This is the third in a series of articles, in which I will break down each team in the NFC East, position by position. It’s been some time since I wrote one of these, but felt it was overdue. Up next (maybe), the O-Lines!
Dez Bryant, Tavon Austin, Devery Henderson, Norm Grace, Da’Rick Rogers, Jaz Reynolds
At the top of the Dallas depth chart is Dez Bryant, one of the better WRs in the league. One of only 5 pass catchers in the league with his combination of speed and strength, Bryant is a beast. His 504 catches is 2nd all-time. On the other side, the Cowboys feature Tavon Austin in his second season. Austin’s biggest attribute is his speed (98 SPD), and his biggest downside is his size (5’9”). His raw athletic ability has yet to be realized as more than average production, however, and is on pace for around 900 yards receving. Devery Henderson was signed in the offseason as a mentor, but has been a solid contributor so far, despite losing a step. Norm Grace had a decent rookie season in 2013 (923 yds, 5 TDs) but has kept sliding down the depth chart. Grace seems to have hit his ceiling. Rookie Da’Rick Rogers is tall but slow and has done little with his opportunities thus far (4 catches, 5.3 ypc). Second-year pro Jaz Reynolds has intriguing size, but has yet to make it on the field.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Eddie Royal, Jeremy Maclin, James Reddick, Greg Salas, Lee Evans
Eddie Royal has been the most consistent WRs for the Giants over the past 5 years, where he’s on his way to his 4th 1000 yard season in that time. Royal is undersized, but is fast (95 SPD) and has some of the best hands in the league. One of the most athletic WRs in the game, Jeremy Maclin may be the best pass catcher in New York. His monster season of 2014 was cut short due to injury but he has already produced 4 100+ yard games this season. Slow, but huge, James Reddick is one of the more difficult receivers to cover. Last year the rookie 4th rounder caught 9 TDs and had 1100+ yards. This season he has largely disappear. Despite his good size (6’1”) and speed (93) combination, Greg Salas has never caught more than 32 balls a season. Recently acquired Lee Evans is on the backside of his career, but is still a potent threat and adds nice veteran depth.
Leonard Hankerson, Michael Floyd, Alshon Jeffery, Joe Adams, Scotty McKnight, Trindon Holliday
The best receiver on the Eagles is Leonard Hankerson, who has an amazing combo of size (6’2”) and speed (96). He has bounced around, however, and the Eagles are his 4th team in 5 years and as a result he has only 1 1,000 yard season. It looks like he has put the pieces together this year. On the opposite side, Michael Floyd, a former 7th pick overall, is equally a physical specimen. An injury has hurt production this year, but he’s the real deal and combined with Hankerson make one of the better 1-2 punches in the league. In the slot the Eagles feature Alshon Jeffery, a former second rounder on his 3rd team. Jeffrey is not a traditional slot receiver, but big like most of the Eagles WRs. As a starter in 2013, Jeffrey caught 83 balls for 10 TDs but hasn’t been a big contributor since. Undersized Joe Adams is fast but not given much of a chance to shine. He has 18 catches in the past season and a half. Likewise, Scotty McKnight is average a best and has suspect hands. Sixth WR Trindon Holliday has 5 career receptions and more drops this season than catches, but is on the roster to return kickoffs for touchdowns.
Andre Johnson, Josh Pietarila, Santonio Holmes, Cordarrelle Patterson, Cobi Hamilton
The Redskins have a nice mix of the young and the old. Andre Johnson is an icon but has lost a step (or two), but has provided a reliable target for Chad Henne. Johnson is on pace for 1,400 yards in what is likely to be his last season. Sophomore Josh Pietarila has prototypical size and speed and is a former first rounder. Pietarila is poised for his second consecutive 1,000 yard season. Another veteran mans the slot, Santonio Holmes. Holmes is 31 years old but has not yet begun to regress. Holmes has tremendous physical attributes, but they have yet to translate into much production, averaging under 700 yards in his 6 seasons. Second year WR Cordarrelle Patterson is tall (6’3”) and has above average speed. So far this season his 7 catches have not amounted to much production, but there’s no denying his potential. Rookie Cobi Hamilton was taken in the 6th round and has nice size and average speed. Currently he has more drops (1) than catches (0).