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Evaluating the drafts of the Redskins’ NFC East foes

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - LSU v Oklahoma Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With some time to reflect upon the Redskins’ 2020 draft, the general consensus seems to be that it was a solid, if largely unsurprising, haul. Certain picks, like Chase Young, have been met with polite golf claps in recognition of simply turning in the card for the best player in the draft. Other picks, like WR Antonio Gandy-Golden, have been lauded as great value for where they were taken in the draft. And some picks, like those of Saahdiq Charles and Antonio Gibson could end up being seen as total steals, but we’re likely to need a couple of years to make that determination. But enough about our draft. How did our divisional archrivals fare this year?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Rose Bowl - Oregon v Wisconsin Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys had seven picks, and, I’m sorry to say, they knocked their draft out of the park. With one of the most potent offenses in the league, the Cowboys devoted the majority of their draft resources to improving their suspect defense. The most notable exception to that pattern was their selection of CeeDee Lamb (WR) in the first round, where he was arguably the best player available (BPA) at that point in the draft. The potential saving grace of this pick is that the Cowboys stole Lamb away from the far more WR-desperate Eagles, and that with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup already competing for receptions, this triumvirate will only have so many catches to go around.

The addition of Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson II - who was one of my favorite small school CBs in the draft - to the Cowboys’ defensive backfield is horrible news for the Redskins and the rest of the Cowboys’ opponents, hoping to pick apart their previously suspect defense.

The untimely retirement of their All Pro center, Travis Frederick, earlier in the offseason appeared to be a ray of hope for the Cowboys’ rivals. That glimmer was snuffed out by the selection of Tyler Biadasz - an incredible value - in the 5th round. Biadasz was one of the top three centers in the draft and the perfect combination of BPA and need for the Cowboys where they selected him.

Gallimore and Anae (another very good value in the 5th) will help provide additional depth to the Cowboys’ improving defense. In total, it could reasonably be argued that the Cowboys had the best draft in the NFL this year.

Round 1, pick 17: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Round 2, pick 51: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Round 3, pick 82: Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma

Round 4, pick 123: Reggie Robinson II, CB, Tulsa

Round 5, pick 146: Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin

Round 5, pick 179: Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah

Round 7, pick 231: Ben DiNucci, QB, James Madison

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Texas v Georgia Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

New York Giants

The Giants had 10 picks this year (with 4 of them coming in the 7th round), and made some very responsible picks. The Giants’ offensive line has been a disaster for years, even with the addition of high-priced free agents like Nate Solder to try to bolster it. The Giants threw a massive amount of resources at the line in this draft, including taking Andrew Thomas with the number 4 overall pick.

In many circles, Thomas was considered the “safest” of the top available tackles, even though there were others with potentially higher ceilings. With Solder locked up for the next two years, and with a massive cap hit in 2020, I suspect he’ll be in competition with Thomas for the LT position this year, and perhaps moved to RT. With those two tackle positions set, third round pick, Matt Peart, will be allowed some time - which he needs - to add strength and serve in a swing tackle role.

With the addition of the two tackles and the selection of interior offensive lineman Shane Lemieux in the 5th round, the real question becomes not so much “will the Giants’ line improve,” but instead, “will the Giants line improve quickly enough to save Dave Gettleman’s bacon?” Should the Giants find themselves drafting in the top 10 again in 2021, there’s a very real chance that both Gettleman and young Daniel Jones could be cast into the wilderness as John Mara grows restless.

The additions of McKinney and Holmes to the defensive backfield should help improve that element of Giants’ game, with McKinney being tabbed by many as the top safety available in the draft. Cam Brown and the horde of seventh round picks appear largely to be potential special teams contributors for the foreseeable future. The Giants get credit for avoiding flashy objects in the draft and turning an eye to the long view. The overriding question becomes: Who will be around long enough to appreciate it?

Round 1, pick 4: Andrew Thomas, OL, Georgia

Round 2, pick 36: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

Round 3, pick 99: Matt Peart, OT, Connecticut

Round 4, pick 110: Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA

Round 5, pick 150: Shane Lemieux, G, Oregon

Round 6, pick 183: Cameron Brown, LB, Penn State

Round 7, pick 218: Carter Coughlin, LB, Minnesota

Round 7, pick 238: T.J. Brunson, ILB, South Carolina

Round 7, pick 247: Chris Williamson, CB, Minnesota

Round 7, pick 255: Tae Crowder, LB, Georgia

Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles also had 10 picks in this year’s draft, and they used their most valuable one on a position of overwhelming need - wide receiver. For years, the Eagles have struggled to find receiving weapons for Carson Wentz beyond his top-tier tight end safety blankets.

Last year, they spent a second round pick on the underwhelming JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who had far fewer receiving yards than all three Redskins’ rookie WRs in 2019. This year, after having Lamb ripped from their grasp by the Cowboys, they settled on Jalen Reagor, an athletically-gifted playmaker in the mold of the Panthers’ Curtis Samuel. Later in the draft, the Eagles added WRs John Hightower and Quez Watkins, both sensible selections given how painfully bare the Eagles’ WR cupboard was at the end of 2019.

The Eagles’ second round selection of QB Jalen Hurts was one of the more animating of the day, enraging groups of Eagles’ fans and stumping experts, particularly on the heels of Wentz’s 4-year, $128M contract signed last year. Hurts is regarded as an interesting developmental option, but the Eagles don’t have a realistic path to get out from under Wentz’s contract until 2022 at the earliest, meaning Hurts would have burned two years of his rookie deal holding a clipboard.

Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman tried to spin the pick as part of the Eagles’ “QB Factory” operation, but the reality is, in retrospect, they’ve managed to largely squander the value of their most valuable QB resource in team history - Wentz. If they had dealt Wentz after Nick Foles led them to the Super Bowl in 2017, they likely could have received at least two first round picks, and perhaps more, that they could have used to re-load the team with Foles at the helm.

Davion Taylor, the LB out of Colorado, is a player I liked. He possesses great athleticism, but there’s a general sense that he’s going to need at least a year or two to come up to speed improving his technique. Through that lens, a third round pick might have been a little early for his selection. The rest of the Eagles’ picks were basically developmental selections as well, though I love the pick of Prince Tega Wanogho in the 6th round. If he turns out to be completely healthy, it’s not impossible that he could ultimately end up becoming the best player taken by the Eagles in this class.

Round 1, pick 21: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

Round 2, pick 53: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

Round 3, pick 103: Davion Taylor, OLB, Colorado

Round 4, pick 127: K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson

Round 4, pick 145: Jack Driscoll, OT, Auburn

Round 5, pick 168: John Hightower, WR, Boise State

Round 6, pick 196: Shaun Bradley, LB Temple

Round 6, pick 200: Quez Watkins, WR, Southern Miss

Round 6, pick 210: Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn

Round 7, pick 233: Casey Toohill, OLB, Stanford