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Comparing And Contrasting The Defensive Lines Across The NFC East

The pressure is on in Dallas to step up their defensive line play.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the 2017 season, the Washington Redskins play a 3-4 defense while the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles play a 4-3 defense. These rankings are based on pure talent, efficacy and playmaking ability.

New York Giants: Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul

The Giants feature an outstanding defensive line, similar to the offensive linemen in Dallas. The Giants boast Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul as starters. While losing Johnathan Hankins hurts them, they still feature potentially multiple All Pros on their line. While some of the players along the secondary get much of the credit, it is their all-star defensive line that sets the stage. Look for this group of players to be the primary forces late in the season when playoff seedings are on the line. The Giants have the best defensive line in the NFC East, and one of the best lines in the National Football League.

Philadelphia Eagles: Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox

The Eagles feature Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox along a very strong and effective defensive line. Behind new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, this defensive line group is aggressive and tremendously talented. Their run-stopping ability is akin to the Giants. Look for rookie Derek Barnett to add impressive depth this season. The Eagles check in as the second best defensive line in the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys: Demarcus Lawrence, Taco Charlton, Maliek Collins, Charles Tapper

The Dallas Cowboys have struggled across the defensive line and drafted Taco Charlton in the first round to infuse talent into the unit. They enter this season with Demarcus Lawrence and Taco Charlton at ends and Maliek Collins at defensive tackle. It is unclear who the other DT will be, but it is clear that there are a bunch of Cowboys gunning for playing time across the defensive line. All this being said, this bunch checks in at the third best defensive line in the division. It is clear that this is the weakest position group across the Cowboys and that if they can step up the challenge, the Dallas Cowboys will all be guaranteed huge successes.

Washington Redskins: Jonathan Allen, Terrell McClain

The Redskins play a 3-4 defense and got exceptionally lucky during April’s NFL draft. They were able to draft potential superstar Jonathan Allen midway through the first round. Allen was regarded as one of the best defensive linemen in the draft this year and he will immediately become a starter on the Redskins. While the Redskins did sign Terrell McClain away from the Cowboys this offseason, it remains unclear how talented their defensive line can be, especially in light of a weak set of linebackers. At this point, the Redskins come in with the least talented defensive line in the division.


New York Giants: 4 points

Philadelphia Eagles: 3 points

Dallas Cowboys: 2 points

Washington Redskins: 1 point


Previous articles in this series: QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs, O-line.

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