The Washington Football Team had the No. 2 overall defense in 2020. The front four led the way and is expected to be elite once again this season.
As the last line of defense, the secondary was rock-solid last year and could be even better.
The rebuild in the secondary began in 2019 when Landon Collins signed in free agency. He suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in 2020 but the WFT got major contributions from an unlikely candidate. Kamren Curl, a seventh-round selection, burst onto the scene as a rookie and turned into a legitimate threat.
Kendall Fuller returned in free agency a year ago and William Jackson III was the big addition this time around. The WFT has made major improvements to the secondary each year over the last three. Has it been enough to put them at the top of the rankings in the NFC East?
Let's break down the secondary rankings within the division.
4. Dallas Cowboys
Was Dallas the worst secondary in the division in 2020? Yes. Was it close? Not particularly.
The Cowboys were torn apart during the early portion of the season and never really rebounded from that brutal start. They used a second-round pick on Kelvin Joseph and a third-rounder on Nahshon Wright. Anthony Brown is a versatile corner with experience that can help the Cowboys but there are too many question marks -- one being Trevon Diggs moving forwar
Dallas will rely on Donovan Wilson and Damontae Kazee at the safety positions with Darian Thompson and Jayron Kearse as depth pieces. There is nothing that really jumps out here to get the Cowboys out of the basement in these secondary rankings.
The Cowboys added some impact performers at linebacker, led by rookie Micah Parsons, and attempted to bring in some young cornerbacks. They are not ready to contribute on a weekly basis this season, which means the secondary could struggle once again.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
Darius Slay was traded to the Eagles last March and this was supposed to take that secondary to a new level. After year one of his tenure, that has not happened.
The secondary in Philadelphia has been an issue for many years. Slay is a true No. 1 corner and has to channel his Detroit days with some talent at wide receiver in the NFC East. Avonte Maddox will start opposite Slay, unless the Eagles decide to move him inside. Anthony Harris and Rodney McLeod, who might miss the early part of the year recovering from an ACL injury, are slated to man the safety positions.
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There is not a lot of depth in the secondary for the Eagles. Overall, the defense is unimpressive. The front four is the clear strong suit on that side of the ball, especially with the addition of Ryan Kerrigan, while the linebackers are underwhelming.
All signs are pointing toward a long year for the Eagles and their defense backs up that notion.
2. Washington Football Team
Washington will enter the season with the best defense in the division. In 2020, the secondary was solid. They were good, not great, and looking to take that next step this season.
Jackson has been an underrated addition to the secondary. He has proven himself over the years as a true No. 1 corner that can follow an opposing team's best receiver. An intriguing name to keep an eye on is third-round selection Benjamin St-Juste. He is making an impression early on and has a chance to lineup opposite Jackson. If this happens, Fuller will be able to move back inside where he is one of the league's best slot corners.
Collins is coming off an injury while Curl has blossomed into a reliable starter at safety. Jimmy Moreland and Deshazor Everett add depth to the unit heading into the season.
Jack Del Rio will have plenty of options with this defense in 2021. An elite front four have an improved linebacking group and a strong secondary backing them up.
1. New York Giants
It is hard to top this Giants' secondary. On paper, they have a group that can compete with any team in the league.
James Bradberry looked like a star in his first year with the Giants. They added Adoree' Jackson this offseason and now have one of the best duos in the league at cornerback. Darnay Holmes will contribute in the slot while Aaron Robinson and Julian Love will also be big factors.
Logan Ryan agreed to a three-year deal with New York in December and this will keep the safety position steady. The New Jersey native is a veteran safety that looked rejuvenated to play for a team close to home. Xavier McKinney and Jabrill Peppers are other good safeties that will be in the mix.
This is a star-studded group for the Giants. They are certainly a top-10 unit heading into the season and some could argue they are top-five.
CONTINUE READING: Can Washington O-Line Shock the Dallas Cowboys In NFC East Rankings?