NFC East Summer Reset: Training camp primer

The Sports Xchange

July 19, 2016 at 9:16 am.

The Cowboys need a healthy Tony Romo (9) if they expect to compete for a playoff berth. Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys need a healthy Tony Romo (9) if they expect to compete for a playoff berth. Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

For those who really thought there was an offseason in the National Football League, here is close look at the many changes on NFC East teams since they last lined up for a game:

(Teams in alphabetical order)

Summer Reset: Cowboys roster in suspended amputation

While the annual health watch is so-far-so-good for oft-injured quarterback Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys’ rate of player loss belies numbers that suggest they will open training camp July 29 with 20 returning starters.

That number technically includes three key defenders — defensive ends Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence as well as linebacker Rolando McClain — who will be on suspension when the season opens.

McClain, suspended four games last year for substance abuse, is sidelined 10 games this year while the others are out four.

Meanwhile, Romo says he feels great after surgery to strengthen the left collarbone he fractured twice in less than a year. He played only four games last season as the Cowboys fell to last in the NFC East at 4-12.

In the draft, the Cowboys used their first four picks on players who should help Romo as well as a defense now depleted by those suspensions.

With the first pick, No. 4 overall, the Cowboys grabbed Ohio State’s prolific running back Ezekiel Elliott, whose selection became even more timely when returning starter Darren McFadden broke his elbow on Memorial Day weekend. Elliott, who rushed for 3,961 yards and scored 43 touchdowns in three college seasons, will not only take pressure off Romo, but should help keep the defense rested.

The Cowboys also signed free-agent running back Alfred Morris (Washington), a sixth-round draftee in 2012 when he became only the fourth rookie in NFL history to rush for more than 1,600 yards (1,613). But after three years rushing for at least 1,000 yards for the Redskins, Morris carried for only 751 last year, so his free-agent deal was worth only $$2.5 million over two years with a $1 million signing bonus.

After Elliott, the Cowboys’ next three draft picks were on defense (although two of them are already mitigated by injuries) — Notre Dame’s insanely talented linebacker Jaylon Smith, who may sit out a season with a knee/nerve injury; Nebraska defensive tackle Maliek Collins, who was sidelined with injury during OTAs and Oklahoma defensive end Charles Tapper, who is apparently healthy and has excellent pass-rush speed.

Here is a closer look at the newcomers and key players and how they should factor into the Cowboys’ 2016 team:

River Ridge Playing Fields, Oxnard, CA, 7/29, 7/29

COACH: Jason Garrett
6th full season as Cowboys/NFL head coach
46-44 overall; 1-1 postseason

2015 RECORD: 4-12

20: 11 offense, 9 defense, kicker, punter

OFFSEASON STANDOUT: Quarterback Tony Romo.

–Romo had a full offseason with no limitations despite surgery to strengthen his collarbone. Romo, 36, played only four games last season, twice fracturing his left collarbone. But, after preventive surgery on the collarbone this offseason, Romo insists he’s right where he needs to be.

“I’m throwing the ball as well as I ever have,” Romo said. “I think a lot of that is just based on years of trying to perfect your craft and get to a point where you feel very confident from multiple launch angles throwing the football with people around your feet, in front of you, you can’t step into it, you can, sliding left, having to move a little to the right, throwing across yourself, throwing out in front, drag routes, people who are stationary. There’s a lot of little things that come up from the quarterback position as far as the angle and launch point of the release. I feel like that’s a big thing I’ve been working on was a certain technique to that.

“Now that I feel like I’ve been able to accomplish doing it every day, it’s been a few years of trying it. I feel like now this offseason when I wake up, it’s there every day. That’s pretty exciting. I think that’s part of what has allowed me to, once you are there, now you can start playing with your footwork and doing things to technically, like I said, try to perfect your craft. I’m just excited that I get to throw and practice those things.”

