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Fletcher Ranked 11th Best In NFC East

Posted by Andrew Walker on August 25, 2012 – 12:18 pm

(AP photo)

ESPN.com NFC East blogger Dan Graziano is continuing his look at the top 20 players of the division going into the 2012 season, and we now know where all of the Redskins representatives fall on the list.

Middle linebacker London Fletcher was ranked by Graziano today as the No. 11 player in the division, joining outside linebacker Brian Orakpo on the list, who was ranked No. 14 three days ago.

The rest of the list will be unveiled over the next 10 days.

Here’s some snippets of what Graziano had to say about Fletcher:

“The oldest player on this list, Fletcher is well known as the heart, soul, leader and conscience of the Washington Redskins’ defense. The Redskins put rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III’s locker next to Fletcher’s because they wanted the future of their franchise to learn as much as possible about how to carry himself on and off the field.”

“Fletcher remains, at 37, one of the most productive defensive players in the league. He was credited last year with a league-leading 166 tackles. He has not finished outside of the top seven in that category since 2003. He has not missed a single game in his professional career, which began in 1998 with the St. Louis Rams.”

There’s few (if any) players in the NFL respected more than Fletcher, who is the captain of the Redskins defense. For whatever reason, he’s received little fanfare for what’s been a Hall Of Fame career.

I’m glad to see Fletcher on this list, but I think he deserves to be ranked higher than 11th. The guy led the entire NFL in tackles last season and shows no signs of slowing down, despite his age. For what he means to the Redskins — who only got two players on this list compared to five Dallas Cowboys, six Philadelphia Eagles and seven New York Giants players — I’d say he’s easily a top-5 player in the NFC East.

But, it is what it is. Truth be told, if Fletcher keeps up this production and the team begins doing better in the win-loss column this season, then there’s no doubt he should move up this list — and that more players will appear on it.

Graziano’s NFC East Rankings so far:

12. Michael Vick, QB, Eagles
13. Tyron Smith, T, Cowboys
14. Brian Orakpo, OLB, Redskins
15. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
16. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
17. DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
18. Osi Umenyiora, DE, Giants
19. Evan Mathis, G, Eagles
20. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants


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