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PFF All-NFC East team features 11 Eagles, including Nate Allen

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Which Eagles players are the best at their position in the division?

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Yesterday we talked about how Pro Football Focus thinks the Philadelphia Eagles were only two players away from making the 2015 Super Bowl. Today we shift gears to talk about how PFF ranks the Eagles in comparison to their NFC East rivals. PFF recently released their All-NFC East team and there are 11 Eagles players on it. Let's take a look at who made the list.

OFFENSE

Wide Receivers - Dez Bryant (DAL), Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG), Jeremy Maclin (PHI): Maclin makes the team as our NFC East slot receiver, with a league-best 2.41 Yards Per Route Run and six touchdowns from the slot.

Maclin as a slot receiver? PFF probably did this partially because Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr. are ahead of Maclin as outside receivers. Only 21.4% of Maclin's total routes were ran from the slot, but he was pretty productive from that position. He was targeted 28 times and recorded 19 receptions for 321 yards (16.9 average). Six of Maclin's 10 touchdowns came where he lined up in the slot. Jordan Matthews is Philadelphia's primary slot receiver but Maclin can do damage from that position as well.

Tackles - Jason Peters (PHI) and Lane Johnson (PHI): It’s no surprise that the Eagles’ tackles make the All-NFC East squad, with Peters finishing third among tackles with a Pass Blocking Efficiency Rating of 97.0. Johnson missed the first four games through suspension but looked good on his return, grading negatively in just two games.

Peters and Johnson weren't just PFF's top NFC East offensive tackles. Both players were also recognized as starters on PFF's All-NFL team. Peters finished with the highest run blocking grade of any tackle. Johnson finished as the second highest overall graded right tackle despite missing the first four games of the season due to suspension.

Guards - Evan Mathis (PHI) and Zach Martin (DAL): Mathis missed seven games in 2014, but still finished the season as our second-highest graded guard. Martin may have been a rookie, but he more than held his own, with only two right guards finishing 2014 with a higher grade.

Surprise, surprise. Mathis is always a PFF favorite. What's impressive is that Mathis finished so high despite missing several weeks due to a MCL injury.

DEFENSE

Defensive Interior – Ends: Fletcher Cox (PHI) and Tyrone Crawford (DAL): Fantastic against the run, Cox had the third highest Run Stop Percentage among 3-4 defensive ends, with 39 tackles resulting in defensive stops. Crawford did his damage as a pass rusher, with a Pass Rushing Productivity rating of 7.6.

Cox is obviously a beast. He's only 24, which is pretty scary. NFC East offensive lineman won't like having to deal with him for years to come.

Linebackers - Mychal Kendricks (PHI) and Rolando McClain (DAL): Kendricks had a good season in coverage but his work as a pass rusher helped a lot too, with 27 total pressures from 122 pass rushing snaps. McClain had a strong return to action after ending his retirement, grading positively against the run, in coverage and as a pass rusher.

Like Cox, Kendricks solidified himself as a legitimate defensive stud. He can just about do it all: rush the passer, play the run, and drop into coverage. His pass rushing is especially valuable for a inside linebacker. Kendricks generated a pressure (meaning a hit, sack, or hurry) on one play for every 16.5 snaps.

Cornerbacks - Orlando Scandrick (DAL), Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (NYG), Brandon Boykin (PHI): Scandrick had one of his best seasons since entering the league, allowing just 516 yards in coverage and no touchdowns. Rodgers-Cromartie allowed just 492, though he did surrender five touchdowns through the air. Boykin had another good year from the slot, allowing no touchdowns from the 64 passes thrown into his coverage.

No Bradley Fletcher? Kidding. Not a surprise to see no Eagles cornerbacks listed here... except for Boykin, of course, who is a pretty good slot corner.

Safeties - Malcolm Jenkins (PHI) and Nate Allen (PHI): Jenkins took well to his change of scenery in Philadelphia, finishing the year with 11 pass breakups. He’s joined by his teammate Allen, who had four interceptions and graded positively against the run.

Jenkins making the list isn't a surprise, but Allen? The much-maligned Eagles safety isn't rated that poorly by PFF's standards. Then again, the NFC East isn't exactly loaded with good safeties. Look at the competition: Stevie Brown, Barry Church, Brandon Meriweather, Quintin Demps, J.J. Wilcox, Antrel Rolle, Ryan Clark. Gross.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Returner - Darren Sproles (PHI): Sproles lead the league in punt return yardage, averaged 13.0 yards per punt return and was one of just two players to score twice in that role.

No room to argue with this one. Sproles made his first-ever Pro Bowl appearance for his punt returning performance.

Special Teamer -  James Casey (PHI): Casey was one of the best in the league on kick coverage, and finished the season with seven tackles and four assists on special teams.

PFF forgets to note that Casey also blocked two punts. The veteran tight end might be overpaid but he's very, very good on special teams. He was a big reason the Eagles were the best special teams unit in the NFL in 2014.

REVIEW

Amount of PFF All-NFC East players per team, out of 28 spots. (27 if you don't count fullback, which the Eagles don't use.)

Philadelphia Eagles (11)
Dallas Cowboys (10)
New York Giants (5, including a FB)
Washington Reskins (2)