FanPost

Revisiting Blogging The Boys' Preseason NFC East Positional Rankings (Offense)

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

In June 2017, the fine folks at BloggingTheBoys.com posted their NFC East positional group rankings. Let's take a look back at what they were saying:

QUARTERBACKS

Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott burst onto the scene for the Cowboys last season and solidified himself as one of the best rookie quarterbacks of all time. His completion percentage, accuracy and leadership were tremendous as he lead the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and a first-round bye in the playoffs. As a result, Dallas went all in by letting Tony Romo go and drafting additional weapons to ensure a Dak-friendly setup. Going into the 2017 season, Dak Prescott will be complemented by a tremendous supporting cast. With all the cards in his favor, the pressure is plentiful as opposing teams have last year’s film to dissect. While Eli Manning is the most accomplished quarterback in the division, Dak Prescott is the best at this time. His youth, agility, accuracy and potential make him the best quarterback in the division.

New York Giants: Eli Manning

Eli Manning enters his 14th year as the starting quarterback for the New York Giants. During this time, he is a two-time Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl MVP and a four-time Pro Bowler. He owns the majority of passing records in Giants history and is easily one of the best quarterbacks of the last 15 years. His Achilles heel over the years has been inconsistency and turnovers. As he enters the 2017 season, he is flanked by the best receiving corps in the NFL and so there will be plenty of passing. Eli Manning is the second best quarterback in the division and it will be his arm that keeps the Giants’ championship window open.

Washington Redskins: Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins entered the 2016 season on the franchise tag and played tremendously most of the season. He chanted "How you like me now" all season but the Redskin’s front office ineptness undermined him this off-season. Cousins lost his primary receivers, Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, and the front office watched Cousins ask for a trade. All this being said, Cousins returns this season with a solid set of weapons including newly signed Terrelle Pryor and oft-injured Jordan Reed. Standing alone, Cousins can be a solid quarterback for the Redskins but he will be again plagued with revolving pieces along the coaching staff and team.

Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz

The Philadelphia Eagles went all in with Carson Wentz last year and they should be appreciative of his efforts last season. While all the rookie momentum in the NFL last year was usurped by Dak Prescott, Wentz went on to have a decent year as he had 16 touchdowns, 14 interceptions while starting all 16 games. The verdict is still unsettled for Wentz but he enters this season with a strong supporting cast with newly signed Alshon Jeffery. In quarterback-centric division, Carson Wentz ranks the least best quarterback.

Summary

While Eli Manning has owned the division for a number of years, it appears that Dak Prescott has officially taken over as the best quarterback in the division. Kirk Cousins and Carson Wentz will be the third- and fourth-best quarterbacks for the forseeable future in the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys: 4 points

New York Giants: 3 points

Washington Redskins: 2 points

Philadelphia Eagles: 1 point

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WIDE RECEIVERS

We continue the NFC East rankings with part three dissecting the wide receivers. Unlike the running backs in the division, the NFC East showcases a pair of teams with outstanding groups of wide receivers and a pair of teams with potentially strong receivers.

New York Giants

The New York Giants enter the 2017 season with the top receiving core in the NFC East. Despite the loss of Victor Cruz, the Giants showcase Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard. This trio will provide plenty of firepower and will single-handedly extend Eli Manning’s run as the starting quarterback. OBJ is rightfully considered among the best receivers in the NFL, alongside Antonio Brown. Brandon Marshall comes in as a bigger bodied Victor Cruz who will dominate the interior of the field. Add that to rising sophomore Sterling Shepard, and the Giants have the best receiving core in the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley

The Dallas Cowboys have the second-best receiving group in the NFC East but still rank as one of the best receiving groups across the NFL. Dallas will have Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley on Sunday Night Football against the Giants to start off the season. OBJ has outplayed Dez over the last few seasons, but Williams and Beasley are competitive versus Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard. Dallas kept Brice Butler and drafted Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown. Look for Dallas to get creative with two-slot sets as well as initiate a constant rotation of Beasley and Switzer to keep opposing defenses fatigued.

