Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (hamstring) could practice Tuesday

It is possible Elliott could play, but the team has been careful with his return because it does not want him to suffer any kind of setback that could lead to a longer absence, potentially into the regular season.

Picture this: It’s draft day. You thought you had your next pick planned, but the team selecting in front of you snagged your guy. With time running out, you panic and select somebody — but not the guy you wanted and definitely not the guy who would have best helped your team.

This is where Insider’s fantasy football draft cheat sheet comes in. More than just a list of the top players at every position (although it has that too), it brings together all of the best analysis from Insider’s fantasy experts to help win your league, including:

Eric Karabell’s ranking of players into tiers

KC Joyner’s riskiest, drop-off and bounce-back players

Mike Clay’s projections for players most likely to seriously increase or decrease their touchdowns

Give the Americans that much. They are finding ways to prevail even though defensive struggles continue to plague a group that legitimately believed as recently as five days ago that this was a shutdown outfit that would snuff out anyone and everyone.

“They’ve still got a team full of All-Stars,” France center Rudy Gobert said. “Today they didn’t play very good and still won. So they’re still the favorite.”

Added French veteran Boris Diaw, Gobert’s new teammate with the Utah Jazz: “They haven’t been dominating, but they haven’t lost either. They’re still unbeaten, so we can’t say that they’re struggling.”

Except that we most certainly can.

Rex upset at Tyrod’s camp flip: ‘Are you kidding me?’

Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) August 8, 2016
Ryan, of course, is still smarting from the loss of second-round linebacker Reggie Ragland, who the Bills were planning to plug in as a Week 1 starter. The rookie suffered a knee injury last week and continues to go through testing to decipher how long he’ll be lost.

The Bills on Monday also saw left tackle Cordy Glenn exit with an ankle injury, while guard Richie Incognito left early with sore ribs. On the plus side, three key players — wideout Sammy Watkins and defensive linemen Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams — all passed their physicals.

Watching the injury bug descend, Ryan’s frustration is understandable. There’s little reason for Taylor to put his body at risk in practice. Conversely, old-school football-heads can point to yesteryear — when players in practice beat the snot out of each other daily — but that world no longer exists.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an NFL draftnik who doesn’t project Malik McDowell to be a first-round draft pick if he takes the early leap next year, with most slotting the Michigan State defensive tackle inside the Top 15 in their way-too-early mock drafts. That, though, is not good enough for McDowell — at least publicly and in the here and now.

At MSU’s media day Monday, McDowell was asked about his plans post-2016. According to the lineman, it doesn’t involve leaving East Lansing unless he’s expected to be one of the first three players selected.

“Top 10 ain’t good enough for me,” McDowell said. “I ain’t leaving if I’m (only) Top 10. If I’m not top three, I don’t leave. Really. I’m just trying to live day by day. It’s one through three, that’s the only way I’m going. I’m happy, I like it here, I ain’t really in a rush to leave.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens won’t say whether quarterback Joe Flacco will play in the preseason opener, and it would be a surprise if he did. But that’s not a reflection of Flacco’s progress in coming back from season-ending knee surgery. Flacco is having a strong training camp, and he hasn’t missed any reps with the starting offense. Like Flacco said late last month, his goal is to be ready for the start of the regular season, not the preseason. — Jamison Hensley

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Cincinnati Bengals

Health remains a concern for the Bengals, as they continue waiting on tight ends Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft and cornerback Darqueze Dennard to return from respective serious injuries. There is a belief that Kroft (knee) and Dennard (ankle) could be back before the regular season begins. The hope is that Eifert (ankle), too, will return by the season opener at the New York Jets, but it’s possible he misses a game or more. If he does, Kroft’s injury status becomes all the more important. Those injury issues are a concern, but the Bengals are otherwise getting healthier. Five players who missed time before Sunday’s off day practiced Monday. Could more players come off the sidelines Tuesday, when the Bengals hold their final practice before the Vikings join them in Cincinnati for joint practices? Stay tuned. — Coley Harvey

DeMarco Murray raves about Marcus Mariota’s talent

Beyond the streamlined passing mechanics, Mariota has impressed with his pinpoint accuracy on short and intermediate passes, nimble footwork reminiscent of Joe Montana and Jake Plummer, natural football instincts and preternatural poise.

