The NFL Network is bridging the dead period of the offseason by counting down the "Top 100 Players of 2016". And because the NFL Network is drawing out the announcement over a traffic-optimizing but exasperatingly long time, many pundits and talking heads are surfing in the wake of the NFL Network ratings juggernaut and putting up their own lists of Top 100 players.
So instead of waiting until the NFL Network has finished its countdown, we'll check out USA Today's Steven Ruiz, who published his own Top 100 last week. The top Cowboy on this particular list, and the highest-ranked player in the NFC East, is Tyron Smith, who comes in at No. 14. Here are the other NFC East players on the list:
|14., T||30. Odell Beckham, WR||32., OT||35., DE|
|27., WR||69., OC||67.
, CB||97., S|
|55., QB||87., QB||- -
, OG||92., DE||- -
, C||- -||- -||- -|
, LB||- -||- -||- -|
There's obviously a lot that can be criticized about Ruiz's list, or any other list that attempts to rank the top 100 NFL players. But that's not the point today.
Because as I reviewed the rankings for the other NFC East teams, I began to wonder whether the players listed here really are the best players on the roster of our division rivals. Giants fans might wonder why Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Damon Harrison, and perhaps even Janoris Jenkins are not in this list. Redskins fans would likely insist on fan favorite Jordan Reed, they might throw DeSean Jackson's or Ryan Kerrigan's name into the ring, and some particularly delusional Hogs might even try to make a case for Kirk Cousins. In Philly, fans would certainly make the case for eight-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters to be included, and probably one of the gazillion QBs they have on the roster.
Which leads me directly to the question of the day: If you could have one player from each NFC East team for the' 2016 roster, which three players would you pick?
Here are my picks:
Philadelphia: There's nothing much to write home about in Philly, but their defensive line is a very impressive unit. Good thing the Cowboys have the offensive line they have, or they'd be in big trouble against the Eagles. The Cowboys have already secured one part of that D-line in Cedric Thornton, I'd add another and pick defensive end Fletcher Cox.
New York: The default pick here should probably be Odell Beckham. He is one of only two Pro Bowlers drafted since 2008 and one of the few bright spots on a team long in the tooth and short on talent. But I don't like him. So I'm picking the other only other Pro Bowler the Giants have drafted since 2008: Jason Pierre-Paul. He may not be the brightest crayon in the box, and now needs a calculator to count to ten, but I still like his potential as a pure pass rusher.
Washington: Since we're talking hypotheticals here and are not constrained by a salary cap, I'd take CB Josh Norman out of Washington, even though the history of overpaid free agent corners in the NFC East is not an encouraging one.
So there you have it. Two defensive ends and a corner. This may be too obviously trying to fill roster holes on the 2016 Cowboys roster, but I didn't find a lot more options that would be an immediate upgrade for the 2016 Cowboys.
Over to you: Which players would you pick and why?