nfc east 2021 nfl draft
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The Giants weren’t the only NFC East team to make beneficial moves during the draft. How did the rest of the division fare?

Ryan Honey

The 2021 NFL Draft is officially closed; a three-day period of eyebrow-raising trades, game-changing picks, and utter chaos has concluded.

Now’s the time of the year when we decipher how teams performed — we praise the intelligent front offices that made great moves while criticizing the ones that could’ve been more aggressive.

We know how the Giants did in this year’s event: excellent. But they weren’t the only team to undergo a beneficial three-day period.

How did the rest of the NFC East fare this past weekend?

Dallas Cowboys

Remember how we just said “eyebrow-raising trades?” Well, the Cowboys certainly made one of them, swapping picks with the Eagles in the first round and moving back from No. 10 to 12. This came after they missed out on Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain, who went to Denver at No. 9.

But overall, the Cowboys heavily addressed their prime weakness — the defensive side of the ball. Dallas actually used eight of its 11 total picks for that unit, which finished 23rd in yards allowed and 28th in points allowed just last year.

The draftees that stand out are Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons (first round, No. 12 overall), Kentucky cornerback Kelvin Joseph (second round, No. 44), UCLA defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa (third round, No. 75), and LSU linebacker Jabril Cox (fourth round, No. 115). You could additionally say South Carolina corner Israel Mukuamu was a steal in the sixth round considering the Gamecock could’ve been off the board around the fourth.

Parsons was considered by many to be the top linebacker in this draft and is now expected to be a stud at the professional level. This acquisition is great timing too when you take into account the recent retirement of longtime Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee.

Using a trio of picks on the defensive backfield should also be beneficial for Dallas. Depth in that area is crucial especially considering the NFL has become a passing league.

There was some thought to the Cowboys potentially selecting Alabama wideout DeVonta Smith at No. 10 overall when they originally owned that pick. However, focusing on the defense was the correct move, and Dak Prescott already has multiple weapons to rely on anyway.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles pulled off a risky move by trading up into the top 10, but considering they only gave up a third-round pick, it was probably worth it.

And with the new selection, they chose DeVonta Smith.

The 2020 Heisman Trophy winner plays to the modern style of the NFL, portraying speed, elusiveness, and sheer athleticism every time he hits the field. This pick should be great for quarterback Jalen Hurts, who will need weapons in order to develop in year two.

While the Eagles selected a talented interior offensive lineman in Alabama’s Landon Dickerson and greatly added to a defensive unit that allowed 26.1 points per game last year, I wish Philly would’ve further added weapons for Hurts. After the selection of Smith, the only offensive skill player the organization acquired was Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell in the fifth round.

You can never have too much receiver help, and the Eagles could’ve used one of their six Day 3 picks on another wideout to assist in Hurts’ development.

Washington Football Team

I don’t think it’s crazy to say Washington should’ve been in the quarterback market in the first round.

You’re going to go through another year of uncertainty at that position?

Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t the long-term answer (obviously) and I would relax when it comes to hyping up Taylor Heinicke — it was one good game, opposing defenses will figure him out soon enough.

The Football Team could’ve done what the Bears did, and that’s swap picks with the Giants and move up to No. 11 overall to draft a new signal-caller. However, it would’ve been tough to make a trade within the division.

Overall, I feel Washington should’ve focused more on improving the offensive side of the ball — its unit finished 30th in total yards and 25th in scoring. Instead, the Football Team used five of their 10 picks (including their first-round pick at No. 19 overall) on defense — their unit is coming off a spectacular season and was second in total yards allowed.

Given the offensive line allowed a whopping 50 sacks last season, if they were not going to take a quarterback, the Football Team should’ve been in on an offensive lineman in the first round.

The organization took Texas offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi in the second round after utilizing its top pick on Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis but could’ve chosen Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw or Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins at No. 19 overall.

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