If I were to draft 10 players from the NFC East to serve as my core of a Super Bowl contender for the next three or four seasons, the players I would draft and the priority I place on them are:
10. David Diehl, LT, New York Giants
You need someone to protect the quarterback's blind side. After watching Jason Peters get beaten like a runaway convict all of last season, I can't put him on the list. Diehl is a good, but flawed player. He makes the list by default.
9. Osi Umenyiora, DE, New York Giants
Umenyiora showed his value in the Super Bowl, as he and the rest of that defensive line was all over Tom Brady like Roseanne Barr at a buffet table. The only reason he isn't higher on this list is because of the injury he is coming off of last season.
From 2004 to 2007, Umenyiora compiled 40.5 sacks, establishing himself as one of the best pass rushers in the business. As is proven over and over, a great pass rush is one of the most important components of a Super Bowl winner; the last two (Giants, Steelers) are great examples of that.
Umenyiora, 27, should continue to be a productive pass rusher for the next 3-4 years.
8. LaRon Landry, FS, Washington Redskins
Landry is an intimidating safety who runs like the wind and hits like a truck, but is also more than adequate in coverage. I like those kind of players.
I thought he would establish himself as a top two or three safety, but he is still very raw. He has all the skills in the world, but he has a lot of growing to do on, and off, the field. He is only 24 years old and the sky is the limit. If Landry reaches anywhere near his potential he could be the best safety in the entire NFL down the line.
7. Justin Tuck, DE, New York Giants
In the last two seasons, Tuck has 22 sacks and has proven to be a terror for offensive linemen all around the league (just ask Logan Mankins).
He has the ability to line up anywhere on the defensive line, as he lined up mostly at the tackle spot in the "four aces" look the Giants employed in 2007. He is now a full time defensive end, but has the versatility to line up at tackle if need be.
In addition to being a deadly pass rusher, he also plays strong against the run. At 26 years old, he has many more good years left, and with Umenyiora we have a fearsome DE combination.
6. Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
I'm not a big fan of putting Westbrook this high because of his age and injury concerns, but there is no denying this man's talent and production. While he's on the injury list every week, and never practices, he still manages to produce. He has also played in 44 of a possible 48 games the last three seasons.
While he had a down year (for him) last season, his versatility and the threat of his pass-catching out of the backfield make him a good pick at this spot.
5. Chris Cooley, TE, Washington Redskins
Cooley has always been among the most productive tight ends in the league despite not ever having a good quarterback to throw him the ball.
He has always been a focal point in the Redskins' offense, but still has managed to get his. Cooley is a great pass catcher, who brings versatility and good hands to the table. He is also taken at that spot to make up for a lack of clear, legitimate receiving options available at the WR spot in this division (Roy Williams has a lot to prove).
4. Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
Another TE? Really? Yes, I want my QB to have plenty of weapons to throw the ball to, not taking into account the form in which they come.
Witten is a "seam buster," a guy who has good hands and is very much in tune with the QB who will lead my team. He is the definition of a safety blanket and should be the "go to guy" when the quarterback is in trouble.
3. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys
I don't put much stock into the fact that Eli Manning "won" a Super Bowl, and no I don't care what Donovan McNabb does or has done in his career.
Romo is clearly the best QB in the division in my eyes. His arm, the touch, the accuracy, and the arsenal of throws he brings to the table, as well as his mobility and feel for the pocket make him the pick here.
There is no doubt that Romo's performance in big games is worrisome, but that can be alleviated over the course of time, especially when you consider his "failures" in big games are at a whopping number of two.
That being said, you can't teach the skill that Romo has.
2. Albert Haynesworth, DT, Washington Redskins
Haynesworth is a beast, without question. The guy is a disruptive force and is quite nimble for a man his size. He was a wrecking ball in the middle of the Titans' defense and also lined up at end many times, becoming a nightmare for tackles all over the league.
The thing about Haynesworth is, I truly believe that the guy could also be an all-pro defensive end if placed at that spot. He is truly a special player, and hopefully he keeps motivated enough to make full use of those tools. With the defense we employ, we now have another guy we can line up all over the place.
1. DeMarcus Ware, LB, Dallas Cowboy
I'm still not quite sure how he didn't win Defensive Player of the Year last season after compiling a mind blowing 20 sacks, but this guy is an unbelievable football player.
Is there anything he cannot do? The best pass rusher in the business, and the best 3-4 OLB in the business, Ware has absolutely dominated to the tune of 53.5 sacks in four seasons.
He is a dominant, unstoppable force who is also a do-it-all linebacker. I definitely think Ware will eventually set the record for sacks in a season, when it's all said and done. With Ware, Umenyiora, Haynesworth, and Tuck, QBs better watch for their lives!
And my coaching staff, for fun:
- HC- Tom Coughlin
- OC- Andy Reid
- DC- Jim Johnson
Others who garnered serious consideration: