The 2021 season is kicking off, which means half of the League's franchises are undefeated and every fan base is full of excitement.
Given all that excitement, it’s easy to forget that only a handful of teams can truly argue their spot as the NFL’s top franchise.
But, what if we took a step back and analyzed divisions by their top-end talent?
With the majority of major roster moves set, the Sprint decided to do just that, taking the best players at each position to make eight super teams.
Today is the fifth day of an eight part series, where we’ll unveil a different division’s roster each day. But first, a few ground rules.
Each team was put together by a panel of one. I’ve tried my best to maintain a 13 man set (3 WR, 1 RB, 1 TE) on offense and a 4-2-5 set (4 linemen, 2 LB, 5 DB’s) defensively, but have flexed some of the rosters to best fit the strength of each division. I’ve also strayed away from rookies, where possible, as they’re unproven in the professional environment.
*Additional note: injury status was taken into account on the day of this post (Sorry Ravens), so some players may miss the team due to status.
Today we’ll cover the NFC (L)East
Quarterback: Dak Prescott (DAL)
- Before suffering one of the worst ankle injuries we’ve ever seen, Dak Prescott was quietly on pace to break the NFL’s single season passing record. And, his 403 passing yards against the Bucs silenced most critics for 2021, even if the Cowboys lost.
- Also receiving consideration: Jalen Hurts (PHI)
Running Back: Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)
- Elliott is coming into the 2021 season hoping to show his poor 2020 effort was an anomaly. Unfortunately he’s not off to the greatest start, but the Dallas star is a two-time rushing champ with the most proven production of the East’s tailbacks.
- Also receiving consideration: Antonio Gibson (WAS), Saquan Barkley (NYG)
Wide Receiver: Amari Cooper (DAL), Terry McLaurin (WAS), Kenny Galloday (NYG)
- McLaurin and Galloday have both been quietly producing 1,000+ yard seasons when healthy, with Scary Terry achieving the feat without consistent quarterback play. Cooper, one of the NFL’s most formidable wideouts, has been eclectic in Dallas, and has a sound connection with Prescott.
- Also receiving consideration: CeeDee Lamb (DAL)
Tight End: Logan Thomas (WAS)
- Thomas, while not the most talented Tight End in the division, is primed to have the biggest role in his offense. He’s also likely the best bet given his age, recent production, and lack of injury history (missing only one game since 2018).
Offensive Line: Tyron Smith (T - DAL), Zack Martin (G - DAL), Chase Roullier (C - WAS), Brandon Scherff (G - WAS), Lane Johnson (T - PHI)
- While each of the offensive lines in the division are worrisome, the sum of their best parts doesn’t look half bad. When healthy, this group could be one of the best of the divisional teams.
Defensive Line: Chase Young (DE - WAS), Leonard Williams (DT - NYG), Fletcher Cox (DT - PHI), Demarcus Lawrence (DE - DAL)
- Maybe the deepest position of the division, the line provides a good mix of pass and run defense anchored by gem Chase Young.
- Also receiving consideration: Jonathan Allen (DL - WAS), Montez Sweat (DE - WAS), Dexter Lawrence (DT - NYG)
Linebacker: Blake Martinez (NYG), Cole Holcomb (WAS)
- Martinez and Holcomb, while talented, won’t scare opposing offenses like Darius Leonard or Bobby Wagner, but they are effective in coverage, which is a requirement in 2021.
- Note Micah Parsons looks like he can take Holcomb’s spot midway through the year.
Cornerback: James Bradberry (NYG), William Jackson III (WAS), Darius Slay (PHI)
- Three players cashing in big with new teams, this CB room offers a list of capable players who are the top option on their respective franchises but lack true top-end talent.
- Also receiving consideration: Kendall Fuller (WAS), Trevon Diggs (DAL)
Safety: Kameron Curl (WAS), Landon Collins (Was)
- Curl, one of the league’s biggest surprises in 2020, pairs well with Collins, who was one of the league’s best safeties before being riddled with injuries last season. While neither player would be a difference maker, they form a capable duo.
- Also receiving consideration: Xavier McKinney (NYG)
The talent in the AFC East, known as the AFC Least after none of the division finished above .500 last year, is very offense heavy. Outside of Chase Young and the defensive line, there isn’t much to be scared of defensively.
Wide Receiver. The group is set with multiple top options poised for big years, particularly with a pass-heavy Dak slinging the football.
The linebacker position, namely Holcomb, is particularly weak. I can’t imagine the duo pairing up well against opposing tight ends like Darren Waller or receiving backs like Austin Ekeler with incredible efficiency.
CeeDee Lamb nearly broke 1,000 yards in his rookie season catching passes from Andy Dalton and Garrett Gilbert, it’s hard not to include talent like that on a team with a Pro Bowl caliber signal caller.