The NFC East appears is a particular interesting division this year, with a lot of teams on the precipices of being genuine contenders for the Superbowl, except all the teams have at least one gaping positional hole. So just for the sake of it, we have put together an All-Star NFC East team, made up of the best players from each team.
Quarterback – Eli Manning (New York Giants)
At the most important position in Football, it’s a surprisingly close call between Tony Romo, Kirk Cousins and Eli, but I have to give the edge to the guy with 2 Superbowl wins. Eli has the ability to win games on his own, evade pressure in the most unlikely scenarios, and performs under extreme pressure.
Running Backs – Ezekiel Elliot (Dallas Cowboys) and Ryan Mathews (Philadelphia Eagles)
Next up we go with 2 Running Backs, and shows there really is a lack of quality here in the NFC East. Ezekiel Elliot could well turn into the best RB in the entire league, but he’s still a rookie with some risk attached. Ryan Mathews played well in a supporting role for the Eagles last season, but watch out for Matt Jones who could break this list come the end of the season if he figures it all out.
Wide Receivers – Odell Beckham Jr. (New York Giants) and Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys)
This was one of the slam dunk decisions on this team, OBJ has been arguably the best receiver in the NFL since his rookie season, and was a sure fire number 1. Dez Bryant despite his injury and down year last year, he’s still a matchup nightmare for Defensive Backs and is set for a rebound. DeSean Jackson is the closest threat to these two with his great speed.
Tight End – Jordan Reed (Washington Redskins)
A year ago, this would’ve been a good debate; but after his breakout season this is all about Jordan Reed. Finally staying healthy for the majority of the season, he showed what an insane athlete his and a dangerous Red Zone weapon with 11 TDs in 13 games. I’ll give an honourable mention to Jason Witten, who has been the definition of consistency in Dallas for many years.
Left Tackle – Trent Williams (Washington Redskins)
This position is a toss-up between Jason Peters and Williams, both are Pro Bowl calibre Left Tackles who have been cornerstones of their respective teams Offensive Lines. But going with Trent Williams purely for the fact he’s younger and Peters is slightly more likely to regress slightly due to age.
Left Guard – La’el Collins (Dallas Cowboys)
Here we start a mini run of Dallas O-Linemen, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone given how dominant they have been in the last 2 seasons. After gaining first round grades in the 2015 draft, Collins went undrafted and performed when he got on the field for the Cowboys, living up to expectations.
Centre – Travis Frederick (Dallas Cowboys)
The second Cowboys O-Lineman is Frederick, who narrowly beats out Weston Richburg and Jason Kelce to this spot. Frederick has shown to be dominant option, even when those around him have missed blocks; but Richburg impressed for the Giants and if he backs up last season’s impressive performance, he may take this spot from the Dallas stalwart.
Right Guard – Zack Martin (Dallas Cowboys)
Rounding off the Dallas trio is impressive young Guard Zack Martin who has been nothing short of sensational since his arrival in the league after the 2014 draft. Going to the Pro Bowl as a rookie and sophomore in the NFL, and is already established as one of the elite Guards in the game despite his relative inexperience.
Right Tackle – Lane Johnson (Philadelphia Eagles)
And to finish off our mean All NFC East team we have the Philadelphia Right Tackle Lane Johnson, ahead of Doug Free of Dallas. He has had his trouble with Performance Enhancing Drugs, but his undeniable ability is reinforced by the Eagles rewarding him with 6 year extension that lasts until 2021.
Defensive Ends – Jason Pierre-Paul (New York Giants) and Olivier Vernon (New York Giants)
Moving onto the defensive side of the ball, we get a good look at the revamped Big Blue D, with Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. JPP has been rumoured to be not need the big oven mit of a glove he had last season, and could be back to his game-breaking best, whilst Vernon will look to follow up an impressive season with Miami. Vinny Curry get an honourable mention, as he was close to pipping Vernon to this spot.
Defensive Tackles – Fletcher Cox (Philadelphia Eagles) and Damon Harrison (New York Giants)
Fletcher Cox was tricky to place as he can play on the outside, or right in the middle of the trenches, but for this purpose he’s playing Defensive Tackle with new Giant Damon Harrison, who comes over after a dominant stretch on the Green side of New York. Both guys have been feasting on QBs for their prolific careers and should continue to do so this season.
Left Outside Linebacker – Ryan Kerrigan (Washington Redskins)
The 3rd Redskins’ player on this list is Ryan Kerrigan, who has been the leader and virtual ever-present of their defence. A Pro Bowl appearance in 2012, and more to come, will be looking to have an even bigger year this year with Junior Galette supporting him on the other side.
Middle Linebacker – Mychal Kendricks (Philadelphia Eagles)
A fairly sparse position in the NFC East with the Eagles and Redskins going a different direction this season, Mychal Kendricks beats out Rolando McClain to the MLB spot. Kendricks did a little bit of everything under Chip Kelly with 4 sacks, 2 fumbles and 3 interceptions in 2013 and 2014, will look to enhance is growing reputation this season.
Right Outside Linebacker – Sean Lee (Dallas Cowboys)
The final piece to our 4-3 defence is arguably the best Linebacker in the NFC East, when healthy, in Sean Lee of the Dallas Cowboys. Personally whenever I’ve seen him play against the Redskins, he has the ability to beat any Offensive Tackle, even our very own Trent Williams, in his way and acts as a big leader on a solid Dallas Defence.
Cornerbacks – Josh Norman (Washington Redskins) and Janoris Jenkins (New York Giants)
The Panthers shocked the NFL when they rescinded Josh Norman’s Franchise Tag just a week before the draft, and the Redskins managed to net one of the best Cornerbacks of the 2015 season. Also in free agency, the Giants managed to get one of the St Louis/LA Rams dynamic Corner duo in Janoris Jenkins, giving us a very capable twosome in this All-Star team.
Safeties – Malcom Jenkins (Philadelphia Eagles) and Rodney McLeod (Philadelphia Eagles)
Having already got a Pro Bowl safety in Malcom Jenkins, the Eagles went out and got another extremely good one in Rodney McLeod from those Rams again. Even though the rest of the Safeties in the NFC East are fairly weak, these two stand head and shoulders above the rest with Jenkins and McLeod forcing 3 fumbles each.
Kicker – Dan Bailey (Dallas Cowboys)
I’m going to wrap up this piece with a Kicker, unless you fancy Tony Romo kicking the Field Goals and snapping his leg in two. We go with Dan Bailey who has arguably been the most reliable kicker in the NFL the last 2 seasons; despite John Brown being well above average and Dustin Hopkins and Cody Parkey looking like good up and coming kickers themselves.
Blake is a Washington Redskins fan after getting into NFL in 2012 to further his American Sports obsession. When he’s not shouting “You Like That!” in the winter, he plays/manages the Birmingham Outlaws and watches the Washington Nationals; and mixes in watching Bath City. Follow him on twitter @FinneyBlake.