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NFC East Player Power Rankings: Inside Linebacker Edition

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 20:  Sean Lee #50 of the Dallas Cowboys lines up against the Washington Redskins offense at FedExField on November 20, 2011 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistJuly 18, 2012

We move onto the less glamorous linebackers in our positional player power ranking series.

Here's how we view the NFC East's top inside linebackers, starting with one of the division's brightest young stars.

 

1. Sean Lee, Dallas Cowboys

Lee really stood out in his second season. In fact, if not for Victor Cruz's arrival in New York, the 25-year-old would've been the division's breakout star of 2011.

The 2010 second-round pick has a very bright future as a field general and a defensive leader.

 

2. London Fletcher, Washington Redskins

Same old, same old from Fletcher, who led the league in tackles despite being, like, 87 years old. He's one of the most reliable players in the league, year in and year out, and I don't think he'll drop off for at least another year or two.

 

3. Michael Boley, New York Giants

Boley is a tough player to define. He is technically a 4-3 outside linebacker, but he plays inside a lot and might even be New York's starting middle 'backer this season.

All that matters for the sake of this list is that he's not a pass-rusher. Boley isn't a special player, but he produces steady results. He's a rock in the run defense for Big Blue.

 

4. Perry Riley, Washington Redskins

Riley really shined late last season in relief of Rocky McIntosh, turning into a tackle machine and looking eerily similar to his partner, Fletcher. Now that the 24-year-old former fourth-round pick has become a full-time starter for the first time, he'll look to improve on his coverage skills. And if he can do that, he'll become a Pro Bowl-caliber player.

 

5. DeMeco Ryans, Philadelphia Eagles

I like the trade to get Ryans, who immediately improves the Philly secondary, but the veteran has a tough history with injuries and was probably a bit overrated because of his high tackle totals in Houston.

He will, however, become a stellar leader with the Eagles and has the ability to play at a Pro Bowl level.

 

This list wouldn't have been as strong a year ago. It was great to see Lee and Riley emerge last year, and the Ryans addition helps, too. Not many divisions can say they have five inside 'backers as good as these guys.

Then again, do divisions really care about having bragging rights over fellow divisions?

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