The Dallas Cowboys are now on the clock. 10:00, 9:59, 9:58...
The clock's ticking, Cowboys Nation. I've always found that looking towards the future is never clear, but doing the same for the past is 20/20. For example, in 2003, if anyone had told a young quarterback out of Eastern Illinois University that he would become the face of the franchise for the Dallas Cowboys, he probably would've thought you were doing blow. But now, looking back, it's obviously what actually took place.
It's an interesting argument, looking at the past is, because a lot of people would argue that the past can depict the future. How many times did your parents tell you, when you were growing up, to "learn from your mistakes?" Did you? Not always. But, generally throughout life, we look back at a past experience to make decisions for the future.
You'd have to be insane to think that past decisions don't influence future ones for this team, or any for that matter. As much as the Cowboys may say that every year is a new year, you know they're constantly looking to learn.
I put out a poll on Twitter the other day that asked Cowboys Nation.
I essentially depicted, for each player, what their careers would look like. I asked folks who they would want the Cowboys to take at pick #4, knowing ahead of time how good these players will be. Don't we all wish we had this superpower?
7:34, 7:33, 7:32...
To do this, I took a player at a matching position to my four rookies, and said that the corresponding rookie would have a skill level better than the player listed. For Jalen Ramsey, I felt Richard Sherman would be a fun benchmark to compare skill levels. They're certainly different kinds of players, but the point is that they've reached a certain skill level. Hey Sherm, which pick do the Cowboys have in this draft?
Remember Patrick Willis? The all-pro middle linebacker who played for the 49ers and abruptly retired just on the backside of his prime years? Could you imagine if Myles Jack ended up with his skills, but faster and more instinctive?
Some people believe that Josh Doctson may be the best wide receiver in this draft. I may not go that far, but in the right system with a good quarterback, he's certainly capable of having an all-pro career; a career that resembles AJ Green's, without the nagging injury bug.
Lastly, I come to a future hall of famer. A player who seems to defy father time and post damn near 1,000 yards as a 32 year old running back for the Indianapolis Colts. Wouldn't it be something if Ezekiel Elliott had a better career than Frank Gore? He's certainly viewed by some to have the talent level to achieve it.
4:13, 4:12, 4:11...
The reason for all these comparisons is this: who would the Dallas Cowboys choose at pick #4, if given the choice between Sherman, Willis, Green, or Gore?
After the poll closed, an overwhelming majority settled on one player: Richard Sherman. Coming in at an astounding 63%, most Cowboys fans would want to take him (Jalen Ramsey) at #4. Coming in second was Frank Gore (Elliott) with 19%, third was Patrick Willis (Myles Jack) at 14%, and rounding out the bottom, in 4th place was AJ Green (Josh Doctson) with a mere 4%.
Keeping in mind that we would be getting one of these players during their prime, it begs the question, "Which one would help Tony get his ring?" First, Dez Bryant on one side, and AJ Green on the other. Scared doesn't even begin to cover the feelings that defensive coordinators would have when game planning for this offense.
Second, Frank Gore and this offensive line. Are you kidding me? Tony wouldn't ever have to throw the ball again. Gore in his prime was ten times better than DeMarco Murray was last season, and he was pretty good. Gore's ability to pass protect, catch, and run the ball, in combination with the talent on our offensive line, would offer this offense a dimension that they haven't truly had since Emmitt Smith.
I want you to close your eyes and picture this. Don't worry, if you're in public, just tell people you have a headache. Now, imagine being Eli Manning and looking across the line of scrimmage. Who do you see? Sean Lee and his eyes, knowing where you're about to throw the ball before you do. "Crap. Let me see where else I can go on this throw," ponders Eli.
He looks to the right trying to find an open hole in the coverage, except he can't because he sees Patrick Willis being nine yards wide as he drops into his right-hash, cover 3 position. By the time Eli makes his decision, DeMarcus Lawrence is standing over him and the referees are waving their hands above their head, indicating a sack. Patrick Willis would bring a tandem to this team that I'm not sure they've ever had.
Lastly, the voice of the people. Richard Sherman, Orlando Scandrick, Byron Jones, and Barry Church. What a secondary. A secondary that could very well be the best in the game. Yeah, I said it, Earl Thomas. With this group of defensive backs, the Cowboys would not only be incredibly stingy against the pass, but they would give Romo and our offense several more chances to punch it in for a score, due to the play-making turnover abilities they could bring to the table.
1:42, 1:41, 1:40...
All four of these players would be a boost to this team. I'm sure Jason Garrett would take each one of them given the choice. But, in the spirit of this article, you can only have one. While I think Cowboys Nation has a point with their choice of Richard Sherman locking down the right side of our secondary, I can't get the image of Sean Lee and Patrick Willis out of my mind. Talk about an elite tandem.
