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NFC East Players That Will Need to Step Up in 2015


After only producing one playoff team last season, the NFC East will be looking for a better outcome this year. The top two teams finished with mirror records of the bottom two, as they look to close the gap between them. There is certainly room for improvement among all the teams, as the Cowboys look to take the division for the second straight year.

Related: NFC South Players That Will Need to Step Up in 2015

Here are some of the players in the NFC East who could really make a difference in 2015:

Darren McFadden, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys (1


, 12-4)

How do you replace the NFL’s rushing leader from last year? Well you can’t, but to fill DeMarco Murray's roster spot the Cowboys signed free agent Darren McFadden, who was once the most hyped running back prospect in the draft. However, that was back in 2008 and McFadden has failed to live up to those lofty expectations, as injuries have been a constant for him. But head coach Jason Garrett needs McFadden to produce out of the backfield, and he could benefit running behind one of the NFL’s top offensive lines. McFadden is still relatively young (turns 28 in August), and he has flashed his all-around potential at times during his career. The hope is that Dallas will be the place where he finally puts it all together for a full season.

Another player to watch: linebacker Anthony Hitchens

Sam Bradford, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles (2


place, 10-6)

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After swapping Nick Foles, who at one point looked like the Eagles' future quarterback, for Bradford the team hopes that its new signal-caller can finally stay healthy. With two torn ACLs in as many years, the move may be risky, but the payoff could be great, considering how well he was performed in the first seven games of the 2013 season. Bradford should get plenty of support from his new backfield of DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, and also will have two young, promising wide receivers in Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews at his disposal.

Another player to watch: defensive tackle Bennie Logan

Rashad Jennings, Running Back, New York Giants (3


place, 6-10)

After turning 30, Jennings has hit that ill-fated number that can be ever so damaging to a running back’s career. The Giants signed Shane Vereen in free agency and have second-year back Andre Williams in the fold, but both are complements more so than every-down options. New York's ground game ranked towards the bottom last year, coming in at 30th in yards per carry. The Giants will need more production on the ground if they want to get back to the playoffs, which is why the team signed Jennings to a four-year, $10 million free-agent contract last offseason.

Another player to watch: linebacker Jon Beason

Duke Ihenacho/Jeron Johnson, Strong Safeties, Washington Redskins (4


place, 4-12)

Strong safety has been an area of concern in the past, so the Redskins brought in Johnson, who was a backup for the Seahawks, to create competition with Ihenacho for the starting spot. Ihenacho spent most of last season on injured reserve, but initially started for the team. Both players will need to improve their coverage and scheme responsibility, as the Redskins finished 24th in pass defense last season. They are similar players in many ways, but together this duo must figure out a way to turn what was a weakness in 2014 to a position of strength for Washington's defense.

Another player to watch: linebacker Trent Murphy