The NFC East sent three of its four teams to the playoffs last season and all of them won at least one postseason game in the process. Needless to say, the group did very well.
Even when the division performs poorly, it is usually at the front and center of the NFL given the markets the teams occupy. Generally speaking, the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and (to a lesser degree) Washington Commanders always draw a crowd so when they are playing well things are all the more elevated.
Given the stature of the NFC East it is difficult for anyone in it to ever be anything close to underrated, but just because it does not feel common did not stop Brandon Gowton from Bleeding Green Nation and I from picking the most underrated players of the group on the latest episode of the NFC East Mixtape. You can listen right above or on the Blogging The Boys podcast network along with all of our other fantastic shows here at BTB. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you do not miss any of them. Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
Our format was so that we each picked one offensive and defensive player for each team that we deemed to be underrated. We did not have the same one at any point (although we agreed with rationale a lot) which meant that we produced eight different names.
My picks: Landon Dickerson and James Bradberry
Brandon’s picks: Olamide Zaccheaus and Reed Blankenship
It is pretty difficult to call any player on the Eagles underrated given all of the success, both team-wide and by way of individual accolades, that they had last season.
I picked Landon Dickerson on offense because the entire Eagles offensive line always gets a lot of credit, and while Dickerson was a Pro Bowler last year, the names you typically associate with the group are Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. Dickerson should not be a superstar but by definition, but he feels underrated.
BLG went with a newbie on offense but Reed Blankenship on defense. The Eagles secondary featured a lot of talent last season but Blankenship sort of slips through the cracks when you talk about them. Being underrated does not necessarily mean that you are even good, it means that you are better than the consensus would lead most to believe.
My picks: Terence Steele and DeMarcus Lawrence
Brandon’s picks: Michael Gallup and Osa Odighizuwa
The chalk pick on offense definitely feels like Michael Gallup so I cannot fault Gowton for going in that direction. Gallup has slid even further down the line of “rated-ness” this offseason what with the Cowboys trading for Brandin Cooks.
Terence Steele felt right for a similar reason that I chose Dickerson in Philly. Cowboys fans do recognize Steele’s value to the team but he does not really move the needle on a national level.
My most controversial pick may have been DeMarcus Lawrence as my most underrated player on defense. This is an argument that Cowboys fans have all of the time as a result of Tank’s sack numbers, but he is one of the very best players on this team’s defense and does not get talked about in that breath.
New York Giants
My picks: Andrew Thomas and Xavier McKinney
Brandon’s picks: Isaiah Hodgins and Darnay Holmes
It feels possible that the Giants could finally have the best left tackle in the division soon enough, although Tyler Smith is certainly going to do his best to make it a race for the next decade. Andrew Thomas is a very good player and since the Giants were so bad prior to 2022 he does not get a ton of credit for that.
The pick that I found to be really interesting was Gowton’s selection of Isaiah Hodgins. Darius Slayton is a really popular name when you do exercises like this, but Hodgins was a revelation for New York late last year and helped the offense maintain some semblance of stability.
My picks: Brian Robinson and Chase Young
Brandon’s picks: Sam Howell and Darrick Forest
As noted earlier, being underrated does not necessarily mean that you are good. You have to focus on that one specific word.
This is what I did when picking Chase Young on defense for Washington. Since the Commanders declined Young’s fifth-year option, many have noted what a horrible selection it was and given the contractual situation you can certainly argue that things did not go well, but we have seen Young be a great player before. Just because the financial part of this does not lend well to the Young side of things does not mean he is suddenly one of the worst pass rushers in the NFL.
I’ll be honest and say that Brandon picking Sam Howell on offense confused me quite a bit. We have seen Howell make one career start in the NFL, against the Cowboys as we well know, and it was hardly a game of true significance for his opponent given that Dallas was keeping an eye on what Philadelphia and New York were doing. The point is that the Cowboys hardly sold out to win that game.
Maybe Sam Howell turns into something legitimate in 2023, but right now he is one of the least-preferred starting quarterbacks in the NFL. That feels like a fair and proper rating.