Dallas Cowboys – at first glance it looks like Dallas dropped the ball a bit.Unable or unwilling to trade back a few spots (Jerry Jones feverously working the phone in war room) and didn’t produce a trade but Dallas went with a need pick and took Tyron Smith.Now let’s be realistic about Smith.In a normal draft with one-two stud LTs, Smith would have been a mid first round pick.Smith has the potential to play well but there is a big unknown as to his ability to move to the left side and anchor Romo’s blind side.He has the wingspan of a 747 and is athletic but needs to maintain his weight over 300 lbs and show he can play in more space on the left side.On paper Smith can be upgrade over Doug Free (who will move back to his natural position of RT).
Round two is where things start to get interesting.Dallas goes after Bruce Carter (6’2” 242 lbs) ILB from North Carolina.This selection would have made more sense if Dallas were able to slide back in the first round similar to what Redskins did and pick up an extra second round pick.We think Carter has terrific potential if his explosiveness returns to form pre injury (ACL surgery in December 2010).This is different than taking a flier on Sean Lee in the 2010 NFL Draft.Lee was almost 2 years removed from his ACL surgery before being drafted while Carter is only 4 months removed from surgery.Also Lee is more of an instinctive player while Carter relies heavily on speed and explosiveness as opposed to natural instincts.For this reason the Carter selection inherits a higher risk potential.
DeMarco Murray RB (6’ 213 lbs) is equally interesting as we think he is a talented player who will push for a starting job.It also signifies that Dallas isn’t overly impressed with Felix Jones.Murray and Jones both excel in open field and are better slashers instead of pure between the tackle runners.Murray will challenge Jones as the starter due to his combination of size, speed and effective physicality in picking up blitzing linebackers.Josh Thomas CB (5’10” 191 lbs) was good value in fifth round.Thomas is fluid in hips but has size limitations which make him ideal to play slot coverage in NFL.It will be interesting to see if Thomas slides into slot with Rob Ryan opening CB competition between Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick again.Grade: B
Washington Redskins – we think the Skins might have nailed their first round pick again for third straight year (Brian Orakpo DE and Trent Williams OT were taken in 2009 and 2010, respectively).Ryan Kerrigan (DE, Purdue) is a team leader with off the charts work ethic.Combining Kerrigan with Orakpo, the Redskins have one dangerous pass rush.Washington made a great trade in first round by moving back a few spots (10 to 16) and picking up a second round pick.Jarvis Jenkins (6’4”, 310 pounds) is solid pick in the second round who will replace “big fat boy” Albert Haynesworth.
Lenord Hankerson WR (6’2” 209 lbs) in the third round borders on a steal.We projected Hankerson as an early second round pick based on his size and production (broke Michael Irvin single season TD record at Miami). Mike Shanahan traded up in the fourth round to take running back Roy Helu (5’11”, 219 pounds).When Shanahan trades up for a RB it’s usually for a good reason.The only thing keeping Washington from getting an A is they failed to take a QB in this draft.The Redskins decision to pass on Blaine Gabbert and trade back will be analyzed for years.Dandy Donovan has failed to live up to expectations.Look for the Skins to explore trade options (Kolb is still sitting there with Eagles) once NFL owners and players union have settled their dispute.Grade: B
New York Giants – another NFC East team that had a decent draft. We had concerns with Prince Amukamara zero interceptions his senior year but falling to all the way back to number 19 was farther than expected and the Giants couldn’t be more pleased about it.They get a physical corner to help a defense that was toasted by both the Eagles and Packers which left them out of the playoffs.Solidifying the secondary to compliment an already elite pass rush does not excite opposing offensive coordinators.However, the giants run the risk of falling into a pattern the Cowboys and Redskins fell into of letting their offensive lineman get too old before addressing it in draft.The Giants waited until the fourth round to select James Brewer OT (6’6” 323 lbs).The Giants are gambling on his size and potential as he only has 21 starts after missing all of ’07, half of ’08, and three games in ‘10 with foot and ankle injuries.
Marvin Austin DT (6’2” 309 lbs) was selected in the second round and could be a highly productive player.Austin was suspended for all of 2010 after accepting gifts from an agent (he was considered the ring leader). He has good size and power to control his gap responsibility and likes to make the flashy hit.He could have been a top 15 pick if he was clean entering the draft.However many NFL scouts felt Austin interviewed poorly and Adam Shafer reported that three teams completely removed him from their draft boards due to: “concerns about the way that he handled himself, the way he handled himself at North Carolina last year, how he reacted on visits to certain teams, his lack of accountability, his lack of discipline while playing defense.”In round three the Giants land speedy receiver in Jerrel Jernigan WR (5’9” 185 lbs) has sub 4.5 speed with game breaking ability as returner and WR.Greg Jones LB (6’ 242 lbs) could be a steal in the sixth round as he was very productive at Michigan States.Jones possesses good instincts and the ability to get to the QB.Grade: B-
Philadelphia Eagles – we were expecting more from this perennial draft powerhouse.With their first round pick (23) the Eagles selected Danny Watkins OG (6’3” 310 lbs).Good size and terrific leader who has infectious personality and is listed in his team media guide as “gregarious”.He was firefighter in his hometown before deciding to play football at age of 22.He will be a 27 year old rookie.With the Eagles history of not resigning 30+ year old players, Watkins could very well be a one contract player for them.We like the player but feel he was taken a round too soon based on his age and limited experience.Second round draft pick Jaiquawn Jarrett S (6’ 198 lbs) was a reach as the Eagles easily could have waited to draft him in the third or fourth round.Jarrett has adequate size but his 4.65 time doesn’t inspire confidence at the pro level.This was a local pick and you have to believe the Eagles know a little more about him.
The Eagles linebacker corps is a mess so drafting Casey Matthews MLB (6’1” 231 lbs) in the fourth round looks reasonable but we have major concerns about his ability to hold up over the NFL season due to his size.Matthews also injured his shoulder during lifting drills at the Combine and undoubtedly has an elevated status due to his blood lines with his brother Clay Matthews, of the Packers.The Eagles also selected a kicker in the fourth round in Alex Henery K (6’2” 177 lbs).Henery was one of the most accurate kickers in NCAA history.The David Akers era is over.But the Eagles failed to address major need areas of right corner back and the front four which were largely responsible for a stunning franchise record of 31 TD passes and finished last in the league in redzone defense for 2010.We like the quantity of picks the Eagles had but feel Dallas, Washington and NY have added potential impact players as opposed to the Eagles who drafted middle of the road players. Now part of this might be a plan to add a CB or DE/DT by trading Kolb.But our question is simple: Why?Michael Vick will be 31 years old and plays a reckless but effective style.We would be surprised to see Vick finish a 16 game season based on age and style and feel keeping Kolb as backup insurance is more logical. Grade: C