Reviewing the 2015 NFL Draft: NFC East

Last week we kicked off our review of the 2015 NFL Draft by taking a look back at the AFC East division teams and their respective draft classes. As we continue our review the NFC East is the division we look at this week. The Professional Football Writers of America All-Rookie team consisted of three players who hailed from the NFC East. Here is a review of the NFC East Division: Washington Redskins Biggest Impact – Brandon Scherff, Guard Iowa (1strd pick #5 Overall) New General Manager Scot McCloughan surprised a number of Washington fans when he bypassed USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams and took Scherff with his first pick as the Redskins GM. The 300 pound Scherff, who played tackle at Iowa, was moved to right guard where he proceeded to start all 16 regular season games. Scherff’s rookie season had its typical rookie ups and downs in the beginning but once he settled into his new spot Scherff helped solidified the right side of the Redskins offensive line. Toward the tail end of the season Scherff was constantly drawing praise from both the coaches and his teammates for his solid play especially his run blocking. Profootball Focus rated Scherff as the 26th best guard in football last season. The selection of Scherff was the start a very solid initial draft for McCloughan and his scouts. Surprise Impact – Jamison Crowder, Wide Receiver Duke (4thrd pick #105 Overall) The fourth round pick out of Duke was initially thought to see most of his playing time on special teams during his rookie season. When injuries hit the receivers group Crowder was given an opportunity to get on the field and play some games at receiver. Starting with the week three game versus New York and ending with the season finale against Dallas Crowder averaged around six targets per game. He finished his rookie campaign with 59 receptions for 604 yards and two touchdowns playing in all 16 games with six starts. Crowder quickness and shiftiness in the slot gives the offense another weapon to go along with Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Jordan Reed. Least Impact – Matt Jones, Running Back Florida (3rd rd. pick #95 Overall) The physical runner out of Florida was brought in to compliment veteran Alfred Morris in the Washington backfield. Jones busted out in week two versus the Rams with 123 yards in 19 attempts and two scores. Jones unfortunately was unable to duplicate that type of production the remainder of the season. After the St. Louis game Jones didn’t come anywhere near 100 yards in any other contest, and rushed for only 367 yards and one touchdown the rest of the season missing three games due to a hip injury. Besides the hip injury Jones was also plagued with ball security issues as he lost four fumbles during the season. With Morris expected to leave via free agency Jones will be looked upon by the coaching staff to help pick up the slack and contend for the starting spot. If he is unable to stay healthy and learn to secure the ball it might turn into a short two year run for Jones in the nation’s capital. Philadelphia Eagles Biggest Impact – Jordan Hicks, Linebacker Texas (3rd rd pick #84 Overall) In only eight games the rookie linebacker made his presence felt on the field for both the Eagles and their opponents. Hicks didn’t see a defensive snap in the opener, but injuries to Kiko Alonso and DeMeco Ryans, forced Hicks into action and he responded with 50 tackles (43 solo), three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, two interceptions (one was returned for a touchdown) and a sack. His lone sack of the season resulted in Tony Romo breaking his collarbone, and causing him to miss a portion of the season. Unfortunately Hicks tore his pectoral muscle in the Dallas game as well and was also lost for the season. The selection of Hicks in the third round was widely criticized as a reach, but it turned out that the hard hitting linebacker could turn out to be one of Chip Kelly’s better draft picks. Surprise Impact – Eric Rowe, Defensive Back Utah (2ndrd pick #47 Overall) Rowe was thrown into the lineup after corner Nolan Carroll broke his ankle versus the Lions. During that game Rowe found himself matched versus Calvin Johnson, and let’s just say it did not turn out well for the young man. Rowe was victimized for two touchdowns by Johnson in the Eagles 45-14 loss on Thanksgiving Day. The following week versus the Patriots Tom Brady targeted Rowe 12 times, but was only able to complete four passes for just 42 yards. That game versus Brady helped boost the rookie’s confidence and that carried on throughout the end of the season. According to Pro Football Focus Rowe was targeted a total of 58 times and gave up 30 completions and three touchdowns. So after surrendering the two scores to Johnson, Rowe only allowed one other touchdown in the next five games. In those five games Rowe faced receivers like DeSean Jackson, Michael Floyd, Sammy Watkins, and Odell Beckham Jr. After the slow start, Rowe was able to recover nicely and gain confidence towards the tail end of the season. Heading into 2016 it looks like the Eagles have found themselves a young corner who possesses the size and speed needed to match up versus some of the better receivers in the NFL. Least Impact – Nelson Agholor, Wide Receiver USC (1strd pick #20 Overall) Heading into the 2015 NFL draft Agholor was being touted as being one of the better route runners, not named Amari Cooper, in the entire receivers group. He was considered by many to be one of the receivers who would be able to come in and contribute as a rookie. Unfortunately things did not work out that way for Agholor as he only had 23 receptions for 283 and one touchdown. He failed to record a 100 yard game in his rookie season, and never had more than three receptions in a game. Agholor missed