Philadelphia Eagles: 2013 NFC East Top 20

NFC East Top 20: No. 5 LeSean McCoy

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
12:00
PM ET
In the final 20 days before the start of the regular season, we are counting down the top 20 players in the NFC East. For a full explanation, see this post. And if you want to read any of the other posts that have run since we started this series, you can find them all here, in this link.

No. 5 -- LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles RB

(Last year: No. 3)

McCoy
McCoy was on pace for 1,200 rushing yards last year when a concussion cost him four games. He returned for the final two, but finished with just 840 yards and two rushing touchdowns (to go with 373 yards and three touchdowns receiving). Major drop-off from a 2011 season in which he rushed for 1,309 yards and 17 touchdowns (plus three more receiving). But everything dropped off in Philadelphia last year, and the stink of the Eagles' 4-12 mess doesn't diminish McCoy's ability or his standing as one of the top running backs in the league.

If anything, McCoy should be primed for bigger things in 2013, still just 25 years old and the likely centerpiece of new coach Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense. He's still the same super-fast, ultra-shifty runner he was two years ago, and he appears healthy. He can run between the tackles for the tough, early-down yards. He can be effective at the goal line. He can get out in space and make big plays -- an ability he'll likely get to showcase even more now that left tackle Jason Peters is back and he'll be running behind that full-strength offensive line. McCoy drops a couple of spots due to a down year for him and some great ones by a couple of others, but to think of him as anything less than a game-breaking star is a mistake.

The rest of the rankings:

6. Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, New York Giants
7. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys
8. Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins
9. Victor Cruz, WR, Giants
10. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
11. Jason Peters, OT, Eagles
12. Sean Lee, LB, Cowboys
13. Trent Williams, OT, Redskins
14. Evan Mathis, OG, Eagles
15. Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants
16. DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
17. Anthony Spencer, DE, Cowboys
18. London Fletcher, LB, Redskins
19. Brian Orakpo, LB, Redskins
20. Jason Hatcher, DL, Cowboys

NFC East Top 20: No. 11 Jason Peters

August, 26, 2013
8/26/13
12:00
PM ET
In the final 20 days before the start of the regular season, we are counting down the top 20 players in the NFC East. For a full explanation, see this post. And if you want to read any of the other posts that have run since we started this series, you can find them all here, in this link.

Ponder
Peters
No. 11 -- Jason Peters, Philadelphia Eagles OT

(Last year: Not ranked)

The one and only reason Peters didn't make last year's list was that he was already out for the season following multiple Achilles surgeries. Coming off of the 2011 season he had, if he had not been healthy, he'd have been a legitimate candidate for the No. 1 spot on the list. But I wasn't ranking guys who we knew weren't going to play in 2012.

Regardless Peters is back now, and he looks as healthy and devastating as ever. He was the best left tackle in the game prior to his injury, and assuming he can avoid a recurrence of that injury, his return is the best thing to happen to the Eagles this season. New coach Chip Kelly and his quarterback competition have received the bulk of the attention in camp, but the return of Peterson to anchor the offensive line will help improve the play of anyone who's playing quarterback for the Eagles this year, not to mention the production of brilliant running back LeSean McCoy.

What the Eagles lost with Peters out was a left tackle who can not only consistently win against the league's best pass rushers at the line of scrimmage but can also then get out and immediately begin delivering crushing blocks against linebackers and safeties at the second level. With him back, the Eagles' ability to run their screen game and do many of the short-range passing things Kelly wants to do on offense will improve drastically. Once we get to Week 6 and everybody's talking about what a great year McCoy is having, make sure somebody compares how much success he's having running left this year versus last year. And when you see those numbers, remember this post, and what a difference-maker Peters is.

The rest of the rankings:

12. Sean Lee, LB, Dallas Cowboys

13. Trent Williams, OT, Washington Redskins

14. Evan Mathis, OG, Eagles

15. Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants
16. DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
17. Anthony Spencer, DE, Cowboys
18. London Fletcher, LB, Redskins
19. Brian Orakpo, LB, Redskins
20. Jason Hatcher, DL, Cowboys

 

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