clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ranking the NFC East: Quarterbacks & Running Backs

New, comments

It’s early July, and aside from the league announcing suspensions, there’s not much to do except to make lists and rank players... so let’s get to it!

I spent pretty much the entire month of June in the U.S. visiting family. It was a relaxing trip; I spent most of my time in Florida, deepening my tan and walking my way to a fitter self. I did spend a long weekend in DC catching up with friends. It happened to be the weekend of the Stanley Cup victory celebrations, so I got a bit of the flavor of championship fever while I was there. In fact, I went for a long walk on the Capitol Mall from 4 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. on the Monday, one day before the big celebration for the Caps, and saw the preparations underway... portable potties being delivered, the grass being prepared with a protective covering, and hurricane fencing being erected. I wish I coulda stayed one more day to participate in the festivities.

I watched a lot of Nats baseball — games against Tampa Bay and Philly, mostly. Early on, Washington was only a half-game or so out of first place. By the time I was winging my way back to Thailand, they had dropped 4 or 5 games back. I was interested to see a 17-7 victory pop up on my Twitter feed in the past 24 hours or so.

Which brings me to the excitement I’m feeling for the NFL season.

Training camp starts in about three and a half weeks, and we’re about 6 weeks from the preseason opener against the Patriots.

But for now, there’s just not a lot of NFL buzz. The Top 100 list has been announced and discussed. The early announcement of player suspensions has already happened. Minicamps have all run their course.

Basically, we have three weeks with nothing to do but wait.

So, I thought we could do what we did last year at this time: let’s rank the NFC East, one or two position groups at a time. And let’s start with two high-profile positions — quarterback and running back. In a lot of ways, these two positions are huge question marks for the Redskins.

Quarterbacks

Although Alex Smith is in his 14th year in the league, he is new to Washington and Jay Gruden. And Alex’s outstanding performance in 2017 with the Chiefs was out of step perfomance-wise and production-wise with the rest of his long career, raising questions about whether last season was an outlier, not to be repeated, or an harbinger of things to come — a step on a ladder to even higher production in 2018 and beyond.

While Carson Wentz looked like the NFL MVP for most of last season, there’s no telling whether he’ll be ready to play at the start of the season, or whether he’ll be able to perform at the same high level coming back from a bad knee injury. The last NFC East QB to have a great season ended by a knee injury didn’t fare so well in his comeback, despite being ‘all in’. What will 2018 hold for Carson Wentz and the Eagles?

Is Eli too old to lead the Giants to the playoffs despite his two previous Super Bowl wins? And is Dak Prescott the astounding rookie who stepped up when Romo got injured in the 2016 preseason, leading his team to 13 wins, or is he a pedestrian quarterback who couldn’t get it done when Zeke Elliott was suspended for 6 games in 2017?

Running backs

After years of casting around for production in the running game, the Redskins “gambled” by taking SEC running back, Derrius Guice, in the second round. Guice was a highly productive college running back in a run-heavy LSU offense, and Redskin fans are hoping that he follows in the footsteps of fellow LSU Tiger Leonard Fournette. Some fans are loathe to credit any player in a ranking until that player has ‘done something’ at the NFL level; others are happy to use college ball as a baseline and project a player high into a ranked list based solely on potential and expectations. Good news: you get to apply your logic to two rookie NFC East running backs, as Saquon Barkley, of course, went to the NY Giants as the second overall pick in the draft.

For the first time in a couple of years, it’s not a sure thing that Ezekiel Elliott will be ranked as the best back in the division. In fact, he may not be the second-best back in the NFC East nowadays.

The Eagles, after winning the super bowl have to be given respect at every position. Can Jay Ajayi, with a full season ahead of him, build on what he was able to accomplish after being traded from Miami to Philly mid-season last year?

