Flash-forward: 2009 NFC East draft review

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jun 19, 2012



By Scott Kacsmar
Cold, Hard Football Facts Pigskin Border Patrol


If you believe in the East Coast bias, then you probably think the teams in the NFC East are given too much coverage from the media.
 
We give them all an equal spotlight here, but the criticism will not be the same. Now through 20 teams in our 2009 NFL Draft review, the NFC East is home to: the worst team draft yet, the best player taken in the second round, one of the best pass rushers, and arguably the best wide receiver in the whole draft.
 
While it is annually one of the toughest divisions to predict (look at the challenge this season), no division was easier to rank the 2009 draft for than the NFC East.
 
2009 Draft Reviews
Part I: NFC North
Part II: AFC North
Part III: NFC South
Part IV: AFC South
 
Notes: Players listed in bold are still on the active roster of the team that drafted them. A player with his games played (GP) and games started (GS) listed in red has appeared in games for a team other than his draft team. “CarAV” refers to data from the Approximate Value system at Pro-Football-Reference.com. References to snap data credited to Pro Football Focus.
 

4. DALLAS COWBOYS

You’ll remember the opening of the new stadium better than any of the 2009 class

As Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys opened up their beautiful new stadium in 2009, they had very few worthwhile rookies to showcase inside. Despite a dozen picks, Dallas came up nearly empty.
 
Granted, all of their 12 picks were in the third round or later. Dallas did not have their own first-round pick, third-round pick, and sixth-round pick because of an ill-advised trade in 2008 with Detroit for wide receiver Roy Williams. In three seasons with the Cowboys, Williams averaged just 33.1 receiving yards per game (64.7 yards per game in Detroit).
 
The second-round pick (2.51) was traded to Buffalo for picks in the third and fourth rounds. That is a hard move to justify with the talent left on the board at offensive tackle and defensive back.
 
A whopping seven of Dallas’ picks are not even on an active NFL roster. One of their three returning players from this draft, backup quarterback Stephen McGee, was a poor choice for a position already held by Tony Romo. Historically, a mid-round selection on a backup quarterback has been a pointless move to make in the draft. Instead of getting Romo a tackle like T.J. Lang (Green Bay’s selection), they got him a backup that would ideally never see the field.
 
But most of Dallas’ draft class became used to not seeing the field.

The Class

Rnd Pick Player Pos. College GP GS CarAV 2012 Team
3 69 Jason Williams LB West. Illinois 28 4 3 Carolina
3 75 Robert Brewster OT Ball St. 1 0 0 None (AFL)
4 101 Stephen McGee QB Texas A&M 3 1 2 Dallas
4 110 Victor Butler LB Oregon St. 47 1 4 Dallas
4 120 Brandon Williams DE TexasTech 6 0 0 Arizona
5 143 DeAngelo Smith CB Cincinnati 7 1 1 None
5 166 Michael Hamlin S Clemson 12 0 0 None
5 172 David Buehler K USC 36 0 0 None
6 197 Stephen Hodge LB TCU 0 0 0 None
6 208 John Phillips TE Virginia 32 11 5 Dallas
7 227 Mike Mickens CB Cincinnati 0 0 0 None (CFL)
7 229 Manuel Johnson WR Oklahoma 2 0 0 None
 
Best Pick: TE John Phillips (6.208) - As a late-round pick, the Cowboys found an adequate tight end to back up Jason Witten. After 239 snaps as a rookie, Phillips was lost for the entire 2010 season after tearing his ACL in the first preseason game. He returned last season to play 333 snaps as he serves primarily as a blocking tight end. That’s right. Dallas’ best pick has given them 572 snaps as a backup/blocking tight end the last three years.
 
Worst Pick: OT Robert Brewster (3.75) - Take your pick, but Brewster is an easy one after giving so little as a top-75 pick. He missed his entire rookie season with a torn biceps muscle. Brewster was active for the season opener in 2010, but would never play a snap on Dallas’ offense. He finished 2010 on the practice squad. Brewster was suspended the first four games of 2011, and then was further suspended one year by the NFL for violating the league’s policy on drugs and banned substances. His violations are a higher number than the games he played. Brewster is now trying to make it in the Arena Football League.
 

