Skip to main content

NFC East Roster Reset: Eagles snugly perched atop division

Our Roster Reset series takes a division-by-division look at where things stand across the league heading into the 2018 NFL Draft. Edward Lewis examines the current makeup of the NFC East below.

The Cowboys, Redskins and Giants headed into the 2018 offseason staring down a reality they haven't had to face in a long, long time: The Eagles are the cream of the crop in the NFC East, and it might not even be close.

The Eagles didn't just win the Super Bowl in February -- they completed a 16-3 season (one of those losses beingĀ a meaningless Week 17 matchup with the Cowboys) and demolished teams along the way, racking up a point differential of more than 200. Which key contributors did they lose from that squad? Cornerback Patrick Robinson, pass rusher Vinny Curry, tight end Trey Burton, defensive lineman Beau Allen and wideout Torrey Smith. What'd they gain? Some enticing firepower in the form of DL Michael Bennett, DB Daryl Worley, DT Haloti Ngata and WR Mike Wallace. Plus whoever comes off the board with the No. 32 pick in the upcoming draft. Oh, and their MVP-caliber quarterback, Carson Wentz, is set to return from ACL surgery in time for Week 1.

The Cowboys, Giants and Redskins all made moves this past month to try to catch the Eagles, but the picture isn't any less clear. Philly still looks to be top dog in the division.


BIGGEST ADDITION:Nate Solder, offensive tackle.
Old team:New England Patriots. New team:New York Giants.

The Giants' offensive line was a turnstile for most of last season, getting zero push in the run game and providing Eli Manning minimal time to throw in the passing game. Solder might be turning 30 years old this month and he's almost certainly making too much money as the game's newest highest-paid offensive lineman, but he'll absolutely be an upgrade over what New York rolled out last season. His arrival provides a steady pass protector on Manning's blind side and allows Ereck Flowers to move to a better fit at right tackle, which should help Big Blue's overall O-line play.

BIGGEST LOSS:Kirk Cousins, quarterback.
Old team:Washington Redskins. New team:Minnesota Vikings.

The Redskins moved on from Cousins early in the offseason, trading for Alex Smith in late January and immediately handing him a four-year contract extension worth $94 million. But let's be honest: Cousins did things on the field that Smith has never been asked to do, let alone demonstrated that he can do. Cousins played behind an injury-ravaged O-line and received little help from his running game, wideouts and defense. Yet he still logged 4,093 passing yards and 27 touchdowns (against 13 interceptions), as well as a 93.9 passer rating. Smith is clearly an accomplished player at the position, but things could get hairy if the Redskins ask him to shoulder the load like they asked Cousins to do in 2017.

SLEEPER ADDITION:Cameron Fleming, offensive tackle.
Old team:New England Patriots. New team:Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys' woes last season can be traced back to Week 10, when left tackle Tyron Smith had to sit, and his replacement, Chaz Green, proceeded to give up sack after sack after sack to Falcons pass rusher Adrian Clayborn. The uneasiness on Dak Prescott's blind side seemed to spook the young QB, and Dallas' season spiraled from there. The addition of Fleming should help prevent a similar situation from occurring next season. He can start at right tackle, allowing La'el Collins to slide down to left guard, or he can be a backup swing tackle, providing insurance in case Smith needs to miss more games. His presence gives the Cowboys, at the very least, a nice piece of insurance for one of the league's best OL units.


Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys fixed their O-line depth issues by adding Fleming and interior OL Marcus Martin, as well as re-signing OG/OC Joe Looney. They hope they addressed some of their wideout problems with the Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson additions. So, what's left? Fix the defense. The cornerbacks appear set with Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown and likely Byron Jones. They've found their pass rushers in Demarcus Lawrence, David Irving and (maybe?) Taco Charlton. Linebackers, safeties and interior DL, though? Those remain issues for the 'Boys. Look for them to go heavy there in the draft, expending at least one or two of their first few picks.

New York Giants: This spot was reserved for finding Manning's heir and taking advantage of a deep running back draft class. Now, however, it's all about Odell Beckham Jr. The team somehow turned the Annual League Meeting into the OBJ soap opera, playing coy about his future and expressing deep disappointment in his most recent negative headline. Now there's a huge elephant in the Giants' locker room. The team needs to figure out quickly if it's going to pay the three-time Pro Bowler. Because if it's not, an ugly holdout appears on the horizon and a trade needs to be facilitated. There just seems to be no way a 3-13 team can head into next season with its star wideout's contract still up in the air, and the daily circus that would come with that.

Philadelphia Eagles: Just stay the course. The Eagles have been Teflon for the past year. Anytime they lose somebody of impact, they seem to replace him easily. Anytime they're up against the cap wall, Howie Roseman works his magic. Usually Super Bowl-winning teams face some sort of offseason drama, but the Eagles have never looked better. A good pick with the No. 32 overall selection in this month's draft is all that separates them from officially being dubbed the favorite to take home next season's Lombardi Trophy. Or maybe they've already accomplished this.

Washington Redskins: Make the offense Alex Smith-friendly. Jay Gruden already spoke like a coach who has big plans for his newest quarterback, telling reporters after the team officially announced the Smith trade: "We feel like we have a good foundation in place systematically. Now it's just ways to branch off of it and make us better. I think Alex gives us that flexibility in order to do that." Gruden loves the idea of getting Smith in the run-pass option game. The rest of this offseason should be about developing a playbook that involves more of that. It won't hurt if the team adds a few more weapons in the draft later this month.

Follow Edward Lewis on Twitter _@EdwardLewis_.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content