Which defensive players from the Redskins, Giants, Eagles and Cowboys make the All-NFC East Team?

With the regular season on our doorstep, Breaking Burgundy contributor Brian Murphy makes his choices for the All-NFC East defense.

I have already unveiled the picks for my 2016 preseason All-NFC East Offensive Team (it's still technically the preseason for most teams, at least for a few more hours). Now let's move on to the defense, an area where the division doesn't rule like it used to, but you can build a formidable 11 among its inhabitants.

Defensive Tackles: Fletcher CoxPhiladelphia EaglesDamon HarrisonNew York Giants

Cox was an end last season who will now play inside as a part of the Eagles' new 4-3 alignment. He tallied 9.5 sacks and graded out as the league's second-best 3-4 end, according to Pro Football Focus. That versatility and athleticism helped him land a $63 million extension in June.

Another big man who got big money this offseason, Harrison is a space-eater who is at his best against the run. In fact, he was the NFL's second-best run-stopper at his position last year, per PFF.

Defensive Ends: Olivier Vernon, New York Giants; Connor Barwin, Philadelphia Eagles

Does a single season of double-digit sacks make you worth $40 million guaranteed? Giants fans will be debating Olivier's contract for some time, but there is no debating that he was an extremely disruptive pass rusher in the second half of last season, recording 57 pressures over the final eight games. 

Barwin, as with Cox, will also have to adapt to Philly's new defense as he moves down from linebacker to end. With 21.5 sacks over the past two years, the transition shouldn't be too tough.

Linebackers: Sean LeeDallas CowboysRyan KerriganWashington RedskinsJordan Hicks, Philadelphia Eagles

If Lee could only stay healthy. He appeared in 14 games for the first time since his 2010 rookie season and racked up 128 tackles while playing solid ball versus the run and the pass.

Kerrigan has 47.5 sacks through five seasons and has never finished a single year with fewer than 7.5.

The Redskins' Preston Smith almost made the cut, but Hicks grabbed the final spot after his stat sheet-stuffing rookie season in which he recorded 50 tackles, three pass breakups, two interceptions, one sack and one forced fumble. He accomplished it all in just eight games.

Cornerbacks: Josh Norman, Washington Redskins; Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants

Everyone is awaiting the bi-annual battles between Norman and Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr., but people shouldn't forget that the 28-year-old corner is going to shut down every other top receiver in the division -- and on the Redskins' schedule -- too. Quarterbacks completed just 51 percent of passes thrown in Norman's direction last year.

Bashaud Breeland and Janoris Jenkins were in the running, but I'll pair Norman with DR-C, whom PFF graded as a top-20 cornerback in pass coverage for the third consecutive season in 2015.

Safeties: Malcolm Jenkins, Philadelphia Eagles; Rodney McLeod, Philadelphia Eagles

Only the Vikings' Harrison Smith received higher marks from PFF among safeties last year. That's when Jenkins registered 109 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles. He can do it all.

However, there wasn't a pick nearly as obvious for the second safety position. The Cowboys' Orlando Scandrick is coming off a lost season due to injury; The Giants' safeties have underwhelmed; the position is a work in progress in Washington for 2016. McLeod gets the nod after being rated as a top-10 safety last year. He has been credited with 12 takeaways over the past three seasons.

Talk sports and whatever else with Brian Murphy on Twitter: @Spokes_Murphy

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