2017 NFC East Breakdown by Position: The Offense

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During the month of August, the Last Word On Sports NFL department will be breaking down every division in the league by position. This article contains the 2017 NFC East breakdown, position-by-position through the offenses. The breakdown will contain “the best” at each unit followed by “the rest” in descending order.

2017 NFC East Breakdown by Position: The Offense

Quarterback

The Best: Washington Redskins

The Rest: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants

Before Cowboys fans get angry that their prized possession is not touted as the best in the division, examine the details. Kirk Cousins has notched back-to-back seasons with over 4,000 yards and nearly eclipsed 5,000 yards in 2016. He has also thrown 54 touchdowns total in those two seasons. The argument can certainly be made for Dak Prescott to hold the top spot, but because of the fact that Cousins has put up similar to better production in two seasons over one, the nod goes to the Redskins.

If it wasn’t obvious already, Prescott sits firmly in the second spot. Prescott and the Cowboys took the NFL by storm last season, finishing 13-3 in the regular season. As for Prescott, the rookie tallied 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions. It was a rookie season for the ages, and he will certainly be gunning for the top spot next season.

Here is where things get interesting. Carson Wentz attempted a whopping 607 passes in his rookie campaign, but only finished 3,782 yards and 16 touchdowns. Wentz was also somewhat careless with the ball as he threw 14 interceptions. However, anyone who watched the rookie play could see great potential and skill form the North Dakota State prospect.

The most seasoned quarterback in the division and the most accomplished is easily Eli Manning. Manning finished 2016 with his third consecutive 4,000-yard season and tallied 26 touchdowns. Why is he fourth in the division? Manning falls to this spot simply because of his age. Entering his 14th season, Manning is on the downside of his career as the other quarterbacks are ready to take the helm in the division.

Running Back

The Best: Dallas Cowboys

The Rest: Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, New York Giants

Despite Ezekiel Elliott being suspended for the first six games of the season, there is no argument that can be made about who is the best runner in the division. Elliot was the fourth overall selection in the 2016 draft, and proved to be worthy of the pick as he finished his first professional season with 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Cowboys also have Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris to back up Elliott during the suspension; two backs that could start on several teams in the league.

The Eagles went out and signed LeGarrette Blount to a one-year deal in the hopes that he would be the tough, between-the-tackles back that picked up short-yardage conversions and be a goal line threat. They also hold one of best receiving backs in the league in Darren Sproles. The duo will look to create plenty of mismatches in the 2017 season.

Washington’s backfield is interesting. Rob Kelley showed flashes of speed and power in 2016 but only finished with 704 yards and six touchdowns. Behind him is the pass-catching Chris Thompson. The duo has a lot of potential but need to establish consistency.

While passing game is always a threat for the Big Apple, the running game has struggled for years now. Last season, the Giants averaged only 3.5 yards per carry, which was the third worst in the league. New York will hope for more success as Paul Perkins is set to receive more touches as the lead back this season.

Wide Receiver

The Best: New York Giants

The Rest: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

Odell Beckham Jr. is a top-5 receiver in the NFL despite his net-kicking antics. He is a generational talent and has hands like glue. If that wasn’t scary enough, the Giants went out and signed Brandon Marshall to add a tall, physical presence. Even if defenses somehow manage to blanket those two, they still need to respect Sterling Shepard out of the slot. This is a scary unit that may be the best in the NFL.

While he may have struggled lately with injuries, Dez Bryant still poses a huge threat to defenses and is a legitimate number one receiver in this league. The Cowboys also have a very underrated number two and three receiver in Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. Across the board, Dallas has a very balanced attack through the air with sure hands and playmakers.

The Eagles buckled down and got Wentz some help in the way of free agency, signing veterans Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith. Both players are on “prove it” deals and both have talent to do so. However, there are plenty of question marks with the unit, especially after the trade of Jordan Matthews.

After losing Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, the Redskins signed Terrelle Pryor and put plenty of faith into second-year player Josh Doctson. Despite Pryor having a very exciting season with the Cleveland Browns, it is too early to tell if he can be a true number one receiver to lead a team.

Tight End

The Best: Philadelphia Eagles

The Rest: Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

The Eagles have three tight ends who all hold a very specific role for the team. Zach Ertz is one of the best receiving tight ends in the league, notching 2,840 yards in his first four seasons in the NFL. Brent Celek is no longer the pass-catcher he once was, but he makes up for it with his blocking ability. Trey Burton is a playmaker and a specialist. He basically wins them the top spot because he long-snapped last year (kidding).

Watching Jordan Reed be on the injury report almost every season is a true shame. If healthy, Reed is quite possibly the best tight end in the league and, more importantly, would bring his team in the top spot on this list. However, concussions have plagued the young player. If he is able to stay healthy, fantasy football owners will rejoice everywhere.

If this were five years in the past, the Cowboys would most likely hold the top spot. Jason Witten is the ageless wonder of the NFC East, constantly providing a safety blanket for whoever is taking the snaps for the Cowboys. However, Father Time is undefeated, and while Witten still has great hands, he has clearly lost a step.

Many people loved the draft pick of Evan Engram for the Giants, who is essentially an over-sized receiver. This kid makes plays and is a freakish athlete, but it is way too early to tell just how good he will be. So, for now, the Giants are in the basement for this one.

Offensive Line

The Best: Dallas Cowboys

The Rest: Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, New York Giants

No matter what anyone says, the Cowboys still hold this top spot. Zack Martin and Tyron Smith are arguably the best at their respective positions. The big boys upfront do not receive the same praise as the skill players, but when you look at the rushing totals that Dallas had last season, arguing against them being the top unit in the division and also the entire league is a futile task.

The Eagles, when healthy (and not suspended), are one of the best units in the league, but will remain one spot behind their biggest rivals. The Eagles will have some questions to answer soon, as Jason Peters‘ years are limited and Jason Kelce has been shaky. Nonetheless, this unit is slated as the second best unit in the division.

Trent Williams is a top five left tackle in the game and is the anchor for this unit. There is no other elite level talent along this line, but they are all very solid. Brandon Schreff is a young guy that the Redskins hope to groom into a roadgrater for the team, but he is still developing.

Despite having a great offense, the Giants have a pretty lackluster line. Justin Pugh and Ereck Flowers hold down the left side of the line but after those two, it is a crap shoot. An improvement for this unit would do wonders for their run game and the offense as a whole.

If you haven’t yet, check the defensive NFC East breakdown!

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