The draft — A closer look at the Cowboys’ picks (9):

–Round 1/4 — Ezekiel Elliott, RB, 6-0, 225, Ohio State

The Cowboys bypassed help for the defense to take the game-breaking Elliott, who they deem such a special talent that will help the offense and the defense. He will take pressure off quarterback Tony Romo and keep the defense off the field.

–Round 2/34 — Jaylon Smith, LB, 6-2, 240, Notre Dame

Smith likely won’t play in 2016 because of a knee injury with nerve damage he suffered in the Fiesta Bowl in January. The Cowboys think he is a foundation player for the future and worth the wait.

–Round 3/67 — Maliek Collins, DT, 6-2, 300, Nebraska

Had hoped to compete for a starting role at defensive tackle, but suffered a fractured foot during OTAs and had surgery to insert a screw. He also had a bone graft. Will start training camp on PUP and may not be ready until after start of the season.

–Round 4/101 — Charles Tapper, DE, 6-4, 281, Oklahoma

A good athlete with good speed who could be better in the NFL than college. He was asked to read and react at Oklahoma. He will be asked to rush in Dallas. Ran a 4.59 40 at the Combine.

–Round 4/135 — Dak Prescott, QB, 6-2, 230, Mississippi State

Prescott is the first quarterback drafted by the Cowboys since 2009. He has similar size and athleticism as Tony Romo. He can make plays with his feet. He’s a developmental quarterback for the future.

–Round 6/189 — Anthony Brown, CB, 5-11, 190, Purdue

The Cowboys had a fourth-round grade on Brown so they view him as good value in the sixth. Has great speed. Ran 4.35 40 at the Combine. Could be viewed as a replacement for Morris Claiborne and or Brandon Carr in 2017.

–Round 6/212 — Kavon Frazier, S, 6-0, 218, Central Michigan

The Cowboys had a fourth-round grade on Frazier. The team needs safety help in the future with J.J. Wilcox and Barry Church in the final year of their deals. Frazier started 13 games in 2015 and finished with a team-high 108 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and one interception.

–Round 6/216 — Darius Jackson, RB, 6-0, 221, Eastern Michigan

Jackson is big, fast and athletic. He has 4.4 speed in the 40. He rushed for a school-record 16 touchdowns last year and ran for 1,110 yards on 207 carries. He can also be a factor on third down with 21 catches for 201 yards and two touchdowns.

–Round 6/217 — Rico Gathers, TE, 6-8, 275, Baylor

Gathers played basketball in college and hasn’t played football since junior high. The Cowboys look at him as a project and a future Antonio Gates. He has long arms and big hands, but has the size to be a physical run blocker.


–C/G Joe Looney: A reliable veteran who was signed to be the backup center/guard on game day.

–DE Benson Mayowa: Promising player who came over from Raiders to provide depth at right end.

–RB Alfred Morris: Came over from Redskins to share the load and now will be watching the rookie Ezekiel Elliott.

–DT Cedric Thornton: Was signed from the Eagles as athletic replacement for Nick Hayden at nose tackle.

KEY LOSS: DE Jeremy Mincey (14/6)*

–Mincey wasn’t a big numbers guy, but he was a leader in the locker room. The Cowboys no longer have a veteran to guide them upfront.

–G Mackenzy Bernadeau (16/1), QB Matt Cassel (8/7), FB Tyler Clutts (16/5), DE Greg Hardy (12/12), DT Nick Hayden (16/15), S Danny McCray (16/0), RB Robert Turbin (7/0)*
Total games played/started lost: 105/46
*Number in parentheses is games played/games started in 2015

Summer Reset: Giants, McAdoo want fireworks on the field

After a 6-10 season and the departure of long-time head coach Tom Coughlin, the New York Giants and his first-year replacement, Ben McAdoo, return 15 starters among the group that begins training camp on July 28.

That includes veteran wide receiver Victor Cruz, who was sidelined last season with a calf injury, and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who was late and limited last year after losing his right index finger in a Fourth of July fireworks mishap.

