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Ranking the NFC East: Edge Rushers

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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!

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. Today, I thought it would fun to take a look at EDGE rushers.

Overall, this is a position group that appears to have been diminished a bit from 2017, with Junior Galette, Trent Murphy, Vinny Curry, and JP-P all leaving the division, without an obvious influx of young talent. Sure, the division added a couple of veterans, but overall, the fearsomeness factor for the division’s edge rush seems to have fallen off a bit from where it stood in July 2017.

The Redskins have lost two players that featured strongly in the team’s plans at this time last year: Junior Galette and Trent Murphy. Meanwhile, the ‘Skins added Pernell McPhee in free agency, meaning that the team has a different look at the outside linebacker position in 2018.

The Cowboys feature Demarcus Lawrence, who had an incredible season in 2017, his ‘contract year’. He was — would you say ‘rewarded’? — with the franchise tag, and will earn $17m this year from the Cowboys. Statistically, he faded in the second half of last season, getting just 4 of his 14.5 sacks in the final 9 games. Did he get overrated and overpaid based on seven impressive games (10.5 sacks) to open the 2017 season?

The Eagles got older, letting 30-year-old Vinny Curry leave in free agency, and replacing him with 32-year-old Michael Bennett. Chris Long is now 33, and Brandon Graham is 30. This veteran trio, however, is supplemented by last year’s first round pick, Derek Barnett, and this year’s 4th rounder, Josh Sweat. The Eagles’ front seven has a reputation for being one of the best in the league; will that reputation be justified as this high profile group of edge rushers seeks to defend Philly’s super bowl championship?

The Giants lost a lot of name value when they let Jason Pierre-Paul leave in free agency for Tampa Bay. Do they have enough left to see them ranked in the top half of the division? They drafted Lorenzo Carter in the 3rd round this offseason. Last year’s 5th round pick, Avery Moss may have been exposed in the 11 games he played in last season, as he accumulated 10 tackles and no sacks for the season. After that, it’s a bit hard to identify pass rushers for the Giants. The team website, Giants.com, lists Ray Ray Armstrong as an OLB, though I thought he was an ILB, and that is how he is generally listed on depth charts. Looking at the Giants depth chart at OLB, I get the feeling that they lack quality depth at the position, though the same might be said for the Redskins this season.

Redskins

  • Ryan Kerrigan
  • Preston Smith
  • Pernell McPhee
  • Ryan Anderson

Cowboys

  • Demarcus Lawrence
  • Tyrone Crawford
  • Kony Ealy
  • Taco Charleton
  • Dorance Armstrong

Eagles

  • Michael Bennett
  • Brandon Graham
  • Derek Barnett
  • Chris Long
  • Josh Sweat

Giants

  • Olivier Vernon
  • Lorenzo Carter
  • Avery Moss
  • Kareem Martin
  • Romeo Okwara
  • Jordan Williams

Poll

Which NFC East team has the strongest corps of pass rushers?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Redskins
    (725 votes)
  • 9%
    Cowboys
    (173 votes)
  • 51%
    Eagles
    (986 votes)
  • 1%
    Giants
    (34 votes)
1918 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which NFC East team has the weakest corps of pass rushers?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Redskins
    (104 votes)
  • 15%
    Cowboys
    (262 votes)
  • 1%
    Eagles
    (30 votes)
  • 76%
    Giants
    (1284 votes)
1680 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who is the best pass rusher in the NFC East?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Ryan Kerrigan
    (731 votes)
  • 1%
    Preston Smith
    (29 votes)
  • 26%
    Demarcus Lawrence
    (461 votes)
  • 4%
    Michael Bennett
    (73 votes)
  • 20%
    Brandon Graham
    (359 votes)
  • 1%
    Derek Barnett
    (33 votes)
  • 2%
    Olivier Vernon
    (38 votes)
1724 votes total Vote Now