There was some head scratching around the NFC East as the Redskins’ three division rivals made their initial selections in the NFL draft.
Many thought that the Giants would look at upgrading their offensive line with the 12th pick of the first round. But when offensive tackle Taylor Lewan went off the board immediately before the Giants went on the clock there wasn’t a lineman that represented good value with the pick. Having lost Hakeem Nicks to free agency, they needed a running mate for Victor Cruz at wide receiver. LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham was the man.
It’s not a pick you can really hate but ESPN’s Dan Graziano didn’t think too much of it:
I don't like it, honestly. And this is nothing against the player, who's superfast and might well turn out to be a star. This isn't about predicting how these guys will play, because we can't. It's about assessing what kind of job the team did in maximizing the value of its pick. And in a draft like this, with so much talent at wide receiver, I don't see why a wide receiver under 6 feet tall is worth the No. 12 overall pick.
There was a lot of suspense a short while later when the Cowboys were on the clock and Johnny Manziel was on the board but Jerry Jones resisted the temptation to make a big splash. Dallas took a lineman but, in the eyes of many, Zack Martin plays on the wrong side of the ball. After releasing DeMarcus Ware and losing Jason Hatcher to free agency the Cowboys need help to bolster a defense that was ranked 32nd last year with those two pass rushers. And though you can’t fault them for taking Martin, who will lock down right tackle for them for many years, the need for defense is so glaring even Jones recognizes it.
“Right now, we need a defensive player more than we need an offensive player,” Jones said to reporters after last night’s first round ended.
“It’s no secret,” Jones reiterated later. “We’d like to have some defense in this draft.”
The Eagles had no interest in Manziel but the Browns wanted him badly enough to trade up to the 22nd pick to nab Johnny Football. The Eagles moved back to 26th and picked up a third-round pick in the process.
The joke in Philly this morning is that they must have gotten confused because they used that first-round pick on a third-round player. That’s the grade that Mel Kiper had on Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith. Smith does fill a need but some wonder if they could have taken him later in the draft.
“NFL Network’s Mike Mayock—who’s perhaps the best at what he does—had Smith ranked 53rd overall, eight spots behind [Missouri’s Kony] Ealy and 12 behind Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence, another outside linebacker,” noted Geoff Mosher on CSNPhilly.com. “If Mayock’s right, the Eagles not only didn’t take the best player available but also didn’t even take the best pass rusher left on the board.”