By: Joey Esquire
QB: Carson Wentz – What might have been.
RB: Ezekiel Elliott – Despite missing six games, he led the division in rushing yards, rushing TDs and yards from scrimmage.
WR: Nelson Agholor, Alshon Jeffery, Sterling Shepard – I am tempted to keep Jeffery off this list because he was so inefficient, but such was 2017 for the NFCE WRs. No team should be proud of its WR performance. By the way, three WRs who earned see more targets in 2018? Mack Hollins, Brice Butler and Ryan Grant. All three were by fair their team’s most efficient WRs on a per target basis.
TE: Zach Ertz – This one isn’t close. The long-awaited Zach Ertz breakout finally arrived.
OL: Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Travis Frederick, Trent Williams, Zack Martin – Per usual, I am just spreading this one through the division based on relative strength of OL play. Jason Kelce might have earned the C spot over Frederick. Also a shout out to Morgan Moses, who didn’t have his best season but battled like a fucking warrior on what looked like two bad legs.
IDL: Fletcher Cox, David Irving – Fletcher Cox remains the best defensive player in the division. I considered leaving Irving off the list because he only played half a season and he’s really not very good against the run, but he’s a high impact player against the pass when he’s on the field.
Edge: Demarcus Lawrence, Ryan Kerrigan – Demarcus Lawrence made himself a whole lot of money this year. Ryan Kerrigan continued to be Ryan Kerrigan, an underrated pass rusher who produces every year. It was a tough call leaving Brandon Graham off this list, who had a career high in sack production and is on the short list of best edge defenders against the run in the NFL.
LBs: Nigel Bradham, Zach Brown – If Sean Lee wasn’t made of dandelions and tissue paper, he would be a fixture on this list. He had a noticeable impact on the overall strength of the Cowboys defense on the dozen or so plays he was on the field this season. Zach Brown was a tackling machine for the Redskins. No idea how he lasted in FA as long as he did last year. And Bradham filled in admirably after the Eagles lost Jordan Hicks for the season.
CBs: Josh Norman, Patrick Robinson, Kendall Fuller – All four teams put forth strong performances at slot CB. DRC and Jourdan Lewis were both in the mix for a spot on this list.
S: Malcolm Jenkins, Landon Collins – Collins wasn’t close to duplicating his 2016 performance, but he’s still a tackling machine on that defense. DJ Swearinger finished with some impressive final tackles and Passes Defensed numbers, but he just can’t cover well enough to beat out Collins or Jenkins
K: Jake Elliott
P: Chris Jones
LS (emeritus): Jon Dorenbos