Cowboys draft comparison with NFC East rivals

The Cowboys dominated the NFC East in 2021, sweeping the division on the way to a 12-5 record and a division victory. That makes things more difficult heading into 2022, as Dallas will face a first-place schedule. They also picked later in the draft than any other team in the division.

This should be kept in mind when evaluating draft classes within the NFC East. The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles were on the scoreboard twice before the Cowboys had a chance to make a pick. Washington also had a choice. So how did the four front offices manage what they had at their disposal?

Philadelphia Eagles

Jordan Davis

Jordan Davis

Brett Davis – USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles were very active even before the draft started to move with the Saints for future draft capital. They then moved up 2 spots in a second trade, then traded picks for star receiver AJ Brown and signed him to a four-year, $100 million deal with $57 million guaranteed.

Brown is coming off a down year, but he’s known as one of the NFL’s best weapons and should help open up covers for former first-round picks Jalen Reagor and DeVonte Smith. With weapons like Dallas Goedert and Miles Sanders, as well as one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, Jalen Hurts is ready to have a shot at showing off as a franchise QB.

The second trade the Eagles made was passing the Baltimore Ravens to select technical mammoth One Jordan Davis from Georgia. In the second round, they grabbed center Cam Jurgens from Nebraska. Philadelphia likes to build through the trenches, and they were charging for now and the future with those picks. Jason Kelce and Fletcher Cox are likely in their final years with the Eagles and these plays should fill those holes for the next four years at least.

In the third, the Eagles took a lottery ticket on Nakobe Dean. He began to slip in the draft due to a medical issue. If he gets his pectoral injury treated and comes back healthy, Philadelphia might have landed the draft steal in a smaller-sized linebacker who can run freely behind that giant defensive line and make plays all over the field.

The Eagles need to hit home runs on their first three picks because the team only had two left for the rest of the draft.

  • 1.13 DT Jordan Davis, Georgia

  • 2.51 Center Cam Jurgens, Nebraska

  • 3.83 LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia

  • 6.181 LB Kyron Johnson, Kansas

  • 6.198 TE Grant Calcaterra, SMU

Cumulative draft score: 3.77 (3rd overall)

Washington Commanders

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The COs really wanted wide receiver Drake London out of USC to drop them at pick 11. Once he was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, the COs were okay to trade with the Saints of the New Orleans at 16 and take the best available WR they believed was Jahan Dotson.

Surprise second-round pick, defensive tackle, Phidarian Mathis is added to a rotation of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. He will replace Matt Ioannidis who left for the Carolina Panthers in the offseason. Getting a third DT in the second round is a bit of a headache unless he’s there to start if the team doesn’t pay Allen or Payne.

On Day 3, the Commanders took what they hope will be their future quarterback from North Carolina’s Sam Howell. Carson Wentz is a short-term bridge QB who wasn’t going to be the team’s future. Howell isn’t a strong guy and needs to improve in the pocket using his mobility, but he’s very accurate and has the athleticism to run when needed.

Cole Turner was a TE option Cowboys fans loved to poke fun at the team on Day 3 of the draft, but the Commanders got him back and now Dallas will have to cover for him instead.

  • 1.16 WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State

  • 2.47 DT Phidarian Mathis, Alabama

  • 3.98 DR Brian Robinson, Alabama

  • 4.113 Security Percy Butler, Louisiana

  • 5.144 QB Sam Howell, North Carolina

  • 5.149 ET Cole Turner, Nevada

  • 7.230 OG Chris Paul, Tulsa

  • 7.240 CB Christian Holmes, Oklahoma State

Cumulative draft score: 2.38 (26th overall)

New York Giants

(Eric Evansc Photography)

The Giants have been a very bad team since their last Super Bowl run many years ago. They’ve missed numerous draft picks, fired multiple coaches, and recently decided against the fifth-year option over QB Daniel Jones. Now is the era of Brian Daboll and he started with two top ten draft picks.

The first pick might have earned them the best player in the draft. Kayvon Thibodeaux has suffered a slight downturn due to concerns over his character and his love of football, but on the pitch he is a monster passer. This pairing with Leonard Williams and Azeez Ojulari could form a great young defensive line to wreak havoc on NFC East quarterbacks.

Two picks later, the Giants tried to hit the offensive line again and took on Alabama OT Evan Neal. He’s a big, powerful right tackle, who has movement abilities that should be impossible for a man his size. The pair of Evan Neal and Andrew Thomas should protect whoever the Giants quarterback is for the next decade.

The choice of Wan’Dale Robinson is directly linked to the falling out with Kadarius Toney. A very similar style of receiver, Robinson, can just slip in and be the rookie gimmick for the Giants offense. Now the team must find compensation for last year’s first-round pick.

Daniel Bellinger is a tight Day 3 prospect from San Diego State who many scouts believe could end up being a steal. Dane Belton is a safety who could play the hybrid LB role that Jayron Kearse has in Dallas. Micah McFadden and Darrian Beavers will be the first special team contributors from linebacker.

  • 1.5 FROM Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

  • 1.7 OT Evan Neal, Alabama

  • 2.43 WR Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky

  • 3.67 OG Joshua Ezeudu, North Carolina

  • 3.81 CB Cordale Flott, LSU

  • 4.112 TE Daniel Bellinger, State of San Diego

  • 4.114 Security Dane Belton, Iowa

  • 5,146 pounds Micah McFadden, Indiana

  • 5.147 DT DJ Davidson, Arizona State

  • 5.173 OG Marcus McKethan, North Carolina

  • 6.182 LB Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati

Cumulative draft score: 3.47 (6th overall)

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys seemed to get to their guys in the first two rounds by most scouting efforts. Dane Brugler, for example, had Tulsa offensive tackle Tyler Smith as his 50th best player, but he was selected 24th overall by Dallas. At 56, the Cowboys took edge rusher Ole Miss Sam Williams who was the 17th-best edge rusher in her Brugler and 91st player overall.

Jalen Tolbert was considered by many to be a second-round WR with the kind of plus-size traits of speed and big-play production that would keep him from slipping, but Dallas had a chance when they found him still available at 88 in total.

On day three, the value of picks continued with Jake Ferguson, the possible replacement for Wisconsin’s Dalton Schultz in the fourth round. Matt Waletzko is a one-man giant with incredible Test numbers who played OT for North Dakota. Damone Clark was a top 50 prospect, who was an LB tackle machine outside of LSU. He fell in the fifth round due to needing a spinal fusion procedure. John Ridgeway was caught with the final pick of the fifth replacing Brent Urban as the giant, immovable technical.

Dallas used the draft to fill in the gaps, seemingly drafting out of need instead of the best player available and everyone will just have to see how that strategy plays out for them after a few years of development.

  • 1.24OL Tyler Smith, Tulsa

  • 2.56 FROM Sam Williams, Ole Miss

  • 3.88 WR Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama

  • 4.129 AND Jake Ferguson, Wis.

  • 5.155 OT Matt Waltzko, North Dakota

  • 5.167 CB DaRon Bland, Fresno State

  • 5.176 LB Damone Clark, LSU

  • 5.178 TD John Ridgeway, Arkansas

  • 6.193 LB Devin Harper, Oklahoma State

Cumulative draft score: 2.49 (24th overall)

You can find Mike Crum on Twitter @cdpiglet or on Youtube on the Through the Cowboys podcast.



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