This year, Pierre-Paul spent the July 4 holiday out of the country but appeared on a televised public service announcement, spreading the message “Keep fireworks away from kids” and “Leave fireworks to the fireworks professionals.”

Pierre-Paul is expected to be considerably improved at the beginning of this season. Although the team lost defensive end Robert Ayers (9.5 sacks) in the offseason, the Giants were busy spending big bucks in free agency to rebuild the defensive line.

Defensive end Olivier Vernon (formerly Dolphins) signed for up to $85 million over five years ($40 million guaranteed) and nose tackle Damon Harrison (Jets) came aboard for up to $46.2 million over four years.

In the secondary, the departures of cornerback Prince Amukamara and safety Brandon Meriweather was addressed in the draft with the selection of Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple (10th overall) and Boise State safety Darian Thompson (Round 3, 71st overall), who was impressive in minicamp.

The Giants also signed free-agent cornerback Janoris Jenkins to a five-year deal worth up to $62.5 million. Jenkins, a second-round pick in 2012 by the then-St. Louis Rams, had three of his 10 career interceptions last year.

Cruz joins Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who literally single-handedly launched himself into superstar status with made-for-highlight-reel catches. In the draft, the Giants added Oklahoma wide receiver Sterling Shepard, a second-round pick (40th overall).

Here is a closer look at the newcomers and key players and how they should factor into the Giants’ 2016 team:

Quest Diagnostics Training Center, East Rutherford, NJ, 7/28, 7/28

2015 RECORD: 6-10

COACH: Ben McAdoo
1st season as Giants/NFL head coach

15; 9 offense, 6 defense, kicker, punter

OFFSEASON STANDOUT: Safety Darian Thompson.

–The Giants’ third-round draft pick, Thompson came on like a tidal wave this spring. He initially impressed the coaching staff in the rookie minicamp by showing no hesitation in making the calls, and from there he quickly worked his way into the first-team defense, where he’s received the lion’s share of the snaps in the battle for the starting free safety role.

“He has been working with Landon quite a bit. That kind of probably says a lot that he is up there with those guys,” said defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. “I said this before: He is assertive, he is vocal, he is not afraid to make a mistake. If he continues to do that, he will learn the defense.”

The draft — A closer look at the Giants’ picks (6):

–Round 1/10 – Eli Apple, CB, 6-0, 195, Ohio State

The Giants added Apple, a prospect who can play both outside and in the slot, to a thin cornerback unit. Apple spent most of the spring alternating outside with veteran Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, as defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said they would continue to find out if they have a natural fit for the slot.

–Round 2/40 – Sterling Shepard, WR, 5-10, 194, Oklahoma

Shepard came as advertised during the spring, showing good hands and advanced route running for a rookie. Getting reps at both the slot and outside receivers, he also lived up to his reputation of stretching the field and going over the middle without fear.

–Round 3/71 – Darian Thompson, FS, 6-2, 210, Boise State

In what has become a two-man race for the starting free safety job, Thompson has pulled away from veteran Nat Berhe after earning most of the reps with the first-team defense after just a week of OTAs. Barring an injury, Thompson looks like he’ll win that starting free safety job early this summer.

–Round 4/109 – B.J. Goodson, OLB, 6-1, 242, Clemson

Goodson proved to be a young go-getter, turning heads with his play-making ability, particularly in coverage. While he primarily ran with the second team, Goodson showed an ability to sniff out screens and came up with a few highlight reel plays that left the coaches pleased with his progress.

–Round 5/149 – Paul Perkins, RB, 5-10, 208, UCLA

Perkins was forced to miss the majority of the Giants’ OTA program due to his classes at UCLA running late. Because he joined his teammates late, he has a lot of catching up to do, even though the coaching staff tried to keep him up to speed at night via technology.