Philadelphia Eagles: Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews

The Eagles entered this offseason with an anemic receiving corps but added Alshon Jeffery in free agency, a player who torched Dallas a few years ago with his red zone pass-catching ability. The Eagles will pair veteran Torrey Smith and Jordan Matthews to Jeffery which will give Carson Wentz talent on the outside. In a rather stacked position group, this Eagles group comes in as the third-most talented group.

Washington Redskins: Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder

The Redskins lost their top two receivers this season but they did sign Terrelle Pryor to a team-friendly deal. Add his length to speedsters Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder, and Kirk Cousins suddenly finds himself with three competent pass-catchers. All this being said, the youngsters are still young and starters on a bad offensive team. This Redskins groups ranks in as the least talented receiving group in the NFC East.

Summary

The Giants group is better than the Cowboys group which is considerably better than what the Redskins and Eagles have to offer. The Giants success this season will rely on their stingy defense and their pass-catchers.

New York Giants: 4 points

Dallas Cowboys: 3 points

Philadelphia Eagles: 2 points

Washington Redskins: 1 point

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TIGHT ENDS

The tight ends in the NFC East are led by Jason Witten and a handful of potentials down the road. Jordan Reed is the new prototypical pass-catching tight end but his concussion history has haunted him during his career.

Dallas Cowboys: Jason Witten

The great Jason Witten enters his fifteenth season for the Dallas Cowboys. During this time, he has racked up 10 Pro Bowls and 2 First-Team All Pros and will find himself in Canton at the conclusion of his career. He provides Dallas with leadership, red zone pass-catching, a tremendous blocker and a big body down the field. He has already assumed the ‘safety blanket’ role for Dak as he was for Tony for a number of years. His consistency is remarkable and Dallas will continue to benefit from it this year. His play gives Dallas the best tight end in the division.

Washington Redskins: Jordan Reed

Jordan Reed has the potential to be one of the best tight ends of his generation if he manages to stay healthy. In his short career, he has already become the fastest tight end in NFL history to record 200 receptions and he translated all of his on the field success into a $50 million dollar contract last off-season. He provides Kirk Cousins with a tremendous down the field threat, but also as a reliable first down target throughout the game. Upon Witten’s retirement, Jordan Reed will become the top tight end in the division. Till then, he remains the second best tight end in the NFC East.

New York Giants: Evan Engram

With the obvious strengths that their division foes boast with their tight ends, the Giants drafted Evan Engram in the first round last month. During his time at Mississippi, he was a First Team All-American once and a two time First Team All-SEC. He enters a Giants team with plenty of firepower at receiver but a lackluster tight end group for a number of years. While there is tremendous potential with his height (6 ft, 3 in) and speed (4.42 sec, 40 yard dash), he will face a lot of pressure to quickly get up to speed and add to Eli Manning’s arsenal. Despite his lack of professional playing time, he ranks as the third best tight end in the division.

Philadelphia Eagles: Zach Ertz and Brent Celek

The Eagles have showcased a combination of Zach Ertz and Brent Celek for a few seasons now but their play has been somewhat inadequate. Celek has been with the Eagles since 2007 and has racked up 30 touchdowns and a 12.7 yard per catch average. Zach Ertz came to the Eagles in 2013 and has racked up 13 touchdowns and a 11.5 yard per catch average. The Eagles had plenty of faith in Ertz as they signed him to a $42 million dollar extension last year. This combination of fairly average tight ends ranks in as the least talented tight end group in the division.

Summary

Dallas Cowboys: 4 point

Washington Redskins: 3 points

New York Giants: 2 points

Philadelphia Eagles: 1 points

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RUNNING BACKS

Part two of our NFC East compares and ranks the running backs. As seen below, the NFC East was relatively meager in the rushing department until Dallas drafted Zeke last season and the Eagles signed LeGarrette Blount last week.

Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden

The rushing king of the NFC East is clearly Ezekiel Elliott. He led the league in rushing last year and this year will be no different. He is a playmaker with great vision and speed and he will probably elevate his play this year in the receiving game. He is already putting himself in the picture of great running backs in Cowboys history and he will continue to get better as he enters his sophomore year. He has a strong supporting cast and an elite offensive line helping him out. Darren McFadden adds depth as a quality backup.

