The NFL Network will shortly conclude its countdown of the "Top 100 Players of 2014". And as they wrap up their ranking, many pundits and talking heads are generating their own lists of who they consider the best players in pro football. One of the pundits surfing on the wake of the NFLN juggernaut is CBS Sports' Pete Prisco, who recently published his own Top 100 list, ostensibly by enlisting the help of NFL executives and personnel.
The top Cowboy on Prisco's list is offensive tackle Tyron Smith, who comes at No. 44. The highest ranked NFC East player is Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy, who makes the top ten as the No. 9 overall player. OT Trent Williams tops the list for the Redskins at No. 46. Here are the other NFC East players on Prisco's list:
|Dallas||Philadelphia||Washington||New York Giants|
|44. Tyron Smith, T||9. LeSean McCoy, RB||46. Trent Williams, T||- -|
|47. Dez Bryant, WR||38. Jason Peters, T||78. Pierre Garcon, WR||- -|
|60. Tony Romo, QB||48. Evan Mathis, G||86. Brian Orakpo, OLB||- -|
|82. Jason Witten, TE||- -||88. DeSean Jackson, WR||- -|
|Just missed: RB DeMarco Murray (DAL), LB Sean Lee (DAL), C Jason Kelce (PHI), Jason Hatcher (WAS), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (NYG),|
There's obviously a lot that can be criticized about Prisco's list, or any other list for that matter. And as I reviewed the rankings for the other NFC East teams, I began to wonder whether these guys really are the best players on the roster of our division rivals.
Which leads me directly to the question of the day: If you could have one player from each NFC East team for the Cowboys' 2014 roster, which three players would you pick?
Here are my picks:
Washington: From the Redskins, my choice would be Brian Orakpo, and it's not even close. The three-time Pro Bowler ('09, '10, '13) barely squeezes onto Prisco's list, doesn't show up on the NFLN top 100, and doesn't make Pat Kirwan's top 100 either. But for a team like the Cowboys, who are long on questions and short on anwers on the defensive line, a pass rusher of Orakpo's caliber would be a significant boost. Let him put his hand on the ground and the Cowboys pass rush would start humming.
Philadelphia: Since the question is very specific about picking a player (the cork in in the bottom of the team’s party boat would have been my go-to answer), the obvious choices would be either LeSean McCoy or Evan Mathis, both arguably among the very best at their positions in the NFL, and both worth the hype on a much overhyped team. Forced to choose, I would pick LeSean McCoy over the soon to be 33-year old Mathis. Also can you image a backfield featuring the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked halfbacks (according to Football Outsiders) in the league?
New York: From the Giants, I'd pick Eli Manning without hesitation. At a joint press conference with Tony Romo, I'd announce a fair competition at QB, then cut Manning after camp. At the ensuing press conference, I would say that "With free agent pickup Brandon Weeden and UDFA Dustin Vaughan already on the Cowboys roster, there simply wasn't room for a QB of Eli's talents."
Which players would you pick and why?