Editor's note: Anyone in the NFL will tell you it takes three years to judge a draft. With that in mind, we asked analyst Bucky Brooks to take a look at how every NFL team fared over the last three years. In the first of a four-day series, he examines the NFC and AFC East divisions:
Analysis: The Giants have quietly assembled a roster that is as talented as any in the league. The success has been keyed through the draft, especially finding quality starters in the later rounds and seeing their early picks routinely develop into frontline players. Smith became a Pro Bowler in his third season, while Ross and Phillips have shown similar potential when healthy. In addition, the team has promising players like Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Terrell Thomas waiting to take on bigger roles. Given the quality and depth that general manager Jerry Reese and coach Tom Coughlin have assembled, the Giants are positioned to be contenders in the NFC for a long time.
Analysis: The Eagles have been hit or miss with their early-round choices, but when they've hit it's been big. Jackson earned Pro Bowl honors at two positions (WR/KR), while Celek and Maclin have emerged as big-time playmakers. The Kolb pick surprised many on draft day, but now he's the No. 1 guy after the Donovan McNabb trade. Although the team missed on Tony Hunt and Bryan Smith, the production of their notable selections has been so spectacular that their overall draft haul in the past three seasons has to be considered an overwhelming success.
Analysis: The Cowboys have been solid overall at finding talent, but the Roy Williams deal impacts their grade since it cost them several draft picks. They traded a first-, third- and a sixth-round pick in 2009, and owe the Lions a seventh-rounder in this year's draft. With Williams failing to excel as a No. 1 receiver, the deal looks like a bad one from the Cowboys because it prevented them from adding an impact player or two in the draft. It also forced the team to load up on backups and special teams players. The team has successfully hit on their last three first-round picks in Jones, Jenkins and Spencer, as each has emerged as key contributors early in their career.
Analysis: The Redskins have been aggressive in their attempts to land veterans, but the moves have often left the team without a bevy of picks in the draft's early rounds. Without those prime selections, Washington has been forced to gamble on "reaches" in those stages. Whereas Orakpo became a Pro Bowler as a rookie, the Redskins' other top picks (Kelly, Davis and Thomas) have failed to produce to expectations and their ineffectiveness has been a part of the team's recent woes.