–Round 6/184 – Jerell Adams, TE, 6-5, 247 lbs., South Carolina

With no contact allowed in the spring, it was difficult to ascertain how far along Adams was in his blocking. Meanwhile, he was inconsistent with his receiving skills, dropping some catchable balls. Adams is not necessarily a lock to make the 53-man roster and may need injuries to those ahead of him on the depth chart to help his cause.


–NT Damon Harrison: Big-bodied space eater should help improve the run defense.

–CB Janoris Jenkins: Will slide in as starting right cornerback and could move down to the slot in the nickel.

–RB Bobby Rainey: Scat-back type who has to get a grip on ball security issues.

–LB Keenan Robinson: Will compete for the starting middle linebacker role if he can shake off past injuries.

–LB Kelvin Sheppard: Another competitor for the starting middle linebacker role.

–DE Olivier Vernon: Big-ticket free-agent pass rusher whom they’re hoping adds firepower to pass rush.

KEY LOSS: DE Robert Ayers Jr. (12/11)*

–Ayers’ 9.5 sacks led the Giants last year. Although Olivier Vernon is an upgrade, Ayers’ versatility — he could play both end and tackle — offered defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo flexibility.


–LS Danny Aiken (3/0), CB Prince Amukamara (11/10), LB Jon Beason (5/4), T Will Beatty (0/0), NT Barry Cofield (3/0), S Craig Dahl (15/4), TE Daniel Fells (3/2), CB Jayron Hosley (14/6), DT Cullen Jenkins (16/13), DT Markus Kuhn (10/9), CB Trumaine McBride (15/0), S Brandon Meriweather (13/12), G Brandon Mosley (0/0), WR Hakeem Nicks (6/2), WR Rueben Randle (16/16), G/C Dallas Reynolds (16/2), G Geoff Schwartz (11/11), DE George Selvie (12/3)*
Total games played/started lost: 179/105
*Number in parentheses is games played/games started in 2015

Summer Reset: Eagles’ Bradford returns from Wentz he came

When rookie head coach Doug Pederson gathers his Philadelphia Eagles for their first full training camp July 27, there will be 16 returning starters from the team that finished 7-9 and second in the NFC East last year under Chip Kelly.

Only seven of those starters are on defense, but that may be the good news after a display of stupendous generosity last season. To tighten up things, Pederson brought in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, recently of the Detroit Lions (head coach 2009-2013), Buffalo Bills (defensive coordinator, 2014) and last year declined a request to replace Miami’s embattled coordinator Kevin Coyle.

With Kelly now tending to his own quarterback controversy as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Pederson helped foment his own in Philadelphia when the Eagles traded up to select North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz with the second pick in the draft.

Still, quarterback Sam Bradford counts as one of those returning starters, although he made it clear he was less than thrilled about the team’s move to get Wentz, a strong-armed, 6-foot-5, 235-pound prospect who many argued should have been drafted No. 1 overall instead of Cal quarterback Jared Goff, now destined to be the face of the Rams in Los Angeles.

But Pederson and Bradford had a meeting of the minds and the coach said the incumbent would be the starter “as long as he is healthy,” which would be the first time in three years with the Eagles.

Also, the Eagles avoided Bradford becoming an unrestricted free agent by signing him to a two-year deal worth up to $35 million, with $26 million guaranteed. And in the for-what-it’s-worth department, the Eagles also acquired free-agent quarterback Chase Daniel (Kansas City Chiefs) on a three-year deal worth as much as $21 million with $12 million guaranteed.

After taking Wentz, the Eagles used their next three draft picks to give help to whomever is quarterback — Oregon State center/guard Isaac Seumalo (Round 3, No. 79), West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood (Round 5, No. 153) and Texas Christian tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (Round 5, 164).

In free agency, they signed guard Brandon Brooks (Houston) to a five-year deal that could be worth $40 million, including $11 million as a signing bonus and $21 million guaranteed.

But perhaps the Eagles’ most important offseason addition was Schwartz as the defensive coordinator. Last year, the Eagles gave up 27 or more points in eight of their last 10 games and finished 28th in points allowed, 30th in total defense, 32nd against the run and yielded a franchise-record 36 touchdown passes.

