Several Philadelphia Eagles players landed on the All-NFC East offensive and defensive teams as determined by Bleeding Green Nation's Ben Natan. While Ben did a good job with those rosters, it's now time to look at the most important one of all ... the All-NFC East special teams team. Here we go.
Kicker: Dan Bailey, Cowboys
This is a strange pick at first glance because Bailey actually had the lowest percentage of field goals made for any NFC East kicker. Bailey was at 86.2% (25-29) which ranked 14th in the NFL overall. Cody Parkey (32-36) and Kai Forbath (24-27) were tied for second in the division at 88.9% while Josh Brown came in first at 92.3% (24-26).
Bailey clearly wins out, however, when it comes to kickoffs. According to Pro Football Focus, only 44.8% of his kicks were returned and the opponent's average starting position was at the 20.1 yard line. Those marks were the best in the division. Bailey also led all NFC East kickers in touchbacks with 52 on 96 attempts.
I was tempted to put Cody Parkey here given his impressive rookie season, but part of being a great kicker involves consistency and Bailey has the better track record for now. Let's see what Parkey does in his sophomore season before we recognize his claim to the Iron Throne of kicking.
Punter: Donnie Jones, Eagles
Jones appeared to be a lot better in 2013 than he was in 2014. His power just wasn't there. Jones finished last in the NFC East in both punting average and net yards. So why the heck is he first, then? Well, for one, he's Donnie friggin Jones. Two, punting just isn't about power. It's also about controlling field position and Jones is really good at that. 37 of his 76 punts (48.7%) were downed in the opponent's 20-yard line. Jones led the NFL in this category. Only 38.2% of his punts were returned at all, which ranked fifth best in the NFL. If you to reward a punter for his power, Washington's Tress Way should be the winner. But I'm taking precision here.
Kick Return: Dwayne Harris, Giants
This one was close. The NFC East has some good kick returners. Harris gets the nod here due to his track record and his NFC East-leading return average of 24.7 yards. Josh Huff's 27.7 mark was technically good for first place, but his number is inflated from a 107-yard return and 15 less attempts than Harris had. Washington's Andre Roberts deserves to be in the discussion here with a 23.7 average on 30 attempts. Huff could emerge as the leader here in future seasons.
Punt Return: Darren Sproles, Eagles
This one isn't close. Sproles was clearly the best punt returner in the entire league last season with an NFL-leading 506 yards good for a 13.0 average. Sproles also scored two touchdowns. Harris would come in second here.
ST Coverage: Chris Maragos, Eagles
The entire Eagles' special teams coverage unit really deserves a shout-out based on how good they were last season. Leading the way is Chris Maragos, who led the division in special teams tackles with 13.
Holder: Donnie Jones, Eagles
Long Snapper: Jon Dorenbos, Eagles
Pro Football Focus graded Dorenbos as the best long snapper in the NFL last season. According to them, only two of his 168 snaps were not precise.