With the summer slowly turning the corner, we can start to look forward to training camp starting in the coming weeks. To get everyone in the mood, I spent some time looking at the talent of the NFC East. On the offensive side, the division is loaded with names along the offensive line, tight end and at receiver. No doubt in my mind that the NFC East could produce at least five receivers in 2016 who will surpass the the thousand yard threshold. As for the rest of the positions, the division is league average in relation to the rest of the league, but here are the best players on offense in the NFC East.
Tony Romo: A year after a stellar, near MVP level campaign in 2014, Tony Romo was hit with serious injuries in 2015 that cost the Cowboys dearly. He is very obviously the glue that holds that offense together and with him taking snaps and at full stop, the Cowboys offense will be clicking once again next season. While he is getting up there in years and has a ticking time bomb for a skeletal structure, there is no doubt that Romo's poise, Houdini like ability in the pocket and deep passing ability make him one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Second Team: Eli Manning
Ezekiel Elliott: In a division that is mostly bereft of running back talent, it is easy for me to project 2016's number four overall pick and my number one overall player as the best back in the division. Pre draft, I made lofty comparisons for Elliott, comparing him to Le'Veon Bell. I fell in love with Elliott's vision, consistency, nuanced running ability and threat in the pass game while he was Ohio State and I wouldn't be surprised to see him hit the ground running in Dallas' offense.
Ryan Mathews: Ah, the enigma that is Ryan Mathews; who is as talented as he is unlucky. Over the course of Ryan Mathews' career, it was obvious how talented he is every time he stepped on the field... When he stepped on the field. Mathews has been plagued his whole career with nagging injuries that have made him unreliable season to season. However, if Mathews can maintain his health, there is no denying how good he is. He was easily the best back in Philadelphia last season and he has a great opportunity to be the focal point of the offense this year.
Second Team: Alfred Morris, Rashad Jennings
Odell Beckham Jr.: Ever since stepping on the field as a rookie, Odell Beckham Junior has been a bonafide star. After an outstanding sophomore campaign, proving he was far from a one year wonder, I wonder if it is possible for Beckham to be any better. He really can do it all: Win in the short game, act as a deep threat and make an impact in the red zone. His blend of athletic ability and technical prowess make him impossible to defend and he is set for another huge year on a pass heavy Giants team.
Dez Bryant: The Cowboys star suffered a down year due to injuries and horrific quarterback play, but like Romo, he is poised to bounce back. Bryant has been terrorizing cornerbacks in the NFC East for years, posting 41 touchdowns in his last three healthy seasons. His blend of size and athleticism allows him to dominate in the red zone and if he is healthy, there is no doubt he will have an excellent season.
Second Team: DeSean Jackson, Jordan Matthews
Jordan Reed: This was an especially difficult choice. Zach Ertz and Jason Witten both posted very good seasons, especially considering their quarterback play, but it is impossible to ignore how good Jordan Reed was in 2015. Reed has been plagued with injuries his whole career but health and opportunity allowed him to finally break out in his third season. Reed is an outstanding athlete for a tight end and has a great set of hands. It is possible his yardage takes a dip heading into next season considering how talented Washington's offense is, but a healthy Jordan Reed is one of the best tight ends in the NFL.
Second Team: Zach Ertz.
Tyron Smith: Once again, choosing between Smith, Jason Peters and Trent Williams for this spot was difficult, but Smith's consistency and dominance in the run game stood out to me. The fifth year offensive tackle has really come into his own as one of the best offensive players in the NFL. His size and athletic ability make him a load for defenders to handle and at only 25 years old, he has many years of terrorizing defensive linemen ahead of him.
Second Team: Jason Peters
Justin Pugh: After getting drafted by the Giants to play tackle in 2013, Pugh moved to left guard and that proved to be massively beneficial to him and the Giants. He is a solid run blocker but makes his money in pass protection, using a great mentality combined with technique to neutralize defenders. His pass protection will be integral to the Giants offense that likes to lean on the passing game and he will likely continue to thrive playing inside.
Second Team: La'el Collins
Travis Frederick: After most people laughed (including me) at the Cowboys for spending a first round pick on a center in 2013, it is hard to laugh now as Federick has ascended to being the best center in the NFL. On top of being a great pass protector, Frederick is a tremendous run blocker and keys Dallas inside running game. He is a very good athlete and is incredibly smart all while being incredibly young. Frederick will continue to be the best center in the league next year and for many years going forward.
Second Team: Weston Richburg
Zack Martin: The Cowboys spent a first round pick on an offensive lineman in three of the last six drafts and it obviously shows. Zack Martin has been a first team All-Pro both of his years in the league and that accolade is well deserved. He has a complete game as a pass blocker and a run blocker and he, Frederick and Smith make up the most talented collection of offensive linemen in the NFL.
Second Team: Brandon Brooks
Lane Johnson: There is no doubt that the Eagles made the right pick taking Lane Johnson fourth overall in 2013. Johnson's freak athletic ability made him an instant impact player for the Eagles and he has really honed his craft over the years. Johnson provides everything you want from an offensive lineman and has been arguably the best right tackle in the NFL over the last two seasons. The Eagles recognized his value with a rich contract extension and expect him to step into the left tackle spot down the line when Jason Peters decides to hang it up. There is no doubt Johnson will be able to step in when called upon and I could not think of a better player to transition to.
Second Team: Morgan Moses