Tha Sports Junkies 101

NFC East Rookie Ceiling Grades

NFC East Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images


NFL Scouting


The 2017 NFL rookie class is now complete.  Both the draft and undrafted free agency are over.  Join me as we look at the NFC East rookie classes through the lens of analytics.  While you may not believe in the numbers, I have explained why they are important to me here.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

2016 NFC East Champs


The Dallas Cowboys had a mediocre draft class from an analytics standpoint.  Their best pick, first round pick Taco Charlton graded out fairly highly.  He cleared the positional threshold for a 4-3 defensive end.  However, Charlton is the only player in the class who graded out above a 4.00.  The only other two players who cleared their positional thresholds were cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and safety Xavier Woods.  In addition to his great size, Awuzie has tremendous explosion and very good lateral agility. Similarly, Woods has great lateral agility and speed.  I am higher on wide receiver Ryan Switzer and cornerback Jourdan Lewis than the numbers say I should be. While Switzer is diminutive in stature, he makes up for it with elite quickness.  Lewis is also a tremendous player who could fit as a slot cornerback immediately.  The other picks in this draft class were seemingly flyers on athletes.

A few of the notable undrafted free agents that the Cowboys picked up include linebacker Luke Wacha, defensive tackle Woody Baron, quarterback Cooper Rush, and guard Michael Coe.  Wacha (4.10) is an undersized but athletic linebacker.  He posted very good numbers in every athletic test.  Baron (4.05) is a big, strong defensive tackle who can provide depth to the line.  Rush (3.71) has the mental processing ability to be a long-term NFL backup, though his arm strength leaves something to be desired.  Lastly, Coe (3.44) is a stout guard who lacks speed but posted very good strength and explosion numbers.

Philadelphia Eagles

2016 NFC East 4th Place

178FURNITURE ROW82303142921
242CHIP GNASSI73885231321
34STEWART HAAS7269713821
418JOE GIBBS 723100181321
52TEAM PENSKE64917412721
611JOE GIBBS64917412721
724HENDRICK MOTSP61620702221
81CHIP GNASSI61520800021
920JOE GIBBS59422902221
1014STEWART HAAS 57724601121
1221WOOD BROTHERS52929413821
1322 TEAM PENSKE52529811121
1441STEWART HAAS49432910521
1531CHILDRESS 49133210521
1677FURNITURE ROW46935400021
1717ROUSH FENWAY 468355201021
1819JOE GIBBS 46435900021
206ROUSH FENWAY40641700021

The Philadelphia Eagles reportedly focused on drafting good football players over good athletes this year.  As a result their analytics numbers are fairly low.  The best pick was their last pick, defensive tackle Elijah Qualls.  Qualls had good speed and very good strength and explosion numbers.  He is the only pick that cleared all of the thresholds to be great at his position.  Perhaps the most interesting pick was wide receiver Mack Hollins, whose overall grade is 3.68 despite missing most of the athletic testing.  Had he not injured his hamstring, Hollins may have been a 5.00 guy.  Cornerback Rasul Douglas has elite size for the position, but was average in all of his athletic testing.

Three of the Eagles’ top four undrafted free agent signings are either on injured reserve already or missing the next two months. Quarterback Jerod Evans, defensive tackle Charles Walker, and center Tyler Orlosky all cleared their positional thresholds and graded above 4.00.  Losing them will hurt the Eagles’ preseason depth, as I honestly thought all three could make the final roster.  That being said, two more players graded above 4.00: running back Corey Clement and linebacker Marcus Oliver.  Clement had good size and elite quickness and Oliver graded out as good in every single metric.

Washington Redskins

2016 NFC East 3rd Place

1TRUEX JR823031429
2LARSON 738852313
4BUSCH, KYLE7231001813
11JOHNSON 5662573116
14BUSCH, KURT494329105
17STENHOUSE JR4683652010

The Washington Redskins had quite an interesting draft class.  Their two top picks, Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson, are good football players.  However, it is tough to ignore that both graded below 3.00.  Wide receiver Robert Davis and running back Samaje Perine hold the top two grades, though neither clears positional thresholds.  In fact, the only two players who did clear their positional thresholds were offensive lineman Chase Roullier and cornerback Fabian Moreau.  Roullier had outstanding size and explosion and Moreau has very good size and elite speed and explosion.  This draft class had a good mix of good football players and elite athletes.

Running back Zach Pascal headlines this UDFA class with his grade of 5.33.  Hailing from a small school, we’ll see if his blend of elite size and very good explosiveness can help him stick in the NFL.  Georgia guard Tyler Catalina (4.17) cleared his positional thresholds with his good explosion numbers.  His suddenness and explosiveness are rare for a man his size.  Wide receivers Levern Jacobs and James Quick are names to watch in the preseason.  Jacobs looks like and interesting option as a slot receiver and Quick was a preseason favorite to be a top 5 wide receiver.

New York Giants

2016 NFC East 2nd Place – Wild Card

Drivers Who Have Made The Playoffs

Driver Name # of Wins Playoff Points
Johnson 316
Larson 213
Kyle Busch113
Stenhouse Jr 210
Elliot039 points above Bowyer, 2 points
McMurray038 points above
Kenseth017 points above, 2 points
This list shows the NASCAR Monster Energy drivers who would make it into the playoffs if the season ended today

The New York Giants made the most of their 6 draft picks and came away with the highest overall graded class in the NFC East.  Their best pick was seemingly quarterback Davis Webb, who has very good size and elite agility numbers for the position.  His fastball of 59 mph was tops at the NFL combine this past year. Guard Adam Bisnowaty cleared his positional thresholds, as did Dalvin Tomlinson, despite his low overall grade.  Runningback Wayne Gallman showed good size and explosion.  Tight end Evan Engram, though diminutive for a tight end, posted elite athletic numbers and will be a matchup nightmare for the defenses facing him.

The Giants picked up a few notable UDFAs.  Fullback Shane Smith graded out at a 5.16 and cleared the positional threshold for quarterbacks.  He will likely be the “true” fullback that the Giants have been trying to find the last few years.  Inside linebacker Calvin Munson is likely to stick, if nothing else because the Giants are weak at linebacker.  He graded out at 3.99 and passed his positional threshold with his best feature being his strength.  Defensive tackle Josh Banks will have to work to get stronger if he wants to make the team, but if anything his testing makes him a prime candidate for the practice squad.


The NFC East as a whole did a fairly poor job athleticism-wise with their rookie classes.  Many of the teams seemingly prioritized good football players over good athletes.  The Giants had the highest average grade for both their draft class and undrafted free agent class.