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NFL Draft

How Carl Nassib Could Become a Cowboy

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - How Carl Nassib Could Become a Cowboy

On Thursday I posted my first 2016 mock draft, covering Dallas' first and second-round picks. Yesterday I dove in on the first-round pick of Myles Jack and why I projected it for the Cowboys. Today I thought I'd talk more about picking Penn State's Carl Nassib, defensive end, in the second round.

First off, I think we all agree that Dallas will take a defensive end with one of their first two picks. It is the biggest need of the entire roster right now. Unless they add another free agent between now and the draft, I don't see how they can ignore the position with their early picks.

There are so many things that jump out about Carl Nassib on paper. First and foremost is that he led the nation with 15.5 sacks. That's right; not Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Shaq Lawson, or any other name you're hearing much higher in the draft. Nassib's numbers are especially impressive given that he missed nearly all of Penn State's final two regular season games and bowl game with injury.

The next eye-popper is Nassib's size; 6'7" and 277 pounds. People are fawning over Buckner because of his size and athleticism. Well, check out a comparison of their combine results:

Carl Nassib DeForest Buckner
40-yard dash 4.84 s 5.05 s
3-cone drill 7.27 s 7.51 s
20 yard shuttle 4.37 s 4.47 s
Bench press 21 reps 21 reps
Vertical 28.5" 32"
Broad jump 114" 116"


Nassib beat Buckner in the speed and quickness events and they were even on strength. Buckner can jump a little higher but that's not what I'm too worried about with my defensive ends.

The logical question at this point is why the nation's sack leader, especially with those combine numbers, doesn't have higher draft stock. The rumored hamstring injury that cost Nassib games at the end of the last year is fully healed. He is noted as having an exceptional work ethic and high character. So what gives?

Cowboys Draft - How Carl Nassib Could Become a CowboyThe consensus among scouts is that Nassib doesn't have the technique to make an immediate impact but has good raw material. It is expected that his leverage and balance issues and still-developing hand skills will make it hard for him to be effective right away. He is being projected mostly in the 2nd-3rd round range but I've seen a few putting him even lower than that.

Nassib's production wasn't isolated to the cupcakes on Penn State's schedule. On the road against Ohio State he had 1.5 sacks and eight tackles. Against ranked Northwestern he had four tackles and a sack before leaving with the injury. Nassib had at least one sack in all 10 games he played and five games with multiple sacks. He was consistently productive against all levels of competition.

The term "one year wonder" is often attached to Nassib because his senior year was the only one in which he had top production. I think this is a flawed argument given the nature of college sports.

I think it's odd that we would penalize a kid like Nassib for not being better earlier in his career but then give Bosa a pass for his lackluster senior season. I'd rather have the guy who was doing the best work most recently. That isn't too say Nassib is a better prospect than Bosa but it does seem like some hypocrisy exists in the analysis.

It's also important note where we were with the available talent when I picked Nassib. As you saw in my mock draft, lots of defensive ends were already off the board when I got to Dallas' second pick. Here's a quick list of who was already taken:

  • Cowboys Draft - How Carl Nassib Could Become a Cowboy 1Joey Bosa
  • DeForest Buckner
  • Emmanuel Ogbah
  • Shaq Lawson
  • Leonard Floyd
  • Kevin Dodd
  • Noah Spence

There are other DE prospects who would be reasonable over Nassib. Oklahoma's Charles Tapper had a sick 4.59 40-yard dash but had nothing close to Nassib's production in college. Shilique Calhoun from Michigan State has been a consistently productive player but has similar weaknesses and concerns as Nassib. Nobody jumps out as a superior prospect and none of them have Nassib's freakish size or LED THE FREAKING COUNTRY in sacks.

Downgrading quarterbacks for their college production based on where they played or the system they were in is one thing. However, at any other position you have to be pretty sure about your analysis before you start denying results. Nassib has the numbers across the board that any team should be interested, and especially one with a defensive line guru like Rod Marinelli. If anyone can get the most out of Nassib's raw material, it's him.

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

NFL Draft

Report: Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch Visiting Cowboys

Kevin Brady



2018 NFL Combine: 3 LBs Who Impressed
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

As the 2018 NFL Draft draws closer, teams are beginning to hold their official visits with prospects of their own choosing. The Cowboys have already met with a few different prospects thus far, and they've reportedly added a linebacker to that list this week.

Multiple reports are saying the Cowboys will meet with Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch this week, adding him to the list of 30 potential visits.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

BoiseState LB Leighton Vander Esch will be a pre-draft visitor for the #Cowboys. Add him to your list of 30, per Tony Pauline.

Vander Esch is a bit of a controversial prospect in the draft world. As I've stated before, he tested like a freak athletically, and his combine profile alone would put him in the discussion on day one. The problems I have with Vander Esch have nothing to do with his athleticism, however, and everything to do with his actual football-playing ability.

On film, I see a player who struggles to get off blocks and will have trouble finding a home with the Cowboys. Still, I wouldn't mind the Cowboys drafting Vander Esch - that pick cannot come in the first round though.

Vander Esch is a long, rangy, and athletic linebacker who is at his best playing laterally and tracking down plays. As a blitzer, Vander Esch has some rather clear issues. He often runs directly into blocks and is unable to shed at the point of attack. I also don't think he is as instinctual a player as some of the other linebackers in this class, such as BYU's Fred Warner or Alabama's Rashaan Evans.

The way things are looking, however, Vander Esch is going to be a first round pick. And if not, he'll almost certainly be a top 50 pick. I wouldn't be very comfortable taking him at 19, and I'd have to think twice before even taking him at 50 for that matter.

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NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott

Sean Martin



2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott
(Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire)

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.

Josh Norris on Twitter

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.

Tell us what you think about "2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: PSU WR DaeSean Hamilton Fits Cowboys’ “Type”

Kevin Brady



Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

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.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

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.

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