Grading the Draft: The NFC East

The Dallas Cowboys had one of their best drafts in years last month. Which other teams in the NFC East distinguished themselves? We take another look at the rough and rugged NFC East in this extensive report.

Washington Redskins
1 (9) Carlos Rogers; CB - Auburn 1 (25) Jason Campbell; QB - Auburn 4 (120) Manuel White, Jr; FB - UCLA 5 (154) Robert McCune; MLB - Louisville 6 (183) Jared Newberry; OLB - Stanford 7 (222) Nehemiah Broughton; FB - The Citadel

Analysis: Carlos Rogers arguably was the top-rated cornerback available in the draft, according to some scouts, and the Redskins had a tremendous meeting with him recently. Sporting good size, speed, and quickness, Rogers is a true cover-corner and should not disappoint in a Washington defense that is solid but lacking depth at cornerback with the departure of Champ Bailey and Fred Smoot during the past two offseason's. Rogers is a solid acquisition for the Redskins, while not being the high-profile pick the team often looks for.

The Auburn connection comes to fruition in Washington. The selection of quarterback Jason Campbell should solidify the plan for the future at the position. Some scouts believe Campbell has the tools to be the best quarterback in this draft, but needs time to develop the mental approach to the game.

Grade: C-

New York Giants
2 (43) Corey Webster; CB - LSU
3 (74) Justin Tuck; DE - Notre Dame
4 (110) Brandon Jacobs; RB - Southern Illinois
6 (186) Eric Moore; DE – Florida State

Analysis: The Giants' selection of Webster at the very least fills a depth void in the defensive backfield, but the real story could be the state of the starters in New York. Will Allen has been a player rumored to be on the move in New York. Though he struggled with injuries during the 2004 season at LSU, Webster is a first-round talent and has the ability to become a very reliable corner at the professional level.

Selecting Justin Tuck in the third round of the draft should be considered a bargain. Tuck possesses pass-rushing skills which should only help the Giants defense, while being a solid defender against the run. Tuck has the mental approach to the game that fits into head coach Tom Coughlin's system, which should make him a viable player for the Giants.

Grade: B

Philadelphia Eagles
1 (31) Mike Patterson; DT - USC
2 (35) Reggie Brown; WR - Georgia
2 (63) Matthew McCoy; OLB - San Diego State
3 (77) Ryan Moats; RB - Louisiana Tech
4 (102) Sean Considine; S - Iowa
4 (126) Todd Herremans; OT - Saginaw Valley State
5 (146) Trent Cole; DE - Cincinnati
5 (172) Scott Young; OG - BYU
6 (211) Calvin Armstrong; OT - Washington State
7 (247) Keyonta Marshall; DT - Grand Valley State
7 (252) David Bergeron; MLB - Stanford

Analysis: Patterson is often the forgotten member of the USC defensive line, but his superior play and ability were high on the Eagles' draft board. Patterson adds depth to an already strong group of defensive tackles in Philadelphia. Extremely active and productive, he gives the Eagles a starting quality tackle waiting in the wings.

Selecting Brown in the second round provides the Eagles with another significant weapon on the offensive side of the ball. While the Philadelphia wide receivers have been moderately productive overall, Brown will provide an explosive presence to team with standout Terrell Owens.

Outside linebacker Matt McCoy may end up being an All-Pro quality linebacker at the professional level. Sporting very good speed, quickness, and strength, he is a perfect match for the Philadelphia defense. A great locker room presence and team player, McCoy plays the game in the "old school" manner. He will drop in coverage and pop anything which moves in front of him. Despite being somewhat undersized, McCoy is growing physically and has all the tools.

Moats is in the mode of Brian Westbrook, and is a serious threat coming out of the backfield. The Eagles like this type of back, as they fit into the versatile passing scheme and can run the football effectively in space. Moats is a great depth acquisition and insurance policy in the event Westbrook were to suffer injury.

Grade: A-

Dallas Cowboys
1 (11) Demarcus Ware; DE – Troy
1 (20) Marcus Spears; DE - LSU
2 (42) Kevin Burnett; OLB - Tennessee
4 (109) Marion Barber, III; RB - Minnesota
5 (132) Chris Canty; DE - Virginia
6 (208) Justin Beriault; S - Ball State
6 (209) Rob Petitti; OT - Pittsburgh
7 (224) Jay Ratliff; DE - Auburn

Analysis: Looking to get bigger and more physical defensively, the Cowboys jumped at the opportunity to select Ware. A true pass rusher, Ware should provide Dallas the pass rusher they have sought since the arrival of head coach Bill Parcells. While Ware is questionable against the run and the Cowboys believe he has the athletic ability to be a force with experience.

The selection of Spears provides the Cowboys the obvious ability to utilize the speed and quickness of Ware at outside linebacker. In Spears, Dallas secures the services of a solid defensive end who plays the run well, and has some ability to get to the quarterback.

Burnett is a talented outside linebacker who has the ability to be a very productive linebacker in this Dallas defense. Very good initial burst makes Burnett tough to handle when coming on the blitz and is very sound in his approach on run defense. Burnett has had some problems when engaged by large offensive linemen and will need to work on using his hands better. He should step in and compete with Bradie James at the weak-side linebacker spot.

Grade: A

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