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A Big Picture View of Terrance Mitchell’s Move

I can’t think of any position group on any team that has received as much criticism and blame as the Dallas Cowboys secondary has over the past decade or so. Trust me, they’ve been easy to blame. The downfall of Terence Newman in 2011, the failed Alan Ball experiment in 2010, and even the (so far) disappointing career of Morris Claiborne are all examples which detractors will point to in order to prove the Cowboys secondary as inadequate. The thing is, the last couple of seasons, the Cowboys secondary hasn’t been bad whatsoever. Last year, they ranked fifth in pass yards against in both per game and overall categories.

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Headlines - Terrance Mi

I can't think of any position group on any team that has received as much criticism and blame as the Dallas Cowboys secondary has over the past decade or so.

Trust me, they've been easy to blame.

The downfall of Terence Newman in 2011, the failed Alan Ball experiment in 2010, and even the (so far) disappointing career of Morris Claiborne are all examples which detractors will point to in order to prove the Cowboys secondary as inadequate.

The thing is, the last couple of seasons, the Cowboys secondary hasn't been bad whatsoever.

Last year, they ranked fifth in pass yards against in both per game and overall categories. Though the interceptions weren't there, you could argue that the unit improved as a whole.

And the signs are pointing towards them being even better in 2016.

One cog in the 2016 defensive backfield machine will be Terrance Mitchell, whom the Cowboys are giving a chance to move from his original cornerback position to safety during OTA's.

Mitchell failed to make the Cowboys 53-man roster in 2014 after an overall lackluster preseason performance, but found himself back on the team later in 2015.

Though he saw very limited time last season, Mitchell recorded the first interception by a Cowboys cornerback in almost a full calendar year when he finally saw game action week 15 against the New York Jets.

Cowboys Terrance Mitchell intercepts Jets Ryan Fitzpatrick

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As Sean Martin profiled here on Inside The Star, Mitchell has displayed the athleticism and versatility to play all over the field. He also plays well in space, and has shown the ability to make open field tackles, something the Cowboys current safeties have had a problem with.

//insidethestar.com/cowboys-secondary-dont-forget-about-these-two-corners/

Moving Mitchell to safety makes a ton of sense for the team.

JJ Wilcox has been average at best during his tenure at safety for the Cowboys, His contract is expiring soon, and Byron Jones has emerged as the next free safety.

Though the team drafted Central Michigan safety Kavon Frazier in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, there isn't a whole lot known about how Frazier will translate to the NFL. The team obviously likes Frazier, and wants to give him a shot, but you don't want to bet the future on a sixth round rookie just yet.

Barry Church is starting to age, and has performed inconsistently as a whole during his career in Dallas. For now, he is the strong safety, but this could very well change as soon as 2017.

All of this makes Terrance Mitchell's potential move even more important to the Cowboys future moves at the safety position.

If Terrance Mitchell can play safety consistently, chances for other cornerbacks may open up as well.

This could open the door for Purdue Boilermakers sixth round corner Anthony Brown, who I profiled for the film review series, and enjoyed watching play.

//insidethestar.com/draft-film-review-cowboys-cb-anthony-brown/

As I talked about in the film review, Brown has some redeeming NFL qualities, and I would like to see him make the 53-man roster.

The issue for Brown is the numbers game of an NFL roster, but if Mitchell moves to safety permanently, Brown will be able to find more reps at corner in practice and may have more chances to prove himself.

There is, of course, the possibility (or probability) of either Morris Claiborne or Brandon Carr not being on the 2017 roster, which would make Brown's position even more important.

Bryan Broaddus of DallasCowboys.com has been skeptical of the move, believing that in the end, Mitchell will return to corner. However there have been other reports of Mitchell looking good at safety when given the chance, so far.

We won't know the outcome of this move until training camp concludes this summer, but at the moment, Terrance Mitchell has a real chance to help this secondary as a safety and nickel corner immediately.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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5 Comments
  • http://RJOchoaShow.com RJ Ochoa

    I like this. I go so back and forth in terms of the depth at corner, but I feel confident enough to let Terrance slide over. Great write up, Kev!

    Sent from my iPad using Pigskin Hub – Pro Football Forums mobile app

    • http://kevinrobertbrady.wordpress.com Kevin Brady

      I guess we should have seen the move as a demotion! I still like our corner depth, though. Just have to hope they come through.

  • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

    And then, barely a day later, the Cowboys waive Mitchell. WTF? Gotta be something the team saw and kept very quiet. Can't remember, is Mitchell PS eligible still?

    • http://kevinrobertbrady.wordpress.com Kevin Brady

      I haven't been able to find a definite answer to this yet. He was on the Bears PS until mid-October in 2014, and Dallas' PS for a couple weeks in December. Not sure if he's been active six games or not, though.

      • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

        According to his stats on NFL.com, he was active in 8 games in 2015, ruling him out for being added to the PS. http://prntscr.com/bfjvev

Player News

Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract

Jess Haynie

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Which 2018 Free Agents Will The Cowboys Retain? 1
Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportwire

DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future  beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.

According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.

Jon Machota on Twitter

DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million

This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.

Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.

This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.

Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.

There is risk on both sides, of course.

Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.

Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.



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Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?

Sean Martin

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Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster? 2
(Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

The Dallas Cowboys aren't short on numbers at wide receiver on their current 90-man roster. Looking to replace Dez Bryant and reshape their offense, the Cowboys will have to find the right group of pass catchers for Dak Prescott at their upcoming training camp.

This group includes Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Lance Lenoir, Deonte Thompson, Cedrick Wilson, Michael Gallup, KD Cannon, Mekale McCay, and Marchie Murdock.

The odd men out from this group will likely be the ones that can't sustain a consistent level of play, doing so across multiple units if needed. All ten receivers will have their flashes, but with only four being true locks to make the team, new Cowboys Wide Receivers Coach Sanjay Lal will be in on some tough decisions right away.

One such decision may be moving on from last year's seventh round pick Noah Brown out of Ohio State. Vouched for by former Buckeyes teammate Ezekiel Elliott thanks to his blocking ability on the outside, it may now be this strength in the run game and deficiency as a pass catcher that spells the end of Brown's run in Dallas.

Normally, a seventh round pick being on the roster bubble wouldn't be this noteworthy, but Brown clearly showed the potential to outplay this draft status as a rookie. Appearing in 13 games, Brown is a true X receiver, although not the dominant one the Cowboys are searching for.

What Happens if WR Allen Hurns Doesn't Pan Out?

Dallas Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson, Cedrick Wilson, Allen Hurns (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Moving away from fielding a true number one receiver, the Cowboys did sign Allen Hurns to play this spot while prepared to spread the ball around to Williams, Beasley, and Gallup after that.

This leaves Thompson, Wilson, Cannon, Lenoir, McCay, Murdock, and Brown to prove their worth in other ways to make the roster. I've written plenty about the potential rookie Cedrick Wilson has, so I'll be expecting a strong showing from him to earn a role in the Cowboys offense.

Wilson's skill set could push a depth signing like Deonte Thompson off the team, although his ability to back up Cole Beasley/Tavon Austin on special teams is important. The same can be said about Lance Lenoir, who like Brown has the advantage over first year players given his trials through training camp and the preseason a year ago.

Long shots to make the team, Cannon, McCay, and Murdock fall just below this group -- and somewhere in the middle is Noah Brown.

Increasing his role on special teams as the season went on last year, Brown had fans throughout a coaching staff that is now drastically changed for 2018. From their shift to more speed on offense, to drafting of both Gallup and Wilson, calling Brown a fringe player on the Cowboys roster really sets up the fiery competition to come at wide receiver.

Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster?

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Should the Cowboys find a spot for Brown, one can only hope it means this new coaching staff has a clear plan for him to contribute on both offense and special teams outside of being a run blocker. A potential niche for Brown is his red zone ability, not afraid to put his body on the line for jump balls and fight through contact in his routes.

It won't be long until we sort out if this is enough to make the Cowboys as a wide receiver ahead of Quarterback Dak Prescott's third season.

Tell us what you think about "Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Player News

Cowboys CB Marquez White Facing Assault Charges

Jess Haynie

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Marquez White

Player news this time of year is often not the good kind, and such is true of a new development with Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Marquez White. The second-year CB is facing aggravated assault charges for an incident last October.

According to the report, White displayed a legally owned firearm during a "road rage" incident.

Marquez,  a sixth-round pick of the Cowboys last season, has made his side of the story public. The following account was released by White to The Dothan Eagle, his hometown newspaper:

Cowboys CB Marquez White Facing Assault Charges

Cowboys CB Marquez White Facing Assault Charges 1

Naturally, we're in a wait-and-see situation as to how this case unfolds and impacts White's availability to the Cowboys in 2018. He is one of several players hoping to catch on at the bottom of the CB depth chart, having spent his rookie season on the practice squad.

This latest legal issue is especially unwelcome news after other Cowboys' recent problems. The team has seen David Irving get suspended four games for illegal substances and Terrance Williams' get arrested for public intoxication in the last two months.

Last year, Linebacker Damien Wilson was charged for aggravated assault in a somewhat similar situation to that of Marquez White. Those charges were eventually dropped.

What happens in White's case remains to be seen.



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