Wake-Up Call: Players Who NEED to Play Well in the NFC East

Every team has their star players who are expected to put up numbers on a weekly basis and contribute to the success of their team. However, a handful of superstars does not make a full team. In order for a team to be successful, the non-super star players need to contribute. Looking forward to the 2017 NFL season, here are the players from each NFC East team that need to contribute for their team to be successful:

Dallas Cowboys – Byron Jones (DB)

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Jones is a freakishly skilled athlete. He shattered the NFL Combine record for broad jump by eight inches. He ran the fastest 60-yard shuttle time at the NFL Combine. He had the second highest vertical jump at the NFL Combine (highest for a defensive back that year). He reportedly ran a 4.3 40 yard dash at his pro day. Despite all those numbers, he has still only been a good player. He needs to step up to the elite level this year to help out the Dallas Cowboys defensive secondary that was a weakness for them last season. If Jones can make the next step and become an elite defensive back, the Cowboys might find themselves playing for a shot at the Super Bowl. If he cannot make that next step, the Cowboys secondary might continue to struggle and be detrimental to the rest of a team that is very good.

New York Giants – Ereck Flowers (OT)

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Flowers has been a disaster in New York, and the entire left side of the line has suffered. Flowers never went home this off-season, he stayed in New York to work out and stay focused on becoming a better left tackle. If his hard work pays off, quarterback Eli Manning should have a career year with protection, Odell Beckham Jr., free agent signing Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, and rookie tight end Evan Engram. The flip-side is that if Flowers continues to be a liability and the Giants can’t find a quick replacement, Manning will continue to face so much pressure that it will slow down what could be a deadly passing attack.

Philadelphia Eagles – Alshon Jeffery (WR)

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Philadelphia has a young and talented quarterback in Carson Wentz. The only problem is, they don’t have a very good number one wide receiver for Wentz to rely on – although their tight end Zach Ertz is incredibly solid. After five seasons with the Chicago Bears, Jeffery signed with the Eagles. If Jeffery comes in and can put up good numbers with Wentz throwing to him, the Eagles should be able to challenge the Washington Redskins and New York Giants for the #2 spot in the division. However, if Jeffery does not do well, he would fall into the current mix of mediocre receivers that Wentz has and the Eagles would be a solid pick to finish dead last in the NFC East.

Washington Redskins – Terrelle Pryor Sr. (WR)

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The former Ohio State quarterback, who has since been converted to wide receiver, enjoyed a surprisingly good season with the Cleveland Browns last year. He will join up with second-year receiver Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, and tight ends Jordan Reed/Vernon Davis. This is the same receiving corp (minus playmaker DeSean Jackson) that torched the Green Bay Packers last season for what seemed like over 600 yards. Since Jackson left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this off-season, quarterback Kirk Cousins will need Pryor to step up and fill in so that their offense can continue to get better. If Pryor can match or better his performance with Cleveland last season, Washington will be a solid pick to finish second in their division – behind the Dallas Cowboys. Should Pryor struggle to fit in, Cousins will also likely have a down year – which would decrease Cousins’ value as a 2018 free agent and potentially put Washington in last place in their division.

 

 

 

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