I did a little color coded spreadsheet of each of the four NFC East offenses. To see the entire thing, click “Full screen view” on the spreadsheet below. Analysis after the spreadsheet.
Jason Witten, Cowboys – Clearly one of the 3 best TEs in the game.
Fred Davis, Redskins – This is where my rankings need an explanation. Fred Davis is by no means an elite TE in the NFL, but he is as a #2 TE. When you think about the best #2 TEs in the game, I think it’s really between Davis and whoever you’d consider the 2 in New England, whether that be Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez. These rankings are based upon the player’s role within the offense.
Great Players (in no particular order)
DeSean Jackson, Eagles – When you think about players that “have the ability to score anytime they touch the football, DeSean is probably the most dangerous player in the NFL, with apologies to Chris Johnson.
Jason Peters, Eagles – An absolute devastating blocker in the run game, and very good in pass protection as well.
Michael Vick, Eagles – If he can continue to play like he did in 2010, he deserves to be called “elite.” Need to see it for more than one year.
LeSean McCoy, Eagles – 1,672 yards from scrimmage last year. Does it all. Runs, catches, and is surprisingly good in pass protection. Complete player entering just his 3rd year.
Vince Young, Eagles – Again, VY is not a “great player” by starting QB standards, but he’s most certainly a great #2.
Jason Avant, Eagles – Andy Reid calls Avant the best 3rd WR in the game. I’m not sure I agree, but he’s as polished a route runner, blocker, and professional receiver with great hands as you’ll find in the league. Unfortunately, he has athletic limitations.
Steve Smith, Eagles – Debated calling Smith an “elite” #4 receiver, but let’s hold off there until we see if he’s healthy or not.
Miles Austin, Cowboys – Strong, fast. When I think of WRs that play more like running backs once they have the ball in their hands, I think Anquan Boldin of a few years ago, and Miles Austin.
Tony Romo, Cowboys – The numbers are outstanding. Clearly a talented player. Quick release, has some wheels, accurate.
Hakeem Nicks, Giants – Already a complete receiver entering his third season.
Chris Snee, Giants – Borderline top 5 OG in the NFL. Not quite “elite,” but right there.
Kareem McKenzie, Giants – The Giants probably have the best RG/RT combo in the NFL.
Above average players
Todd Herremans, Eagles – I’d have him in the “great player” category if he hadn’t been moved from LG to RT. Still a very talented lineman, should acclimate well to his new (and old) position.
Jeremy Maclin, Eagles – Continually improving player. Athletic kid, polished route runner with decent size, and good speed. Will be ready for Week 1, but has questions surrounding him, due to the lack of time in camp because of his illness scare.
Ronnie Brown, Eagles – Excellent fit for the Eagles offense. Can run, catch, and pass block. Significant dropoff from McCoy to Brown should McCoy go down for any period of time, but the offense shouldn’t suffer much.
Doug Free, Cowboys – Had a very good 2010. Deserved a big contract, and got it.
Jon Kitna, Cowboys – Again, only “above average” as a #2 QB. 4-5 as a starter last season, 209/318, 65.7%, 2365, 16 TD, 12 INT. The Cowboys can still win should Tony Romo go down for a few weeks.
Eli Manning, Giants – Smart, but sometimes his smarts don’t translate into good decision-making. Good arm, above average accuracy. Led the league in interceptions in 2010.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants – Gritty player. Runs hard, can catch, very willing pass blocker. What makes him good is his drive to fight every last yard. Unfortunately, that’s also his downfall. Has to correct his fumble-itis.
Mario Manningham, Giants – After a slow start to his career, Manningham broke out in a way last year as the Giants’ 3. Big play threat, a little dopey at times. I’m expecting about 1100 yards out of him this season.
Brandon Jacobs, Giants – Very effective in his role as a sledgehammer. Perfect back for hammering tired defenses late in the 2nd half with a lead, and in goal line situations. Completely one-dimensional.
Santana Moss, Redskins – Great year last year (90-1115-6), but seems to be unable to string together consecutive big seasons. Shifty route runner, deep threat.
Chris Cooley, Redskins – Look at his numbers. Consistently good every season. Can’t block.
Rex Grossman, Redskins – We of course don’t know for sure yet who the official Skins QB is yet, but for now we’ll assume it’s John Beck. Rexy is actually a nice backup, and I think he should be starting.
Anthony Armstrong, Redskins – “Above average” only as a 3, of course. Can stretch the field. 19.8 yards per catch last season.
Somewhat tested, optimistic
Dez Bryant, Cowboys – We’re pretty sure he’s going to be a great (and maybe even an elite) receiver some day, but let’s actually see it first.
Trent Williams, Redskins – Up and down in 2010, but looked fantastic from what I saw of him in the preseason. There was a play where he just physically over-matched Ray Lewis. Reminded me a lot of Jason Peters seeing that.
JAGs – Stands for “just a guy.” (Isn’t going to kill you, but doesn’t exactly do a lot win games either)
Brent Celek, Eagles – Was among the most promising players heading into 2010, and then just kind of disappeared.
Evan Mathis, Eagles – Todd Herremans to Mathis is a significant downgrade at LG. Solid player, didn’t give up any sacks the past 2 seasons, although he wasn’t a 16-game starter during that time.
Owen Schmitt, Eagles – Sort of the epitome of a JAG.