The Others

LB Jason Williams (3.69) - As the first pick of the draft for Dallas, Williams saw a minimal amount of special teams’ work as a rookie. In 2010, he played just 14 snaps on Dallas’ defense before being cut in November. Carolina signed him and started him for two games. He played 14 games in Carolina last season.
 
QB Stephen McGee (4.101) - Sitting as a rookie, McGee took over for Jon Kitna in 2010 games at Arizona and was impressive in leading the Cowboys back to a late lead (they would lose on a late field goal). He started the season finale at Philadelphia and threw a game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Last season he came off the bench against the Eagles in the next to last game of the season, but was less successful. With Kitna retired, McGee is the primary backup for now, but poses no real threat to Romo as a starter.
 
OLB Victor Butler (4.110) - Butler saw just 123 snaps in 2009. That number went up to 158 in 2010, and 233 last season. With the talented players Dallas has at the position, it is hard to find playing time for Butler, but he at least provides some depth and has 8.0 career sacks.
 
DE Brandon Williams (4.120) - Dallas went with yet another outside pass rusher, but Williams missed his entire rookie season. In 2010, he played only 30 snaps. The Cardinals signed him for 2011, but he did not play in any games last season.
 
CB DeAngelo Smith (5.143) - This Smith gets around. After failing to make the final 53-man roster, Smith was signed by Cleveland for 10 days. His next stop was Chicago’s practice squad, followed by Detroit’s active roster. He played 70 snaps for the Lions, and they cut him in April of 2010. Smith did a second stint in Cleveland before being released again. He recently spent five weeks with the Jets and is now a free agent again.
 
S Michael Hamlin (5.166) - Recorded just 10 snaps of action on defense in 2009, making one tackle for the season. He was released in 2010 after a total of 16 defensive snaps in Dallas, and went to Jacksonville. Hamlin has also been with Indianapolis and Washington. He is currently a free agent.
 
K David Buehler (5.172) - Dallas has really burned through the kickers in recent years. Not happy with Nick Folk, Buehler brought a big leg to camp and became the kickoff specialist in 2009. After the Cowboys released Folk, Buehler assumed all kicking duties in 2010, and was 24 out of 32 on the season (75.0 percent). Last season he was moved back to kickoffs, but only played four games as Dallas went with rookie Dan Bailey as the full-time kicker. Buehler was released in March and remains a free agent. At the very least, he did make two game-winning field goals for the Cowboys in 2010, so that at least shows up as some value in this draft.
 
LB Stephen Hodge (6.197) - Hodge was another Dallas rookie who spent his 2009 on injured reserve. When trying to return in 2010, he had another season-ending surgery and was released with an injury settlement. His career never had a chance to go anywhere.
 
CB Mike Mickens (7.227) - Mickens never played in a regular season game in the NFL. He spent time on Dallas’ practice squad, and has also been with Tampa Bay and Cincinnati. He has been in the CFL with Calgary since 2010.
 
WR Manuel Johnson (7.229) - Had one career reception for six yards in 2010 (42 snaps). Johnson did not make the 53-man roster in 2011, and is currently a free agent. 


3. WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Good thing this was a year Washington actually had a No. 1 pick

As a team that has a history of throwing away draft picks and going after veteran free agents, it’s a good thing Washington had  the 13th overall pick in the 2009 draft. Without Brian Orakpo, this class would be looking as flimsy as the Cowboys’ draft.
 
It was a 2-6 finish in 2008 after a strong 6-2 start for Jim Zorn’s first year as head coach. He would only get another year, as Washington went 4-12 in 2009. While he got his pass rusher in the first round, there was no second-round pick because that went to Miami in the trade for Jason Taylor.
 
That trade was a disaster for the Redskins, as after one season with 3.5 sacks; Taylor was right back in Miami for the 2009 season. Rather than have their shot at a Connor Barwin or LeSean McCoy, Washington had to wait until the 80th selection of the draft.
 
Cue their worst pick of the draft, which you can see below. There was no fourth-round pick to save the day, as that had already been traded years ago to the Jets for a 34-year old Pete Kendall.
 
If you gave every NFL team the opportunity to draft one sure-fire stud, but have no other selections each year, the Redskins would likely be the first team to sign up. They have not really had a draft with two good players for them since 2004 (the late Sean Taylor and Chris Cooley).

