The NFL Draft is over. Now what? The NFC East was probably the most interesting division during the 2019 NFL season—and “interesting” was just one description of a topsy-turvy campaign, which saw the Philadelphia Eagles clinch the guaranteed division-winner playoff spot at 9-7. There is no reason to believe the Eagles will limp into the postseason as the NFC East winner in 2020, though, especially after adjustments to their foes.
The Eagles just barely crossed the finish line last December and lost in the NFC Wild Card Round against the superior Seattle Seahawks. Despite a few offseason tweaks, it’s difficult to suggest Philly has wholesale improved in the span of months. Who stacks up as the best in the NFC East?
4. Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins were the worst team in the division last year, falling to 3-13 and earning the second overall pick for their “effort”—coming in the form of stud Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young.
Despite the excellent pick-up and offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles taken in the third round, ostensibly to replace traded All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, the Redskins won’t see much of an improvement in 2020. While the defense should improve, rising sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins still has a long way to go to improve under center. It’s another rebuilding year in D.C., but the pieces are there in the future.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are going to take a dip in 2020 in spite of the offseason trade to acquire star cornerback Darius Slay from the Detroit Lions. Philadelphia also added first-year wide receiver Jalen Reagor out of TCU with the 21st overall pick in the draft, but they may come to regret passing up on LSU’s Justin Jefferson.
Even if Reagor sees a solid debut NFL season, the lingering quarterback question remains: can Carson Wentz string together an impressive season after coming off another injury? To be clear, although Wentz is often injured, he did appear in all 16 regular-season games in 2019, but the product around him wasn’t great.
Maybe Philly improves the secondary in 2020, but the wide receivers corps is still a bit barren—Alshon Jeffery, Marquise Goodwin, DeSean Jackson, Reagor, and second-year wideout JJ Arcega-Whiteside, while Zach Ertz is expected to get plenty of burn as a top tight end. Altogether, there are too many questions to predict a bumpy-free 2020 campaign from the Eagles.
2. New York Giants
The Giants should be on the rise in the 2020 NFC East. They have ex-Cowboys coach Garrett on board as their offensive coordinator, invariably helping rising sophomore signal-caller Daniel Jones, maybe the best running back in Saquon Barkley. New York got a steal of a second-round pick in Alabama safety Xavier McKinney and took Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas at No. 4 two weeks back.
New York’s core receiving targets are promising, too—Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, and tight end Evan Engram. It was a good draft on the Giants’ part, fortifying their offensive line for developing QB of the future, Jones, and improving the defensive backs. The Giants should be better in 2020 but not as polished as their NFC East rival, Garrett’s former team.
1. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are the best team in the NFC East heading into the 2020 NFL season—and they could operate with the best offense, too. While we still await a long-term deal between star quarterback Dak Prescott and Dallas, there is no reason to believe America’s Team will play in 2020 without last year’s No. 2 passing yards gunslinger (in spite of the Andy Dalton free agency signing last week, which likely makes him an overqualified second-stringer, too).
The Cowboys tried to improve their status in the NFC by adding rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb out of Oklahoma in the first round of the NFL Draft. They also have Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup coming back (combined to catch 145 receptions for 2,296 yards). With the departure of longtime tight end Jason Witten, surely the Cowboys will downgrade at the position, but there’s little doubt Dallas will see a steep decline in offensive production.
Crucially, while Garrett left the team and former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy stepped in, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is still in control on that side of the ball.
After going an even 8-8 last season, it’s hard to predict the Cowboys going anywhere but up in the 2020 NFC.