Murray added that the Titans’ second-year star is the hardest-working quarterback he has been around, echoing Pro Bowl defensive end Jurrell Casey’s offseason assessment that Mariota is the “definition of a true leader.”

Spend a few days in Titans camp and you will hear players and coaches casually reference Mariota’s greatness. If he can stay healthy, his rare talent and requisite intangibles will be the rising tide that lifts all boats in Nashville.

Baltimore Ravens

1-10 percent: Joe Flacco put together one of the most incredible postseason runs ever in leading Baltimore to a Super Bowl victory, but he has been stagnant as a passer since. Now, if he did that again … Elvis Dumervil’s career includes two 17-sack seasons, but with 96 sacks by the age of 32, it’s hard to see him getting into the 130-or-so range, at which point his candidacy would be a lot stronger. … Marshal Yanda might be the best guard in football and has made five straight Pro Bowls and two first-team All-Pro appearances, but Alan Faneca had nine Pro Bowls and six first-team All-Pro appearances and just missed out on Canton. Even if Faneca eventually gets in, you can see how high the bar is for guards. … Eric Weddle suffers from playing in a conference with Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu for most of his career (he only has three Pro Bowl nods through age 30).

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Terrell Suggs is an interesting case. He started his career as one of the youngest players in his rookie class, so even though Suggs has been around since 2003, he’s only 33. He doesn’t have the sort of steady double-digit sack totals you might look for from a star edge rusher, but Suggs’ best year (2011) came while J.J. Watt had just emerged from his alien womb and earned Suggs a Defensive Player of the Year nod, which looks great on a Hall of Fame résumé. Being part of a historically famous defense helps. Suggs has 106.5 sacks, which is 24th all time, but he probably needs to get to the 130 range to guarantee his enshrinement. That will be tough on two torn Achilles. 30 percent

Steve Smith Sr. is one of the more fascinating Hall of Fame arguments out there. He gets bonuses for being a skill-position player and a force of nature as a personality; that stuff does matter in Hall of Fame voting. He has five Pro Bowl appearances and two first-team All-Pro nods, one of which was for his return work in 2001. That itself isn’t a Hall of Fame résumé. What works in Smith’s favor is that he has been around forever and accrued numbers despite playing with Jake Delhomme at quarterback for most of his career. Smith’s 11th in career receiving yards (13,932) and 15th in career receptions (961). Terrell Owens and Isaac Bruce had more catches and haven’t yet been elected to Canton, but once Smith gets to 1K, his chances of eventually making it in should be favorable. 60 percent

The next time someone chants John Kuhn’s name likely will be in the Superdome.

The former Green Bay Packers fullback, a long-time fan favorite who was often met with cheers of “Kuuuuuuhn” when he took the field, will sign a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints.

His agent, Kevin Gold, said Kuhn flew to Saints camp in West Virginia to work out for the team on Friday. The deal will be for the veteran’s minimum and officially closes the door on a nine-year run with the Packers.

“He loved his time there, but he wanted to play,” Gold said. “This was an opportunity, and coach [Sean] Payton was excited to know he was available and wanted to play. It’s bittersweet, but it’s also a great opportunity.”

From Bud Black to Terry Pendleton, the candidates to be next Braves manager

Torey Lovullo

Lovullo, 50, is John Farrell’s bench coach in Boston, and he also earned rave reviews while managing the Sox while Farrell was battling cancer last season. Like Martinez, he’s one of the hottest managerial prospects around, and the bench coach role typically provides a natural transition. As Rob Bradford tweets, Lovullo’s contract with the Red Sox permits him to interview for managerial vacancies during the season. If the Braves opt not to keep Snitker in the job, then consider Lovullo to be a strong contender.

Mark DeRosa

If you’re looking for a longshot, then maybe it’s DeRosa, 41. Joel Sherman of the New York Post recently name-checked DeRosa as a candidate in Atlanta, citing his popularity with some highly placed members of the front office. As well, DeRosa was drafted by the Braves in 1996 and spend the first seven seasons of his big-league career in Atlanta.