Philadelphia Eagles: LeGarrette Blount, Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles

The Philadelphia Eagles made a major roster upgrade last week when they signed Blount, a player who crushed it during his Patriots days. He led the league in touchdowns last year and brings a championship mentality to a team (and city) that is not used to winning. Complement his bulldozing style with speedster Darren Sproles and a reliable Ryan Matthews and the Eagles boast the second best running attack in the NFC East. Look for this combination to immediately help Carson Wentz.

Washington Redskins: Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine

Rising sophomore Rob Kelley started 15 games last season and enters the 2017 season as the featured back for the Washington Redskins. Last year, he averaged 4.2 yards per attempt and logged six touchdowns but was nowhere near the focus of the offense as he averaged less than 50 yards per game. His play will be more important this year and he ranks as the third best rushing attack in the NFC East. Washignton added Samaje Perine in the draft, and he has a chance to elevate the team’s rushing attack.

New York Giants: Paul Perkins and Shane Vareen

Paul Perkins and veteran Shane Vareen lead the rushing attack for the Giants. Whether it's a lack of priority, weak draft picks or simply bad luck, the Giants have not had a formidable running back since Brandon Jacobs. This duo comes in as the worst running back group in the division. Fortunately for them, the Giants offense will rely almost exclusively on Eli Manning and his receivers.

Summary

The Cowboys clearly have the best rushing attack but look for the three-headed group in Philly to immediately make a significant impact. The Redskins and Giants are trying to revive dormant rushing attacks.

Dallas Cowboys: 4 points

Philadelphia Eagles: 3 points

Washington Redskins: 2 points

New York Giants: 1 point

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OFFENSIVE LINE

The Dallas Cowboys made a series of unsexy picks in the first round in the 2011, 2013, and 2014 NFL Drafts. The only break from their philosophy over the four year stretch was in 2012, when they traded up and drafted Morris Claiborne. With their first round OL picks, the Cowboys find themselves in great shape on the offense for a number of seasons to come. It is clear that the Cowboys are in a class of their own, but let’s take a look at how the rest of the division shakes out.

Dallas Cowboys: Tyron Smith, Zach Martin, Travis Frederick, La’El Collins

The Dallas Cowboys lost 40% of their offensive line this off-season but will continue to feature three consistent All-Pro players in Tyron Smith, Zach Martin and Travis Frederick. They will plug in potential superstar La’El Collins and they will have a new unnamed starter (Chaz Green? Jonathan Cooper? Emmett Cleary?) along the offensive line. This group sets the standard across the National Football League and their cumulative success has already started to change the culture of how other franchises draft offensive linemen. The offensive line will continue to dominate this year and will be ultimately responsible for the success rising sophomores Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have this season.

Washington Redskins: Trent Williams

The Redskins feature Trent Williams at left tackle. He anchors an otherwise decent line. When he is balling out (and avoiding suspension), Williams is one of the very best in the game. Spencer Long played well last season at the center position because of injuries and he enters this season as the starter. The rest of the line is composed of a series of misfits and veterans who will be good enough to give the Redskins the second best offensive line in the NFC East.

Philadelphia Eagles: Jason Peters, Lane Johnson

The Eagles enter this season with Jason Peters at left tackle, perennially one of the best at his position. The Eagles would have the second best offensive line in the division if right tackle Lane Johnson could stay on the field and avoid suspension. While the interior of the line is weaker than others, the Eagles have a serious strengths on the outside, something that LeGarrette Blount will benefit from.

New York Giants: Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh

The Giants must blame themselves for the lack of consistent success because they have never made the offensive line a priority. They enter this season with Ereck Flowers at left tackle and Bobby Hart at right tackle. That is clearly not a recipe for success. Their interior has been somewhat strong with left guard Justin Pugh leading the bunch. Any success the Giants have this year relies on Eli Manning’s passing ability, which will rely predominantly on how much protection his offensive line can provide him. At this point, the Giants have the least talented offensive line in the division.

Summary

Dallas Cowboys: 4 points

Washington Redskins: 3 points

Philadelphia Eagles: 2 points

New York Giants: 1 point

---------