- AFC North – Mid (Off) Season NFL Division Power Rankings
- NFC East – Mid (Off) Season NFL Division Power Rankings
- AFC East – Mid (Off) Season NFL Division Power Rankings
We are now at the half way point of the 2016 NFL Offseason. Most free agents decisions have been made. The 2016 NFL Draft has come and gone. Rookie minicamp is in the rear view mirror and teams coaching staffs have had a quick look at their 2016 chess pieces in the first round of OTA’s.
It’s a moment when hope is high and real information is minimal. Perfect time for NFL Division Power Rankings.
The first place you compete in the NFL is your division. Rather than attempt a 1-32 power ranking here we are looking at divisions. Today is the NFC East.
#4 Philadelphia Eagles – New coach. New regime that seems obsessed in shedding almost any remnant of the Chip Kelly experiment. A franchised QB who wants a trade. No second or fourth round pick in 2016. Talent at RB and LB traded away. With a QB their first round selection it’s up to third round pick OG Isaac Seumalo to make a fresh talent impact. Too little, too late.
QB Sam Bradford will have to learn (another) new offense. He should write a book on differing offensive philosophies. After Bradford’s post Carson Wentz hissy-fit (is he the only one that didn’t see that coming?) the QB position is a mess in Philly. Chase Daniel is the high priced backup that completes the trifecta of over paid, not-ready for prime time signal callers.
As Dallas found out last year poor QB play is difficult to overcome. Back it up with uncertainty at RB, OL, WR and CB and you find yourself at the bottom of the division power rankings.
#3 New York Giants – The new Broncos? Elway beat the odds last year wining a Super Bowl with high priced free agents a big part of the mix. The norm in the NFL is this type of team building to blow up in your face. Remember the 2011 Eagles?
Giants GM Jerry Reese has (rightfully) been under fire over the lack of talent recent offseasons has produced. In a contract year for him, the gloves came off. CB Janoris Jenkins, DE Olivier Vernon, DT Damon Harrison, LB Keenan Robinson, DE Jason Pierre-Paul. WOW! Talk about upgrading a defense overnight. It’s get real time in the big apple.
Reese didn’t just go large in free agency. He nailed the early part of the draft with CB Eli Apple and WR Sterling Shepard. This is the NFC East. You have to stay deep at CB and they better have some size to them. Throw in perhaps the best WR in the 2016 NFL Draft (just watch) and this team got a LOT better in a hurry. Throw in Eli “Big Play” Manning tossing balls to Odell Beckham Jr. and this team can compete with anyone come game day.
Looks great on paper, but overpaying for talent rarely works out. Overpaying for a lot of talent doesn’t make the odds any better. If the Giants free agent signees perform up to their contracts this team vaults to the number one position and doesn’t look back. Until it happens the G-Men are a very strong number three in the power rankings.
#2 Dallas Cowboys – Tony Romo back at QB instantly makes this a viable team to win more games than they lose. Add a true talent at RB and this team is downright nasty. It’s all about getting the most value out of their host of All-Pro talents along the offensive line. Ezekiel Elliot, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Tony Romo do just that. With everyone healthy there isn’t a defense in the NFL that isn’t nervous about a game day matchup facing this offensive line and skill position weapons.
Dallas is still trying to find permanent solutions along the defensive line and they added excellent options with DT Maliek Collins and DE Charles Tapper. Sixth round CB Anthony Brown was a steal and should get time to work his game behind Carr, Claiborne and their best CB Scandrick who is healthy again. Letting last years first round selection Byron Jones focus on his natural free safety position is bound to have good results.
Second round pick LB Jaylon Smith was a great “value pick.” He has an outside shot at playing come playoff time. That would probably be a mistake. Regardless, he won’t be helping Dallas in 2016 and for this years campaign is considered a wasted pick.
Unlike in 2014 the team now has the players to enact it’s winning formula. It’s all about health. Cowboys gonna be tough in 2016 and end up second in the current power rankings with a serious eye on the top spot.
#1 Washington Redskins – Say what? Get over it. You have to beat a champ, not tie. Washington is the reigning NFC East Champion and all they did in the offseason was nail it.
Kirk Cousins came of age in 2015. He sees the game. He can operate at NFL speed. He has a ton of talent catching the ball. Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and first round selection Josh Doctson man the outside with emerging Jordan Reed at TE. This is the deepest WR corps in the NFC East.
The team was ready to move on from Alfred Morris at RB and Matt Jones looks up to the task. Adding speed merchant Keith Marshall late in the draft gives them another weapon to deploy.
The defense is nasty. Talent along the line, more at LB and DB. The team picked up versatile Su’a Cravens who they can deploy at multiple positions and a certain All-Pro CB named Josh Norman cements the combative, 60 minute, echo of the whistle effort this unit brings.
Josh Norman vs Odell Beckham Jr. and/or Dez Bryant? Must-see-TV.
It’s a game of matchups and realities. “IF” the Giants free agency haul rises to the occasion they could make the vault to number one. “IF” the Cowboys running game returns to dominance they become a 12-4 juggernaut versus a 4-12 embarrassment. The NFC East was a cake walk last season. This year the NFC Beast is in the East and at the half way point of the offseason Washington is still the champ.
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over