Experts Weigh In On NFC East Draft Picks

Posted on May 12, 2014 by Harvey Valentine

When it comes to the NFL Draft, post-draft grades may be the only thing more scrutinized than mock drafts.

Although it takes years to accurately grade a draft -- and, ultimately, whether the selection plays a key role for a championship team or gets traded for someone who does, he'll be remembered fondly anyway -- it's worth looking at what outsiders say about the picks.

For his part, head coach Jay Gruden said the Redskins had accomplished what they set out to do during the draft.

"We addressed some positions that we needed to address with depth and some good, solid character guys and some good, solid football players," Gruden said. "We're happy with where we ended with the draft; we got some good draft picks.

"Moving forward with this football team, we feel like we have good, strong competition at every spot, and we'll add some free agents also and fill out our 90-man roster and go from there."

Of course, coaches usually like their picks right after the draft ends. Outsiders judge more harshly. Here are excerpts from what some of those folks had to say about the draft classes of the NFC East teams.

REDSKINS

47. Trent Murphy, outside linebacker, Stanford

66. Morgan Moses, tackle, Virginia

78. Spencer Long, guard, Nebraska

102. Bashaud Breeland, defensive back, Clemson

142. Ryan Grant, wide receiver, Tulane

186. Lache Seastrunk, running back, Baylor

217. Ted Bolser, tight end, Indiana

228. Zach Hocker, kicker, Arkansas

CBSSports.com (Pete Prisco): B-

Prisco felt the Redskins got great value with Moses during the third round. He questioned taking Murphy with a second-round pick. He said Breeland would be a starter "in a year or so, and could help in the nickel right away." For not having a first-round pick, Prisco said, "the Redskins bounced back and did a solid job with their seven picks."

ESPN's Mel Kiper: C+

Kiper liked the selections of Moses, Breeland and Seastrunk. He thought taking Murphy that high was a reach. He said he wished Washington had drafted a cornerback earlier, and was puzzled by the selection of Long.

RotoWorld (Evan Silva): D

Silva liked the fact that the Redskins traded down, but didn't like the pick, saying Murphy "lacks NFL-caliber pass-rush traits and may eventually have to move inside to pan out in the pros." He also found fault with Moses and Breeland. He called Long his favorite pick, saying he's "a heavy-handed mauler with starting right guard potential." He said Seastrunk "can't catch or pass block."

Sports Illustrated (Chris Burke and Doug Farrar): B+ 

Burke and Farrar called Murphy "a seriously strong defender with amazing potential" and labeled running back Seastrunk "a very interesting sleeper" pick. They said the team had reinforced the offensive line with Moses and Long.

Yahoo! Sports (Shutdown Corner): C-

Yahoo! didn't like the Murphy pick, mainly because of his projected playing time in 2014. It loved Breeland, saying he "offers toughness against the run and coverage ability," and said the Redskins did what they could, "but might not have come away with many standouts."

DALLAS COWBOYS

16. Zack Martin, guard/tackle, Notre Dame

34. Demarcus Lawrence, defensive end, Boise State

119. Anthony Hitchens, linebacker, Iowa

146. Devin Street, wide receiver, Pittsburgh

231. Ben Gardner, defensive end, Stanford

238. Will Smith, linebacker, Texas Tech

248. Ahmad Dixon, safety, Baylor

251. Ken Bishop, defensive tackle, Northern Illinois

254. Terrance Mitchell, cornerback, Oregon

CBSSports.com: B

CBS Sports liked the selection of Martin during the first round. It said Dallas' best pick had been trading up during the second round to take Lawrence, and also liked the fifth-round pick of Street.

ESPN's Mel Kiper: B

Kiper praised the Cowboys for avoiding the temptation of drafting quarterback Johnny Manziel, and said the Martin pick made the offensive line one of the top units in the NFL. He thought using a third-rounder on Lawrence was pricy.

Sports Illustrated: B-

SI had praise for Martin, but thought the Cowboys may have reached on Lawrence during the second round. It said seventh-rounder Mitchell might be the sleeper.

RotoWorld: B-

RotoWorld called this a fine draft, and said the "Martin pick put the finishing touches on one of the best offensive lines in football." It liked the Lawrence selection as well, but didn't like middle-rounders Hitchens and Street.

Yahoo! Sports: C+

Yahoo! called Martin "a rock-solid player who could be a fixture at guard or tackle," and said the top two choices (Martin and Lawrence) should start immediately, "but it's hard to tell if any of the other picks will stick around."

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

26. Marcus Smith, linebacker, Louisville

42. Jordan Matthews, wide receiver, Vanderbilt

86. Josh Huff, wide receiver, Oregon

101. Jaylen Watkins, defensive back, Florida

141. Taylor Hart, defensive end, Oregon

162. Ed Reynolds, safety, Stanford

224. Beau Allen, nose tackle, Wisconsin

CBSSports.com: B+

CBS Sports called third-round receiver Huff the Eagles' best pick, saying he will come in and know the offense, having played in it at Oregon. It also liked the drafting of Smith during the first round.

ESPN's Mel Kiper: B+

Kiper said the Eagles had done an excellent job of filling their needs at outside linebacker, wide receiver and safety.

Sports Illustrated: C

SI said of Marcus Smith, "You'd be hard-pressed to find any analyst who had that kind of grade on Smith -- or anywhere close." It thought more highly of Matthews.

RotoWorld: C+

RotoWorld noted that the Eagles had acquired Darren Sproles from the Saints for their fifth-round pick. It said Smith "was a highly productive pass rusher at Louisville and possesses plus measurables" and Matthews "could prove to be one of the draft's biggest steals." It didn't like the selection of Huff.

Yahoo! Sports: C-

Yahoo! called fourth-rounder Jaylen Watkins, a defensive back out of Florida, a terrific value, but didn't like the Smith pick. It said Matthews and Huff could be solid contributors.

NEW YORK GIANTS

12. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

43. Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State

74. Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse

113. Andre Williams, RB, Boston College

152. Nat Berhe, S, San Diego State

174. Devon Kennard, LB, USC

187. Bennett Jackson, CB, Notre Dame

CBSSports.com: C+

CBS called Bromley the Giants' best pick, because "he fills a major need inside," and said Richburg would compete to start at center.

ESPN's Mel Kiper: B

Kiper said Beckham had a chance to be "a really dynamic NFL player" and called Weston a solid value for round two. He felt Bromley was a reach, and was among those who noted that the Giants had a need at tight end they hadn't addressed.

RotoWorld: B-

RotoWorld said Richburg would start Week One and that "Bromley generated little pre-draft buzz, but is a quality three-technique prospect." It didn't like the Williams pick, saying he "has hands of stone and can't move laterally," and said Berhe would be a core player on special teams.

Sports Illustrated: B

SI called Beckham "one of the best receivers in this class," and noted the Giants' decision not to address the offensive line.

Yahoo! Sports: B

Yahoo! also called Beckham the Giants' best pick, and liked center Weston Richburg, but it thought New York picked Bromley too early. Yahoo! also noted that the Giants had picked "a lot of team captains and people who are serious about football."

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