NFC East First-Round Draft Recap And Grades
By Allen Kim
The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft was an eventful night with a number of surprising moves and selections taking place right from the very start.
Even without the Washington Redskins in play, Jerry Jones more than made up for their absence with a pair of head-scratching moves. Somewhere, Daniel Snyder is smiling and shaking his head.
Let’s take a look around the NFC East and see how the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles fared in Round 1.
After the Miami Dolphins shocked everyone by trading with the Oakland Raiders for the No. 3 pick and selecting Dion Jordan, it was pretty obvious that the Eagles would then select OT Lane Johnson. This was neither a surprising nor disappointing move, but it was exactly what was expected of them here.
Philadelphia needs help on both sides of the line, and Jordan could have potentially been their pick had Miami not moved ahead to take him. Now, one can only wonder how a Chip Kelly and Jordan reunion would have fared in Philly.
Still, the Eagles got by far the most athletic tackle of the draft in Johnson, and they couldn’t ask for a better fit for Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense. There are durability concerns along their offensive line, and LT Jason Peters isn’t getting any younger. Peters could be a great mentor to Johnson and, perhaps, eventually pave the way toward Johnson taking his place anchoring the left side of the line.
Many also consider Johnson to have the most upside of all of the tackles in the draft, so this could really pay off for the Eagles in a few years.
The New York Giants were supposedly high on OT D.J. Fluker, but he was taken by the San Diego Chargers with the No. 11 pick. Jerry Reese was apparently set on taking an offensive lineman with the No. 19 pick, and they used it on Justin Pugh out of Syracuse.
Pugh is versatile enough to play both guard or tackle along the O-line, but he was a reach for the Giants here. He’s slightly undersized, and the biggest knock on him is his short arms. Most considered Pugh to be, at best, a late first-round pick. Even so, he should be a solid addition to the Giants’ aging offensive line. They needed to get younger, and they did just that by adding someone who’s potentially capable of starting from Day 1. It’s hard to envision him being some sort of perennial Pro-Bowler, but he could at least be a reliable body in the trenches.
Surprisingly, there were several players that Reese opted to overlook. DT Sharif Floyd was still available after a surprising slide, and while the Giants don’t need to add a defensive tackle for the 2013 season, it was a need for 2014 and beyond. Floyd would’ve fit the mold of Reese’s M.O. of taking the best player available.
Both CB Xavier Rhodes and CB Desmond Trufant were also on the board but, for once, Reese decided to pass on taking a defensive back. And even with the Giants' glaring hole at linebacker, they wisely avoided Manti Te’o and decided to take caution and do the same with Alec Ogletree. There’s good value at linebacker in the second round, and that’s the direction Reese is likely heading in on the second day.
All in all, this was a disappointing first round for Reese and the Giants.
The Dallas Cowboys confused a lot of people last night. Pretty much every prospect linked to the team as a potential target — D.J. Fluker, Jonathan Cooper, Chance Warmack and Kenny Vaccaro — was taken off the board before they were on the clock, so they made a deal with the San Francisco 49ers to move back while picking up an extra third-round pick along the way.
The 49ers then went ahead and drafted LSU S Eric Reid, which was a position that Cowboys needed to address. Reid is no Vaccaro, but Dallas should have at least considered him there.
Larry Warford was also a potential option for Dallas but, like a number of other teams, they opted to stay away from him as he continued his slide into the second round. Dallas, like most other teams in the draft, must have seen something in Warford that they just didn’t like.
However, they instead took Travis Frederick, an offensive lineman out of Wisconsin. Frederick was widely considered to be a late second-round pick at best, but he was more likely to go somewhere in the third round. They even could have selected Justin Pugh, Kyle Long or Menelik Watson instead here.
Adding an extra pick is always nice, but Dallas moved down 13 spots to only get an additional third-rounder to make up for it. With all the draft picks in the 49ers’ war chest, Jones certainly could have done better than that. At the very least, that third-round pick should've been a second-rounder.