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2022 NFL All-Region team: Here are the best offensive players from the Philadelphia area

We compiled the best NFL players from Philadelphia, South Jersey, and Delaware and formed a team that includes a former MVP, the NFL's rushing leader, and several Pro Bowlers.

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor carries the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders on Jan. 2.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor carries the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders on Jan. 2.Read moreAJ Mast / AP

The first game of the NFL season will be played tonight, and while we head into the first Sunday with great optimism surrounding the Eagles this season, they are far from the only source of football pride for local residents.

That is because NFL rosters are jam-packed with players who were born or got their football careers started in either Philadelphia, South Jersey, or Delaware. In fact, outside of maybe Florida, Texas, and California, this year’s roster of “locals” stacks up with the best from just about any other state.

» READ MORE: Detroit Lions’ D’Andre Swift is on the path to stardom

We put together an all-region team, featuring the best players in the NFL that reside or come from our coverage area. This year’s list is especially strong, featuring a former MVP, a Super Bowl champion, and several Pro Bowlers. In the first of what will be a two-part series, we present the first-team offense of The Inquirer’s NFL All-Region team:

QB Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts: It’s almost hard to believe that the 2022-23 season will already be Matty Ice’s 15th in the NFL. The Exton native and Penn Charter grad was acquired this offseason as the final piece for a Colts team that has genuine Super Bowl aspirations. After a season with Carson Wentz, the steady Ryan represents an upgrade for the Colts and could push a well-rounded roster over the top.

RB Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts: The Salem, N.J., product exploded last season in his sophomore campaign, earning All-Pro honors after accounting for 2,171 total yards and 20 touchdowns. Taylor’s rise will be no surprise to South Jersey residents, who watched the running back break the single-season state rushing record in 2016. Taylor enters the season as the consensus No. 1 pick in fantasy football drafts and a bona fide MVP candidate.

RB D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions: Swift looks poised for a breakout season on what should be an improved Lions squad as a do-everything back. The Philadelphian and St. Joseph’s Prep grad accumulated more than 1,000 total yards in just 13 games last season and will likely shatter that number if he stays healthy in 2022-23.

WR DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers: Maybe the most underappreciated wide receiver in the NFL, Moore has “quietly” strung together three straight seasons of at least 1,100 yards with Carolina. He was rewarded this offseason with a $61.9 million contract extension and even prevented a fan fight this preseason. A product of power Imhotep Charter, Moore served as the kicker in high school, in addition to starring at wideout.

WR Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: While we may be cheating slightly by crossing the border into Delaware, Godwin belongs on this list as one of the NFL’s premier slot receivers. The Wilmington native and former Penn State star already has a Super Bowl and a Pro Bowl nod to his name at the ripe old age of 26. Godwin is coming off an ACL tear but should not miss many (if any) regular-season games.

WR Olamide Zaccheaus, Atlanta Falcons: Born in Plainfield, N.J., Zaccheus moved to Magnolia at a young age and went on to star at St. Joe’s Prep in high school. Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia, Zaccheaus has carved out a nice role with the Falcons as a top-three receiver. Zaccheaus is listed as a starter on the Falcons’ depth chart and will look to build on career highs of 31 catches, 406 yards, and three touchdowns.

TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons: The No. 4 pick in the 2021 NFL draft out of Florida, Pitts first cut his teeth as a tight end and defensive end at Abington High and later Archbishop Wood. At 6-foot-6 and with blazing speed, Pitts is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. A strong end to his rookie season saw Pitts reach the 1,000-yard receiving mark, although he was surprisingly held to just one touchdown.

» READ MORE: For Kyle Pitts and his father, a dream moment at the NFL draft is just part of the journey

LT Brian O’Neill, Minnesota Vikings: O’Neill, who initially went to the University of Pittsburgh as a tight end, has transformed into one of the better young tackles in football. The Wilmington native, who also played basketball and lacrosse in high school, has started 59 of 65 possible games since he entered the league, including every game each of the last two seasons. Last season, O’Neill ranked 13th in pass blocking by Pro Football Focus and earned his first Pro Bowl nod.

LG Jonah Jackson, Detroit Lions: Another Pro Bowler from the area, Jackson grew up in Media and attended Penncrest High where he was All-Delaware County as a senior. A third-round pick in 2020, Jackson has started 32 of 33 games over the last two seasons and was named to the Pro Bowl last season as an injury replacement.

» READ MORE: Ryan Bates, former Bucks County star and Eagles lineman, is flourishing with the Bills

C Cesar Ruiz, New Orleans Saints: While the Camden native has played mostly guard to this point in the NFL, Ruiz was a two-year starter at center for Michigan and was drafted by the Saints to play that role. Ruiz is penciled in as the Saints’ starter at right guard entering the season.

RG Ryan Bates, Buffalo Bills: After starting four games last season, Bates is set to become a full-time starter for the Super Bowl favorites. Bates’ ties to the area are deep as the Bucks County native played his high school ball at Archbishop Wood, attended Penn State, and later had a stint with the Eagle as an undrafted free agent.

RT Mike McGlinchey, San Francisco 49ers: The former ninth overall pick out of Notre Dame has become a steady starting NFL tackle over his four seasons in the league. McGlinchey, who was born in Warrington, finished his high school career at Penn Charter after starting at St. Joseph/St. Robert School.