DRAFTING isn’t just about who’s getting the fastest return on investment. It’s more about who’s getting the most return on investment. Success is determined by how many of the picks will pan out, thus protecting their team from needing to spend another pick on that same position, any time soon.
The Eagles have won the NFC East in 2 of the last 3 years. Thus, they felt as if they only needed to re-load. The other three teams all hired new head coaches. Given that they all have new “chefs” (so to speak), they all had to go out and get ingredients that they felt their kitchens were missing.
Understand first and foremost, these chefs aren’t all trying to produce the same thing in 2020.
Dallas is in “win now” mode, and trying to whip up a division title. Think of New York as Burger King. They got rid of an iconic figurehead, and they want to sell the image of upscale while still selling fast-food. Washington has been the subject of so many health code violations that hardly anyone will spend money there. Right now they just want to convince people that the rats don’t have rabies.
So these different goals, mean that a successful Draft will have different benchmarks for each team. This means that the players each team has picked, have to be viewed not as data, not as bench reps, or as 40 times, but through the lens of what his team needs him to be.
Let’s get a look at each of our rivals, and how their picks meet their needs. Because of course…Context.
DE – Chase Young – He’s talented, but they already had four talented passrushers at DE and OLB. However, drafting Young may have been more about transitioning away from Ryan Kerrigan. On the one hand, that’s smart thinking. On the OTHER hand, it traps the Redskins in a 3-4 system that the Eagles have owned for the last three years.
WR – Antonio Gibson – This one stings on two levels. First, Gibson is a Swiss Army knife with good size and better speed. Second, I wanted the Eagles to draft him. I do not look forward to seeing this guy twice a year.
T – Saahdiq Charles – For a team that needs help at Tackle yesterday, this was a pretty dumb move. Charles is going to be a project. Watching him vs Alabama last year, hints that NFL DE’s will eat him alive.
WR – Antonio Gandy-Golden – Big receiver who plays like one. If he sees opportunities, he could have a nice career.
C – Keith Ismael – This was a weird pick. The ‘skins are already two C’s deep. Why add a third?
LB – Khaleke Hudson – LB/S tweener. He may have been drafted with an eye towards building Special Teams coverage units.
S – Kamren Curl – Small, slow and lacking ball skills.
DE – James Smith-Williams – You can’t make the club, in the tub! Season ending injuries in 2015 and 2016, and was hurt most of 2019.
The Redskins needed help at WR and they got it. Fortunately for Eagles fans, they ignored a number of other needs. We can officially start drawing the chalk outline around Washington’s 2020 season.
T – Andrew Thomas – With Nate Solder at LT, Thomas will likely see action at RT, given that he’s no worse than what they have there already.
S – Xavier McKinney – Not big or particularly fast, this plain old cracker is a Ritz as far the giants are concerned. Their cupboard was bare at this position, and the organization needed to get a guy from a credible program, so if he fails fails, they can at least say they tried.
T – Matt Peart – He’s a project. Given that there is no room to start him, it was weird to blow a pick on him this early. In any case, that’s criticizing the pick, not the player. The player has some potential, but he will likely sit on a shelf for the forseeable future.
CB – Darnay Holmes – Not too interested in making tackles vs the run. Listed at 5’10, but looks 5’5 on tape. Will challenge routes, but doesn’t win many of those challenges. No factor in stopping a vertical attack. He has speed and some ball skills, so he may offer some value as a reserve FS. That said, if the giants insist on this kid playing CB in the NFL, he’s going to get shelled.
G – Shane Lemieux – As a former lineman, this kid’s video was fun to watch. He brings a bouncer’s mentality, shoving people violently, always looking to “throw somebody out of the club”. The guy wants to hit people. Sadly, that quality is no longer an automatic in linemen anymore. Despite him being the enemy, I found myself excitedly rooting for him. Unfortunately, he has issues with a lack of quickness, and awareness. Neither of which are aspects that can be coached up. They could however, be camouflaged if he played C.
LB – Cameron Brown – Solid tackler with a very good motor. He’s not fast, but has functional speed to be a classic scrape LB. The problem with that is in today’s NFL, a LB has to be able to cover. This guy in coverage… It’s awful. He picks up his feet like he’s wearing ankle weights, and changes direction like a glacier. Watching him almost make half a dozen plays, during one 6 and a half minute video, was excruciating.