Here is a closer look at the newcomers and key players and how they should factor into the Eagles’ 2016 team:

NovaCare Complex, Philadelphia, PA, 7/24, 7/27

2015 RECORD: 7-9

COACH: Doug Pederson
1st season as Eagles/NFL head coach

16; 9 offense, 7 defense, kicker, punter

OFFSEASON STANDOUT: Cornerback Leodis McKelvin.

–McKelvin’s familiarity with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s system was a big plus for him this spring. The free-agent signee had the best season of his career in 2014 under Schwartz in Buffalo. He took more first-team reps than any other cornerback this spring and made the most of them. He’ll head into training camp as a favorite to win one of the two starting corner jobs.

The draft — A closer look at the Eagles’ picks (8):

–Round 1/2 – Carson Wentz, QB, 6-5, 235, North Dakota State

The Eagles traded away the guts of two drafts to move up from No. 8 to No. 2 to take Wentz. They expect him to be their starting quarterback at some point, but probably not this season.

–Round 3/79 – Isaac Seumalo, G/C, 6-4, 303, Oregon State

The Eagles like Seumalo’s versatility. He can play all five line positions. He started 37 games for the Beavers, including 23 at center. He’ll compete for the starting left-guard job this summer.

Round 5/153 – Wendell Smallwood, RB, 5-10, 208, West Virginia

Smallwood will compete for the No. 3 running-back job behind Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. He led the Big 12 in rushing with 1,519 yards and led the nation in runs of 10 or more yards.

Round 5/164 – Halapoulivaati Vaitai, T, 6-6, 320, Texas Christian

Vaitai is a road grader who started 30 games for the Horned Frogs, 18 at right tackle and 12 at left tackle. He will learn behind starters Jason Peters and Lane Johnson, and possibly compete for the starting right-tackle job whenever Peters retires and Johnson moves over to the left side.

–Round 6/196 – Blake Countess, CB/S, 5-9, 184, Auburn

Countess wasn’t a Combine invitee, but the Eagles like his corner-safety versatility as well as his potential as a core special-teamer.

Round 7/233 – Jalen Mills, S, 6-0, 191, Louisiana State

Probably should have been a third- or fourth-rounder based on ability, but character issues and a 2015 leg injury caused him to slide. Played both corner and safety at LSU.

Round 7/240 – Alex McCalister, DE, 6-6, 239, Florida

Another red-flag player, he was dismissed from the team last season just before their bowl game. Has terrific size and athleticism and is a quick-twitch player that the Eagles think could flourish in coordinator Jim Schwartz’s wide-9 defense.

Round 7/251 – Joe Walker, ILB, 6-2, 236, Oregon

Walker is the only linebacker the Eagles drafted. They don’t have a lot of depth in the middle behind starter Jordan Hicks. So Walker will have a chance to make the team. He led the Ducks in


–LB Nigel Bradham: Started at SAM for Jim Schwartz when he was Buffalo’s defensive coordinator in 2014.

–G Brandon Brooks: A 350-pound road-grader who is expected to be the team’s starting right guard.

–CB Ron Brooks: Was outstanding special-teams player for Bills.

–QB Chase Daniel: Has thrown just 77 regular-season passes in six seasons.

–WR Chris Givens: Deep threat with a 16.6 yards-per-catch career average.

–DT Mike Martin: Hard-to-budge run-stuffer who will provide depth to front four.

–CB Leodis McKelvin: The former Bill will compete for one of the starting cornerback jobs.

–S Rodney McLeod: A free-agent addition who looks like a good fit for Schwartz’s defense.

–WR Rueben Randle: The 6-4 free-agent signee gives the Eagles another big target to throw to.

–G/C Stefen Wisniewski: At best, he wins starting left-guard job. At worst he provides interior depth.

