Grading the Draft: NFC East

Though only on paper, it is as good a time as ever to try and predict which teams came out of the NFL Draft with players that will make their roster stronger and which organizations may have fumbled the ball. Obviously a lot must be played out on the field but fresh off of seven rounds here are those we liked and disliked.

Dallas 

For all the bashing Jerry Jones takes he put his nose to the grindstone and did a solid job this year.  Masterfully working the draft with his first pick he moved down, collected extra choices and still selected the player he wanted all along, safety Roy Williams.  The Oklahoma product brings impact and leadership to a Dallas defense that desperately needs it.  Andre Gurode was good value in round two and fills two spots at either center or guard.  He also fits the type of linemen Dallas' likes; big, tough and dominant.  Should receiver Anotnio Bryant and corner Derek Ross, chosen in the second and third frames respectively, get their priorities in order and learn to focus on the football field both will potentially be starting by the end of their rookie season.  Jamar Martin was selected a little earlier then his skills would warrant but Dallas is hoping to quickly insert him into the starting line-up.  Overall a good draft with real potential for greatness. 

Giants 

The football Giants got the player they wanted all along in tight end Jeremy Shockey.  He'll bring leadership and most importantly, a reliable pair of hands to the offense.  Second round choice Tim Carter made a big move up draft boards in the post-season and offers the speed at receiver Big Blue desperately needs while Jeff Hatch is a solid offensive line prospect for the future, though we feel he may have been taken a bit early.  The remained of the Giants draft was rather non-descript filled with special teams players and "projects."

 

Philadelphia 

The Eagles came into the draft with only a few needs and took the "best player available" route through all seven rounds.  With an aging defensive secondary Philadelphia addressed the area early in the draft.  Lito Sheppard is a terrific shut down corner that also excels as a return specialist and could be starting by the end of his rookie season.  Safety Michael Lewis will replace Damon Moore at strong safety while fellow second round pick, Sheldon Brown, will be used as a nickel-corner on passing downs.  Brian Westbrook is a third down back whom the organization hopes will replace Brian Mitchell as a return specialist while center Scott Peters, taken in round four, is a tough, slug-it-out center that could be moved into the first team early on.  Should Freddie Milons return to form he was a steal in round five and will thrive as a slot receiver and big play return man.  A good effort by the Eagles as they stayed away from the temptation of drafting for need and just collected good football players.

 

Washington 

The Redskins had a new coach and a bunch of picks. Early on Steve Spurrier targeted Patrick Ramsey as his man to run the offense and did a good job moving down throughout round one, and collecting extra choices, then tabbing the Tulane signal caller at the end of round one. The rest of the selections were solid; second round pick Ladell Betts fits in nicely as a third-down back, speedster Cliff Russell brings speed to the receiver ranks while Robert Royal is the first complete tight end the Skins have had in a long time. 

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