Top 50 Players in the NFC East

50. WR Jordan Matthews

The Eagles' best wide receiver of the past two season (by far). No receiver had more receiving yards from the slot than Matthews' 2,389. He excel playing exclusively there with additions of boundary receivers Alshon Jeffrey & Torrey Smith

49. ILB Mason Foster

One of the most underrated players in the NFL last season was Mason Foster. Trailed only Sean Lee & Landon Collins among tacklers in the NFC East (124) in 2016. Graded out at 86.3 as PFF's 10th best linebacker last season.

48. CB Anthony Brown

Late round draft steal came on strong to finish his rookie year in relief of Morris Claiborne. No cornerback gave up less yards per coverage snap than Brown did in the last month of the 2016 season.

47. TE Zach Ertz

Led the Eagles in both catches (78) & receiving yards (816) in 2016. Like Jordan Matthews, the underbelly of the field could prove to be very venerable for Ertz with increased attention going to Alshon Jeffrey.  

46. QB Eli Manning

By Eli Manning standards, had a down 2016. Yet still threw 26 touchdowns and surpassed 4,000 yards through the air. With the additions of Brandon Marshall & Evan Engram, he now has the best receiving weapons in the East, and of his career.

45. RB Chris Thompson

After years of spending too much time in the training room, Chris Thompson finally established himself as one of the best third down backs in the NFL in 2016. He rushed for a lofty 5.2 yards per carry and set career highs in both rushing and receiving yards. His career-high 49 catches was second only to Darren Sproles' 52 for NFC East running backs.

44. TE Jason Witten

Jason Witten is only 14 catches away from moving into 4th on the career catches list. FOURTH! Jason isn't the player her once was, but proved to be a go-to security blanket for a developing Dak Prescott. He is still one of the most durable & reliable tight ends in league history.

43. RB LeGarrette Blount

LeGarrette Blount likely won't score 18 touchdowns again like he did in 2016, but will be the bell-cow the Eagle's offense has lacked for several seasons. He will be the thunder element to an intriguing lightning backfield that will include Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood & rookie pinball Donnel Pumphrey.

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42. DE David Irving

One of the NFL's best kept secrets. David Irving made came up with timely play after timely play last season & quietly became a premier edge-rusher for the division champs. Will miss some time due to a PED suspension, but will return to wrecking backfields come week five.

41. DT Timmy Jernigan

The Eagles stole Jernigan from the Ravens for a pick swap, albeit on a one-year rental. PFF ranked Jernigan as the NFL's top 3-4 run stuffing end last year. The addition of Jernigan, in addition to Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Derek Barnett & Chris Long may have been enough for the Eagle to surpass the Giants for the best defensive front in the division. 

40. FS DJ Swearinger

Filled in superbly last year when Honey Badger was down and was quietly one of the best safeties in the league. DJS received high marks in pass coverage as well as in run support, ranking high in both categories. Now in Washington, he will team with former second-rounder S'ua Cravens to bring stability to a Redskins safety position that has lacked it for years.

39. RG Brandon Brooks

The casual fan thinks Jason Kelce is the Eagles' best lineman next to Jason Peters. But that title offically belongs to Brandon Brooks (and he's closer than you think to surpassing Peters, as well). Brooks only allowed one sack the entire season. Brooks + Lane Johnson is up there with any right side of an offensive line in the league.

38. RB Darren Sproles

The little engine that could chipped in a career-high 6.3 yards per carry last season. Entering what was reported to be his final NFL season, he is still one of the most dangerous all-purpose skill position threats in the NFL.

37. ILB Zach Brown

Zach Brown the second-leading tackler in the NFL behind only Seattle's Bobby Wagner last year with 149 stops. Brown coming to DC is exactly what the Redskins were missing; a much needed dimension of speed & athleticism to their linebacker unit.

