During the month of August, the Last Word On Sports NFL department will be breaking down every division in the league by position. This article contains a position-by-position breakdown of the NFC East offenses. The breakdown will contain “the best” at each unit followed by “the rest” in descending order.
Offense Article: 2022 NFC East Offense Breakdown by Position
The Best: Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott is, once again, the best quarterback in the NFC East. Prescott has dominated the position for the NFC east since entering the league in 2016. Since that time he has racked up 22,083 passing yards with 143 touchdowns. Prescott has led the Dallas Cowboys to the playoffs three times since taking the reins including one playoff win against the Seattle Seahawks. The Cowboys have had some bad luck recently with Tyrone Smith’s knee injury, but with Prescott at the helm they will always be within striking distance of winning the NFC East.
After Prescott, Jalen Hurts is the best quarterback in the NFC East for the 2022 season. Hurts started four games as a rookie in 2020 and then earned the starting position over Gardner Minshew in 2021. He was great last year with 3,144 yards, 16 touchdowns, and only nine interceptions. Hurts added 784 rushing yards and another 10 touchdowns last season. Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles are primed for a breakout season pushing Dallas for the NFC East
Jalen Hurts on his first drive:
🦅 80 yards
🦅 1 TD
🦅 158.3 perfect passer rating
The Eagles offense is going to be scary pic.twitter.com/Yuq7Ra4guZ
— PFF (@PFF) August 12, 2022
Carson Wentz is next on this list just ahead of Daniel Jones. Wentz has made his rounds in the NFC East starting his career with Philadelphia and now taking snaps for the Washington Commanders. The former Eagle and current Commander played for the Indianapolis Colts last season passing for 3,563 yards and 27 touchdowns with only seven interceptions.
Daniel Jones rounds out the NFC East for the New York Giants. Jones has been disappointing so far after being drafted in the first round in 2019. The fourth-year quarterback has a lot to prove this season with a new coaching staff. If Jones wants to keep his job he will have to take a step forward this season. The Giants have put together a good squad through the draft and Jones is the last piece to a successful season.
The Best: Dallas Cowboys
The Rest: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders
Rooting for @EzekielElliott to have a huge season. Very underrated player IMO. He's averaged 1,231 rushing yards and over 11 total TDs per season since entering the league in 2016. #FeedZeke #CowboysNation pic.twitter.com/TDZj7irCTm
— Ethan Hogue (@EthanHogueDC4L) September 1, 2022
Ezekiel Elliott remains king of the NFC East backfield for another season. The veteran running back is showing signs of regression after his sixth NFL season. Elliott ran for 1,002 yards last season with 10 touchdowns averaging 4.2 yards/attempt. 4.2 Y/A is below his career average of 4.5 indicating Elliott could be running out of gas. With the rest of the NFC East running backs, Elliott continues to be the most talented rusher in the division.
Tony Pollard is primed and ready for a breakout season as soon as his role expands. Pollard is not so quietly becoming one of the best handcuffs in the NFL. He is entering his fourth NFL season and coming off his best season to date with 719 rushing yards and 337 receiving yards. These two workhorses place Dallas ahead of the rest of the NFC East at the running back position.
The New York Giants and Saquon Barkley are next on this list. Barkley has had an up-and-down career with the Giants. His rookie season yielded 1,307 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns and 721 receiving yards with another four scores. Barkley followed that career season up with 1,003 rushing yards and 438 receiving yards in 2019 before his career’s decline. In 2020 Barkley suffered a torn ACL in his second game missing the rest of the season. 2021 wasn’t much better as he played 13 games but only rushed for 593 yards with 263 receiving yards. The falloff has been steep for Barkley, who has very high expectations for this upcoming 2022 season.
Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell have the Philadelphia Eagles just ahead of the Washington Commanders this season. The Eagles backfield is crowded but full of talented runners. The Commanders are last on this list due to their questions are running back. Antonio Gibson has been very good for the Commanders the past two seasons. However, the coaching staff is not happy with the wide receiver turned running back labeling him as the kick returner in recent weeks. After Brian Robinson was shot in an armed-robbery attempt, the Commanders will likely see a timeshare consisting of Robinson, J.D. McKissic, and Gibson.
The Best: Philadelphia Eagles
The Rest: Washington Commanders, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants
The Eagles lead the NFC East at the wide receiver position after recently acquiring A.J. Brown on draft night. Brown has been an elite wide receiver since entering the league in 2019. He has 2,995 yards and 24 touchdowns as a wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans. Brown struggled through injury last season only receiving for 869 yards, but looks to Brown back with an improved Hurts and Eagles offense.
