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Defining players from the past, present, and future for each team in the NFC East

Who defines each of the teams in the NFC East?

NFL: NFC Wild Card Playoff-San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

While it has fallen on some hard times over the last couple of years, there is no denying that the NFC East is the most-storied division in NFL history.

At present time the NFC East is the only division in which all four teams have won the Super Bowl. The four teams within it all play in notable markets across the country and are often in the spotlight of NFL action as seasons unfold.

Every week Brandon Gowton from Bleeding Green Nation and I get together to discuss the state of the division on the NFC East Mixtape. This is a unique podcast at SB Nation as it is accessible on each and every NFC East team site’s podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to the Blogging The Boys podcast network wherever you get your podcasts. Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.

This week we looked at each team and assessed who the defining figures from them are. We picked three for each group: one from the past, one from the present, and one for the future.


New York Giants

When it comes to the New York Giants they are obviously a team rich with history like the rest of the group. But when you are talking about their older players only one of them really rises above the rest.

  • Past: Lawrence Taylor
  • Present: Saquon Barkley
  • Future: Kayvon Thiobdeaux

LT is arguably the greatest defensive player in the history of football and therefore easily wins out in this argument. To be clear here the subject is “defining figures” and not all definitions are great or positive. Saquon Barkley sort of encapsulates the franchise’s missteps over the recent years and he is without a doubt the most famous player on their team.

The future for New York certainly looks more promising than it has in a long time and a big part of that is the change in regime. But you need a face for it and Kayvon Thibodeaux has the right amount of electricity, similar to Michael Strahan, to take them into the future.


Washington Commanders

Obviously there is not a lot to talk about in the present or for the future in Washington, but like the Giants the selection for the past here felt rather agreed-upon.

  • Past: Sean Taylor
  • Present: Dan Snyder
  • Future: Potential future owner

The Commanders are in such disarray as a franchise that we are no longer shocked or surprised by their failures or alleged misconduct. It all starts and ends with Dan Snyder which is why he is the defining figure for it all as he is representative of the franchise’s fall into where it lies today.

Piggy-backing off of that a little bit, whoever potentially comes in to replace Snyder (assuming it is an entirely new level of ownership) will in fact be the face of where the Commanders hope to go, like a phoenix rising from the ashes.


Philadelphia Eagles

There were very few of these that Brandon and I absolutely agreed upon with no debate whatsoever and the past selection for the Eagles was one of them.

  • Past: Brian Dawkins
  • Present: Jalen Hurts
  • Future: DeVonta Smith

Hurts was my selection for the present as the Eagles will really fly (no pun intended) as high as he will take them. Much of the football world tends to agree that he limits who they are offensively so the pressure is most squarely on his shoulders. He is a likable player who was very famous coming out of college, it all just sort of fits.

DeVonta Smith is a bit more on the quiet side so it is difficult to see him as a defining figure, but there is no question that he is the cornerstone the Eagles are looking to build upon. He is their prized possession as it relates to the future of their team.


Dallas Cowboys

You could go in any number of directions when picking a defining member from the Dallas Cowboys past. They arguably have the most abundant history among all NFL teams, although that would certainly be a contentious debate among many fans.

  • Past: Roger Staubach
  • Present: Dak Prescott
  • Future: Micah Parsons

All of these felt rather chalk if we are being honest. Roger Staubach defines excellence in ways other than football, but he helped create the aura that the Dallas Cowboys have cast for generations.

In our current moment it is impossible to note that anyone other than Dak Prescott represents the team as he is their face, leader, and quarterback. Very easy as noted.

While Prescott is a legitimate answer for the future as well in the spirit of mixing things up we went with Micah Parsons. He is in many ways the Dak of the defense and arrived with such a force in 2021 that he immediately earned a notable place within the confines of America’s Team.