Skip to main content

NFC East projected starters for 2024 NFL season: Did Cowboys improve? Eagles to contend again?

With the 2024 NFL Draft and most of free agency in the rearview, Gregg Rosenthal will project starting lineups for all 32 teams because that's his idea of fun. Check out the NFC East breakdowns below.

Table inside Article
QB Dak Prescott Edge Micah Parsons
RB Rico Dowdle DT Osa Odighizuwa
WR CeeDee Lamb DT Mazi Smith
WR Brandin Cooks Edge Demarcus Lawrence
WR Jalen Tolbert LB Eric Kendricks
TE Jake Ferguson LB Damone Clark
LT Tyler Guyton CB Trevon Diggs
LG Tyler Smith CB DaRon Bland
C Cooper Beebe CB Jourdan Lewis
RG Zack Martin S Donovan Wilson
RT Terence Steele S Malik Hooker
  • Dak Prescott's contract situation threatens to loom over this season. It's as if some Cowboys fans' ambivalent opinions about Prescott have infected the front office. They are foolish if they believe they will be better off with a different quarterback any time soon.
  • Mike McCarthy says Ezekiel Elliott will be part of a committee at running back. Rico Dowdle has more juice, even if Zeke was quietly effective on passing downs for the Patriots. An addition late in training camp -- after cuts happen elsewhere -- could make sense.
  • I'm not fully confident in the receiver group after CeeDee Lamb. Brandin Cooks has shown signs of decline. There's no one else that consistently wins.
  • Jake Ferguson is already a better player than Dalton Schultz was in Dallas. If the Cowboys had known what they had in Ferguson, they might not have used a second-round pick on Luke Schoonmaker last year.
  • The offensive line hasn't looked this shaky in years. Tyler Guyton would have been better off with a redshirt year. The guard spots are as good as any in football, but the other three starting jobs have major questions and the depth isn't amazing.
  • Mazi Smith, like Schoonmaker, felt like a reach in last year's draft because the Cowboys had such a need at the position. They have no choice this year but to give him every chance to start.
  • Run defense could be a problem, but this is still the best edge group in football. Adding second-rounder Marshawn Kneeland to a group that included super sub Sam Williams behind the team's boffo starting tandem was an example of building strength on strength.
  • Linebacker play hurt the Cowboys in their defensive collapse last season. Perhaps new coordinator Mike Zimmer helps there, but the talent isn't great. Eric Kendricks is not the player he was five years ago.
  • The return of Trevon Diggs gives the Cowboys a brilliant cornerback duo, even if they can be boom or bust. Zimmer has always been great coaching up the secondary.
  • There aren't many spots where the Cowboys look better. Still, they have the star power to overcome an increasing lack of depth, if the contract situations for Prescott, Lamb and Micah Parsons don't sour the vibes.
Table inside Article
QB Daniel Jones Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux
RB Devin Singletary DT Dexter Lawrence
WR Malik Nabers DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches
WR Darius Slayton Edge Brian Burns
WR Wan'Dale Robinson LB Bobby Okereke
TE Daniel Bellinger LB Micah McFadden
LT Andrew Thomas CB Deonte Banks
LG Jon Runyan CB Cor'Dale Flott
C John Michael Schmitz CB Dru Phillips
RG Jermaine Eluemunor S Jason Pinnock
RT Evan Neal S Dane Belton
  • Daniel Jones had a great offseason. The Giants didn't add a top-shelf quarterback in the draft, instead giving him a genuine No. 1 receiver in Malik Nabers.
  • Then again, Drew Lock has a real chance to win the starting job. Based primarily on Jones' time in Brian Daboll's system and both players' overall body of work, I give the edge to Jones.
  • It's a weird Giants receiver group because they all do their best work out of the slot. Even Nabers' versatility is a big part of his value. Isaiah Hodgins and Jalin Hyatt being depth options rather than starters shows progress. Wan’Dale Robinson demonstrated he's a dude last year, and Darius Slayton is a proven rotation piece.
  • The Giants gave Devin Singletary $9.5 million guaranteed, which was one of the most surprising contracts of the offseason. The group behind Singletary isn't great either.
  • Evan Neal figures to get one more chance to hold down right tackle. If not, free-agent pickup Jermaine Eluemunor will take the job. The Giants made a real effort to get the O-line back to average.
  • The strength of the Giants is in their defensive line. It was already a good group, and Brian Burns could make it great. Azeez Ojulari is an overqualified third edge rusher.
  • If it's a great defensive line, it's a pretty great front seven overall, bolstered by the underrated linebacker duo of Bobby Okereke and Micah McFadden.
  • The change from Wink Martindale to Shane Bowen at defensive coordinator will make the Giants more typical and put the cornerbacks on an island less.
  • That's a good thing, because the Giants have one of the NFL's shakiest defensive back groups. Perhaps no team could use veteran help more. Bringing Adoree’ Jackson back isn't a bad idea. Rookie safety Tyler Nubin also has a chance to start.
  • Injury luck should improve. In Year 3 of the Giants' build under GM Joe Schoen, I see progress in most position groups except quarterback and in the secondary. In a weak division, staying around .500 is a realistic goal.
Table inside Article
QB Jalen Hurts Edge Bryce Huff
RB Saquon Barkley DT Jalen Carter
WR A.J. Brown DT Jordan Davis
WR DeVonta Smith Edge Josh Sweat
WR Parris Campbell LB Devin White
