Yeah, sorry about the Vokle chat. Sometimes our technology just doesn't do what we want it to do. There are plans in the works to try again. I hope you'll give us another shot if we try next week.
Anyway, back to the blog. As a twist on the usual Power Rankings, we had a panel of ESPN experts put together something called the NFL Future Power Rankings, basically projecting how the Power Rankings will look three years from now. It's Insider, so you have to pay to read it and I can't give it all away to you here. But if you are interested, the piece explaining how the panelists came to their conclusions is available to everyone and is here.
Here's how the NFC East teams fared, and partial explanations for why:
3. New York Giants
Trailing only the Packers and the Patriots, the Giants got a score of 81.13 out of a possible 100, with coaching, front office and quarterback their highest-scoring categories. Here's Trent Dilfer on the quarterback in particular:
He has the baby-brother look, but Eli Manning turns 32 this season, and since his 1-6 record as a rookie, has started all 16 games in seven straight seasons. He has had his INT issues, but is an elite passer when he gets comfortable with his targets. He has many good years ahead.
7. Philadelphia Eagles
Quarterback was the only place where the Eagles didn't score high, as uncertainty about Michael Vick's age (32) and future in Philly pushed them down to a 5.75 in that category. They had an overall score of 74 out of 100, buoyed but very high marks in front office, draft and coaching. Mel Kiper on their drafting:
A remarkably good draft in 2012 could shore up the defense and make the Eagles Super Bowl contenders. If Vick has any health issues, is Nick Foles the next guy in line? You never know what they'll do at that spot. But they have a system, draft very well and, at least based on my board, maintain a really strong sense of value and how to maneuver.
14. Dallas Cowboys
The highest score the Cowboys got was their 7 in quarterback, and their overall score was 62.06 out of 100. Their lowest marks were for draft and front office, and this is Gary Horton on their roster:
Age is a concern. And unless they do a good job in free agency and the draft, the talent level will drop off in the next couple of years. They should remain fairly young at WR and RB, and they seem to be rebuilding their offensive line. Defensively, they are not very young and their best playmaker of the future will be rookie CB Morris Claiborne, but a lot of replacements are needed.
20. Washington Redskins
An overall score of 56.38 out of 100, with the highest mark their 6.75 in coaching. The panel gave them a 6.25 for quarterback, which is generous since their current starter has never played an NFL game. But the assumption is that he'll fit in well and that he has the talent to be a franchise quarterback. Dragging the Redskins' score down the most is the 4.75 for the current roster. Here's Horton on that:
Obviously, this future will be built around rookie QB Robert Griffin III. The challenge will be to surround him with talent on both sides of the ball with limited high draft picks. Washington doesn't have a lot of young, talented guys at the offensive skill positions. The Redskins tried to upgrade the passing game in free agency and TE Fred Davis is a solid player. On defense, age is a real problem and with the exception of young edge rushers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, upgrades will be needed.
So like I said, Insider if you want to read it all. And remember, no one's saying this is definitely how it'll all turn out -- just the way it looks to those experts' eyes from here.