NFC East Quarterback groups

Redskins

  • Alex Smith
  • Colt McCoy
  • Kevin Hogan

Eagles

  • Carson Wentz
  • Nick Foles
  • Nate Sudfeld

Giants

  • Eli Manning
  • Davis Webb
  • Kyle Lauletta

Cowboys

  • Dak Prescott
  • Mike White

NFC East Running Backs

Cowboys

  • Ezekiel Elliott
  • Rod Smith
  • Bo Scarbrough

Giants

  • Saquon Barkley
  • Jonathan Stewart
  • Wayne Gallman

Redskins

  • Derrius Guice
  • Chris Thompson
  • Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs, Byron Marshall, Keith Marshall, Martez Carter, Elijah Wellman

Eagles

  • Jay Ajayi
  • Darren Sproles
  • Wendell Smallwood, Donnell Pumphrey, Matt Jones, Corey Clement

Poll

Which NFC East team has the best quarterback group?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Redskins
    (522 votes)
  • 76%
    Eagles
    (1998 votes)
  • 1%
    Giants
    (40 votes)
  • 1%
    Cowboys
    (44 votes)
2604 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which NFC East team has the weakest QB group?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Redskins
    (186 votes)
  • 3%
    Eagles
    (80 votes)
  • 49%
    Giants
    (1247 votes)
  • 40%
    Cowboys
    (1013 votes)
2526 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Where do you rank Alex Smith among the NFCE QBs? (1 = best, 5 = worst)

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    1
    (276 votes)
  • 58%
    2
    (1443 votes)
  • 23%
    3
    (578 votes)
  • 5%
    4
    (127 votes)
  • 1%
    5
    (46 votes)
2470 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Where do you rank Carson Wentz among the NFCE QBs? (1 = best, 5 = worst)

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    1
    (1977 votes)
  • 11%
    2
    (265 votes)
  • 3%
    3
    (92 votes)
  • 1%
    4
    (26 votes)
  • 1%
    5
    (37 votes)
2397 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Where do you rank Nick Foles among the NFCE QBs? (1 = best, 5 = worst)

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    1
    (68 votes)
  • 20%
    2
    (482 votes)
  • 39%
    3
    (923 votes)
  • 25%
    4
    (603 votes)
  • 10%
    5
    (248 votes)
2324 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Where do you rank Eli Manning among the NFCE QBs? (1 = best, 5 = worst)

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    1
    (31 votes)
  • 3%
    2
    (91 votes)
  • 18%
    3
    (426 votes)
  • 35%
    4
    (826 votes)
  • 40%
    5
    (926 votes)
2300 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Where do you rank Dak Prescott among the NFCE QBs? (1 = best, 5 = worst)

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    1
    (27 votes)
  • 5%
    2
    (115 votes)
  • 21%
    3
    (499 votes)
  • 38%
    4
    (872 votes)
  • 33%
    5
    (758 votes)
2271 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which NFC East team has the best running back group?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Cowboys
    (709 votes)
  • 14%
    Giants
    (325 votes)
  • 37%
    Redskins
    (863 votes)
  • 17%
    Eagles
    (396 votes)
2293 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which NFC East team has the weakest running back group?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Cowboys
    (205 votes)
  • 22%
    Giants
    (495 votes)
  • 19%
    Redskins
    (417 votes)
  • 49%
    Eagles
    (1077 votes)
2194 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Where do you rank Zeke Elliott among the NFCE RBs? (1 = best)

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    1
    (1267 votes)
  • 20%
    2
    (432 votes)
  • 14%
    3
    (308 votes)
  • 3%
    4
    (75 votes)
2082 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Where do you rank Saquon Barkley among the NFCE RBs? (1 = best)

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    1
    (357 votes)
  • 50%
    2
    (1038 votes)
  • 24%
    3
    (502 votes)
  • 7%
    4
    (148 votes)
2045 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Where do you rank Derrius Guice among the NFCE RBs? (1 = best)

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    1
    (298 votes)
  • 19%
    2
    (393 votes)
  • 41%
    3
    (855 votes)
  • 24%
    4
    (496 votes)
2042 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Where do you rank Jay Ajayi among the NFCE RBs? (1 = best)

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    1
    (74 votes)
  • 12%
    2
    (253 votes)
  • 21%
    3
    (429 votes)
  • 61%
    4
    (1224 votes)
1980 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which running back is the "best of the rest"?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Jonathan Stewart
    (91 votes)
  • 66%
    Chris Thompson
    (1399 votes)
  • 1%
    Rod Smith
    (36 votes)
  • 1%
    Samaje Perine
    (40 votes)
  • 1%
    Rob Kelley
    (24 votes)
  • 0%
    Kapri Bibbs
    (6 votes)
  • 23%
    Darren Sproles
    (501 votes)
2097 votes total Vote Now