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2023 NFC East Draft Grades: Giants, Eagles, Cowboys, and Commanders’ Strategic Moves

Philadelphia Eagles: Grade A+

  • The Eagles made a significant impact in the 2023 NFL Draft, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
  • They selected Jalen Carter, DT from Georgia, with the 9th overall pick. Carter is considered by many to be the best player in the draft when healthy. He’s an elite talent on the interior of the line and is expected to be a game-changer for the Eagles’ defense.
  • Other notable picks include Nolan Smith and Kelee Ringo, both from Georgia, adding more depth and talent to their defense.
  • The Eagles also picked up Tanner McKee in the sixth round, who has potential upside as a backup quarterback.
  • The team’s least favorite pick was Tyler Steen, OL from Alabama, chosen 65th overall. While not a bad pick, it was considered the least flashy of their selections.

The Eagles focused heavily on bolstering their defense, especially with players from Georgia. Jalen Carter, despite having some issues throughout the draft cycle, is considered an elite talent and could be a significant asset for the team. The addition of Nolan Smith and Kelee Ringo further strengthens their defense. On the offensive side, Tanner McKee could be a valuable backup quarterback, given the importance the Eagles have placed on this position in recent seasons.

The Eagles’ draft strategy seems to be paying off, with many analysts praising their selections. Their focus on defense, especially with players from a top program like Georgia, indicates their intent to have a dominant defensive unit in the upcoming seasons.

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Holes Filled:

The Eagles addressed their need for a dominant interior defensive lineman with the selection of Jalen Carter. They also added depth to their edge rusher position with Nolan Smith and bolstered their secondary with Kelee Ringo.


While the Eagles had a strong draft overall, some might argue that they could have looked for more offensive weapons or addressed other areas of need. However, given their recent Super Bowl appearance, the team seems to be focusing on maintaining and enhancing their strengths.

Dallas Cowboys: Grade B

  • The Cowboys had a solid draft, addressing several key positions of need.
  • In the 1st Round, they selected Mazi Smith, DT from Michigan with the 26th overall pick. Smith is expected to play on all downs once he adapts to the pro game. He’s particularly strong in absorbing blocks without giving up ground in the run game and also brings some pass-rushing capabilities.
  • The 2nd Round saw the Cowboys pick Luke Schoonmaker, TE from Michigan. Schoonmaker is anticipated to be a third-down machine with his short to intermediate route running ability. If he can learn to win balls in the air, his potential could be significant.
  • Other notable picks include DeMarvion Overshown, LB from Texas in the 3rd Round, Vilami Fehoko, EDGE from San Jose State in the 4th Round, and Asim Richards, OL from UNC in the 5th Round.

The Cowboys addressed several key areas of need in the draft. Mazi Smith will bolster their defensive line, which struggled against the run last season. Schoonmaker is expected to replace Dalton Schultz at tight end and could become a favorite target for Dak Prescott. The team also added depth to their defense with Overshown and Fehoko. However, some analysts believe the Cowboys could have made more effective selections, especially considering they passed on Bryan Bresee and waited until the second round to address the tight end position.

Holes Filled:

The Cowboys filled their need for a nose tackle with the selection of Mazi Smith, addressing their struggles against the run. They also found a potential replacement for Dalton Schultz in Luke Schoonmaker and added depth to their defense with Overshown and Fehoko.


The decision to select Smith over Bryan Bresee raised some eyebrows. Additionally, waiting until the second round to address the tight end position, especially after losing Schultz, might be seen as a missed opportunity, given the top talent available at that position.

Washington Commanders: B

  • With their 1st Round pick at No. 16 overall, the Commanders selected Emmanuel Forbes, CB from Mississippi State. Forbes is known for his ball skills, but there are concerns about his play style fitting as a nickel corner due to his weight (166 pounds).
  • In the 2nd Round at No. 47 overall, they picked Quan Martin, DB from Illinois. Martin is expected to play in the slot as a nickel defensive back. However, there were concerns about Washington picking two similar players in the first two rounds.
  • The 3rd Round saw the Commanders select Ricky Stromberg, C from Arkansas with a compensatory pick at No. 97 overall. Stromberg is an offensive lineman who is particularly adept at pass blocking.
  • Other notable selections include Braeden Daniels, OL from Utah in the 4th Round, K.J. Henry, EDGE from Clemson in the 5th Round, Chris Rodriguez, RB from Kentucky in the 6th Round, and Andre Jones, EDGE from Louisiana in the 7th Round.

The Commanders addressed several key areas of need in the draft. Emmanuel Forbes, despite concerns about his weight, is a talented cornerback who can make plays on the ball. The selection of Quan Martin raised some eyebrows due to the similarity with Forbes. Ricky Stromberg provides depth to the offensive line, while Braeden Daniels and K.J. Henry bolster the trenches on both sides of the ball. Chris Rodriguez could provide depth at the running back position.

Holes Filled:
  • Strengthened the secondary with the selections of Emmanuel Forbes and Quan Martin.
  • Added depth to the offensive line with Ricky Stromberg and Braeden Daniels.
  • Boosted the pass rush with K.J. Henry and Andre Jones.
  • The decision to select two similar players in Forbes and Martin in the early rounds was questioned by analysts. Additionally, there were concerns about the team not addressing the quarterback position, given the uncertainty around Sam Howell as the team’s first option at QB in 2023.

Giants Draft Grade: A-

  • The Giants showcased their strategic acumen by trading up twice during the draft. This aggressive approach allowed them to secure players they highly valued.
  • In the 1st Round, they traded up to select cornerback Deonte Banks is known for his athleticism and has the potential to become a cornerstone in the Giants’ secondary.
  • In the 3rd Round, they traded up again to draft wide receiver Jalin Hyatt. Hyatt’s college performance, especially his vertical threat capability, makes him a valuable addition to the Giants’ receiving corps.
  • Other notable picks include center John Michael Schmitz, who is expected to bolster the offensive line, and running back Eric Gray, who could provide valuable depth and versatility in the backfield.

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Holes Filled:
  • Secondary: With the addition of Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins III, the Giants have strengthened their secondary, which was a point of concern in the previous season.
  • Offensive Line: The selection of John Michael Schmitz addresses the need for a reliable center and provides additional protection for QB Daniel Jones.
  • Receiving Corps: Jalin Hyatt’s addition offers a new dynamic to the Giants’ passing game, potentially stretching defenses and creating opportunities for other receivers.
  • Running Back Depth: Eric Gray’s selection provides a solid backup option for Saquon Barkley, ensuring that the running game remains effective even if Barkley needs a breather.
  • While the Giants addressed several key areas, they might have missed out on further bolstering their linebacker corps or adding depth to the defensive line.
  • The aggressive trading strategy, while allowing them to secure top talent, also meant fewer picks to address other areas of need.