Over the next two weeks, we will unveil our preseason All-Division teams, as is our annual tradition around this time of year. As always, the rosters were compiled largely by a panel of one, though there was significant input from the writing and editorial staff at CBSSports.com after I took an initial run at the rosters on my own.
We’ll begin today with the NFC East, then move through the rest of the conference this week. Next week, it’s on to the AFC. Without further ado…
Offensive skill positions
QB: Dak Prescott (DAL)
RB: Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)
WR: Amari Cooper (DAL), CeeDee Lamb (DAL), Terry McLaurin (WAS)
TE: Logan Thomas (WAS)
FLEX: Antonio Gibson (WAS)
Prescott is coming off a scary-looking ankle injury that robbed him of most of last season, as well as a shoulder strain that kept him from throwing for a couple weeks during camp. But the strain appears to be healing properly, and he is by far the most talented quarterback in this division. He’s also got the best weaponry to work with, and his offensive line is healthy again. He was a cinch for the QB spot here.
Elliott had the worst season of his career last year. It’s possible that backup Tony Pollard is simply the more explosive player at this stage of their respective careers. But it’s tough to argue that Elliott isn’t the running back best positioned for success in this division. Dallas is committed to him as the starter, likely for this year and next. The line is healthy. Prescott is the best quarterback in the division. Saquon Barkley is coming off a torn ACL, and may not be ready for Week 1. Miles Sanders looks like he’s leading a timeshare with as many as three other backs seeing snaps along with him.
As mentioned, the Cowboys have the most explosive group of weapons in the division. Cooper is off the Physically Unable to Perform list and back in practice. He’s been dominant since arriving in Dallas, averaging 87 catches for 1,182 yards and seven touchdowns per season despite often playing through injuries. Now that he’s had his bothersome foot fixed, he should be back to full speed. Lamb has apparently been dominating Cowboys camp to the point that it’s almost comical. As mentioned in our Survivor Squad story, was overshadowed by Justin Jefferson but was truly excellent as a rookie:
McLaurin is one of the most underrated wideouts in the NFL. He’s been saddled with subpar quarterback play but he is a route-running technician capable of moving the chains and making explosive plays down the field. Getting to work with Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the first time he’s gotten competence under center. Thomas quietly had a breakout season at age-29, catching 72 passes for 670 yards and six scores. Dallas Goedert or Zach Ertz might be more talented, but Thomas is positioned to have the largest role in his offense among tight ends in this division.
Gibson showed last year that he could handle the things people might have been worried about: running between the tackles. We haven’t even seen his receiving skill yet. We chose him over Barkley due to Barkley’s injury concerns.