Dallas Cowboys: Zach Ertz

Mel Kiper Jr.'s draft grades: NFC East

April, 29, 2013
Mel Kiper Jr.'s draft grades Insider are in. Let's take a look at his assessments of the NFC East's teams.

Philadelphia Eagles: B+

Mel gives the Eagles a B for needs and an A for value, especially liking top pick Lane Johnson and second-rounder Zach Ertz.

New York Giants: C+

They get a C for needs and a B for value, with Mel downgrading them for failing to address cornerback or linebacker.

Dallas Cowboys: C+

He gave them a B for needs and a C-minus for value. He's consistent with the popular opinion that they could have had first-rounder Travis Frederick much later, but he likes the middle- and late-round picks, especially running back Joseph Randle and safety J.J. Wilcox.

Washington Redskins: C+

They got a B-minus for needs and a C for value, and Mel says he bumped them up a bit because last year's Robert Griffin III trade included this year's first-round pick.

My take: I might have graded the Cowboys and Redskins a bit better -- Dallas because I'm not as down on the Frederick pick as a lot of people are. But I agree on the Eagles and Giants. We'll discuss these in much greater depth in the coming days.
IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys have one of the best tight ends in football in Jason Witten. With James Hanna, the Cowboys think they have a player who can be a mismatch for linebackers or safeties.

As the Cowboys enter the draft, they need to find another tight end. The only other tight ends on the roster are Colin Cochart and Andre Smith. Cochart had a cup of coffee with the club last year but didn’t play in a game. Smith was a late addition to the practice squad.

To a degree the Cowboys have wasted second-round picks on tight ends with Anthony Fasano (2006) and Martellus Bennett (2008). There simply aren’t enough plays for a tight end behind Witten to justify the second-round pick unless the Cowboys want to do what New England does with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

This draft has a number of quality tight ends, but the Cowboys should not be in play for a Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz, considered the top two at the position. Again, it’s based on how they use their second tight end behind Witten.

You have to maximize plays per game with early picks. Unless the Cowboys switch their philosophy and move away from heavy three-wide receiver personnel looks, then it does not make sense to grab a tight end early. And it doesn’t make sense to take a “pass-catching” tight end either.

The Cowboys have to look at the “blocking” tight ends more.

They had two of those types in for top-30 visits in Rutgers’ D.C. Jefferson and Michigan State’s Dion Sims. Both players are considered solid blocking prospects, with Sims more highly regarded. Another option is Alabama’s Michael Williams.