Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Draft position and Giants-Cowboys thoughts

The Eagles are one of eight teams that finished the season with an 8-8 record.

Draft position and Giants-Cowboys thoughts

Victor Cruz (80) had six catches for 178 yards yesterday against the Cowboys. (AP Photo / Julio Cortez)
Victor Cruz (80) had six catches for 178 yards yesterday against the Cowboys. (AP Photo / Julio Cortez)

The Eagles are one of eight teams that finished the season with an 8-8 record.

Seven of those teams (the Broncos being the exception) will miss out on the playoffs. And that also means strength of schedule determines where those seven teams will pick in the first round of April's draft.

The team with the weakest strength of schedule among the group, the Cardinals, gets the 13th selection. And the Eagles will pick two spots later at No. 15. Here's the order for the 8-8 teams, with strength of schedule in parentheses, courtesy of NFL.com:

13. Cardinals (.469)
14. Cowboys (.473)
15. Eagles (.488)
16. Jets (.500)
17. Bengals (from Raiders) (.504)
18. Chargers (.516)
19. Bears (.527)

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As for the second round, the seven teams cycle down. In other words, the Cardinals will pick last among this group, and the other teams get bumped up, with Dallas picking first.

That's significant because the Eagles get the Cardinals' second pick (courtesy of the Kevin Kolb deal) in addition to their own selection. That translates to the 46th pick (their own) and the 51st pick (the Cardinals') overall.

GIANTS TAKE THE NFC EAST

Some stray thoughts on the Giants' win over the Cowboys Sunday night:

* Before the Eagles played the Giants in Week 3, Victor Cruz had two career catches for 17 yards. He finished the season with 82 receptions and 1,536 yards, most in Giants franchise history and third-most in the league, behind only Calvin Johnson and Wes Welker.

Against the Cowboys, Cruz piled up six catches for 178 yards. In the first half, he made Terence Newman and Gerald Sensabaugh look silly on a 74-yard touchdown that included about 68 yards after the catch. With everything on the line for the Giants, it was the second straight week Cruz made a huge play. Against the Jets, he had a 99-yard touchdown in the first half.

* And no, I have no clue what NBC was thinking playing the salsa music for Cruz' celebration. Very strange. At first, I couldn't tell if it was coming from the broadcast, the stadium or my neighbor's apartment.

* If I'm the Giants, perhaps the most encouraging thing to take from yesterday's game was the pass rush. Jason Pierre-Paul's been doing it all season, but they got contributions from Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora yesterday. Tuck has two sacks in the last two games. And Umenyiora had two against the Cowboys. Overall, the Giants have 11 sacks in the last two games. There are still plenty of holes in that secondary, but New York can at least rush the passer effectively.

* Speaking of Pierre-Paul, if you were starting a franchise and had your pick of any defensive player in the league, he has to be in the discussion, right? Yesterday was his 23rd birthday, and Pierre-Paul finished the season with 16.5 sacks. I'm on board with those who have written that Brandon Graham deserves a chance to prove himself next season when he's healthy, but I don't think the regret over passing on Pierre-Paul is going away any time soon.

* As for the Cowboys, they miss out on the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. I know Tony Romo will take a lot of heat for turning the ball over twice, but the Dallas defense reminded me of what the Eagles' D has looked like at times this season. Missed tackles, confusion, breakdowns in the secondary. Eli Manning picked them apart, completing 24 of 33 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns. The Cowboys have plenty of work to do this offseason on that side of the ball.

NEXT YEAR'S OPPONENTS

With the regular season over, next year's opponents are set. Aside from the division games, the Eagles play the following teams at home: the Falcons, Panthers, Ravens, Bengals and Lions. Not an easy slate. Four of those five teams are in the playoffs, and the other has Cam Newton.

On the road, the Eagles go to New Orleans, Tampa, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Arizona. Two of those five teams are in the postseason.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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