The Cowboys have been in training camp for a little less than a week, and training camp for Washington has just now started. The Giants and Eagles kick off their camps Friday, which will bring the entire NFC East into the preseason grind.
Training camp is the time for new acquisitions and unheralded players to forge an identity with a new team. We're seeing that already with the Cowboys out in Oxnard – guys like Eric Rogers, Brandon Magee and J.J. Wilcox are becoming familiar names despite their low standing on the depth chart.
How about the rest of the division, though? It's always amusing to me how quickly players earn adoration or infamy based on a small amount of work – particularly in division rivalries, which are played twice a year. A guy who has never played a down for the Redskins could be the most hated man in Dallas by this time next year, as we've seen with the likes of Robert Griffin III.
With that in mind, I thought I'd take a look at the newcomers to the division and find a name or two Cowboys fans might want to learn ahead of time. [embedded_ad]
Damontre Moore, DE, New York Giants:Earlier in 2013, Moore was expected to be drafted out of Texas A&M as high as the top 10 in the 2013 NFL Draft. Instead, he fell to the Giants in the third round – the 81st overall pick. As if the Giants needed more pass rushing talent when they've got the likes of Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul on the roster – not to mention the depth of pass rushing terrors they've had in recent seasons. Moore was an All-American with the Aggies in 2012, as he compiled 85 tackles and 12.5 sacks. It might be premature to compare him to Von Miller, but Moore played the same "Joker" hybrid linebacker position as Miller did when he was at Texas A&M.
Felix Jones, RB, Philadelphia Eagles:OK, so … Cowboys fans hardly need to be introduced to their former first round pick. But it's going to be interesting to see him line up on the opposite side of this rivalry – if Jones makes the team. The Eagles' running back job belongs to LeSean McCoy, but McCoy missed a month's worth of games last year. Jones' average of 4.8 yards per carry is fifth-best among active NFL running backs, and if he manages to burn the Cowboys in 2013, well, that would add some extra juice to this series.
Philip Thomas and Baccari Rambo, S, Washington Redskins:Cap limitations kept the Redskins from spending much money during free agency this year. That leaves a pair of rookies as the most likely candidates to make an impact. Thomas and Rambo were both considered possibilities to be taken by Dallas, before the Cowboys eventually selected Wilcox. Washington took Thomas in the fourth round and Rambo in the sixth in an obvious attempt to upgrade an abysmal secondary. One of the two has a chance to start alongside Brandon Meriweather, and it's likely the newcomers will be an instant upgrade. The Redskins picked off Tony Romo five times in two games last year, and that was without the rookie upgrades.