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NFC East: And the best player on the Cowboys is...?

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NFC East: And the best player on the Cowboys is...?

Yes, even those of in the DMV acknowledge that despite their lack of recent postseason success or consistent presence, the Dallas Cowboys have some talented players. As for who istheir best player, the answer offered up by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram may surprise you.Nope, not pass rushing force DeMarcus Ware. Quarterback Tony Romo or any of his pass catching targets? Wrong.Not even newly-added high-priced free agent corner Brandon Carr tops the list. The answer, Star-Telegram, if you please."Let's just call it like it is: Tyron Smith is the most talented football player on the Dallas Cowboys."Selected early in the first round last season, Smith is now transitioning from right tackle to becoming Romo's blindside protector."I think it's pretty high," Romo said of Smith's ceiling. "He takes it very serious, his job. It's great to see. "He's very committed. He has a high potential or talent level or whatever you want to call it. With his work ethic and his ability, he's only going to continue to get better and better."First rounder Cox filling Eagles defensive line needsThe Redskins gaping hole at quarterback, addressed with the fan-approved drafting of Robert Griffin III. Their division rivals in Philadelphia needed a run-stuffing defensive lineman capable of closing gaping holes created against them. With the 12th overall pick in the 2012 draft, the Eagles selected one in Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Perhaps somewhat surprising given their fickle nature, the team'susually hard to please rooters approved, according to CSNphilly. For now, anyway.If Cox goes out and makes the plays that had many a draft pundit deem him the top defensive tackle in the draft, the fans, even the Eagles prickly brood, will remain on his side.I just go out and be who I am, Cox said. Not trying to be some Superman, just go out and do what I did back in college and get better. I cant be Superman, trying to do things that I cant do.Randle's fortuitous fallWide receiver Rueben Randle went from being a college star at LSU to an NFL draft slider, falling to the end of round two after many labeled him a first round option. He ended up being drafted by theSuper Bowl champion New York Giants, a team with Eli Manning at quarterback and lost Mario Manningham in free agency.Yeah, not a bad landing spot when you think about it."It was a humbling experience," Randle said on Thursday at the Giants practice facility in the Meadowlands. "It wasn't really anything I could complain about, coming into a blessing and a home like this. Once I sat back and looked at it that way, it really wasn't a bad situation at all."With Manningham gone, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks out with an injured foot until perhaps the start ofthe regular season and the tight end position in flux, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound target is in position for some serious playing time.

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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

Annually, Forbes releases the worth of all professional sports franchises in the world. Once again, the Washington Redskins are sitting near the top. 

This year the Redskins are ranked the fourth most valuable NFL franchise at $3.1 billion. 

That marks a five percent worth increase from a year ago. They leapfrogged the San Francisco 49ers for a spot in the top four after placing fifth in 2017. They still trail the Dallas Cowboys ($4.8 billion), the New England Patriots ($3.7 billion), and the New York Giants ($3.3 billion).

Compared to other leagues and franchises, the Redskins jumped into the top-10. They are tied for the tenth overall value with the Golden State Warriors who are coming off of their third NBA title in four years.

From year-to-year there is never much movement from the top of the ranking. Once again, the Cowboys are the top team in the world by over $600 million. They were followed by three European soccer teams. In total four NFL teams made up the top-10, the most of any sport. 

2018 Top-10 World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams according to Forbes:

1. Dallas Cowboys, $4.8 billion (NFL)

2. Manchester United, $4.123 billion ( Soccer)

3. Real Madrid, $4.09 billion (Soccer)

4. Barcelona, $4.064 billion (Soccer)

5. New York Yankees, $4 billion (MLB)

6. New England Patriots, $3.7 billion (NFL)

7. New York Knicks, $3.6 billion (NBA)

8. Los Angeles Lakers, $3.3 billion (NBA)

8. New York Giants, $3.3 billion (NFL)

T-10. Golden State Warriors, $3.1 billion (NBA)

T-10. Washington Redskins, $3.1 billion (NFL)

Next five NFL franchises:

13. San Francisco 49ers, $3.05 billion

T-14. Los Angeles Rams, $3 billion 

17. Chicago Bears, $2.85 billion 

T-19. Houston Texans, $2.8 billion

21. New York Jets, $2.75 billion

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

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USA Today Sports Images

Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Additions: Pernell McPhee (free agent)
Departures: Junior Galette (free agent)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Other roster locks: Ryan Anderson, McPhee
On the bubble: Pete Robertson

How the outside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: By any measure, the Redskins had a top-10 pass rush last year. They were tied for seventh with 42 sacks and they got a sack on 7.3 percent of pass attempts, also seventh in the league. Looking forward to this year, Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the sixth-best pass rushing team for 2018. Ryan Kerrigan is showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches age 30 and Preston Smith is about to hit his prime. After the departure of Galette, the depth is questionable, and we’ll deal with that next. Even without Galette, it’s still one of the best units in the NFL. 

To the 2017 Redskins: Some downplay the decision to let Galette walk in free agency, saying he had just three sacks. But his value went beyond that. He had 9 QB hits and 25 hurries, both second-most on the team, in just 258 pass rush snaps. Someone will have to step up and replace that pressure. The spotlight will be on Anderson, who had no sacks after being a second-round pick. He will need to step up for this year’s Redskins pass rush to be as good as last year’s. 

2018 outside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: Since the 2015 season, only one NFL player has at least 20 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions and it’s Preston Smith. His consistency is an issue but even when he is going for a few weeks between sacks he is getting pressure on the quarterback. Still, there is more ability there. Smith could set himself up for a big payday by breaking through with a double-digit sack season while continuing to make big plays in his contract year.

Most to prove: To be fair, Anderson did not get a whole lot of chances to rush the passer last year, playing just 81 pass rush snaps. Still, there are reasons to be concerned about how much he can produce after a zero-sack, one-hit, three-hurries 2017 debut season. Anderson was not expected to make a splash as a rookie, but more was anticipated. He was drafted where he was in part because of his work ethic. The Redskins hope he will work his way into a significant second-year leap. 

Rookie watch: There are no rookie outside linebackers on the roster. 

Bottom line: The main concern about the Redskins’ defense this year revolves around the cornerback spot following the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. The best way to manage problematic cornerbacks is by getting a strong pass rush. The Redskins need to Smith to have a true breakout season and for Anderson or McPhee to be a strong contributor off the bench. Along with the improved defensive line, the pass rush could transform the defensive line into a quality unit in 2018. 

2018 Redskins Position Outlook Series