The Cowboys had two main needs in this draft: pass rushers and defensive backs. Needless to say, they addressed both of those holes in an effort to continue their reign in the NFC East. With their 1st round pick, the Cowboys chose Michigan DE Taco Charlton (Rd 1, pick 28).
Charlton exploded onto the scene this past season, showing good balance while rushing the outside edge. I am hesitant about Charlton due to just one year as a starter but he does have athleticism to be further developed.
Next, the Cowboys targeted defensive back Chidobe Awuzie (Rd 2, pick 28) from Colorado. His ability to play outside, inside or even at safety will allow him to get on the field early. Dallas then doubled down and drafted another cornerback, Jourdan Lewis (Rd 3, pick 28). I project him most favorably as a nickel corner; he has the quickness to shadow shifty WRs.
Speaking of shifty WRs, Dallas drafted one of their own when they picked Ryan Switzer (Rd 4, pick 27) out of North Carolina. Switzer is ultra-quick in and out of his breaks and will become the second coming of Cole Beasley.
In the 6th round the Cowboys returned their focus to defensive backs, selecting Xavier Woods (Rd 6, pick 7) to pair up with Byron Jones in the backfield. Woods has a good blend of skills. He enforces in the middle of the field and actively seeks the ball.
In the 7th round, Dallas’ picks had good value. First they selected defensive tackle Joey Ivie (Rd 7, pick 10) out of Florida to fortify their defensive line. Ivie will mainly contribute as a run stopper but has the strength to press past offensive linemen to put pressure on the QB as well. Dallas’ second 7th rd selection was Ohio State WR Noah Brown (Rd 7, pick 21); who could eventually become a much better #2 or #3 WR than the Cowboys have on the roster.
New York Giants
With their 1st round selection of tight end Evan Engram (Rd1 pick 23), the Giants now have, in my opinion, the best group of skill players in the NFL. The Giants hope this will bring them back to the top of the NFC East.
Engram is my #1 TE of this class; he has fantastic 4.4 speed and runs routes like a WR. In the second round, the Giants chose Alabama defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (Rd 2, pick 23) who didn’t get many looks at Alabama. Yet Tomlinson was a stable contributor as a run stopper and provided surprising pass rushing penetration.
The Giants may have also gotten their QB of the future, selecting Davis Webb (Rd 3, pick 23) on Day 2. Webb can make every throw imaginable but will need time to develop into an NFL QB after coming from a spread offense at both Texas Tech and California.
The Redskins took advantage of the 2017 Draft to improve their defensive line with their early selections. Washington plans to counter the firepower in Dallas and New York with strong defensive play as a way to challenge in the NFC East. The Redskins’ first two picks were Alabama defensive linemen: Jonathan Allen (Rd 1, pick 17) and Ryan Anderson (Rd 2, pick 17). The team will be able to move Allen around the line to maximize his combination of strength and quickness to disrupt plays.
Washington can put Ryan Anderson on the edge and trust he’ll hold the point against the run with consistency. Anderson does bring some complimentary rushing skills to get after the QB as well.
In the 3rd round, the team may have landed a steal in defensive back Fabian Moreau (Rd 3, pick 17) from UCLA. Moreau was widely considered a 1st round talent but got injured late in the evaluation process. causing him to fall into the third.
Washington’s 4th round selection of running back Samaje Perine (Rd 4, pick 7) should yield immediate playing time. Perine has great strength when running between the tackles. However, I was low on my evaluation of Perine, I thought he had the look of a J.A.G. (just another guy) on account of average ability to avoid contact.
The Eagles may have gotten the best pass rusher in this draft, selecting Derek Barnett (Rd 1, pick 14). Barnett has great balance when rushing the outside edge; as evidenced by him having the most sacks in Tennessee history.
Not only did the Eagles bring home the best pass rusher, they nailed the best steal by selecting defensive back Sidney Jones (Rd 2, pick 11). A pro day Achilles injury caused Jones to slide in the draft but when healthy, Jones may be the best defensive back in the class. He offers very smooth transitions and hip fluidity.
The Eagles continued to fortify their defensive backfield with the selection of Rasul Douglas (Rd 3, pick 35). Douglas offers long arms and will depend on his ability to win at the line of scrimmage against some dominant receivers in the NFC East.
Later in the draft, Philadelphia added WR Mack Hollins (Rd 4, pick 12); who will immediately contribute on special teams and compete in a WR group that has underwhelmed in recent years. They also selected running back Donnel Pumphrey (Rd 4, pick 26). The Eagles coaching staff loves to pass the ball to the backs out out of the backfield. Pumphrey seems to be a strong candidate to succeed Darren Sproles once he retires. Pumphrey certainly offers the same speed and yards after catch ability.
I also liked Philadelphia’s pick of defensive lineman Elijah Qualls (Rd 6, pick 31), he can line up in multiple positions along the defensive line. Qualls attacks with a low pad level and has a nice combination of quickness and power.