DE – Carter Coughlin – A 240 pound DE, in the NFC East? Nope. This guy is a camp body. Watch the video vs Iowa and tell me I’m wrong. He offers nothing against the run and less in coverage, despite his 4.57 Combine speed. At best he has kick coverage value.
LB – T.J. Brunson – Has hash mark to hash mark speed, which is unacceptable for a LB weighing only 230 pounds. Watching him “run” felt like chewing tin foil.
CB – Chris Williamson – Takes entirely too many false steps at the beginning of plays, because he doesn’t trust his eyes. This is because he’s still sort of new to the position. That will get him quickly overlooked as he competes with others for a livelihood.
LB – Tae Crowder – Mr. Irrelevant 2020. Dreadfully slow. Cedes too much ground when taking an angle in pursuit, to make up for his poor speed.
The offensive linemen they picked give a rival reason to worry. Defensively the giants weren’t fast before the Draft, and did nothing to address that weakness, as their rivals (particularly Philadelphia) added speed to their offenses.
WR – CeeDee Lamb – Fast, strong, with good height. All traits that should make him a monster in the Slot. Didn’t see a lot of press coverage. Also benefited from defenses having to keep an eye out, for a QB who ran for over 1,000 yards in 2019. Those factors don’t matter as much in the Slot, but if he’s asked to play the outside, he may struggle more than most fans expect. Nevertheless, this is a solid pick-up.
CB – Trevon Diggs – Great physical tools. Aggressive to the ball. Likes to press, which is great if his team plays Cover Two. Has punt and kick return experience, though he hasn’t done much of either since 2018.
DT – Neville Gallimore – Swing and a miss! Most people are high on him. Not me. Has the build of a gap penetrator, but instead of knifing in, he pops straight up, and starts hand-fighting, often getting caught up in rugby scrums at the line of scrimmage. He’s 100mph on every snap, but that’s only great if he’s heading in the right direction. Often he doesn’t even see which way the play is going. He just plods forward on the snap. That won’t help him at the next level.
CB – Reggie Robinson – Couldn’t find video that wasn’t just highlights only. His pluses are that he’s got good size, and tested well at the Combine. The minuses are what multiple sources write about his ability to stay with his assignment. Still that’s no reason why he can’t play Nickel or zone. No evidence to ding him, so I have to give him the benefit of the doubt here.
C – Tyler Biadasz – Not at all flashy. Anchors fine in pass protection, but doesn’t really move people in the run game. Word is that he has trouble with power inside. That will not be helped by the jump in competition quality, and his mounting medical bills. In the spring of 2019 he had hip surgery, and immediately after the 2019 season, he skipped the Combine to have shoulder surgery. With no offseason program to help him, he’s going to be susceptible to cut-down numbers crunches.
DE – Bradlee Anae – High motor. Plays the pass before the run, which results in unset edges and running himself out of plays. Plays fast, but doesn’t know how to convert speed to power, resulting in him getting washed out of the play vs runs.
QB – Ben DiNucci – No short video, only a whole game. Move along folks. There’s nothing to see here.
Dallas was #2 in passing last season, #1 in yardage and #6 in scoring. They did not need offensive help. They spent part of last season trying to trade for a SS. They lost their best CB, and pass rusher in free agency. So of course the very first thing they did, was bring a handful of sand to the beach. They drafted a WR. True, they got a couple of promising CB’s, but given their “win now” attitude, they came out of this Draft with the same holes they went into it with, and no one who’s going to change the narrative on defense.
Other writers will judge this Draft based on how talented they think the picked players are. I’m looking towards whether or not the pick helped improve the team they just went to.
The giants and Redskins don’t expect to win the East this year. So for them, there was no failing this Draft. They’re rebuilding those teams, and so they added some pieces. They even added a couple of really nice ones.
The Cowboys are a different story. More important than getting better than an opponent, a team first needs to be better version of itself. Nobody that the Cowboys added in this Draft, addresses any of 2019’s concerns, or any of the problems that the team created for itself this offseason. They added talent, but they needed it more in other places.