NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Elliott, Romo, Eagles

Are expectations too high for Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott?’s Todd Archer fears that the bar is being set a little high as Elliott is already being considered a frontrunner for the offensive rookie of the year award. The hype, of course, is understandable. Elliott was taken with the No. 4 overall pick in the draft thanks to his well-rounded skill set and body of work at Ohio State. Now, he’s entering a near perfect situation with a killer offensive line and a passing game led by Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten that will keep defenses honest. Still, Elliott isn’t even old enough to drink (he turns 21 in July) and plenty of talented rookies have faltered out of the gate.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • This offseason, there was pressure on the Cowboys to select Romo’s successor. However, after whiffing on Paxton Lynch, they didn’t exactly find their quarterback of the future. While some fans may fret over Dallas’ situation under center, Romo says that he probably has four or five years left in the tank. “I’m not in my mid-20s anymore, but I do think based on what my situation has been like the last three or four years, I do think this [offseason] is drastically different,” Romo said (link via Archer). Romo missed 12 games last season because of a broken left collarbone. He also has had a pair of operations on his back.
  • Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz believes that newcomer Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins could form the best safety tandem in the NFL, as Josh Paunil of Philadelphia Magazine writes. “That was money well spent,” Schwartz said. “I’m sort of violating my rule with judging too much into this time of year, (but Jenkins and McLeod) are veteran players and you can see that right away. They’re both multi-dimensional. They communicate very well. They can cover a lot of ground. They can blitz, they can play man, they can play zone. I’d be very surprised as the year went on if they’re not one of the better safety tandems in the NFL. They’ve been very impressive so far.” In February, Jenkins and the Eagles agreed to a four-year extension worth $35MM that will keep him in Philly through the 2020 season. In his two seasons with the Eagles, Jenkins has averaged 92 tackles per season, grabbed five total interceptions – including two for touchdowns – and earned his first Pro Bowl nod in 2015. McLeod, meanwhile, inked a five-year, $37MM with the Eagles in March.
  • Cowboys offensive lineman Ronald Leary is abstaining from OTAs and reportedly wants to be traded. Leary started at left guard for Dallas in 2013 and 2014 and opened the 2015 season in the same capacity. However, he was eventually leapfrogged by rookie La’el Collins.
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