Draft Grades: NFC East

Rookie camps have started so we should probably finish telling you how each team drafted. Here is the NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys: C 

Round 1, Pick 19: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise St. Dc7yJUkUwAA7v_k.jpg

Round 2: Connor Williams, G, Texas

Round 3: Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado St.

Round 4: Dorance Armstrong Jr., DE, Kansas

Round 4: Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford

Round 5: Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky

Round 6: Chris Covington, LB, Indiana

Round 6: Cedrick Wilson, WR, Boise State

Round 7: Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama

Vander Esch and Williams are both good players, but Dallas waited until the third round to address its biggest need. At one point I mocked Gallup in the first, so there’s some value in getting him in the third. But that leaves the question of how stacked could they have been if they took another receiver when they should have?

New York Giants: A

Round 1, Pick 2: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn St. DbwBw5CX0AMs_Ha.jpg

Round 2: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

Round 3: Lorenzo Carter, LB, Georgia

Round 3: B.J. Hill, DT, NC State

Round 4: Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond

Round 5: RJ McIntosh, DT, Miami

Despite only having six picks, the Giants nailed this Draft. Barkley finally provides a steady running back. He’ll be running behind second round steal Hernandez, who also fills a big need. They could have taken Bradley Chubb at No. 2, but still found potential JPP replacements in the later rounds. Charlie Casserly of the NFL Network said Lauletta was the future franchise QB. I’m not too sure about that, but he’ll certainly make a decent backup.

Philadelphia Eagles: C+

Round 2: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota St.

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Round 4: Avonte Maddox, CB, Pittsburgh

Round 4: Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State

Round 6: Matt Pryor, G, TCU

Round 7: Jordan Mailata, South Sydney Rabbitohs Rugby Club

Goedert bumps the Eagles up half of a letter grade because he 1) is good 2) creates a threat to defenses as Philly works in a two tight end set. The rest of their draft wasn’t great, but it didn’t have to be. The Eagles were (obviously) good already. I’m not too sure about drafting Mailata, who has never played a down of football, but it’ll be cool if he translates.

Washington Redskins: C-

Round 1, Pick 13: Da’Ron Payne, LB, Alabama

Round 2: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

Round 3: Geron Christian, OT, Louisville
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Round 4: Troy Apke, S, Penn State

Round 5: Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech

Round 6: Shaun Dion Hamilton, LB, Alabama

Round 7: Greg Stroman, CB Virginia Tech

Round 7: Trey Quinn, WR, SMU

Washington’s best pick in this Draft was Guice in the second. There might be some character concerns, but he has great football value. Payne seems like an emergency pick after they lost out on Via Vea.

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Michael Bennett indicted for assaulting elderly lady

Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Michael Bennett was indicted on Friday by a Harris County, Texas jury for allegedly pushing an elderly, disabled security guard last February.

KHOU in Houston reported that Bennet was indicted for “injuring a 66-year-old paraplegic who was working at NRG Stadium to control access to the field at Super Bowl LI.”

The incident reportedly occurred when Bennett tried to access the field following the game.

Bennett’s brother Martellus was playing for the Patriots at the time.

A warrant has been issued for Bennet’s arrest.

He risks losing out on the rest of his $40M contract.

Bennett has a history with the police, as he accused Las Vegas officers of racial targeting last August. His accusations were later debunked by video.

UPDATED: March 25, 4:50 p.m.

According to his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, Bennett is expected to turn himself on Monday. He lives in Hawaii, so he was not in the continental U.S. when he was indicted on Friday. Bennet faces up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on charges of knowingly injuring a person over 65 years old.

Sideline Intel Staff Super Bowl Picks

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The game is near. Here’s what we think:

Ryan Ladika: Patriots 30 Eagles 27 

I’m picking the New England Patriots. While the Philadelphia Eagles are coming off of an absolute dismantling of one of the NFL’s top defenses in the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game, they were also going up against a lesser quarterback, compared to newly-minted 2017 NFL MVP Tom Brady, in Case Keenum. Brady has shown us time and time again that he has the expertise and execution to engineer scoring drives whenever he’s on the field. I don’t realistically see Nick Foles standing toe to toe with one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

Graham Foley: Eagles 29 Patriots 20

While Brady and Belichick vs. Foles and Pederson seems like a no-brainer for the GOATs, look closer.

The Eagles defense gets incredible pressure by rushing just four, making it difficult to find an open receiver with seven in coverage even for Brady. And don’t forget that No. 1 ranked rush defense.

The Eagles’ offensive line dominated a Minnesota front seven that is far superior to New England’s. With protection, and an incredible run-game going against the 29th-ranked rush defense in yards per attempt, Foles should be able to do enough for a win.

Brady will be Brady and make it close. But Philadelphia has the better team.

Ryan Sharp: Patriots 30 Eagles 16

Last year, the Patriots were down 28-3 in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI. Everybody knows what followed. Two weeks ago, the Patriots turned the ball over down 10 points in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship. Everybody knows what followed.

If Carson Wentz were in this game, the score would be closer, but the result would be the same. Nearly the entire Patriots roster has played in a Super Bowl and they are led by the greatest coach and quarterback of all time. In a game like this, experience can mean a lot. An inexperienced team led by Nick Foles is not an ideal game plan going against the NFL’s most dominant team.

