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Ranking the NFC East: (Inside) Linebackers

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It’s mid-July, and there’s not much to do except to make lists and rank players... so let’s get to it!

Training camp starts in about a week and a half, and we’re less than a month away from the preseason opener against the Patriots. Basically, we have 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. Today, I thought it would fun to take a look at the division’s inside linebackers.

The Redskins have the same starters as last year, and the backup group features 3 players that were on the team last season. Shaun Dion Hamilton is a 6th round draft pick from Alabama that many fans think may be able to win the 4th (and probably final) ILB position, while others predict that he may spend the season on the PUP/IR list.

The Cowboys may have put the most resources into the LB position this offseason, using their first round pick to take Leighton Vander Esch from Boise State. He joins one of the best MLBs in the NFL, Sean Lee, who struggles to stay healthy, but is elite when he is on the field. Jaylon Smith, drafted in the second round of the 2016 draft (when he was sporting an injury that meant he wouldn’t play at all in his rookie season), rounds out a very strong group of starting linebackers, who may be among the best in the NFL in 2018.

The Eagles return starters Bradham and Hicks, though Mychal Kendricks left in free agency. They have draft picks from ‘16 & ‘17 to rely on, but they didn’t have the salary cap available in free agency or enough draft picks available to upgrade the LB position this offseason.

While the Giants have been rated low in most of the positional rankings we’ve done so far in this series, they have some pretty good linebackers and some name value in the group. This isn’t Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks, but still, the Giants bring some talent to the table this season at ILB.

Redskins

  • Mason Foster
  • Zach Brown
  • Zach Vigil, Martrell Spaight, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Josh Harvey-Clemons

Cowboys

  • Sean Lee
  • Jaylon Smith
  • Leighton Vander Esch
  • Damien Wilson
  • Chris Covington

Eagles

  • Nigel Bradham
  • Jordan Hicks
  • Gerry Nathan
  • Joe Walker
  • Corey Nelson

Giants

  • Alex Ogletree
  • BJ Goodson
  • Ray Ray Armstrong
  • Mark Herzlich

Poll

Which base 4-3 defense has the best LB group?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Eagles
    (468 votes)
  • 52%
    Cowboys
    (507 votes)
975 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which NFC East team has the best (I)LB group overall?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Redskins
    (469 votes)
  • 20%
    Eagles
    (222 votes)
  • 1%
    Giants
    (19 votes)
  • 33%
    Cowboys
    (362 votes)
1072 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which NFC East team has the WEAKEST (I)LB group overall?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Redskins
    (79 votes)
  • 6%
    Eagles
    (61 votes)
  • 81%
    Giants
    (815 votes)
  • 5%
    Cowboys
    (51 votes)
1006 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who is the best (I)LB in the NFC East?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Mason Foster
    (8 votes)
  • 42%
    Zach Brown
    (453 votes)
  • 39%
    Sean Lee
    (423 votes)
  • 0%
    Jaylon Smith
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Leighton Vander Esch
    (6 votes)
  • 6%
    Nigel Bradham
    (68 votes)
  • 7%
    Jordan Hicks
    (79 votes)
  • 1%
    Olivier Vernon
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    Alex Ogletree
    (16 votes)
  • 0%
    Ray Ray Armstrong
    (2 votes)
1069 votes total Vote Now