With that in mind, Mike Sando and Matt Williamson of ESPN.com took a retrospective look at the first-round picks of the 2009 NFL Draft to see how the eight divisions stack up against one another. They concluded that the NFC East had the second-best first-round haul, even though there were only three first-round picks in the division (Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo, Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks).
But how do the four teams in the NFC East stack up against each other when you take a look at the total draft haul? Let's find out.
No. Of Players Drafted Draft Picks Still On Roster Total Games Played Total Starts Dallas 6 108 6 115 New York 9 5 29 69 Philadelphia 8 5 110 Dallas Cowboys Washington 6 3 61 33
Round 3 (69th overall) - Linebacker Jason Williams
Round 3 (75th overall) - Offensive tackle Robert Brewster
Round 4 (101st overall) - Quarterback Stephen McGee
Round 4 (110th overall) - Defensive end Victor Butler
Round 4 (120th overall) - Defensive end Brandon Williams
Round 5 (143rd overall) - Cornerback DeAngelo Smith
Round 5 (166th overall) - Safety Michael Hamlin
Round 5 (172nd overall) - Kicker David Buehler
Round 6 (197th overall) - Safety Stephen Hodge
Round 6 (208th overall) - Tight end John Phillips
Round 7 (227th overall) - Cornerback Mike Mickens
Round 7 (229th overall) - Wide receiver Manuel Johnson
Six members of the Cowboys' 12-player draft class are still on the roster, though the impact from those players has been minimal. The Cowboys didn't have a pick until the third round, but both players they selected in that round, Jason Williams and Robert Brewster, were released in 2010. In fact, the Cowboys have only managed six total starts from the draft class. Tight end John Phillips is a promising player, though he spent 2010 on injured reserve, and they've gotten good contributions on special teams from Victor Butler. But the only player to make any real impact has been kicker/kickoff specialist David Buehler, who led the NFL in touchbacks as a rookie and finished fourth in the category in 2010.
New York Giants
Round 1 (29th overall) - Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks
Round 2 (45th overall) - Linebacker Clint Sintim
Round 2 (60th overall) - Offensive tackle William Beatty
Round 3 (85th overall) - Wide receiver Ramses Barden
Round 3 (100th overall) - Tight end Travis Beckum
Round 4 (129th overall) - Running back Andre Brown
Round 5 (151st overall) - Quarterback Rhett Bomar
Round 6 (200th overall) - Defensive back DeAndre Wright
Round 7 (238th overall) - Defensive back Stoney Woodson
The Giants ended up with nine draft picks in 2009, five in the first three rounds. Interestingly, and with some credit to the Giants, the first five players selected are the only ones still on the roster (fourth-round running back Andre Brown was probably the biggest disappointment of those players no longer with the team). Linebacker Clint Sintim, offensive tackle Will Beatty and tight end Travis Beckum have each provided depth for the Giants, but there's no question that the greatest impact has come from their first-round pick, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. After a promising rookie year, Nicks exploded in 2010 with 79 catches for 1,052 yards and 11 touchdowns (fourth-best in the league) and is primed to be a go-to receiver for years to come. In total, the Giants' total of 115 games played from their draft class is tops in the division.
Round 1 (13th overall) - Linebacker Brian Orakpo
Round 3 (80th overall) - Cornerback Kevin Barnes
Round 5 (158th overall) - Linebacker Cody Glenn
Round 6 (186th overall) - Linebacker Robert Henson
Round 7 (221st overall) - Tight end/fullback Eddie Williams
Round 7 (243rd overall) - Wide receiver Marko Mitchell
The Redskins had the smallest draft class, only six players, and only three of those players are still on the roster. But they do have the only player from the NFC East draft class with a Pro Bowl on his resume. Linebacker Brian Orakpo, the highest drafted player in the division, actually has two Pro Bowl appearances and has established himself as one of the better pass rushers in the league, notching 19.5 sacks over his first two seasons. After Orakpo, though, there has been little impact. Third-round cornerback Kevin Barnes has appeared in 14 games, garnering two starts, and linebacker Robert Henson has contributed occasionally on special teams. In effect, it was a one-player draft class, though that player has arguably had the biggest impact of any NFC East 2009 rookie.
Round 1 (19th overall) - Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin
Round 2 (53rd overall) - Running back LeSean McCoy
Round 5 (153rd overall) - Tight end Cornelius Ingram
Round 5 (157th overall) - Defensive back Macho Harris
Round 5 (159th overall) - Offensive lineman Fenuki Tupou
Round 6 (194th overall) - Wide receiver Brandon Gibson
Round 7 (213th overall) - Offensive guard Paul Fanaika
Round 7 (230th overall) - Linebacker Moise Fokou
It's fair to say that there have been four true impact players in the NFC East from the 2009 draft class. We've covered Nicks and Orakpo, but the Eagles are the only team to sport two such players: first-round wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and second-round running back LeSean McCoy. Both have played in 31 regular season games in two seasons, with Maclin notching 29 starts to McCoy's 17. During that time, Maclin has established himself as a bona fide top-level receiver, with 125 catches for 1,726 yards and 14 touchdowns in two seasons, including a 2010 season in which he notched 964 yards (and would have topped the 1,000-yard milestone if not for the Week 17 resting of starters).
McCoy, meanwhile, has done nothing less than emerge as one of the most explosive and versatile young running backs in all of football. After splitting carries as a rookie with his mentor Brian Westbrook and fullback Leonard Weaver, McCoy took the reins in 2010 with 1,080 yards rushing on 5.2 yards-per-carry, while also leading all NFL running backs with 78 receptions. Though McCoy was robbed of a Pro Bowl appearance, he and Maclin promise to be cornerstones in the Eagles' explosive offense for the foreseeable future.
But that's not all. Beyond Nicks, Orakpo, Maclin and McCoy, only one other member of the 2009 NFC East draft class has at least 10 starts to his credit - Eagles linebacker Moise Fokou, who rose from his seventh-round status to earn starting time as a rookie and followed that up with 11 starts on the strong side in 2010. After that, two other members of the eight-player draft class remain on the roster, though tight end Cornelius Ingram and offensive lineman Fenuki Tupou have yet to make it onto the in-season active roster. Plus, two other members of the draft class provided impact. Fifth-round defensive back Macho Harris started eight games at safety as a rookie before being released prior to the 2010 season, and wide receiver Brandon Gibson was traded mid-way through his rookie year in exchange for starting linebacker Will Witherspoon.
So how would you rank the classes? The Giants have accumulated the most games played from their draft class, with 115 total games to the Eagles' 110 and the Cowboys' 108. But if you go by starts, the Eagles have more than twice the total of any other team with 69 total. The Redskins have 33 total starts, thanks to Orakpo's 31 starts in two seasons. And while you can argue which of the four impact players has made, or promises to make, the most impact, the Eagles are the only team to sport two of the players in that conversation. The conclusion? As in the real 2010 standings, the Eagles come out on top.