36. LG Justin Pugh

Justin Pugh is the rose that grew out of the pot of dirt that is the Giants' offensive line. Arguments could be made that he is the best left guard in the division (although with Zach Martin, Brandon Brooks and Brandon Scherff all playing right guard, the competition isn't that stiff).

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35. WR Sterling Shepard

Sterling Shepard was an immediate impact starter in the slot as rookie. Shepard caught 65 passes and eight touchdowns last season and was reportedly un-guardable at Giants OTAs and minicamp in Odell Beckham's abscene. His production should remain steady, if not increase, even with additions of Brandon Marshall & Evan Engram.

34. LT Jason Peters

At the ripe old age of 35, Jason Peters is firmly in the twilight but is still one of the most effective tackles around. He was the third-most penalized tackle in the NFL last year (13) which could be an indicator that he is slowing down. Still, he finished with a top-ten grade by PFF and is an imposing figure at left tackle.

33. SLB Nigel Bradham

No player in the division is more improved than Nigel Bradham. He eclipsed 100 tackles for the first time in his career and saw his PFF grade jump from 39.2 to 86.5. He should have another great season with a dominant defensive line in front of him occupying blockers.

32. WR Cole Beasely

Cole Beasley finally had his breakout season 2016, establishing himself as one of the NFC's top slot receivers and leading the Cowboys in targets (98), catches (75) and yards (833). 

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31. RT Morgan Moses

Morgan Moses went from bust potential in his rookie 2014 season to one of the game's top right tackles just two years later. The Redskins rewarded him with a five-year, $40 million extension this spring. He isn't on Lane Johnson's level, but he isn't far behind, in my opinion.

30. DE Jason Pierre-Paul

2015 was a disaster for JPP. Blew off half his hand, missed half the season and only registered one sack, all headed into a contract season. After being slapped with the franchise tag, he proved that he could still play at a high level despite his disability. His seven sacks wasn't near his career high, but displayed enough to earn a four-year, $62 million deal from the Giants.

29. WR Terrelle Pryor

How Terrelle Pryor caught 77 passes and went over 1,000 yards receiving from the trash heap that was the Cleveland Brown's quarterback room last year, I will never know. Now, he has brought his talents to Washington to play with an actual quarterback. Scary.

28. QB Dak Prescott

For all the Hell Dak Prescott catches from non-Cowboys fans for benefiting from a dominant run game, the kid can actually play. Prescott's QBR of 81.5 was third in the NFL to only Matt Ryan (the MVP) and Tom Brady (the GOAT). That is pretty damn good.

27. S/CB Byron Jones

Byron Jones is emerging as one of the more versatile defenders in the division. His ability to guard the opposing offenses' tight end & slot wide receiver has proved immensely important. The hybrid safety/cornerback made a huge leap in his second season, registering 89 tackles, nine passes defended and a pick. 

26. QB Kirk Cousins

No quarterback in Redskins history has had as a productive two-year stretch as Kirk Cousins. He has shattered almost every franchise single-season record and has led the Redskins to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time 96-97. His 4,917 passing yards was third in the league.

25. EDGE Ryan Kerrigan

For the second time in his career, Ryan Kerrigan hit the double digit sack mark, leading the team with 11. He had a particularly good year against Philadelphia, sacking Carson Wentz twice in the first meeting and forcing a game-clinching forced fumble in the second meeting.

24. WR Jamison Crowder

The NFC East's best slot receiver resides in Washington. Jamison Crowder was dynamic for the Redskins in 2016, routinely beating any coverage designed to slow him down. He set career highs in catches (67), yards (847) and touchdowns. Crowder also ranked fourth in the NFL in punt return average (12.15 yards per return).

23. S Malcolm Jenkins

I hate talking in cliches, but with Malcolm Jenkins, saying he has a nose for the football is just the most apt term I can come up with. He LITERALLY plays every position in the secondary & dime linebacker when a situation dictates. Tallied 72 tackles and three interceptions, scoring on two pick-sixes.