TE Dallas Goedert LB Nakobe Dean
LT Jordan Mailata CB Darius Slay
LG Landon Dickerson CB Quinyon Mitchell
C Cam Jurgens CB Cooper DeJean
RG Tyler Steen S C.J. Gardner-Johnson
RT Lane Johnson S Reed Blankenship
  • Another offseason, another mostly airtight Eagles roster on paper. The defense, of course, did not look so airtight on the field last season.
  • Signing Saquon Barkley was a beautiful way to add more explosiveness to the offense without taking targets away from A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, who are tough to maximize at the same time.
  • The Eagles are going cheap again at the third receiver spot and will hope for the best. Parris Campbell has some experience with coach Nick Sirianni from their time together with the Colts.
  • GM Howie Roseman readied for Jason Kelce's retirement and the offensive line turnover. Now it's on Cam Jurgens, Tyler Steen and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland to make him look smart. I am curious to see how far away the Eagles get from the offense that grew stale late last season.
  • Eagles offensive line questions are different compared with those facing other teams, though. Even if two spots have new starters, they should feel amazing about both tackles and left guard Landon Dickerson.
  • Philadelphia struggled to rush the passer last season and then traded their best pass rusher, Haason Reddick. Bryce Huff is a similar, younger version of Reddick. The Eagles need more out of Josh Sweat, and they must hope to get something out of 2023 first-rounder Nolan Smith after a developmental season. Brandon Graham also returns for what he says will be his final season.
  • The edge rushers will be better if the interior guys dominate. Perhaps the biggest jump the Eagles can make would be from Jalen Carter turning into an All-Pro, with Jordan Davis becoming a quality starter next to him. Carter is the better bet, but nose tackles often take a few years to improve.
  • Linebacker remains a huge concern. Nakobe Dean has struggled to stay on the field and make a difference. Devin White made some big plays during his five seasons in Tampa, but he also established a reputation for blowing assignments and was denying that he quit on the team by the end of his time with the Buccaneers. I'm not convinced this group is any better than last season's.
  • It's wild how deep the secondary is. James Bradberry probably won't make it out of training camp. The flexibility of Cooper DeJean and C.J. Gardner-Johnson should inspire creativity. Avonte Maddox and Eli Ricks are around for corner depth, and Sydney Brown could earn a role at safety. They are built to survive injuries.
  • The Eagles boast an elite group of skill-position players buoyed by strong line play on both sides. They have all the pieces, but the offensive and defensive lines (will they be good or elite?) will decide if the team is a Super Bowl contender again.
Table inside Article
QB Jayden Daniels Edge Dorance Armstrong
RB Brian Robinson Jr. DT Jonathan Allen
WR Terry McLaurin DT Daron Payne
WR Jahan Dotson Edge Dante Fowler Jr.
WR Dyami Brown LB Frankie Luvu
TE Ben Sinnott LB Bobby Wagner
LT Cornelius Lucas CB Benjamin St-Juste
LG Nick Allegretti CB Michael Davis
C Tyler Biadasz CB Mike Sainristil
RG Sam Cosmi S Jeremy Chinn
RT Andrew Wylie S Quan Martin
  • I worry Jayden Daniels isn't positioned for success. New Commanders offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury was average at best developing an offense in Arizona. The offensive line could be among the league's worst, and the backfield lacks big-play ability.
  • Even Daniels' biggest asset -- a true No. 1 WR in Terry McLaurin -- is mitigated by the lack of depth in receiving options.
  • Jahan Dotson's development is massive for this team. I loved his aggressiveness as a rookie, but he took a step back in Year 2. Third-round pick Luke McCaffrey, Dyami Brown and Olamide Zaccheaus are the top options to be the third receiver. Tight end is a battle between Zach Ertz and second-rounder Ben Sinnott.
  • Cornelius Lucas, an 11th-year journeyman, is the favorite to start at left tackle over rookie Brandon Coleman. This is a mostly new group without top-end talent. The best part of Kingsbury's offenses in Arizona came in run blocking.
  • Washington will need to open holes, because Brian Robinson Jr. and Austin Ekeler are chain movers rather than explosive threats. Ekeler can be a reliable third-down option. He is better suited not carrying the load at this stage of his career.
  • Dan Quinn figures to turn Washington's defense around faster than the offense because of his schemes. I loved the Dorance Armstrong signing, although edge is still not a strength, with Dante Fowler Jr., Clelin Ferrell, and Efe Obada all options for snaps.
  • Defensive tackle remains the strength of the team. If second-round pick Jer’Zhan Newton can heal from a recent foot surgery, it wouldn't be shocking to see the Commanders dangle Jonathan Allen in trade talks during the season.
  • Cornerback will be competitive in camp. Last year's first-round pick Emmanuel Forbes is no lock to win the job over underrated veteran Michael Davis.
  • Linebacker Frankie Luvu, rookie slot cornerback Mike Sainristil and Newton are dogged players to build around. That's what this year should be about in Washington: Which players will stick with the new regime?
  • Daniels proving he's a franchise quarterback would make this season a victory regardless of record. Beyond that, there are too many roster holes to expect winning. A top-five pick is in play again.

Related Content