in the draft we like what the Eagles did. If we include the AJ Brown addition then we think the draft has tilted the balance of power to them and they are our tentative favourites for the division in 2022. The Cowboys don’t look a whole lot better and they may find the Commanders challenging them for second place. Sadly we still don’t think the Giants have done enough to move out of the basement, but they might get a couple more wins.