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Ell’s NFL Draft Grades 2023: NFC East

Cowboys: B-

DT Mazi Smith, Michigan, 1st Round, TE Luke Schoonmaker, Michigan, 2nd Round, ILB DeMarvion Overshown, Texas, 3rd Round, DE Viliami Fehoko, San Jose State, 4th Round, T Asim Richards, UNC, 5th Round, CB Eric Scott Jr., Southern Miss, RB Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State, WR Jalen Brooks, South Carolina, 7th Round

The Cowboys shocked many choosing to upgrade their NT position which they have tried to plug with veterans the last two seasons, but chose to go long term with Smith. Smith is a tough physical D-lineman with good size who should improve the run defense and free up the pass rushers, although he doesn’t offer much of a rush himself. Schoonmaker is a tough, strong TE with good size, quickness, and blocking skills while improving as a pass catcher; he will need to get better in that department and add weight to his frame, but he has potential. Overshown is a sideline to sideline tackler with good size, speed, and coverage skills, but he needs to add more weight/strength and continue to improve as a pass rusher; he will provide depth and play on Special Teams, but he has potential. Fehoko is a strong, athletic pass rusher with experience playing LB, DT, and DE to get after the QB and make plays in the backfield against the run, but he has some technique issues and needs to adjust to the competition; he will provide depth and play Special Teams. Richards is a tough run blocking lineman with good size who can also hold his own in the passing game, but he struggles against speed rushers and has limited quickness; he projects as a Guard, but will provide depth at Tackle also. Scott is a DB with good size, athleticism, and quickness who projects as a press CB, but he will need to earn his spot. Vaughn is an undersized back who can do everything on the field and has great hands, but his size will limit him to being a possible change of pace back/gadget player. Brooks is a possession WR with good size, hands, and athleticism, but he lacks top speed and will need to show he can separate; he will have to earn a spot.

Giants: A-

CB Deonte Banks, Maryland, 1st Round, C John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota, 2nd Round, WR Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee, 3rd Round, RB Eric Gray, Oklahoma, 5th Round, CB Tre Hawkins III, Old Dominion, 6th Round, DT Jordan Riley, Oregon, S Gervarrius Owens, Houston, 7th Round

The Giants started the draft selecting Banks who showed his top athleticism at the combine, but he is a physical CB with good size, speed, playmaking skills, and a willing tackler in the run game; he doesn’t come with a lot of experience, but he is a day 1 starter with #1 CB potential. Schmitz is a nasty run blocking lineman who can lead the O-line and hold his own in pass protection as well, he was viewed by most as a safe pick and the 2nd best Center after a solid showing at the Senior Bowl. He is expected to compete for the starting job from day 1. Hyatt is a speed WR with the ability to cause problems downfield with good hands and he’s a willing blocker with inside and outside potential, but he needs to add weight to his frame and prove that he can be more than a deep threat. He was rumored to go late in the 1st round so he was great value in the 3rd round with starter potential. Gray is a small power runner who runs with good acceleration and a great receiver out of the backfield, but he lacks top level speed and needs to improve as a blocker; he has #2 back potential and could see time on screens early. Hawkins is a big DB with good athleticism, speed, and run stopping skills; he will start on Special Teams as a developmental Safety prospect. Riley is a huge Nose Tackle who could help in run support if he makes the roster. Owens is a physical run stopping DB with good tackling skills, versatility and improving coverage he could make the team playing on Special Teams.

Eagles: A

DT Jalen Carter, Georgia, LB Nolan Smith, Georgia, 1st Round, T Tyler Steen, Alabama, S Sydney Brown, Illinois, 3rd Round, CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia, 4th Round, QB Tanner McKee, Stanford, 6th Round, DE Moro Ojomo, Texas, 7th Round

The draft rumors were true with the Eagles locked in on Carter who could have easily been the #1 player so it was great value for him to drop to #9 giving them a long term replacement for Fletcher Cox. Carter has a rare blend of size, athleticism, strength, and quickness to be a disruptor in the backfield, but luckily in this situation he will start in the crowded rotation. Smith proved at the combine to be an elite athlete along with good speed, coverage skills, and run stopping skills; he needs to continue to improve as a pass rusher and add weight/strength to his frame. Steen is a big lineman with good strength who excels in both the pass and run game, but he needs to be more consistent and clean up some technique issues; he has experience at LT and RT so he will provide depth on both sides. Brown is a fast in the box Safety who plays best near the line of scrimmage helping in the run game, against screens, and blitzing, but he needs to improve his coverage and add weight to his frame. He should provide depth at nickel CB and Safety while playing Special Teams, but he has potential at Safety. Ringo is a tough physical press CB with good size who is a willing tackler in run support, but he fell down boards after bad showings versus Ohio State and at the combine so great value pick in the 4th round. He has starter potential and could learn a lot from Darius Slay who he may replace eventually. McKee is a huge QB with a big arm who can make all the throws, but he lacks mobility and needs to be more consistent and read defenses better, but he has some potential. Ojomo is a versatile run stopping D-lineman who can play inside and outside, but he needs to continue to add weight and improve; he will need to earn a spot as he projects as a DT.

Commanders: B

CB Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State, 1st Round, S Jartavius Martin, Syracuse, 2nd Round, C Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas, 3rd Round, G Braeden Daniels, Utah, 4th Round, DE K.J. Henry, Clemson, 5th Round, RB Chris Rodriguez Jr., Kentucky 6th Round, LB Andre Jones, Louisiana, 7th Round

The Commanders shocked a lot of people choosing Forbes over Gonzalez, who was dropping at the time, but Forbes was a late riser on draft boards, as he has a lot of qualities of Defensive Rookie of the Year Sauce Gardner, they are both long, skinny CBs who don’t offer much in tackling but a lot when it comes to coverage and catching interceptions. Forbes may not be on the level of Gardner, but he is a day 1 starter with #1 CB potential and a nose for the ball. Martin is a physical DB with good speed who can make plays in coverage and run support, but he needs to be more consistent and continue to improve in coverage; he should see time early at nickel CB or he could earn the starting FS job eventually. Stromberg is a tough run blocking O-lineman with good footwork and experience at Guard and Center, where he will provide depth, but he may be best at Center where he has starting potential. Daniels is a long armed versatile lineman with experience inside and out, but he has technique issues and could use more weight/strength on his frame; he should provide depth inside and out with starter potential. Henry is an edge rusher with good size who is still improving on that end, but does a good job making plays in the backfield and stopping the run; he should provide depth early and contribute on Special Teams. Rodriguez Jr. is a tough power back who runs through contact, but doesn’t offer any homerun ability or shiftiness; he will provide depth and could see time in short yardage and goal line situations. Jones is a pass rusher with good size and athleticism as a movable piece playing off the edge, standing, and inside at DT, but he still needs to add weight to his frame and continue to improve; he is developmental but could be used situationally if he earns a spot.

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