The Class

Rnd Pick Player Pos. College GP GS CarAV 2012 Team
1 13 Brian Orakpo LB Texas 47 47 24 Washington
3 80 Kevin Barnes DB Maryland 29 3 3 Washington
5 158 Cody Glenn LB Nebraska 19 0 2 None
6 186 Robert Henson LB TCU 6 0 0 None
7 221 Eddie Williams FB Idaho 6 0 1 Cleveland
7 243 Marko Mitchell WR Nevada-Reno 10 0 0 None
 
Best Pick: LB Brian Orakpo (1.13) - A no-brainer, Orakpo is second in the entire draft with 28.5 career sacks and two Pro Bowls. Only Clay Matthews (29.5 sacks, 3 Pro Bowls) has more. Matthews went 13 spots after Orakpo, though you cannot act as if Washington made a mistake here. Each player fits their team’s scheme.
 
Worst Pick: CB Kevin Barnes (3.80) - Barnes and Minnesota’s Asher Allen will be known as the “cornerbacks taken just before Lardarius Webb” from this draft. Barnes only played 23 snaps as a rookie. In 2010, he moved to safety for the last three games of the season (played 272 total snaps). Last season he returned to corner with a career-high 430 snaps, but only has three career starts to go along with three interceptions. While Barnes struggled in pass coverage, Baltimore’s Webb, taken eight picks later, had a breakout year.
 

The Others

LB Cody Glenn (5.158) - Glennnever made Washington’s final roster. He was signed by Indianapolis in 2009 and played in 19 games for them, making 24 tackles. Glenn was recently cut by Baltimore on June 13.
 
LB Robert Henson (6.186) - After playing some special teams as a rookie, Henson spent his entire 2010 season on injured reserve. Washington waived him in August of 2011. He is a free agent.
 
FB Eddie Williams (7.221) - First he was selected to the practice squad, and then was placed on the active roster his rookie season. Williams never played in a regular season game for Washington, and was cut in 2010. He has also spent time in Chicago, Seattle and Cleveland (his current team). He has two career carries for two yards, and a 17-yard reception.
 
WR Marko Mitchell (7.243) - Had four receptions for 32 yards as a rookie (67 snaps). After spending time with Detroit and Minnesota, Mitchell gave the CFL a shot. He was waived before the 2011 CFL season and is not currently on any roster.
 

2. NEW YORK GIANTS

One great player does not make a great draft

The 2009 draft is an interesting one for the Giants, because injuries have hurt the potential impact of this class. Even the superstar, receiver Hakeem Nicks, is now dealing with a broken foot and has missed six career games (at least one each season).
 
Last year’s Super Bowl winner, the Giants had to place Clint Sintim on injured reserve before the season even began. Ramses Barden has only played 17 career games and has dealt with multiple injuries.
 
Even Travis Beckum tore his ACL in Super Bowl XLVI.
 
With some better play out of William Beatty, and better health for these other players, the 2009 Giants’ draft may be remembered for more than just one great receiver.
 

The Class

Rnd Pick Player Pos. College GP GS CarAV 2012 Team
1 29 Hakeem Nicks WR North Carolina 42 33 25 NY Giants
2 45 Clint Sintim LB Virginia 24 1 2 NY Giants
2 60 William Beatty OT Connecticut 34 16 9 NY Giants
3 85 Ramses Barden WR Cal Poly-S.L.O. 17 0 2 NY Giants
3 100 Travis Beckum TE Wisconsin 44 4 6 NY Giants
4 129 Andre Brown RB North Carolina St. 4 0 0 NY Giants
5 151 Rhett Bomar QB Sam Houston St. 0 0 0 None
6 200 DeAndre Wright CB New Mexico 0 0 0 None
7 238 Stoney Woodson DB South Carolina 0 0 0 None (AFL)
 
Best Pick: WR Hakeem Nicks (1.29) - Arguably the best wide receiver in the 2009 draft, Nicks already has 202 receptions for 3,034 yards and 24 touchdowns in 42 games. He has back-to-back seasons with over 75 receptions and 1,000 yards. He is a big-play maker, such as his Hail Mary touchdown before halftime in the playoffs at Green Bay. He’s also only 24 years old.
 
Worst Pick: WR Ramses Barden (3.85) - Getting caught up in the run of wide receivers in round three, the Giants looked to reinvent their wide receiver corps after the departures of Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. Little did they realize USC’s Steve Smith (2.51 pick in 2007), Nicks and Mario Manningham (3.95 in 2008) would be plenty of weapons for Eli Manning. Not to mention some Cruz guy that later came along. Dealing with multiple injuries, Barden has played in just 17 games and has only 15 receptions for 174 yards. He has a career total of 209 offensive snaps played.
 

