Thursday, June 11, 2009

ESPN.COM: Ultimate Building Blocks: NFC East

Posted by's Matt Mosley

If you were allowed to draft 10 players from the NFC East to serve as the core of a Super Bowl contender for the next three seasons, who would they be? I asked you guys to answer this question Wednesday, and you responded in a big way -- as always.

Now it's time to reveal my list of players who will lead me to Super Bowls over the next three seasons. With the talent base in the Beast, this team wins three consecutive Lombardi trophies. OK, let's get to it:

1. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants: I think Tony Romo is capable of breaking through in the playoffs, but give me the young guy who has already done it. Manning is about to have a huge season. I'm talking MVP-caliber season.

2. DeMarcus Ware, OLB, Dallas Cowboys: Ware told the Beast on Tuesday that he's ready to take his game to a new level. He's not worried about another 20-sack season. He wants to make players such as Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff more dangerous. He's the most dynamic defender in the league right now.

3. Albert Haynesworth, DT, Washington Redskins: He's the most dominant defensive tackle we've seen in years. He's virtually impossible to block one-on-one. I think he'll make a huge impact on the defense in '09. Enough to get the Skins to the playoffs? Probably not.

4. Asante Samuel, CB, Philadelphia Eagles: He's hands down the best cornerback in the division, although Terence Newman's close when healthy. The ball always seems to find Samuel, and that's the best compliment you can pay a defensive back.

5. Jason Peters, LT, Philadelphia Eagles: Fantastic move by the Eagles to land one of the top left tackles in the league. He's certainly the best left tackle in the NFC East, and he'll protect Donovan McNabb's blind side for the next two seasons.

6. Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys: He's become the best all-around tight end in the league. He's a matchup nightmare for linebackers and safeties. With T.O. gone, Witten could have the best year for a tight end in franchise history.

7. Justin Tuck, DE, New York Giants: He took full advantage of Osi Umenyiora's absence to become the heart and soul of this defense. The smartest move Jerry Reese ever made was signing Tuck to an extension before the Super Bowl in 2007. Otherwise, Tuck would be preparing to break the bank. Also one of the best locker-room guys a team could have.

8. Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants: I think Jacobs gives this offense its identity. When he's running downhill, he's almost impossible to stop. When he was banged up last December, the offense struggled.

9. Brian Orakpo, DE, Washington Redskins: If the Skins use him properly (at the line of scrimmage), Orakpo will be an absolute terror. I don't like him playing the SAM linebacker on first and second downs, but you guys already know that. Fantastic college player who will be a big-time producer at this level.

10. Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia Eagles: I really struggled on this one because I have immense respect for Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss. But leaving Westbrook off the list didn't feel right. His injuries are a definite concern, but he's still a dangerous player. I think Westbrook has two solid seasons left in him. So let's put him on the team.

Honorable mention: Moss, Romo, Newman, Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Leonard Davis, Trent Cole, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, McNabb, London Fletcher, LaRon Landry, Hakeem Nicks, Chris Cooley, Clinton Portis, Jay Ratliff, Bradie James, Osi Umenyiora, Corey Webster and Antonio Pierce.