DeSean Jackson Photo Credit: Icon SMI
By Brian Spencer
In lieu of meaningless grades for this year’s draft, our look back on and team-by-team grades for the 2008 NFL Draft rolls on with the NFC East.
- NFC North Grades
Dallas Cowboys: Both of the ‘Boys’ first-round picks have panned out, to varying degrees: RB Felix Jones missed the bulk of his rookie season due to injury, and may never turn out to be the elite home-run hitter many think he has the talent for, but he emerged as the team’s starting back in ’10 and racked up 1,250 all-purpose yards; on the downside, he found the endzone just twice and has scored only 8 TDs in three seasons. He outlasted (and outplayed) Marion Barber, but will be pushed for carries by third-round pick DeMarco Murray… and Tashard Choice, the Cowboys’ fourth-round pick in this draft. He has his critics, but CB Mike Jenkins is a better-than-average cover corner and was named as an alternate to the 2010 Pro Bowl. Some think that if not for Jason Witten, TE Martellus Bennett (61st overall) would be putting up big numbers (I’m not so sure, but he’s a solid backup). CB Orlando Scandrick (143rd) has played in all 48 games of his first three seasons (133 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 TD). Grade: A
New York Giants: Three starters on last year’s defense were taken here: S Kenny Phillips (31st), CB Terrell Thomas (63rd), and LB Jonathan Goff (165th). Of that bunch, Thomas is the one who’s distinguished himself from his classmates, and has developed into the team’s best corner. As a starter for all 32 games the past two seasons, he’s totaled 186 tackles, 2 sacks, 10 picks, and 1 TD, and arguably should have made the Pro Bowl last year. Though still not the sure-handed receiver the Giants wish he was, WR Mario Manningham (95th) pairs nicely with Hakeem Nicks as a strong 1-2 combo for Eli Manning. Last season was his best one, with 60 catches for 944 yards and 9 TDs; his 15.7 YPC was good for a top-15 rank in the league. Grade: A
Philadelphia Eagles: In a rare draft that saw no wide receivers taken in the first round, WR DeSean Jackson was the seventh player off the board at his position and has easily established himself as the best of the bunch. With a combined 2,223 yards receiving and 15 TDs over his past two seasons–along with 3 more scores as a punt returner–Jackson has earned consecutive Pro Bowl honors and is a perfect fit for Mike Vick. His 22.5 YPC led the NFL last season. Fourth-round pick Mike McGlynn (109th) was drafted as a tackle but last year became the team’s starting center. Of the Iggles’ remaining eight picks, only DT Trevor Laws (47th) and OT King Dunlap (230th) are still on the roster; both are backups and will fight to keep their jobs this fall. Grade: B+
Washington Redskins: The ‘Skins adopted the ‘ol “throw shit up against the wall and see what sticks” strategy in amassing 11 picks (though none in the first round). Not much of it stuck: WRs Devin Thomas (34th) and Malcolm Kelly (51st) have either contributed little (Kelly) or nothing (Thomas), while DBs Kareem Moore (180th) and Chris Horton (249th) will both be on the roster bubble come training camp–along with Kelly. TE Fred Davis (48th) has had some big games, proven to be a fine backup to Chris Cooley, and is the only reason his draft class doesn’t get a F. Grade: D-
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