three games in October due to an ankle injury, but according to Pro Football Focus still played in 687 snaps on offense. To participate in that amount of plays and have very little production to show for it is not what the Eagles were expecting for the 20th selection in the first round. New York Giants Biggest Impact – Landon Collins, Safety, Alabama (2nd rd pick #33 Overall) When General Manager Jerry Reese traded three draft picks to Tennessee in order to move up and draft Collins he was hoping that he was adding a player to the defensive secondary that could develop into a building block on the defensive for the Giants, and so far after just one season it appears he accomplished just that. Although Collins had his struggles in coverage at times he bounced back and started all 16 games at free safety and finished up with 80 tackles, one interception, and nine passes defensed, to go along with one forced fumble. Collins was effective when used as a blitzer off the edge, but his primary strength was in defending the run. Pro Football Writers of America named Collins to their All-Rookie team. Surprise Impact – Will Tye, Tight End Stony Brook (Undrafted Free Agent) Will Tye is an undrafted rookie free agent out of Stony Brook who was with the Giants through training camp but was released after the first wave of cuts took place. He was later brought back and signed to the practice squad only to be promoted in October after Daniel Fells was lost for the season with a MRSA infection. Tye went on to play in all 13 games he was active in and started seven of them. He finished the season with 42 receptions for 464 yards and three touchdowns, and was also named to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie team. Tye will enter training camp this coming season looking to battle Larry Donnell for the starting tight end position. Least Impact – Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Defensive End, UCLA (3rd rd pick # 74 Overall) The defensive end out of UCLA was taken in the third round with hopes of helping reinvigorate the Giants pass rush. Unfortunately Odighizuwa battled injuries throughout the season missing the first three games with a foot injury, and was ultimately placed on injured reserve to finish out his rookie campaign. Odighizuwa appeared in only four games and recorded just two tackles. Although disappointed with the lack of production and his inability to remain healthy the Giants still maintain high hopes for Odighizuwa and his potential to develop into a consistent pass rusher at defensive end. Dallas Cowboys Biggest Impact – Byron Jones, Corner/Safety, UCONN (1strd pick #27 Overall) The versatile defensive back started games for the Cowboys at both cornerback and safety as a rookie. Although he did not have any interceptions Jones did end up with 47 tackles and eight passes defensed while displaying his speed and athleticism in the Cowboys secondary. Going into next season the Cowboys have decided that leaving Jones at safety might be what’s best for both him and the team. The coaches feel that with the length and range Jones possesses that he could develop into a difference maker in the middle of the field. Jones versatility also allows him to be able to cover the slot or tight end whenever called upon. Suffice to say the Cowboys are excited and have high expectations for the type of safety Jones can develop into. Surprise Impact – La’el Collins Guard LSU (Undrafted Free Agent) La’el Collins was an All-American lineman at LSU who had a late first/early second round grade when the draft evaluation process began. Collins went undrafted mainly due to the fact his name was being linked to a murder investigation that came to the forefront the week leading up to the draft. Collins, who was questioned by the police, was eventually cleared in the investigation and that is when the Cowboys swooped in and signed him. Collins began the season as a backup to starting guard Ronald Leary. After the Cowboys bye week the decision was made to insert Collins into the starting lineup and he would go on to start 11 games. During that span Collins was able to demonstrate his power and athleticism as he made a number of powerful highlight reel blocks getting into the defenses second level. There was a Darren McFadden 45-yard run versus Green Bay where you see Collins get out in front throw Clinton-Dix to the ground and run step for step with the running back. The addition of Collins to an already strong Dallas offensive line that included three Pro Bowlers in Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin made that unit even more formidable. Least Impact – Randy Gregory, Defensive End Nebraska (2ndrd pick #60 Overall) When the Cowboys drafted Gregory towards the tail end of the second round they knew they had to show some patience with a young man who is physically talented but has some issues off the field. Those patience were put to the test right away in Gregory’s rookie season. Gregory was never able to make an impact on the field for the Cowboys. He injured his ankle in the opener versus the Giants and would miss the next four games. When he came back he was unable to contribute on the field to warrant any sort of extended playing time. Gregory finished with zero sacks and just seven tackles on the season. Then to make matters worse just last month it was learned that he had been suspended by the league for the first four games of next season for failing another drug test. The fact he has to serve a suspension means that Gregory must have failed three additional drug test since the combine. Danny Shimon is a graduate of Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp.  Follow Danny on Twitter @dshimon56
Danny Shimon
NFPost Scouting 101 & Scouting Seminar Graduate. Bears writer for www.windy-citysport.com

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