NFL Draft 08: NFC East Draft Analysis

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The following Analysis was written by guest analyst David Estrada, David can be reached here. Hopefully you'll enjoy his different perspective.


The NFC East is being regarded as one of the strongest divisions in the entire league. And why not? This last season, three of the teams made the playoffs, the Cowboys were as dominating on offense as any team, the Redskins showed how dangerous they can be with a little motivation, the Eagles are not a team you take lightly, ever, and of course, the Super Bowl champions, the Giants. The exciting thing about all of their drafts is that none of these teams were trying to fill holes or rebuild, but to solidify positions aggressively. Here’s a look at the NFC East’s 2008 draft.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys drafted who they set out to get with their two first-round picks. They needed a runningback and depth at cornerback. By passing on the higher touted Rashard Mendenhall and going with Arkansas running back Felix Jones, the Cowboys showed their commitment to Marion Barber III. Mendenhall doesn’t provide the change of pace that Jones has, nor valuable return ability. However, if Barber does ask for too much money in this contract year, the Cowboys did draft Tashard Choice a steal in the fourth (the same round that MBIII was taken in). The Cowboys moved up to select Mike Jenkins, a premiere cornerback from South Florida. Remember, they were essentially drafting as if Pacman Jones was not reinstated this year. They also took another defensive back from Boise St., Orlando Scandrick. TE Martellus Bennett is an interesting prospect.

Analysis: Much buzz was made out of the offensive weapons that were going to be drafted however no receiver was picked up this year. Remember, it was one season ago that the team had its most depth at WR. Also, the Cowboys did win their division and held the best record in the NFC. Depth at RB and CB were concerns that were addressed. And trading so many picks in the third and fourth for picks next year does free up some cap room, which is important with contract years for Terence Newman, T.O., and Marion Barber. Overall, a solid class for the Cowboys who need just a few contributors to stay on top of their division and finally win a playoff game.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins dealt there way to 10 overall picks and with it invested heavily on offensive weapons by grabbing WR’s Devin Thomas, and Malcolm Kelly. The Redskins also picked up TE Fred Davis, who is regarded as the best at his position. Offensive Lineman Chad Rinehard brings versatility to their line since he can play guard or tackle. Georgia Tech’s Durant Brooks was the only punter drafted, but he does have impressive stats (30 of his 65 punts were 50 yards or longer). Their most interesting pick however came late in day 2 when they drafted Hawaii QB Colt Brennan (a player every fan secretly wanted their team to draft). He isn’t big but does have great ability and stats. A fun project at the least. Safety Christopher Horton could be a good backup, if not at least a special teams player.

Analysis: Do you think new head coach Jim Zorn wants to air it out? Thomas, Kelly, and Davis were beasts in college, and all regarded as the best of their respective position. They will provide big targets, something that the offense doesn’t have. What does this mean for Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, and Randle-El? Not sure, but there are a lot of potential starters in this draft. A very impressive draft and a testament to the team’s new philosophy. But in this copy-cat league, it is interesting that a pass-rushing defensive end wasn’t a priority for the Redskins. It did work well for the Giants. They picked one up in the seventh.

New York Giants

The Giants had the last pick of the first round at 31. It would have been 32 but the Patriots forfeited their pick for cheating (I think everyone likes to point that out). Safety was a glaring weakness after they let Gibril Wilson walk to the Raiders. Kenny Phillips was taken with their first pick. Phillips was the top Safety available and comes from a very impressive line of Hurricane defensive backs. CB Terrell Thomas from USC could fill another key spot in the secondary. The Giants gambled on WR Mario Manningham in the third, a player who was considered the best at his position but who’s stock dropped after lying to teams at the combine. LB Jonathan Goff was a good find in the fifth, as well as QB Andre Woodson in the sixth.

Analysis: The Super Bowl Giants drafted very recognizable names. Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo just keeps getting defensive toys to play with. Kenny Phillips looks to be used in the same way Brian Dawkins is in Philadelphia. His arrival also means that James Butler will most likely move to strong safety. Manningham could be tremendously valuable to this team since they are trying to get young and fast at receiver. However, he is high risk, high reward. Kehl and Woodson have major upside, enough to keep the Giants invested. Adding depth at tackle was never addressed. A solid class from beginning to end, the Giants have many possible contributors to a team that is looking to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles traded their first round pick to Carolina. They picked up DL Trevor Laws in the second. He was arguably Notre Dame’s best player in 2007. They also got DeSean Jackson in the second, possibly the dynamic playmaker McNabb has been asking for. Jackson, a very exciting player could make his immediate impact in the return game. Michael McGlynn could make the move to tackle. He had a nice season opposite Jeff Otah. CB Jack Ikegwuonu is a great talent for the future that could be moved to safety. He suffered a knee injury and isn’t expected to play in 2008. Defensive back Quintin Demps out of UTEP is also an interesting prospect. Not known for his aggressiveness, but still a highlight reel with the ball in his hands.

Analysis: The Eagles 10 picks did touch all the major needs but never provided a wow-player. DeSean Jackson does seem like that player, but can you say Jeremy Bloom? It is possible that this class doesn’t produce much of an impact this year. Not a very great class in terms of impact players. Good prospects though, but adding significant offensive fire power was not addressed. Would have been nice to help McNabb compete with the much improved offenses in the division.