The NFC East teams plain don't like other, but the Scout.com sites that cover the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins get along just fine. Well, at least enough to put together weekly thoughts on the divisional hot topics. With the regular season less than two weeks away, we wanted to get a sense of the top rookie pick for each team in the division. Eventually, all teams will need to address weaknesses, but for now, let's go with that classic rivalry ....
Well there’s really no debate here — or at least there wasn’t until Tony Romo broke his back. Now you can have a legitimate debate about running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott, though the rookie back certainly has the edge. Elliott’s one appearance in preseason against Seattle was short but fruitful. Elliott rushed for more than six yards per carry and looked every bit the tough, productive back the Cowboys are hoping he will be. He broke tackles, absorbed punishment and was happy to jaw with players like Seattle safety Kam Chancellor.
The Cowboys plan to use him and use him often and the case could be made that a productive Elliott will help Prescott, who will be pressed into service to start the season. But Prescott doesn’t look like he’ll be a wallflower. His preseason play has been impressive. He’s completed passes at a high level, brought athleticism to the position and the Cowboys’ coaching staff has done an impressive job of putting him in good positions to succeed. Prescott won’t be Romo and he probably won’t be as successful in the regular season as he was in the preseason, which is why reliance on Elliott makes the fourth overall pick the top rookie for the Cowboys in 2016.
-- Matthew Postins
The argument can be made for first round pick Josh Doctson, but he has yet to participate in a padded Redskins practice. The next obvious choice is dime linebacker Su'a Cravens who could develop into a true game changer for Washington's defense. Safety DeAngelo Hall put it best, Cravens can "bang like a linebacker and he can run like a safety". That kind of talent is a unique weapon that defensive coordinator Joe Barry will leverage to his advantage. With the USC defender growing into his new role at the pro level, the Redskins pass defense steps up when they have a 6-foot-1 player that can match the physicality of a tight end and running back in coverage.
Cravens will have to learn how to play the run better as to not get bodied by 300-pound offensive lineman by using his quickness, but he can immediately help the Redskins on third downs. Cravens impact is overshadowed by the acquisition of Josh Norman during the offseason, but the rookie defender will be a big part in Washington's strong coverage packages this season. Fellow rookies Kendall Fuller and Matt Ioannidis are also expected to make noticeable contributions on defense this season.
-- Neil Dalal
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