Clay Harbor, Eagles – Decent blocker, has receiving skills, but needs significant improvements to his overall game for the Eagles to even consider implementing more 2TE sets.
Kyle Kosier, Cowboys – Valuable as a mentor to the three young guys along the Cowboys OL, but as a player, really nothing about his game is impressive.
Felix Jones, Cowboys – Felix Jones? Here? No way! He’s at least “above average!” Honestly, I just can’t put him there. There’s no question he has talent. Has shown flashes as an explosive runner, is a threat as a receiver, but simply put… His production hasn’t matched his potential. In three seasons as a pro, he has 2330 yards from scrimmage. That’s only 658 more than LeSean McCoy had in 2010. It’s only 718 more than Ahmad Bradshaw had in 2010. Jones has looked great in the preseason, but until he shows some consistency and durability, he’s a JAG.
Martellus Bennett, Cowboys – For the past few years, we’ve heard about how loaded the Cowboys are at TE with Bennett as the 2. He’s been a complete disappointment. Are we even sure if he’s the 2 anymore?
David Diehl, Giants – Played very well at times as a LT in previous seasons, and even got himself to Hawaii, but was pretty bad last season. He’ll slide inside to LG, which is probably a better spot for him anyway. Limited athletically.
David Baas, Giants – I really struggled with Baas, since, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t see much of the guy playing in San Fran. From the limited opportunities I had to watch him play in the preseason, he seems like a mauler type, with limited athletic upside.
David Carr, Giants – Former #1 overall pick is just an average backup at this point in his career.
Tim Hightower, Redskins – Looked outstanding in the preseason. Need to see real production in the regular season.
Darrel Young, Redskins – I was shocked to see Mike Sellers make the team. That’s an indication to me that the Redskins might not be 100% sold on Young. JAG status might even be generous here.
Chris Chester, Redskins – Athletic guard, hasn’t been consistent enough to hold down a steady starting job in the NFL, has upside.
Jammal Brown, Redskins – Solid RT, nothing special here with no upside. You pretty much know what you’re getting here.
Ryan Torain, Redskins – I like Ryan Torain. Hard runner, breaks tackles, even produced as a starter at times last season. But when you look around the league at the other backup RBs, you realize kinda quickly that Torain is easily replaceable.
Tyron Smith, Cowboys – Unless they’re Ndamukong Suh, I have trouble putting any rookie higher than this categorization. I think Smith will be a good pro this season, especially as he eases into action on the right side. Smith is the only rookie I’m optimistic won’t hurt his team from Day 1.
Somewhat tested, pessimistic
William Beatty, Giants – One penalty every 26 snaps last season. He’ll be facing excellent pass rushers all season long. Is he ready? I have my doubts.
Below average player
Kevin Ogletree, Cowboys – The Cowboys’ depth at receiver isn’t good. Ogletree has some upside, but is definitely not an ideal option as a 3rd WR.
Domenik Hixon, Giants – Domenik Hixon can play for my team any day, just not as a 3rd WR. Massive downgrade from Mario Manningham to Hixon this season.
Kory Lichtensteiger, Redskins – Has some nice athleticism for an interior O Lineman, but can be bullied in pass protection.
Will Montgomery, Redskins – Seems like a classic “effort guy” to me. Like Lichtensteiger, Montgomery often has trouble holding his ground against bull rushers. Like the Eagles and Cowboys, the Skins will be very vulnerable up the middle against interior pass rushers.
Jabar Gaffney, Redskins – Pretty clear cut below average starting WR, right? Don’t think there’s much to explain here.
Jason Kelce, Eagles – Very athletic center with the ability to get out on the edge and block in the run game. Unfortunately, he was brutal in pass protection in the preseason.
Danny Watkins, Eagles – Not sure this “kid” is ready to go. Won’t be surprised in the slightest if newly signed Kyle DeVan is the Eagles starter Week 1 in St. Louis. Watkins has not looked good in any facet of th game this preseason.
Bill Nagy, Cowboys – 2011 late round pick will undoubtedly face siignifcant growing pains this season.
Phil Costa, Cowboys – Not sold that he “won” the starting center job as much as the Cowboys didn’t want to pay Andre Gurode.
DeMarco Murray, Cowboys – Complete unknown. Played in just one preseason game, gained 32 yards on 10 carries. Missed a lot of camp. Unrealistic to expect significant contributions this season. Frankly, I’m not sure he should even be considered the #2 back. It’s probably still Tashard Choice, a guy that a lot of people thought would be cut.
Victor Cruz, Giants – Camp darling last preseason, much less impressive this season. I don’t see it.
Jake Ballard, Giants – I’d put him in the “garbage” section, but I know literally nothing about Ballard.
Henry Hynoski, Giants – Was better than Bear Pascoe as a FB this preseason, which isn’t saying much. Aside from a cool nickname, I saw nothing to get fired up about Hynoski whatsoever.
John Beck, Redskins – This has been beaten to death for the past 7 months. Not sure what I can add in a sentence or two.
Leonard Hankerson, Redskins – Frankly, I’m not even sure WHO the Redskins 4th receiver is. They kept 8. But if it’s Hankerson, I didn’t really see much from the kid.
Tony Fiametta, Cowboys – Barely NFL roster-worthy.
Jesse Holley, Cowboys – Ditto.
Travis Beckum, Giants – A little harsh? Maybe. There are probably four dozen TEs that are better than him, and he’s a starter.