Who are the top players in the NFC East?

Who are the top players in the NFC East?
September 7, 2013, 11:00 am
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No division in the NFL collects Lombardi Trophies like the NFC East, and many of the game's all-time best players came from the division. Emmitt Smith, Darrell Green, Lawrence Taylor, the list goes on from there.

But a more recent list has generated much discussion among NFC East fans, as ESPN ranked the Top 20 players in the division.

Redskins fans would instantly look for Robert Griffin III, who landed No. 4 on the list. Griffin's ranking seems fair, especially as the second-year quarterback works back from a knee injury. The players ranked ahead of RG3 could lead to debate.

In order, ESPN put the Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware at No. 1, the Giants' Eli Manning at No. 2 and then back to Dallas for No. 3 Dez Bryant. 

In nine years, Ware racked up 111 sacks. Arguably the most-feared pass-rusher in the NFL, Ware registered an 11.5 sack season in 2012, and a 19.5 sack season in 2011. 

Ware is a great player, no doubt, but is a 31-year-old defensive end really more valuable than a 23-year-old quarterback fresh off winning Rookie of the Year? That's debatable. Perhaps Griffin is ranked appropriately, but the players in front of him have questions.

Manning has two Super Bowl rings, but last season his Giants missed the playoffs and he starts this season at age 32. Bryant has every imaginable athletic skill, but has shown a fiery personality in the past. If Bryant can control his personal demons, he could lead the NFL in receiving yards, but many factors must fall into place. 

In 15 games, Griffin amassed more than 4,000 yards and 27 total touchdowns. Not to mention leading the Redskins to their first division title in over a decade. Not bad for a first-year player. 

Further down the list, Alfred Morris landed at No. 8, Trent Williams at No. 13, London Fletcher at No. 18 and Brian Orakpo at No. 19. 

Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Kerrigan did not make the list, however.