David Ross

My colleague Matt Snyder put forth Ross’ name as another longshot contender. It indeed makes sense. Ross is a Georgia native who grew up in north Florida, and he’s in the final year of his playing career. He earns universal praise for his demeanor and clubhouse presence, and catchers so often wind up as managers. No, he doesn’t have any managerial experience, but neither did recent and semi-recent hires like Mike Matheny, Brad Ausmus, and Kevin Cash — catchers, all.

Mostly, consider all of this to be … developing.

The NFL Draft has come and gone, which means it’s the best season of the year: over/under season. We have win totals released for each and every NFL team, courtesy of Sportsbook.ag, and you can place a friendly wager on whether you think the teams will win more or less games than their perceived Las Vegas total.

Every year I break these down in May trying to predict how many wins every NFL team will have. Totally easy situation, but my favorite thing I write all season maybe.

Last year I went a very underwhelming 7-8-1 in the NFC, although my two locks (Vikings over and Cardinals over) both hit. Leave your picks in the comments, yell at me for my picks on Twitter

Dallas Cowboys 9.5 Over (+105) / Under (-135) — You want to talk about a guy getting suckered by the Cowboys’ first-round pick of Ezekiel Elliott? This is your guy. Combine Zeke, Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden and you’re going to get a dominant running game for Dallas in 2016. Elliott will make Tony Romo better because he’ll keep him healthy, and he’ll make the defense better because he will limit time of possession (the jury is still out on science but it worked two years ago). A lower number would be a lock but this team will be closer to 2014 than it was last year.

New York Giants 8.0 Over (-140) / Under (+110) — Everyone is buying into the Giants big time after their massive offseason, and it’s not hard to understand why. Janoris Jenkins and Olivier Vernon are big headline-grabbing talents. Eli Apple’s mom is amazing. Odell Beckham is going to be amazing again. Eli Manning should have some protection. This is a team that’s better than it was after spending tons of capital, a change from Tom Coughlin’s final years. But sometimes I like to zag and I think this is a secretly questionable team — if they were the Dolphins people would be crushing them.

According to ESPN’s report, a five-minute portion of the May 6 rookie minicamp (a non-contact punt protection drill) was conducted using pads. The Ravens were mistakenly under the impression that rookie minicamp was exempt from the rule prohibiting full pads. Once players union rep Ben Watson clarified the issue, the Ravens reportedly pulled their players off the field.

Per the Baltimore Sun, “All of the Ravens’ practices, including the rookie minicamp, are taped, so it shouldn’t take the league too long to figure out the extent of the possible violation.”

If you’ve spent anytime on the internet over the past 24 hours, there’s a good chance you’ve been seeing a lot of Rob Gronkowski.

Not only did the Patriots tight end land on the cover of the latest Madden game, but he also landed on another big cover this week: The GQ cover.

Bill Belichick mumbles great response to QB question

Let’s get one thing straight: Even if Jimmy Garoppolo throws for 2,000 yards, 20 touchdowns with a perfect passer rating in his four starts, Tom Brady will be under center Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns.

Jake Long doesn’t sign injury waiver, won’t join Ravens

Jake Long will not join the Baltimore Ravens.

After speaking with general manager Tom Telesco on Friday, Wyche was left with the belief that this staredown will not end until Bosa tells his agent that it’s time to play football.

Here’s what else we learned from Friday’s action in training camps around the league:

The dotted line

1. Andre Johnson’s AFC South odyssey now includes Nashville. The Titans signed the 35-year-old receiver ostensibly to set a professional example for the young players, including enigmatic wideout Dorial Green-Beckham. With DGB, Kendall Wright, Rishard Matthews and rookie Tajae Sharpe ticketed for the Week 1 roster, Johnson could be competing with Harry Douglas and Justin Hunter for the final spot at wide receiver.

2. Darius Slay might not be a household name, but he emerged as a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback in 2015. Now the fourth-year star is paid like it. Slay inked a four-year, $48 million deal with $23.1 million guaranteed. He and Ziggy Ansah are Detroit’s building blocks on defense.

3. In the span of three months, Darren Sproles has gone from trade candidate to roster mainstay in Philadelphia. The Eagles signed the 33-year-old to a one-year, $4 million extension that will keep the passing-down specialist and kick returner onboard through the 2017 season.