KEY LOSS: RB DeMarco Murray (15/8)*

–Murray was a disappointment last season after signing a big free-agent contract with the Eagles. His departure leaves Ryan Mathews as the Eagles’ only real workhorse back. Darren Sproles is 33 years old.


–WR Seyi Ajirotutu (13/0), LB Kiko Alonso (11/1), CB E.J. Biggers (16/3), WR Riley Cooper (16/13), S Jerome Couplin (8/0), QB Thad Lewis (0/0), CB Byron Maxwell (14/14), C David Molk (1/0), LB DeMeco Ryans (14/13), QB Mark Sanchez (4/2), DT Cedric Thornton (13/13), CB Walter Thurmond III (16/16)*
Total games played/started lost: 141/83
*Number in parentheses is games played/games started in 2015

Summer Reset: Leadership questioned in Washington, go figure

Coming off a 9-7 season as defending NFC East champions, the Washington Redskins will have 16 returning starters on board when third-year head coach Jay Gruden opens training camp July 27.

That includes 10 on offense, including the pass-catch tandem of quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is trying to prove he is the real deal, and wide receiver DeSean Jackson, coming off an injury-plagued season in which he totaled career lows of 30 receptions for 528 yards.

For Cousins, the real, real deal was accepting the one-year franchise salary of $19.95 million when he could not get a better long-term offer. Absent the distraction of RG III, teammates are confident Cousins is the man to lead their team. Cousins, who exudes confidence, is betting on himself and expects his pay day to arrive after this season.

The Redskins drafted some help for Cousins with the 22nd overall pick, taking TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson, although he was slowed this spring by injuries. The Redskins also signed free-agent tight end Vernon Davis, who made a fortuitous move from the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl championship-bound Denver Broncos last year.

The presence of Scot McCloughan as the general manager in the front office-heavy Redskins hierarchy is no coincidence in the signing of Davis. McCloughan was general manager for the 49ers when they selected Davis No. 6 overall in the 2006 draft. Davis responded with a display of athleticism that made him one of the most prolific tight ends in the NFL and before the 2010 season the 49ers gave him a five-year contract extension worth $37 million, including $23 million guaranteed.

But he faded from the offense in 2014 and was ready to be traded last year. McCloughan took another chance on Davis with a deal worth only $2.4 million for one year with $1.1 guaranteed and a $500,000 signing bonus.

McCloughan and the Redskins did open the bank account to get feisty free-agent cornerback Josh Norman (Carolina Panthers). Norman’s battle against New York Giants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. last season was epic. Norman will get paid $75 million with $36.5 million guaranteed and a $15 million signing bonus for the privilege to face Beckham Jr. twice a season for five years.

Here is a closer look at the newcomers and key players and how they should factor into the Redskins’ 2016 team:

Bon Secours Training Center, Richmond, VA, 7/27, 7/27

2015 RECORD: 9-8

COACH: Jay Gruden
3rd season as Redskins/NFL head coach
13-20 overall; 0-1 postseason

16; 10 offense, 6 defense, kicker, punter

OFFSEASON STANDOUT: Outside linebacker Preston Smith.

–Last year’s second-round draft pick had a great offseason program and built on his strong finish to last season. Smith finished his rookie season 2015 with eight sacks – five of them over the final three games and another sack/safety in a playoff loss to Green Bay. He lived up to that and more this offseason. Smith came in a few pounds leaner at 268 pounds. He served as a mentor to some of the rookies, especially 2016 second-round pick Su’a Cravens. And he performed on the field consistently. At Tuesday’s minicamp practice, Smith read a pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins, crashing the line of scrimmage and leaping so high in the air the ball smacked into his forearms. It wasn’t an unusual occurrence.

The draft — A closer look at Redskins’ picks (7):

–Round 1/22 – Josh Doctson, WR, 6-2, 202, Texas Christian

Tall receiver may have a slight build and lack prototypical speed, but he’s a wizard in the air, taking full advantage of a 41-inch vertical jump. Very efficient at tracking balls down field. Does not lose many 50-50 battles with cornerbacks. However, a sore Achilles tendon and foot injury limited his on-field time during OTAs and minicamp so the Redskins haven’t seen much of Doctson yet. They hope he is ready for training camp.

