(UPDATED THROUGH THE 30th PICK)
The Eagles entered tonight as the early favorites to have the best first round of the 2023 NFL Draft among NFC East teams. It must be nice to have a GM that can build a team to make the Super Bowl and have a Top 10 pick in the next draft too.
The Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals certainly showed how to improve your team in the draft tonight. Those two first-round trades were stunningly well done. Mercy…
How did the NFC East teams fare in the opening round this year?
Let's take a look:
Philadelphia Eagles (9th/30th)
Philadelphia traded with the Bears to swap the teams' respective picks at #9 and #10. The Eagles gave up a 4th rounder in 2024 to make the move. And did they make it pay off.
They selected DT Jalen Carter out of Georgia.
They needed to fill a huge hole on their defensive line after they lost a lot of starters on the defensive side of the ball.
As much as I hate to admit this, the Eagles made a great pick. Dallas is going to find it harder to run the ball against their rivals for years to come.
However, as Chicago went offensive line with the next pick, did the Eagles get fleeced out of a 4th rounder next year?
If so, I'm kind of good with that.
The Eagles had two first-rounders tonight and with the 30th pick selected DE Nolan Smith from Georgia. So, in short, the Eagles came into the draft in deep trouble on defense.
They leave with a very scary defense.
I had the Eagles as an 8-9 team in 2023. Not anymore.
The Eagles, I hate to admit, won the first round of the draft. They get an A+ for the first round.
Washington Commanders (16th)
The Commanders went defense as well, taking Cornerback Emmanuel Forbes from Mississippi State.
He's not a big defensive back, but he looks to be a solid Ron Rivera-type player. He will add to their special teams, which they needed to improve.
Let's give the Commanders a B+ for the first round.
New York Giants (24th)
The Giants swapped picks with the Jaguars to pick Defensive Back Deonte Banks from Maryland.
They must have felt Jacksonville was going to pull the trigger on this pick. But if that was the case, why would the Jags trade down?
Don't ask me to explain NFL draft war rooms.
I needed to save my sanity and quit trying to do this years ago.
Apparently, Banks impressed at the Combine. I'm not so impressed with it myself. We'll charitably give the Giants a B- as they did at least address a need.
Dallas Cowboys (26th)
The Bills leapfrogged the Cowboys courtesy of the Jaguars and selected Dalton Kincaid. Dallas was forced to go to Plan B after watching the top running backs and wide receivers fly off the board.
Plan B turned out to be Mazi Smith, a defensive tackle out of Michigan.
The Cowboys got killed against the run last year. They won't this year with this pick.
And I'll be very honest, I am deeply relieved that they didn't take a tight end here.
I'll be sending a big thank you card to the Jaguars for trading with the Bills so they could swipe Kincaid.
I'll give the Cowboys an A-, only because they avoided taking a first-round tight end.
Follow me over at Twitter (@rdpaolinelli) to read my live tweets of the first round and my thoughts during the draft during Friday and Saturday's rounds too.