Now that Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets have found common ground, the Chargers’ contract stalemate with first-round draft pick Joey Bosa looms as the tedious business story threatens to overshadow the on-field show in training camp.

Standing firm on upfront bonus money and offset contract language, Bosa did not report with his teammates Friday, per NFL Media’s Steve Wyche.

Bosa is pushing for all of his bonus money to be paid in full, per Wyche, while the team insists on paying in two installments.

The Bolts want to be consistent about how they do business. They are loath to set a precedent, not only in San Diego but also for the rest of the league.

In the meantime, both sides are entrenching.

Brett Favre picked a rare but familiar Hall of Fame presenter

“Deanna is the best teammate I’ve ever had,” Favre said. “She has been by my side throughout this journey and I’m so excited that she gets to play such an important role for me.”

Favre and his wife have been through a lot in their time together. They believe they met when Deanna, now 47, was 7 years old — and she has stuck beside Favre through his indiscretions and his past addiction to pain killers. Deanna also is a breast cancer survivor and an avid activist for breast cancer research.

They started dating in high school and have been married since 1996.

“Serving as Brett’s presenter is a great honor,” Deanna said. “I am thrilled to be able share this special moment in time with him.”

Other family members presenting Hall of Famers this year include: Eddie DeBartolo’s daughter, Lisa DeBartolo, and Orlando Pace’s son.

Former Packers coach and NFL pass rusher Kevin Greene will be inducted by Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who will coach the following day in the Hall of Fame Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Frankly, it is a similar combination of skills which helped the oft-injured Cruz star for Manning and New York in the past.

Giants offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is one of the many talent evaluators who see similarities between New York’s prized rookie and veteran.

“There are certainly some flashes,” Sullivan said when asked if Shepard reminds him of Cruz. “That’s obviously a lofty comparison and a great aspiration to be the type of player that Victor was for us there.”

“But there is a suddenness with which he (Shepard) separates on his routes, how he separates from his defenders after the catch,” Sullivan noted. “I thought he was surprisingly strong as far as his run after the catch. And then there was a suddenness, an explosiveness in his movements and being able to get open.”

Enter Shepard, arguably the elite slot receiver available in the 2016 draft.

Bennett: ‘Get rid of me’ if you don’t think I’m valuable

In an offseason which has seen disruptive pass-rushers such as Von Miller, Muhammad Wilkerson, Olivier Vernon and Fletcher Cox all accept offers of at least a $17 million annual salary, Bennett’s contract looks more grossly undervalued than ever before.

“It is never-ending,” Bennett said. “Especially when people are getting new contracts every day. You sit there and you’re like, ‘Damn, really?’ I’m just to the point where it’s kind of like, if you don’t think I’m valuable, then just get rid of me.”

The Seahawks have a very solid collection of talent locked up through the 2018 season, including Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Bobby Wagner and recently extended Doug Baldwin. The team doesn’t have enough salary-cap room to sign everyone though, as Bruce Irvin and Russell Okung left Seattle this free-agency period to sign lucrative deals with the Raiders and Broncos, respectively.

Bennett will be 32 when his current contract expires, and he knows that there’s a big chance his value now is much higher than two years down the road. Currently, per The Huffington Post, he’s only the 27th-highest paid defensive lineman in the league. If he can’t get a bigger contract now, will he ever get an opportunity to receive a bigger (and more fair) pay day?

The veteran is expected to be at Seahawks camp when it opens July 29.

Got it.

So what does Brady’s cookbook/nutrition manual consist of?

“Well, there’s just a lot of substitutes for maybe some traditional foods,” Brady said. “So there’s some pastas. A lot of desserts that, when you look in there you think, ‘Well, it’s not a chocolate sundae.’ And nothing is going to be like a chocolate sundae at the end of the day, because chocolate sundaes are chocolate sundaes. But are there things that you can eat that you can enjoy that can curb what you’re looking for, that can be a lot healthier for you, that can bring down the inflammation in your body so that you’re not hurting and you’re going out there and doing the things that you wanted to do?”

For the most part, the recipes in Brady’s nutrition manual attempt to avoid the use of sugar, white flour, olive oil, iodized salt, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, eggplants, all caffeine and dairy products.

Even without those ingredients, Brady and his trainer managed to come up with 89 recipes.