Their roster may not be deep, but with the leadership of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, New England can beat any team in any game. I’m convinced it takes luck to beat them. The motivation of winning a sixth championship certainly helps as well.

Jeff Griffith: Patriots 24 Eagles 17

Nick Foles was outstanding against the Vikings. 22-of-36 for 352 yards and three touchdowns is no stat line to scoff at. That version of Nick Foles can beat anybody, in my opinion. We conveniently forget, though, that his performance in the NFC title game could still be considered a major outlier based on his stats from the three previous games — never eclipsing 200 yards or two scores in a contest aside from a home defeat over the New York Giants. With that being said, there’s much more to this game for the Eagles, of course, and I do think a battle in the trenches favors the NFC champs. But until I see a concrete reason on the field as to why Tom Brady and Bill Belichick can’t get it done on the biggest stage — which we very well could see tomorrow night — I have to go with Dynasty over Destiny. In my mind, it’s going to be low scoring, which can favor Philadelphia, but I think a late touchdown drive seals Brady’s sixth ring.

Jacob Rosenfarb: Patriots 31 Eagles 24

Super Bowl 52 comes down to a matchup between football’s best player and football’s best roster. The Philadelphia Eagles support one of the deepest rosters in the game, with standout players at almost every position. The New England Patriots on the other hand, have Tom Brady and come Sunday that may be all they need. Nick Foles has filled in admirably for the injured Carson Wentz, but he is no match for the defensive genius of Bill Belichick. Defensively, the Patriots will put pressure on Foles and force him into quick decisions, while offensively the Pats will pick on the Eagles corners with quick routes that negate Philadelphia’s ability to get pressure.

Josh Zaklis: Patriots 27 Eagles 21

Both of these teams have the talent to win.

For the Eagles that talent is spread out throughout their team. The Philly defense has played out of their minds the past few weeks and for most of the year, but they will be facing the most dominate quarterback of all time.

In order to slow down Tom Brady, the Eagles must take a page out of the Giants playbook and pressure Brady with their front four. If Brady sees the Eagles pulling defenders out of coverage to pressure him then it is all over for the Eagles as he will be able to identify the weaknesses within seconds and put the ball in a receiver’s hands.

If the Patriot defense can stifle the Eagles on offense then it is up to Brady to find a way to put up points on the Eagles defense which is no easy task. Just ask Case Keenum. He can beat the defense by establishing the run and throwing a lot of quick passes throughout the game to keep the Eagles pass rush off of him.

As for my pick; my heart says Eagles but my brain says never bet against Brady and Belichick.

 

Why both teams deserve to lose the Super Bowl

 

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The New England Patriots will take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on Sunday night. Many previews have been written. You’ve likely read something about how “The game will be won by -insert non-skill positions-”, or “What the -insert team name- need to do to beat the -insert other team name.”

Here’s one about why both teams deserve to lose the Super Bowl.

Philadelphia Eagles

-They are wearing green.

This one is actually out of their control, but still deserves mention. The AFC and NFC rotate being the home team in each Super Bowl. This year was the AFC’s turn, and the Patriots picked white. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the team in white has won the past six Super Bowls, and 12 of the past 13. Philadelphia also wore green in Super Bowls XXXIX and XV, losing both.

-There will be blood.

The Philadelphia Police Department sent a notice to businesses near Lincoln Financial Field saying they couldn’t guarantee safety if the Eagles won the NFC Championship. Fans immediately took to the streets after the victory over Minnesota. Imagine if they actually won the Super Bowl — chaos.

There’s still a chance fans riot if the Eagles lose, too. Oh well. At least we’ll get some funny videos of guys falling off light posts.

-It’s funny.

They’re not quite on a Cleveland Browns level, but the Eagles are on of the most snakebitten franchises in NFL history. People love seeing them come ups short. Let’s name a few incidents…

  • Losing 3 straight NFC Championships
  • Donovan McNabb breaking his ribs in the third NFC Championship
  • Finally winning an NFC Championship, then losing the Super Bowl
  • Donovan McNabb going down in 2006, leaving Jeff Garcia to lead the team through the playoffs
  • Losing another NFC Championship
  • Chip Kelly trading every good player
  • Carson Wentz getting injured, leaving Nick Foles to take on the Patriots in the Super Bowl

Ha.

New England Patriots

-Tom Brady won MVP

It’s pretty amazing that Brady put up the numbers he did at age 40. But last four quarterbacks to win MVP and play in the Super Bowl all lost. Most recently was Matt Ryan, who got to experience the comeback from down 28-3 first hand.

-Nick Foles is the opposing quarterback

The only quarterback ever to beat Brady in a Super Bowl is Eli Manning. Above average at best, Manning has strong shot at the Hall of Fame simply because he beat the GOAT in not one, but two Super Bowls. How funny would it be if Nick Foles of all people joined this club exclusive club?

-It’s someone else’s turn.

Do Tom Brady and Bill Belichick really need to play in an eighth Super Bowl? Do Tom Brady and Bill Belichick really need to win a sixth Super Bowl? Tom Brady is the best quarterback ever, and Bill Belichick is the best coach ever. We’ve seen enough.