The start of training camp might still be two months away, but why not add to the NFL offseason chatter with a look at an All-NFC East Team?
Wide Receiver—Santana Moss, Washington
A year ago, Moss would have surely ranked behind Plaxico Burress and Terrell Owens as far as NFC East wide-outs go. With each receiver released by his respective team this offseason, Moss, who had his third-career 1,000-yard season in 2008, moves up the division list.
Wide Receiver—Roy Williams, Dallas
Williams steps into the No. 1 receiver role in Dallas this season, taking over for "You Know Who." High on talent and athleticism but low on motivation and focus, Williams will be expected to produce for the Cowboys in 2009 what he did for the Lions in 2006—80+ catches and 1,300+ yards.
Left Tackle—Jason Peters, Philadelphia
Left Guard—Rich Seubert, New York Giants
Center—Andre Gurode, Dallas
Right Guard—Chris Snee, New York Giants
Right Tackle—Shawn Andrews, Philadelphia
Here’s all you need to know about this offensive line; the average size among the five players is 6’ 4”, 324 lbs, and there are nine Pro-Bowl selections in the group.
Tight End—Jason Witten, Dallas
The prototypical tight end, Witten can do it all and will be asked to do it all in Dallas this season. Witten led the Cowboys with 81 catches in 2008, and with T.O. purged from the Dallas offense, Tony Romo will look for his pal Witten even more in 2009.
Quarterback—Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia
McNabb will turn 33 this season, but when he’s healthy he can pile up statistics and wins with any quarterback in the NFL. In his 10th season with the Eagles, the five-time Pro Bowler McNabb threw for a career-high 3,900 yards.
Running Back—Clinton Portis, Washington
The definition of a workhorse running back, in 2008 Portis turned in another stellar season for the Redskins, finishing fourth in the league with 1,487 rushing yards. Portis has rushed for at least 1,200 yards in six of his seven NFL seasons, and many people forget he’s still just 27.
Fullback—Madison Hedgecock, New York Giants
Hedgecock has found a home with the Giants as a bruising, lead-blocking fullback. He was a second-team All-Pro selection in 2008, leading the way as both Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward ran for more than 1,000 yards for the No. 2 rushing team in the NFL.
Defensive End—Justin Tuck, New York Giants
At 6’ 5”, 274 lbs, and with scary speed, Tuck is an absolute beast coming off the right side. Tuck was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2008 and has collected 22 sacks in the last two seasons.
Defensive Tackle—Albert Haynesworth, Washington
The Redskins just signed him for $100 million, so he better be on this list. Haynesworth is widely considered the best defensive tackle in the league, as he led a Tennessee Titan defense that ranked No. 2 in points allowed per game (14.6) in 2008. He’s a two-time first-team All-Pro selection.
Defensive Tackle—Chris Canty, New York Giants
The 6’ 7”, 304 lbs monster tackle left Dallas to sign a $42 million contract with the division-rival Giants this offseason. His addition makes the New York defensive line a nightmare for opposing offensive fronts.
Defensive End—Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants
Umenyiora returns to the Giants’ fold in 2009, after missing all of 2008 with a knee injury, to bolster an already impressive New York defense. From 2005 to 2007, Umenyiora totaled 32.5 sacks and was a crucial cog in New York’s Super Bowl-winning team.
Outside Linebacker—DeMarcus Ware, Dallas
In a league of his own. Unstoppable at times. The best outside linebacker in the NFL, Ware led the league with 20 sacks last season and was a first-team All-Pro selection.
Middle Linebacker—Stewart Bradley, Philadelphia
With Brian Dawkins no longer in Philadelphia, the 25-year-old Bradley will lead the Eagles defense in 2009. The 6’ 3”, 254 lbs Bradley led the team with 108 tackles last year and should only improve with experience.
Outside Linebacker—Michael Boley, New York Giants
Another new face on the New York defense, Boley signed a $25 million contract with the Giants this season, leaving the Atlanta Falcons. In 2007, Boley had 109 tackles, including 93 solo tackles.
Cornerback—Asante Samuel, Philadelphia
Samuel didn’t have a great 2008 regular season in his first year with the Eagles, but he picked it up in the playoffs, picking off two passes and returning one for a touchdown in three games. Samuel has 20 picks in the last three seasons.
Cornerback—DeAngelo Hall, Washington
There’s no question Hall has the talent and playmaking ability. The question is whether Hall is committed to being one of the best defensive backs in the league. At 25, he’s already played for three teams in five seasons and has had issues with authority. But he’s also had 20 picks in the last four seasons.
Free Safety—Ken Hamlin, Dallas
Hamlin has played well in two seasons with the Cowboys since joining the team in 2007 from the Seattle Seahawks. He’s averaged 68 tackles and three inceptions the last two years with Dallas and made the Pro Bowl in 2007.
Strong Safety—Quintin Mikell, Philadelphia
A relative unknown across the NFL, Mikell was a second-team All-Pro selection in 2008 after totaling 93 tackles and three interceptions in his breakout season with the Eagles.
Kicker—Nick Folk, Dallas
Folk only had 22 field goal attempts in 2008, but he was 10-for-11 between 40 and 49 yards and made both of his attempts from 50+ last season.
Punter—Jeff Feagles, New York Giants
The 43-year-old Feagles averaged 40 yards per punt in 2008 and had 23 of 64 punts land inside the 20 yard line.
Kick Returner—Quintin Demps, Philadelphia
Demps averaged 25 yards per return in 2008 and had a 100-yard touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens.
Punt Returner—DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia
The lightning-quick Jackson had 440 punt-return yards in his rookie season, including a 68-yard touchdown against Washington.
For those of you scoring at home, the Giants and Eagles each had eight players on the squad, while the Cowboys had six and the Redskins four.
Looking at the team, It’s no surprise many expect the talent-laden Giants and Eagles to slug it out again this season for NFC East supremacy.
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