With a slight upgrade at 1-technique (Nick Hayden's spot and the player who lines up on the outside shoulder of the center) and some free agent depth at right defensive end, we would likely instantly have a top 5 run defense. Being able to stop the run is crucial to any football team. Ask any expert, or even a fair-weather fan, and they'll likely say the same thing.
What about pass defense, Ian? What about it? Sean Lee averages over a pick every 5 games. Adding Willis' 8 career interceptions and 2 touchdowns to that, you're bringing a ferocious linebacking corps to your cover 2 and cover 3.
So who do we take? The potential hall of fame linebacker to form the best pair of linebackers in the game, or the loudmouthed cornerback, providing an incredible mentor to Byron Jones and a shutdown presence to the left side of the field?
0:03, 0:02, 0:01...
With the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys select: Jalen Ramsey
This team is looking to win now, but they can't do it with a crap secondary. If we're able to either bring back Rolando McClain, sign a competent MIKE, or get surprising production from Damien Wilson or Anthony Hitchens, Ramsey would provide what may just be the missing link to a complete secondary.
Josh Doctson would provide a solid presence on the outside, but Tony Romo has found ways to make this offense very competitive with the group of wide outs we currently have.
And lastly, Darren McFadden showed last year that he can carry the load for a team and stay on the field for all three downs, for 16 games. He may not be as flashy and young as Zeke, but I just don't see the need there.
So that's it. You're walking away from this draft with arguably the best corner in the game in Richard Sherman. I'd love to hear your thoughts and/or disputes on this, or if you think we should go elsewhere with the pick.
So I guess now the question is, who are we taking at pick #34?
2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott
With more pressing needs on offense at guard and wide receiver, and defensively at DE or LB, the Cowboys' concerning lack of proven ability at safety has taken a backseat in this offseason's roster build. With the expectation that new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard will elevate the play of the entire Cowboys' secondary, the team is doing their due diligence on safeties available in the 2018 NFL Draft - starting with Texas' DeShon Elliott.
It appears Texas S DeShon Elliott is visiting the #Cowboys today
With 63 tackles and six interceptions in his final season at Texas, Elliott took full advantage of being a starter in the Big 12 for the first time in his career, flying onto the NFL Draft scene.
Elliott is a well-balanced, average athlete with the upside to be targeted late in April's draft and make a difference.
If they had to play a game tomorrow, the Cowboys would be rolling with Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, and Kavon Frazier at safety.
Finding an expanded role this season for Frazier should be a priority in Dallas, as should supplementing Heath and Woods with additional talent. DeShon Elliott would fit this group well, along with the Cowboys' scheme, given his range and disruptive ability.
Should Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and now Byron Jones help the Cowboys reach their full potential at CB, the Cowboys safeties will not be tested in single coverage up the field often. This is an area that Elliott was exploited in at Texas plenty of times, performing better as a true free safety or second-level player.
Continuing to add young talent at the right price is key to the Cowboys' ongoing rebuild on defense, now visiting with a local safety prospect that should be available to them in the later rounds. Texas' DeShon Elliott is officially a name to consider come draft week in Dallas.
Cowboys Draft: PSU WR DaeSean Hamilton Fits Cowboys’ “Type”
Last week, I detailed what the Cowboys tend to look for when drafting a wide receiver. In terms of a combine profile, Dallas clearly has a "type" of wide-out they like to target.
The Cowboys certainly need to upgrade their receiving corps, but with the plethora of other holes to fill, they may not be able to do so until the 3rd or 4th round. Luckily for the Cowboys, there is at least one receiver which both fits their profile and should be available early on day three.
That player is Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton.
Working on something for @InsideTheStarDC... here's the height, weight, 40 time, and 3 cone for every WR DAL has taken since 2010.
First, let's re-examine what the Cowboys like to look for. As you can see from the above graphic, the Cowboys draft targets all seem to fit a similar profile. If we treat Dez Bryant as their "ideal" draft pick, the trends become even clearer. Dallas wants to find a wide-out who is about 6'1" 205 pounds, runs nearly a 4.5 40 yard dash, and about a 6.9 three come time.
DeaSean Hamilton, coincidentally, is 6'1" 203 pounds, ran a 4.47 40 yard dash at the Penn State pro day, and ran a 6.84 three cone at the combine. Penn State's all time receptions leader stole the show at the 2018 Senior Bowl, putting all of "Draft Twitter" on notice to his talent.
