Draft Grades  

 

Giants, Cowboys stand atop NFC East draft classes


NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2011 NFL Draft. Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division.

Cowboys' draft picks
Rd
Sel. #
Player
Pos.
School
1
9
OT
USC
2
40
LB
North Carolina
3
71
RB
Oklahoma
4
110
OL
Missouri State
5
143
DB
Buffalo
6
176
WR
East Carolina
7
220
RB
Georgia
7
252
C
Wisconsin
» Cowboys' pick-by-pick analysis

Dallas Cowboys: B+

Jerry Jones has an affinity for speed and explosiveness, so the Cowboys' talented class embodies those traits. Tyron Smith is one of most athletic offensive tackles that we've seen in years and he gives the unit a rock-solid force on the right side. Bruce Carter and DeMarco Murray are explosive options with the potential to immediately become significant contributors. The team nabbed a pair of sleepers in Josh Thomas and Dwayne Harris at great values. The Cowboys' draft didn't have a lot of sizzle, but is long on substance and production.

Key picks:

Round 1 (ninth overall): Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Although he is raw in several aspects, Smith's pure athleticism, strength and power make him a potential Pro Bowler. With the team looking to fortify its ground attack, he could be a pivotal piece of the offensive puzzle for years to come.

Round 2 (40th overall): Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina
Carter is a freakish athlete. He could play at the weak inside linebacker spot and become a core special teamer on the kicking units with his speed, quickness and explosiveness.

Round 3 (71st overall): DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
Murray is an ideal change-of-pace back with the speed and quickness to score from anywhere on the field. He will have to fight for carries in a crowded backfield, but expect him to make a contribution as a receiving back in the Cowboys' nickel package.

Giants' draft picks
Rd
Sel. #
Player
Pos.
School
1
19
CB
Nebraska
2
52
DT
North Carolina
3
83
WR
Troy
4
117
OL
Indiana
6
185
LB
Michigan State
6
198
SS
Iowa
6
202
LB
South Florida
7
221
RB
Maryland
» Giants' pick-by-pick analysis

New York Giants: A

It is time for Jerry Reese to get credit for stockpiling the Giants' roster with a host of gems at every position. He pulled off a coup by landing Prince Amukamara and Marvin Austin in the early rounds. Both were regarded as top talents and the Giants patiently waited for them to land in their laps. Jerrel Jernigan gives Eli Manning a dynamic slot receiver with the skills to make plays over the middle. Although the team would've loved to address the offensive line early, James Brewer could give them a potential starter down the road. Overall, the Giants added talent and depth without taking significant risk.

Key picks:

Round 1 (19th overall): Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Amukamara is a legitimate cover corner and upgrades the talent and athleticism in the secondary. With a set of talented veterans in place as starters, he becomes part of a deep rotation in the back end.

Round 2 (52nd overall): Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
Austin is a legitimate first-round talent with the potential to be a dominant interior player in their one-gap scheme. His combination of strength, power and athleticism is off the charts. He should be a contributor in a deep defensive line rotation.

Round 3 (83rd overall): Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy
Jernigan is a crafty inside receiver with the rare ability to separate from coverage in tight areas. He will contribute as a returner immediately and work his way into the rotation as a consistent performer.

Eagles' draft picks
Rd
Sel. #
Player
Pos.
School
1
23
OL
Baylor
2
54
DB
Temple
3
90
DB
Utah State
4
116
LB
Oregon
4
120
K
Nebraska
5
149
RB
Pittsburgh
5
161
OL
Iowa
6
191
OL
Cincinnati
6
193
LB
Ohio State
7
237
LB
Connecticut
7
240
RB
USC
» Eagles' pick-by-pick analysis

Philadelphia Eagles: C+

The Eagles have a long track record of investing in their offensive and defensive lines early in the draft and that continued with the selection of Danny Watkins. He adds strength and toughness to their interior. Jaiquawn Jarrett and Curtis Marsh add athleticism to the secondary, but they might not be ready for immediate roles in Philly's sub-packages. Casey Matthews has a knack for getting it done, so the team might've identified a future starter with its fourth-round pick. The Eagles certainly addressed their needs, but they might not see an early return on their investment.

Key picks:

Round 1 (23rd overall): Danny Watkins, OL, Baylor
Watkins is likely an interior blocker as a pro, but he provides the Eagles with flexibility along the front. His aggressiveness, toughness and physical presence will certainly help improve the Eagles' ability to protect Michael Vick in the pocket.

Round 2 (54th overall): Jaiquawn Jarrett, DB, Temple
Jarrett excels at coming downhill against the run, and his ferocious nature will add toughness to the unit. If he can improve his cover skills, he could find himself playing a major role in the secondary.

Round 4 (116th overall): Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
Matthews has an outstanding feel for the game and finds a way to get to the ball. His vision, instincts and production will make it hard to keep him off the field.

Redskins' draft picks
Rd
Sel. #
Player
Pos.
School
1
16
DE
Purdue
2
41
DL
Clemson
3
79
WR
Miami (Fla.)
4
105
RB
Nebraska
5
146
DB
Nebraska
5
155
WR
Nebraska
6
177
RB
Penn State
6
178
WR
SMU
7
213
DB
Boise State
7
217
OL
Florida
7
224
DE
Florida State
7
253
NT
West Virginia
» Redskins' pick-by-pick analysis

Washington Redskins: B

Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen executed a clever draft strategy that helped the Redskins add depth and talent in several key areas. The team traded down to add valuable picks, while landing a disruptive pass rusher in Ryan Kerrigan. He will be joined along the frontline with Jarvis Jenkins to speed the transition to the 3-4. Offensively, they added several wideouts with big-time ability in Leonard Hankerson, Niles Paul and Aldrick Robinson. They also found a pair of "one-cut" runners in Roy Helu and Evan Royster. The team failed to address its quarterback need, but the infusion of talent should give the Redskins a roster capable of being competitive next season.

Key picks:

Round 1 (16th overall): Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
Kerrigan was one of the most disruptive pass rushers in college football, and he adds another explosive edge player to the line. He could help the Redskins' defense quickly regain its opportunistic ways.

Round 2 (41st overall): Jarvis Jenkins, DL, Clemson
Jenkins is a long, rangy athlete with outstanding strength and power. He is capable of playing at the three- or five-technique in the scheme and provides the unit with much-needed bulk on the interior. His ability to hold the point against the run should free up their linebackers to quickly flow to the ball.

Round 3 (79th overall): Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami (Fla.)
Hankerson is a physical receiver with outstanding hands and receiving skills. While he isn't a true blazer on the outside, he gives the Redskins a potential No. 1 receiver.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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