22. RG Brandon Scherff

Many thought the Redskins swung and missed reaching for right tackle-turned-right guard Brandon Scherff in 2015. In two short years, hes transitions to one of the better interior linemen in the conference, earning his first Pro Bowl nod. He has helped pave the way for a Redskins rushing attach that finished tied for seventh in yards per carry last year (4.5). 

21. WR Brandon Marshall

Say what you want about Brandon Marshall's dip in production last year, but he is just one year removed from his 109/1,502/14 career best. Now, he is playing on the best team of his career in an offense that caters to his style of play. He won't get the targets he used to because of other weapons, but he is as dangerous as he ever was.

20. MLB Jordan Hicks

Jordan Hicks is a superstar in the making. PFF graded Hicks as the fifth best linebacker in football. He led all NFL linebackers with five interceptions & his 11 takeaways in his first two years are the most of any player in the past four decades. Next to Nigel Bradham and behind a stalwart defensive line, the sky is the limit going into this third season.

19. WR Alshon Jeffrey

When Alshon Jeffrey put pen to paper to sign with the Eagles in March, he instantly became their most talented offensive player & their best wide receiver since Terrell Owens. Played the best ball of his career with a big-armed, slightly inaccurate Carson Wentz clone named Jay Cutler.

18. CB Josh Norman

Savagery at his finest. Josh Norman talks big and plays even bigger. The vocal leader of the Redskins defense only pulled in three interceptions this year, but dropped at least six catchable ones. Norman boasted the NFL's highest rate of passes defended (16.6%). New Redskins defensive coordinator has stated that Norman will shadow receivers all year. With Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham Jr. and Alshon Jeffrey lined up twice a year, Norman will have ample chances to show why he is the NFL's highest paid corner.

17. WLB Sean Lee

When healthy, Sean Lee is hands down the Cowboys' best defensive player and the NFC's best inside linebacker not named Bobby Wagner. Lee led Dallas with 145 tackles last year, making his second straight Pro Bowl and making first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career. 

16. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie might not be the division's best cornerback, but he certainly is the most versatile. The Giants rotated DRC from the boundary to the slot after drafting Eli Apple and he came through with the best season of his career, picking off six passes and allowed only two touchdowns. The 56.6 passer rating against was one of the best marks in the NFL.

15. WR Dez Bryant

Don't be fooled by the decrease in production over the past few seasons. Chalk that up to the Cowboys' run heavy offense combined with defenses doing their best to take Dez out of the offense. When he wants, Dez Bryant can still embarrass any cornerback he wants. Bryant scored one touchdown per every 6.5 catches he caught last year and his 15.9 yards per catch was second to only DeSean Jackson among NFC East receivers.  

14. RT Lane Johnson

Lane Johnson's worth can be best displayed by how bad the Eagles' offensive line was when he was out for suspension. When Johnson is on the field, and argument can be made that he is the best right tackle in football. His PFF run of 86.7 was the sixth best mark was the sixth best among all NFL lineman last year.

13. DE Brandon Graham

Brandon Graham is a prime example of why sacks can be an overrated statistic. He may have only registered 5.5 sacks last year, but was a disruptive force finishing second in the NFL with 83 pressures in and leading the league with 40 quarterback hurries. His breakout season earned him second-team All-Pro honors.

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12. DE Olivier Vernon

Olivier Vernon earned his $85 million deal he received from the Giants last spring & became the most well-rounded defensive ends in the league. Vernon tallied 8.5 sacks & his 37 quarterback hurries was second in NFL only to Brandon Graham. Even more impressive were his league-leading 17 tackles for loss, a testament to how good he was against the run. 

11. TE Jordan Reed

When healthy, Jordan Reed is the best receiving tight end in football and the most dynamic receiver in the division not named Odell Beckham Jr. His size,strength and open field moves make his a matchup nightmare & impossible to guard in single coverage. Despite missing four games, Reed caught 66 passes and six touchdowns and made big play after big play for the Redskins offense. 

