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May 14, 2020

Preseason All-NFC East team: Defense edition

Eagles NFL
051420FletcherCox Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports

Fletcher Cox

At this point in the offseason, NFL rosters are pretty much set, at least in terms of players expected to make any kind of reasonable impact. And so, let's take a look at the NFC East, and determine who has the best players at each position. 

In case you missed the offense edition, it was dominated by Eagles and Cowboys players. Here we'll cover the defensive side of the ball. Oh, and since the three teams in the division will be running 4-3 defenses, we'll (sort of) use that format.

Edge rushers: DeMarcus Lawrence, CowboysChase Young, Washington

Lawrence's numbers were down in 2019, but he's still pretty clearly the best veteran edge rusher in the division. As for Young, yes, he's a rookie, but I'd take him all day over anyone else in the division, Lawrence included. He's going to be a stud from Day 1.

Interior defensive line: Fletcher Cox, EaglesJonathan Allen, Washington

Like Lawrence above, Cox is coming off a down year, but he is the only interior defensive lineman in the division that offensive coordinators go out of their way to game-plan against. He's healthy again, and should be back to his old form in 2020. Allen has quietly produced 14 sacks the last two seasons on a terrible team.

"Off-ball" linebacker: Leighton Vander Esch, CowboysJaylon Smith, Cowboys

Vander Esch and Smith were awesome in 2018. In 2019, not as much, and both players have significant medical concerns. Still, they are very easy choices here.

Cornerback: Darius Slay, Eagles; James Bradberry, Giants; Kendall Fuller (slot), Washington

All three first-team corners were not in the division in 2019, as the Eagles acquired Slay via trade, the Giants signed Bradberry in free agency, and Washington brought Fuller back after two season in KC.

Safety: Landon Collins, Washington; Xavier Woods, Cowboys

Ugh. Malcolm Jenkins was a mainstay here, but he's now gone. Collins had 117 tackles in 2019, and Woods has become a decent starting safety for the Cowboys. I'd give him a narrow edge over Jabrill Peppers.

Second team All-NFC East

DE: Brandon Graham, Eagles; Ryan Kerrigan, Washington

DT: Javon Hargrave, Eagles; Matt Ioannidis, Washington

LB: Blake Martinez, Giants, Thomas Davis, Washington

CB: Chidobe Awuzie, Cowboys; Avonte Maddox, Eagles; Jourdan Lewis (slot), Cowboys

S: Jabrill Peppers, Giants; Sean Davis, Washington


Team First-team Second-team Total 

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