The Others

LB Clint Sintim (2.45) - Return versus cost, Sintim may be the worst pick here, but call it a case of bad luck. The plan for a linebacker was justifiable on New York’s part. Sintim played 133 snaps as a rookie; mostly as the SAM linebacker. He only saw 47 snaps his second season and finished with a torn ACL. Last year, another knee injury ended his season before it even started. But 180 snaps in three years make it hard to see Sintim lasting much longer in New York.
 
OT William Beatty (2.60) - Has been in and out of the lineup over his three seasons. He played 392 snaps as a rookie with four starts at right tackle, and also played as a blocking tight end in big formations. He played 168 snaps in 2010, including some time at left tackle. Last season he made 10 starts at left tackle (683 snaps) for the Giants’ struggling offensive line that Eli Manning did his best to overcome. A detached retina ended Beatty’s season.
 
TE Travis Beckum (3.100) - As another skill player selection, Beckum has been a backup tight end with four career starts, and 26 receptions for 264 yards and three touchdowns. He played 222 snaps last season; down from 276 in 2010 (65 as a rookie in 2009). The Giants have been getting along fine at the position with less than stellar athletes like Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard, so Beckum’s selection was not that necessary. He is trying to recover for the season after tearing his ACL in the Super Bowl.
 
RB Andre Brown (4.129) - Though the backfield was crowded with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants looked for a third runner in Brown. He missed his rookie season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Brown failed to make final roster cuts in 2010. He went to Denver, carrying the ball twice for a loss of a yard. Brown has also been with Carolina, Indianapolis, and Washington. The Giants resigned him for 2011, but he spent it on the practice squad. Though he has one fewer rushing yard than all of us non-players with zero, Brown has a ring.
 
QB Rhett Bomar (5.151) - Bomar is one of the latest names in that “Cemetery of Irrelevant Fifth-round Quarterbacks Not Named Brunell or Grogan”, which is worth an article in its own right. Bomar has never appeared in a regular season game. He spent two years on the Giants’’ practice squad, before Minnesota claimed him. He was with the Raiders until they released him last month. He is now a free agent.
 
CB DeAndre Wright (6.200) - After failing to make the Giants’ roster, Wright spent time on Minnesota’s practice squad. He has also been on the Lions and Browns. Wright has never played in a regular season game and is currently a free agent.
 
DB Stoney Woodson (7.238) - Before his rookie season even started, Woodson suffered an injury that led to a settlement with the Giants. He then spent time with Philadelphia and Tampa Bay before heading over to the Indoor Football League. He stepped up to the Arena Football League for 2012, where he is currently signed with the Jacksonville Sharks. Woodson never played in a NFL regular season game.
 

1. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

One of the best one-two punches in the draft

Little did anyone know at the time that the Eagles were loading up the offense for Michael Vick as the quarterback of the future, rather than Donovan McNabb. 2009 was the final season for McNabb in Philadelphia, and the first for Vick in his return to the league.
 
The Eagles had an incredible start to the draft. They traded with Cleveland to move up from 21st to 19th to take wide receiver Jeremy Maclin out of Missouri. The cost was a measly sixth-round pick (No. 195).
 
Then in the second round they got the best player of the round and one of the best in the draft: Pittsburgh’s LeSean McCoy. No back in the 2009 draft has more carries (635), yards (3,026), or rushing touchdowns (28) than McCoy.
 
The two players make up for a strong duo of skill players to build around. Unlike the rest of the division, the Eagles would find some more value in the later rounds as well.
 

The Class

 
Rnd Pick Player Pos. College GP GS CarAV 2012 Team
1 19 Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri 44 42 22 Philadelphia
2 53 LeSean McCoy RB Pittsburgh 46 32 31 Philadelphia
5 153 Cornelius Ingram TE Florida 0 0 0 Denver
5 157 Macho Harris DB Virginia Tech 18 9 3 None (CFL)
5 159 Fenuki Tupou OT Oregon 0 0 0 New Orleans
6 194 Brandon Gibson WR Washington St. 39 25 11 St. Louis
7 213 Paul Fanaika G Arizona St. 3 0 0 Seattle
7 230 Moise Fokou LB Maryland 43 22 11 Philadelphia
 
Best Pick: RB LeSean McCoy (2.53) - As the fourth running back off the board, the Eagles got a major steal when McCoy fell to the 53rd pick. Last season he scored 20 touchdowns, rushed for 1,309 yards, and had his second straight season with over 1,600 yards from scrimmage. He was selected as a first-team All Pro, joining Clay Matthews as the only other 2009 pick to earn that distinction.
 