10. RG Zach Martin

Three years in the NFL for Zach Martin; three Pro Bowl nods, three All-Pro selections. He currently is, simply put, the best & most consistent guard in football, Martin earned the highest run blocking grade for all NFL guards last season (87.1) for the second straight season.

9. S Landon Collins

I've never seen a safety have a season like Landon Collins had. Last season. Ever. Collins  125 tackles, 13 passes defended, five interceptions and four sacks. A playmaker in the truest sense of the word. Collins went to his first Pro Bowl and was named first-team All-Pro.

8. CB Janoris Jenkins

Prime example of how good Jackrabbit was in 2016? In two games against Dez Bryant, he gave up one catch for 10 yards & he forced a fumble on the play. He played at the level the entire season. He intercepted three passes, had a career-high 18 passes defended and routinely was one of the NFL's true shutdown corners in 2016.

7. DT Damon Harrison

Yes, Damon Harrison belongs this high on the list. The Giants boasted not only the division's best defense, but also the NFL's second best run D, giving up just 3.5 yards per carry. A large (literally and figuratively) reason for that was Snacks. He is the straw the stirs the drink that is the Giants' defense, stalemating double teams, clogging running lines and allowing the rest of the New York defense to operate as such a high level. He registered career highs in tackles (89) and sacks (3.5) en route to his first All-Pro appearance.   

6. RB Ezekiel Elliott

Despite what you may think, the NFL's leading rusher was not simply a product of the best offensive line. Ezekiel Elliot's name belongs in elite company and is the league's best back not named Le'Veon Bell or David Johnson. Yes, he is the beneficiary of great blocking, but he regularly used his top-shelf vision and underrated burst to make containing him virtually impossible. Elliot was a healthy scratch week 17 versus the Eagles and still out-rushed second place Jordan Howard by more than 300 yards. 

5. DT Fletcher Cox

For my money, Fletcher Cox is the best defensive player in the division. No one player in the East is individually as dominant, which is why the Eagles made him the highest-paid non quarterback in league history last June. Although Cox was an All-Pro snub, he played at an All-Pro level, becoming only the third player to rank in PFF's top 10 of interior defensive linemen three years straight (Aaron Donald & Ndamukong Suh the others) 

4. LT Tyron Smith

Wasn't as good as he was in years past (played through bulging disc injury) and was still one of the league's best left tackles. He is just one year removed from having the best season any tackle had ever had, per PFF (94.8). If he returns 100% from his back ailment, Smith will return to patrolling Dak's blindside at the highest levels.

3. C Travis Frederick

I put Travis Frederick over Tyron Smith for three reasons; 1. He had the leagues best run blocking grade. When you're the best run blocker on the best running team, its extra brownie points. 2. He hasn't allowed a sack in two years and just one in the past three. That is ridiculous. And 3. Travis Frederick faced better interior competition (Damon Harrison twice, Fletcher Cox twice, Mike Daniels, Linval Joseph, Danny Shelton) last year and didn't break a sweat. Flat out, he was Dallas best lineman last year and division's second best lineman behind...

2. LT Trent Williams

...Trent Silverback Williams. Despite missing four games to suspension, he was the NFL's best lineman in 2016. He finished with PFF's best lineman grade (92.6), only surrendered 16 QB pressures and one sack. He also was one of the league's least penalized lineman, only drawing three flags all season. Williams made his fifth-straight Pro Bowl and his second-straight All-Pro nod in 2016.

1. WR Odell Beckham Jr.

The most electrifying talent in the NFL, in my opinion. He is the most dynamic receiver I can personally remember since in-his-prime Randy Moss, being one of few that can score anywhere at anytime. OBJ over-matches any defensive back in the NFL, where its with his elite speed, route running, hands or leaping. The three-time Pro Bowler & two-time All-Pro tied the NFL record this year with 282 catches in his first three NFL seasons.