An efficient and smooth route runner, Hamilton looks natural coming in and out of breaks, creating separation with his precise routes. The Cowboys don't have many receivers on their roster who can win with their route running, and adding a player like Hamilton would greatly help third year quarterback Dak Prescott moving forward.
With the ability to play in the slot, as well as potentially being a Z receiver for the Cowboys and a replacement for Terrance Williams, Hamilton would be an excellent draft target in the third or fourth round. And, keeping in mind how nicely he fits their typical draft profile, I'd expect Dallas to target Hamilton during the 2018 NFL Draft.
Dallas Cowboys Mock Drafts Address Needs at 3 Different Positions
"Tier two" of NFL Free Agency is here, meaning the Dallas Cowboys can set their sights on adding depth and filling the holes left by departed FAs Anthony Hitchens and Jonathan Cooper.
It may take another week for mock drafts to reflect the losses of both starters by the Cowboys, but the ongoing draft process does not slow down at any point. A few of the names the Cowboys will bring in for pre-draft 30 visits have already been released, and this week's roundup of national mock drafts continues to address the overall needs on this Dallas roster.
CBS Sports: Calvin Ridley, WR - Alabama
"Ridley's stock is down after an unimpressive combine, but the Cowboys decided to use one of their predraft visits on the talented wideout, who might not fall any further than this pick. Considering wide receiver is one of the team's biggest needs, they could jump at the chance to draft Ridley, who could eventually take over the No. 1 role if the Cowboys move on from Dez Bryant next offseason, which would save them more than $12 million on the cap."
The Dallas Cowboys will be meeting with free agent WR Allen Hurns today, a tangible second receiver that could immediately upgrade Terrance Williams' position. Hurns, unlike the lesser-known pass catchers the Cowboys looked at previously in free agency, may have enough talent entering his fifth season to take Calvin Ridley out of consideration in the first round.
For now, Ridley should absolutely remain in the conversation as this draft's top receiver. Frequently finding his way to the Cowboys in many post-Combine mock drafts, the Alabama star is just getting started in reaching his football potential and becoming an option for Dak Prescott on the outside.
Draft Wire: Vita Vea, DT - Washington
"Vea could realistically go higher than No. 19, but there may not be a ton of teams willing to draft a nose tackle early on in the draft. Vea’s much different from the average nose tackle, though, which is something the Cowboys would see firsthand if they were to pick him."
The hype for Vita Vea as a prospective Dallas Cowboys target has died down ever since Stephen Jones mentioned the team's preference to find 1T DTs with the traits to also rush the passer as a 3T. Simply being "different from the average nose tackle," as Infante writes here, may not be enough for Vea to be selected at 19th overall by the Cowboys.
Should the Cowboys be surprisingly wiped out at both guard and linebacker on their board, considering a rare prospect like Vea and the impact he could make in Rod Marinelli's scheme could become much more realistic though.
An investment like Vea at nose tackle feels like the safest way for the Cowboys to protect their franchise tag investment on DE DeMarcus Lawrence - while also potentially boosting the play of Maliek Collins and David Irving inside at DT.
Drafttek: Isaiah Wynn, G - Georgia
"... Isaiah Wynn played LOT for the SEC Champion and National Champion runner-up Georgia Bulldogs. Bill O'Brien's South coaching staff moved Wynn inside and he was easily the most impressive interior OL prospect during practice sessions..."
This would be one of the highest value picks the Dallas Cowboys could make at 19th overall. As it stands today, this team is in need of a starting left guard they can trust, which Isaiah Wynn can be from day one at the next level.
Despite their clear need up front, using another first round pick on an offensive lineman will surely generate some eyes rolls around Dallas on draft night. As if his mauling style of play and NFL-ready build aren't enough for the Cowboys to sell their fans on Wynn, his flexibility to provide needed depth at OT puts this Georgia product over the top.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Recent trades by the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills to shake up the draft order may just be scratching the surface for the run of quarterbacks that takes place annually atop each draft. With as many as five QBs coming off the board prior to the Cowboys' first pick, their ability to add a quality starter at a position of need looks good.
Exactly what these positions of need will be by the end of free agency, and which prospects fill needs in Dallas, will update weekly as we continue to prepare you for the 2018 NFL Draft here at Inside The Star.
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Star Blog11 hours ago
Should Cowboys Reunite Shea McClellin With Rod Marinelli?
Star Blog1 day ago
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Mauricio’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Cowboys Steal Defensive Talent
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys 2018 Free Agency: What’s Left Before Market Opens?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Do the Dallas Cowboys Have Any Trade Assets?
Star Blog1 week ago
3 Former Penn State Alumni Cowboys Could Target in Free Agency
Star Blog1 week ago
Cowboys Defense: Bigger Need at Safety or Defensive End?