As mandatory minicamp approaches, let's take a look at specifically what's going on with Big Blue's biggest rivals in this week's edition of Around the NFC East.
The Top Story
During the Eagles' voluntary workouts, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and running back Darren Sproles have not been at the team facilities. However, mandatory workouts start on June 7, and players can be fined more than $75,000 for missing them. While head coach Doug Pederson noted that he has not had contact with either player, he does expect each of them to be at the mandatory workout next week.
"All indications, would love to have him here," Pederson said when asked about Cox. "Don't know for sure. Hasn't made that official yet, but would fully expect him to be here on Monday for the mandatory physicals."
"Same thing," he said. "I fully expect Darren to be here as well."
But is their attendance expected because the event is mandatory or because Pederson actually believes they're going to show up?
"Well, I think deep down they are going to be here," he stated. "There's no indication [that they won’t be here], you know, that conversation hasn't been talked about yet. So it's a mandatory situation."
Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel and Carson Wentz each continued to improve on Friday. Bradford, who had struggled on Tuesday, may have shown the biggest leap in production, starting by completing his first seven passes of the day. Daniel has consistently performed well, while Wentz has encouraged coaches and media members that he will be a factor for the starting job.
A tweet from Pro Football Talk's Geoff Mosher argues that the starting running back for the Eagles is not currently in Philadelphia. Running back Ryan Mathews could be the halfback in line to get the most carries, while Darren Sproles has yet to report to practice. Rookie Wendell Smallwood could be a player in the backfield. Check out what the staff at Bleeding Green Nation had to say in this week's episode of BGN Radio!
Undrafted free agent defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao, who played his college ball at Washington State, is one of the many players vying for a spot on the 53-man roster. Vaeao is a versatile prospect who can play at defensive end or tackle in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Jeff Nusser of Coug Center believes that the former Cougar can be an asset to Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
"When Schwartz says, "I want those defensive lineman to be attacking. I want those guys to be creating and wreaking some havoc and putting pressure on the quarterback. They're not gonna be playing at the line of scrimmage and grabbing guys and trying to keep the linebackers clean," that's the sort of thing that absolutely fits Vaeao's game. I believe he has the ability to do that for Schwartz, which means I think he has the ability to put together a career in a league that is increasingly based on defensive linemen's ability to disrupt."
Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott was taken by the Cowboys in the fourth round, but according to a report from Sports Illustrated's Peter King, the Cowboys wanted Paxton Lynch the most with the fear that they could need someone to step in for the short term if Tony Romo sustained another injury. Prescott, while talented, is seen as more of a developmental option, but could that keep the Cowboys from selecting a quarterback in the 2017 draft? For what it's worth, Prescott is just the third quarterback the team has selected in the NFL Draft since 2000.
Next year, the Cowboys will have more than 15 free agents on the market that could become major contributors, but for some, Dallas will make an effort to keep them within the confines of Jerry World. One of those players could be Terrance Williams, a 2013 draft pick who has become an apt sidekick to star receiver Dez Bryant. Some other potential free agents include Ronald Leary, Barry Church, Morris Claiborne and Lance Dunbar.
PFF also has the Cowboys winning the NFC East with a 9-7 record, tied with the Washington Redskins and ahead of the New York Giants by one game. The Cowboys are positioned as the sixth-best team in the NFC. PFF believes the additions of Ezekiel Elliott on offense and Cedric Thornton on defense can help the Cowboys become a more formidable and contending squad.
Su'a Cravens, the former star safety at USC, is set to make his transition to the NFL and to a new position. Cravens, now with the Redskins, will play at the weak side linebacker in the nation's capital. However, defensive coordinator Joe Barry believes that Cravens has limitless potential once he becomes accustomed to the challenges of the NFL.
"So, right now kind of just as a starting point, he's playing our weakside linebacker - which we call ‘Mo' - in base and then he's playing our weakside linebacker in nickel, which we call the dime linebacker. But I think as he learns and he picks up the system and the more comfortable he gets, the sky is the limit with all the different things you can do with him."
The Redskins were finally able to sign third-round draft selection Kendall Fuller, a cornerback out of Virginia Tech, to a four-year contract that guaranteed every draft member of Washington's class has been signed. Fuller has been practicing more often this past week, including in 7-on-7 drills. The team also signed free agent wide receiver Jarvis Turner.
Cousins, who stepped in as the starter for failed top draft pick Robert Griffin III and led Washington to a surprise playoff run, is now entering the 2016 season with the keys to the car for the Redskins. This offseason, Cousins signed a franchise tag worth $20 million, which he reiterated was completely fine with him. Cousins said he looks forward to the opportunity he has with the Redskins and is content to play the situation out.