The NFC East used to be the toughest and most talented division in the conference, but has since become very one-sided with great offense and poor defense. There is still talent throughout the division but each team seems to own the top players at different positions. With nothing left to do but speculate on which team will be the best in 2014, BGN takes a look at the "best of the best" in the division. In this article, BGN starts by looking at the best offensive players. We'll take a look at the All-NFC East defensive team on Wednesday.
QB) Nick Foles
Fans and writers like to use the term "What have you done for me lately?" when it's convenient. This is the issue with doing a list like this because you have three ways of evaluating a player: a) projection for next season b) last season's performance and c) career. If you went with career, you'd probably pick Tony Romo, but if you went with last season's production you would probably go with Foles with the same being said for projecting next season. Foles winning two of the three categories was enough for me to hand him the keys to the team. Romo has had a great career but major back surgery would scare me moving forward. As far as Eli Manning is concerned, he led the league in interceptions last year and looks to be on the down slope of his career. Robert Griffin III has had two seasons of extremes and I think the Redskins just got rid of an offense that was perfect for him.
RB) LeSean McCoy
To me, this one is easy. McCoy led the league in rushing and has been a top five running back in the league for four seasons. While Alfred Morris is a durable and productive player, I do wonder how he will perform without Mike Shanahan's run-friendly scheme. Morris couldn't catch a cold at FAU and I predict that will hurt his touches in Jay Gruden's offense. McCoy has proven to be incredible in Andy Reid's and Chip Kelly's offenses and will enter the second year in the same offense in 2014. DeMarco Murray could be in this discussion if he could remain healthy and the Giants running back unit is just a mess.
WR) Dez Bryant
Even with Romo coming off of back surgery, Bryant is likely to lead the division in receiving yards. Despite his sideline antics and off-the-field issues in the past, Bryant has really become a complete receiver on a Cowboys team that needs to score a ton of points to even have a shot at winning games. Bryant is probably among the Top 5-8 wide receivers in the league and he will likely continue to get even better.
WR) DeSean Jackson
Like it or not, the Eagles released a Top 3 wide receiver in the division and let a rival pick him up. Jackson is a three-time Pro Bowl receiver and also has an all-star selection as a returner to his credit. There may not be better deep threat than Jackson and Griffin has the arm to get him the ball.
WR) Victor Cruz
Cruz may have struggled at times last year due to shaky play by Manning and his fellow offensive skill players, but he is still one of the hardest covers (unless you're Brandon Boykin) out of the slot. It will be interesting to see if he will move around more with the addition of Odell Beckham and the development of Rueben Randle. He has been more productive in his short career than the likes of Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and Pierre Garcon, and those guys were all drafted.
TE) Jason Witten
He's the guy at tight end and has been for a decade. A fantastic blocker with great hands, he is also really, really hard to bring down. Could he be on the decline? Perhaps, but that's still better than the rest of the division. Brent Celek and Zach Ertz are both good players, but they rotate with each other. Jordan Reed has only played nine games, but he's been anointed a future Hall of Fame player apparently. The Giants really have failed to add a starter-worthy tight end over the last two offseasons.
OT) Jason Peters
Peters has been a juggernaut at left tackle (when not injured) in the NFC East since 2009. He's an All-Pro and Pro Bowl blindside blocker and was just signed to a pretty expensive extension. Clearly, the Eagles project him to continue his successful stint with the team for a while. He bounced back last season from a twice-ruptured Achilles and was invaluable to Kelly's offense.
OG) Evan Mathis
Over the last three seasons, Mathis has been durable, consistent and a force on the offensive line. He finally made his first Pro Bowl and despite being the oldest lineman on the team, looks to not be regressing at all. He has little tread on his tires and may play another two or three years at the same level due to his lack of wear and tear.
C) Jason Kelce
Kelce was snubbed from the Pro Bowl but got paid like an all-star this offseason. The lone success story of the 2011 NFL Draft for the Eagles, Kelce has three terrific seasons on his resume and looks to be one of the "faces of the future" for the Eagles offense.
OG) Geoff Schwartz
The lone newcomer on the offense is Schwartz. He had a very good season with the Chiefs last season and cashed in with the Giants. Similar to Mathis, Schwartz went from a journeyman to a paid man after putting together a quality season with Andy Reid. He will likely help the Giants offensive line improve dramatically in the run game.
OT) Trent Williams
Williams is still young and is the key to protecting Griffin. Gruden will count on Williams to keep Griffin clean going forward and he is more than up to the task. Williams and Tyron Smith are close in talent level but Williams has been outstanding throughout his career.
***Stay tuned for the All-NFC East defensive team which will be released tomorrow on July 9th.***