–Round 2/53 – Su’a Cravens, LB, 6-1, 226, Southern Cal

A hybrid safety-linebacker. The Redskins plan to use Cravens all over the field against pass-happy offenses, but early on he will be a linebacker in their dime packages. Cravens didn’t take any snaps at safety during OTAs and minicamp.

–Round 3/84 – Kendall Fuller, CB, 5-11, 187, Virginia Tech

Three older brothers all went to Virginia Tech and have played in the NFL. Fuller is a local product from Good Counsel High in Olney, Md. His junior season was cut short by a torn meniscus and Fuller also needed microfracture surgery in his right knee. If healthy, he was considered a likely first-round pick. Fuller returned to the field sooner than expected and participated in team drills at OTAs and minicamp.

–Round 5/152 – Matt Ioannidis, DE, 6-3, 299, Temple

Washington needed to add youth and depth to its defensive line. Ioannidis provides both, plus the ability to play inside or out. The Redskins drafted him as a defensive end.

–Round 6/187 – Nate Sudfeld, QB, 6-6, 234, Indiana

A strong-armed developmental pick with the size NFL scouts dream about. Sudfeld threw 61 touchdown passes in his college career with 20 interceptions. The Redskins hope he turns into a quality backup.

–Round 7/232 – Steven Daniels, LB, 5-11, 243, Boston College

A thumper in the middle who plays better in coverage than his below-average 40-yard dash time indicates. Daniels ran one of the nation’s best run defenses at Boston College at inside linebacker. Expected to also contribute on special teams.

–Round 7/242 – Keith Marshall, RB, 5-11, 219, Georgia

The fastest running back at the Combine (4.31 40-yard dash). Marshall’s career at Georgia began with promise before a torn ACL ruined his sophomore and junior seasons. He returned in a complementary role as a senior. A true home-run threat in the backfield. Earned limited repetitions during OTAs and minicamp thanks to a lingering hamstring injury.


–S David Bruton Jr.: A special-teams ace in Denver who will have a shot to fight for a starting safety position.

–TE Vernon Davis: Traded by 49ers and was a non-factor in Denver’s Super Bowl run. Unclear how much he has left.

–LB Terence Garvin: Signed to bolster special teams. Will fight for reserve role at inside linebacker.

–DL Ziggy Hood: Former first-round pick will get a chance to make roster, which needs big bodies in middle.

–CB Josh Norman: Star corner a surprise late addition to free-agent market. Aggressive Redskins quickly signed him.

–DE Kendall Reyes: Free-agent signing with starting experience in San Diego. Should fit as a role player on the line.

–CB Greg Toler: A D.C. native and former starter with Colts who should provide veteran depth at corner.

KEY LOSS: RB Alfred Morris (16/16)*

— Although is numbers declined each season, he was reliable, if not a star, and a true professional in the locker room. They also haven’t found a replacement yet to team with Matt Jones.


–T Tom Compton (13/1), CB Chris Culliver (6/6), S Dashon Goldson (15/15), QB Robert Griffin III (0/0), DE Jason Hatcher (15/14), LB Jackson Jeffcoat (6/0), S Jeron Johnson (14/2), DL Frank Kearse (4/0), NT Terrance Knighton (15/15), TE Logan Paulsen (0/0), RB Silas Redd (0/0), WR Andre Roberts (9/0), LB Keenan Robinson (12/8), TE Alex Smith (3/1), RB Pierre Thomas (5/0), CB Cary Williams (10/10), FB Darrel Young (16/3)*
Total games played/started lost: 159/91
*Number in parentheses is games played/games started in 2015

— Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and, is in his sixth decade covering football and 26th year on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. TSX’s network of NFL insiders provided information for this report.

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