The second wide receiver on the Eagles offense is DeVonta Smith. The former Heisman-wining Crimson Tide wide receiver put up 916 yards and five touchdowns last season. Smith looks the part of a young star in an improving offense. The duo of Brown and Smith should wreak havoc on opposing secondaries in 2022.
Washington is next on this list with Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel. McLaurin has been terrorizing the NFL since 2019 with over 3,000 yards and 16 touchdowns despite suspect quarterback play. Wentz is an upgrade from Taylor Heinicke and should lead to an improved season from all three wideouts.
Dallas comes in third in the NFC East regarding wide receivers. After trading Amari Cooper the Cowboys will lean on CeeDee Lamb for the majority of the receiving work. Lamb is another young talented wide receiver ready for a big season. The former Sooner caught for 1,102 yards on 79 receptions with only six touchdowns. Lamb left a lot on the bone last season and has a lot to prove as he strives to solidify himself as an elite wide receiver.
— NFL Fantasy Football (@NFLFantasy) August 19, 2022
After Lamb the next receiver for the Cowboys is Michael Gallup. Gallup has been the third wide receiver for the past few seasons and should expand his role taking on more of the passing game. Unfortunately, Gallup likely won’t be ready for the first game of the season. He suffered an ACL injury at the end of last season. When he is ready for the field, Gallup should be a major contributor this season. One more name for the Cowboys is Jalen Tolbert. This rookie was great in college and will be featured heavily, at least until Gallup returns from the PUP list.
The Giants are last on this list at wide receiver. Kenny Golladay is the best receiver on this team next to the second-year Kadarius Toney. Golladay was a huge disappointment last season with only 37 receptions and 521 yards. This disappointing season hurts worse after over 1,000-yard seasons in 2018 and 2019 for the Detroit Lions. Both Toney and Golladay need to take a big step forward this season to support Jones and the offense if the Giants are to compete for the playoffs.
The Best: Dallas Cowboys
The Rest: Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders, New York Giants
Dalton Schultz is the best tight end in the NFC East this season. After two slow seasons, Schultz burst onto the scene in 2020 with 615 receiving yards on 63 receptions. Schultz followed up that performance with 808 more receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Schultz has gotten better each of the last two seasons and should see more targets in 2022 with Cooper’s vacated 104 targets.
Dallas Goedert is another tight end ready for a big season. Goedert has played second fiddle to Zach Ertz for most of his career. After Ertz was traded, Goedert became a priority receiver in the Eagles offense last season. With 830 yards and four touchdowns, Goedert had the best season of his career. If Hurts can take another step forward expect the veteran tight end to have his best year to date.
After Goedert the Commanders and Logan Thomas are next. Thomas had a career season in 2020 with 670 yards and was looking forward to another breakout season before he was bitten by the injury bug. Thomas played in only six games last year but hopes to right the ship and build on his 2020 momentum with an upgrade at quarterback with Wentz at the helm. The rookie Daniel Bellinger and the Giants are racing out the NFC East tight ends. Bellinger was drafted in the fourth round from Georgia and has high expectations for the upcoming season. Bellinger’s success will rely on Jones and the offense to accurately spread the ball and move the sticks.
The Best: Philadelphia Eagles
The Rest: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Commanders
The Eagles hold the best offensive line in the NFC East possibly the NFL. Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson headline this elite group. The other starters in the group include Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, and Isaac Seumalo. The group, while aging, is responsible for one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL and will continue to prey on the NFC East defensive fronts.
Highest run blocking grade among OL 2015-2019
1. Jason Kelce – 93.9 pic.twitter.com/vfcKQaemzP
— PFF (@PFF) May 25, 2020
The next best offensive line is the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas could have been higher on this list if not for Tyron Smith’s recent knee injury. The MRI revealed a torn hamstring sidelining the former All-Pro left tackle is likely to miss three to four months and isn’t expected back until late in the 2022 season. Dallas will have to scramble to find a new left tackle before the season starts. They could look to rookie and first-round draft pick Tyler Smith to pair with Zack Martin. The Dallas offensive line is quickly aging and looking for new leadership.
The Giants are next on this list. The gap between Dallas and New York is much smaller after Smith’s torn hamstring. The Giants and both the Commanders are struggling at the offensive line position. New York has the edge after drafting Evan Neal from Alabama. Both teams are looking to develop some young talent on their offensive line to protect quarterbacks and open running lanes. There is a changing of the guard in the NFC East, but the Commanders and the Giants have to develop and cultivate better offensive linemen if they seek to pursue a playoff bid ahead of Dallas or Philadelphia.