Now that the draft is done, we can start looking toward the start of the season, which seems like an endlessly long way away,
With nothing else to do, I thought it would be a fun exercise to put together my best guess at who will be the top players from our division in the coming year. This obviously involves a bit of projection, and, trigger warning, I will have two rookies on the team.
Quarterback - Dak Prescott. This is probably the easiest selection to make. Dak is the best qb in the division and it really isn't close. It will be interesting to see how Carson Wentz does in Washington, and Dak has lost his best receiver, but I don't see him losing out the top spot anytime soon.
Running Back - Miles Sanders. From the easiest position to the hardest, this is one position where I would like to simply shrug my shoulders and say anyone is fine. Zeke Elliott was bad last season, and Saquon Barkley was worse. It's possible that Barkley has a better year this year as his offensive line will be better and he is another year removed from his injury. Sanders will share touches, so he won't put up big numbers, but he is highly effective when he does get the ball, though his lack of TDs last season was perplexing. Antonio Gibson had an okay year, but his 4.0 yards per carry average is pretty lackluster.
Wide Receiver - Terry McLaurin, CeeDee Lamb and AJ Brown. DeVonta Smith just misses out here, and it will be interesting to see how he does with Lamb getting promoted to wr1 and him moving to wr2. Smith should feast on slot corners when he plays inside and I expect a big year from him. But for now he is fourth.
Tight End - Dallas Goedert. Dalton Schultz has a legit claim, but his pass blocking is poor. Goedert also has an absurd yards per target average that pushes him to the top.
Left Tackle - Jordan Mailata. Okay, this is a little bit of homerism here, as Andrew Thomas and Tyron Smith are both just as good, but I will go with the physical freak of nature who throws linemen around like they are high school kids. His pass protection still has issues, but if he can clean that up, he will be the best left tackle in football.
Left Guard - Landon Dickerson. Landon benefits from not having much competition here. The Cowboys are starting a rookie, the Giants are starting a journeyman and the WFT don't have a clear starter right now. So Dickerson it is. He struggled early but was dominant at the end of the season, and I expect that to continue. If he moves to the right, Seumalo takes his place on the team, but I think Seumalo will end up on the right side.
Center - Jason Kelce. This is a no-brainer as other teams haven't really invested much at center. Chase Roullier is really good, but he's coming off an injury.
Right Guard - Zack Martin. This is pretty obvious. He's a top guard in the league.
Right Tackle - Lane Johnson. The Eagles have the best oline in football, so it's not a surprise they have four of the top five spots. Evan Neal is probably going to be really good, but even if he plays really well, he's not knocking Lane off the top of the mountain.
So on offense, we have seven Eagles, three Cowboys and a Commander. I could be accused of Eagles bias here, but I think the picks are pretty easy to defend. Left tackle and running back are the two spots that I see as most debatable, but I don't think I making too much of a reach to favor the home team.
Defensive Tackle - Jonathan Allen and Leonard Williams. Hey, we finally get a New York Football Giant on the team. Javon Hargrave makes a strong case, but Williams and Allen are clearly the top two in my mind.
Defensive End - Chase Young and Kayvon Thibodeaux. Our first rookie. Yes, it's a projection, but I think he gets double-digit sacks and benefits from New York having an excellent defensive line. Young is coming off an injury, but he is clearly a monster.
Linebacker - Micah Parsons and Nakobe Dean. The easiest defensive pick and the hardest. Cole Holcomb has a case here. but he didn't put up numbers that were any better than Kyzir White, and I see White as our #2 guy. Dean has to stay healthy, but his college tape is simply outstanding. Blake Martinez was injured last year, and I could see an argument being made for him. But for now I will stick my neck out for Dean.
Cornerback - Darius Slay, Trevon Diggs, Adoree' Jackson. It was tough leaving Kendall Fuller off the list, and I would have liked to replace Diggs with him, but Diggs just had too many interceptions to overlook.
Safety - Jayron Kearse and Xavier McKinney. Two solid safeties who aren't spectacular but, in a division with decidedly mediocre safeties, they are the best options. Both Washington safeties could have made this team, but I am not going to grind game tape to figure out who is the best, as my larger concern is that the Eagles don't have anyone who even contends for a spot here.
So that's the defense. Two Eagles make it, and one of them is a complete projection. Jordan Davis could easily find himself on this team, but I have to see it first. As noted, Dean is a real stretch, but it's not like the linebackers in the division, outside of Parsons, are anything special. To be in the top two, he just has to be better than average, whereas Davis has to play at a pro-bowl level to beat out Williams and Allen.
Four Giants made it (though Thibodeaux is obviously a guess as well), three Cowboys and two Commanders. The Commanders had a number of guys in the mix, the two safeties, Fuller, Montez Sweat and Holcomb. So it mystifies me why they were so bad last year, although Davis struggled at linebacker and losing Chase Young really hurt them.
The team totals are Eagles with nine, the Cowboys with six, the Giants with four and the Commanders with three. I will admit to being biased for the Eagles, but I did try to be objective.
This is a preseason list from last year.
Five players on offense are the same - Prescott, Lamb, McLaurin, Lane and Martin. Two would have made the list but were traded outside of the division (Sherff and Cooper.) I have Kelce replacing Roullier and Goedert replacing Logan Thomas, which I think are easy choices to make. Running back is a tough one, but I think I justified the Sanders pick. Left tackle was a tough choice, and I certainly can't argue with Smith making it.
There are five players on defense who are the same - the defensive tackles, Young, McKinney and Diggs. I have two rookies making it, which is a reach, especially since Dean has health concerns. But he has participated in the mini-camp, so I think the Eagles got a steal with their pick. Only four more months to see how good or bad this list was.