Worst Pick: TE Cornelius Ingram (5.153) - Not that it cost the team much, but Ingram never appeared in any games for the Eagles (or any NFL team for that matter). He tore his ACL in his rookie training camp. He spent 2010 on the practice squad. The Eagles released him in 2011. After spending a few weeks in Detroit, he was released. Finally, he was signed to Denver’s practice squad, and is currently on their roster.
 

The Others

WR Jeremy Maclin (1.19) - Maclin has been one of the most productive receivers in the draft. He has 188 receptions (3rd), 2,585 yards (4th), and 19 touchdowns (3rd). While he has not been as good as Nicks, taken 10 picks later by the Giants, Maclin has been a consistent and reliable target for the Eagles.
 
DB Macho Harris (5.157) - For a fifth-round pick, there was some buzz over Harris (maybe because of the first name). He made eight starts as a rookie safety (also played some corner), playing 676 snaps for the Eagles. But with other talent on the roster, Harris was expendable enough to cut in 2010. He played in three games for Washington and was released last summer. Harris unsuccessfully attempted to make the Steelers’ roster. He is now in the CFL.
 
OT Fenuki Tupou (5.159) - With three picks in a seven-pick span of the fifth round, the Eagles struck out again with Tupou. The big guard spent 2009 on injured reserve, 2010 on the practice squad, and was released in 2011. He was on New Orleans’ practice squad last season, and is still on their roster.
 
WR Brandon Gibson (6.194) - As a late-round steal, there was not much need for Gibson in Philadelphia, but the St. Louis Rams saw an opportunity. A trade was struck, which involved sending linebacker Will Witherspoon to Philadelphia. Gibson has had 123 receptions for 1,399 yards and four touchdowns for the Rams. He only played five snaps in Philadelphia.  
 
G Paul Fanaika (7.213) - After failing to make the final 53-man roster, Fanaika was placed on the Philadelphia practice squad, where he was later claimed by Washington. He spent some time in Cleveland, and is now with the Seattle Seahawks.
 
LB Moise Fokou (7.230) - Fokou has given the Eagles a lot of playing time and depth, with 43 appearances, 22 starts and 866 snaps played. He has made 112 tackles.
 

SUMMARY

Team Philadelphia NY Giants Washington Dallas
Players 8 9 6 12
Still on team 3 6 2 3
Total GP 193 165 117 174
Total GS 130 54 50 18
Total CarAV 78 44 30 15
 
Things break down rather simple.
 
Dallas got almost nothing, with their class of a dozen picks combining to play 1,363 snaps in a Dallas uniform. The Redskins got a great pass rusher in Orakpo (956 snaps in 2011), and the Giants got a great receiver in Nicks (1,257 snaps in 2011). Philadelphia got two strong pieces to build around on offense with Maclin and McCoy, and Fokou has been good depth at linebacker. Gibson was also a good pick that was used in a trade to get Witherspoon.
 
If only the NFC East was this simple all the time.
 
Up next: the AFC East, including New England and their four second-round picks. Did Belichick get enough value? Would the drooling talking heads even care if he didn’t?
 
Scott Kacsmar is a football writer/researcher who has contributed large quantities of data to Pro-Football-Reference.com, including the only standardized database of fourth quarter comebacks and game-winning drives. He’s a Shady fan, but not a shady fan. You can send any questions or comments to Scott at smk_42@yahoo.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @CaptainComeback.

From our partners




Join Insider Today!
Must See Videos
2014 NFL Combine Winners
2014 NFL Combine Most Impressive Performances
2014 NFL Combine Losers

Team Pages
AFC East NFC
South
North
West

Connect With Us
Sign up for our newsletter to recieve all the latest news and updates...
Privacy guaranteed. We'll never share your info.




The Football Nation Network

© Copyright 2014 Football Nation LLC. Privacy Policy & Terms of Use
Some images property of Getty Images or Icon/SMI