Ezekiel Elliott has been causing more waves off the field than on it in recent weeks. That still doesn’t change the fact that he might be the best running back in football. When it comes to physical rushers who seek out contact, Elliott has a huge fan in the Philadelphia Eagles locker room.
Safety Malcolm Jenkins recently sat down with NFL Films analyst Brian Baldinger to break down the best backs in the NFC East. Immediately the topic turned to the Cowboys running back and Jenkins didn’t hesitate to heap praise on the two-time rushing champion.
“I’d say Ezekiel Elliott is probably the No. 1 contact back in the league right now,” Jenkins said. “He’s looking to punish guys. He’s not trying to juke you. He’ll jump over you every now and then if you keep trying to go low, but he’s fine with just punishing the defender at the end of it.”
Elliott, who has amassed 4,048 rushing yards over his first three NFL seasons, has been the engine that makes Dallas go ever since entering the league in 2016. However, the disgruntled Cowboys running back is embroiled in a battle with owner Jerry Jones as he holds out for a new contract. Elliott is currently vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico while his teammates swelter in pads at training camp. There doesn’t appear to be a quick end in sight, although Jones has hinted that a deal will get done.
“As far as doing something that would disrupt and shake the base of our plans for how to keep the talent we’ve got here, I’m not about to shake that loose,” Jones said.
Jenkins also gave Giants running back Saquon Barkley a shout out. He called Barkley a “hybrid” runner who excels at making people miss, instead of plowing them over. “He’s a powerful runner, but he’s not really seeking contact,” Jenkins said. “He’s trying to make you miss and outrun you.”
Eagles Sign Johnathan Cyprien
Speaking of talented safeties, the Eagles have agreed to terms with former Titans safety Johnathan Cyprien, according to Adam Schefter. Cyprien is an interesting addition to the roster considering the depth the team already has at the position with Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Tre Sullivan and Blake Countess. Of course, McLeod is still rehabbing from season-ending knee surgery and hasn’t participated in team drills at training camp. The Eagles could also cut ties with Sendejo and receive a late fourth-round compensatory draft pick.
Cyprien has been a savvy veteran throughout his five-year NFL career that included stops in Jacksonville and Tennessee. The 29-year-old missed all of the 2018 season with a torn ACL, but has a strong resume outside of that injury. He has 377 combined tackles and three sacks in 70 career games, all starts. Cyprien plays strong safety, the same spot that Jenkins holds down.
“As the years went on I definitely grew in the knowledge of the game,” Cyprien said of his play with the Jaguars in 2016. “It helped me — from route concepts to how the run game works. With that, I think I’m able to play a little faster.”
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