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NFL Draft

Could Byron Jones Be Working Out With Barry Church’s Replacement?

Kevin Brady

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Could Byron Jones Be Working Out With Barry Church's Replacement?

A freakishly athletic UCONN safety who put the whole world on notice at the NFL Combine.

Yes, that sentence relates perfectly to current Cowboys safety Byron Jones, who continued to improve in year two and looks to be a staple in the back-end of the Cowboys defense for years to come.

It also relates to another safety, however, who could find himself playing along side Jones for the second time in his football career. That player, is UCONN's Obi Melifonwu.

After losing Barry Church and JJ Wilcox in free agency, the Cowboys will certainly need to draft a safety this April, and Melifonwu could be the perfect fit. Byron Jones took to Instagram this morning, and possibly showed his support for the Cowboys drafting his former college teammate.

Uconn's finest

7,567 Likes, 73 Comments - Byron Jones (@byron31jump) on Instagram: "Uconn's finest"

Obi Melifonwu (second from the right) is pictured here after a workout with Byron Jones and a few other UCONN alums. Of course, they are probably just friends, but how cool would it be to see these two team up in Dallas?

Staff writer Sean Martin took to Slant Sports to write a scouting report on Obi Melifonwu, and came away giving him a third round grade. I have a second round grade on Melifonwu myself, but either way we both believe he could make a good match in Dallas.

Obi Melifonwu gets a 3rd round grade on my 2017 NFL Draft Board, with the upside to come into the right scheme and be a physical strong safety to hopefully compliment an already athletic secondary.

2017 S Obi Melifonwu Vs Cinncinati - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Obi Melifonwu is by far the tallest safety in this year's NFL Draft. He shows good range in pass coverage, and is a surprisingly good player in man coverage despite his height. He possesses many of the desirable traits which NFL teams will look for come draft day, and could compliment Byron Jones very nicely in Dallas.

And on top of all that, it appears that he and Byron already have a rapport to work with. Maybe this Instagram picture is a bit of foreshadowing, and Obi Melifonwu will be joining Jones in Dallas this April.


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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6 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    i already alluded in a publication Sean posted last week that If we lost both WIlcox and Church( which we did ) that we should consider Obi for our 1st pick because i’m not sure if he will be available in the 2nd His stock rose the same way Byron’s did two years ago because of his combine performance He’s the perfect replacement for Barry church and him and Byron already have a great relationship They would make a great safety duo for years to come

    • Russ_Te

      I still have to get the CB if the right value is there in round 1. SS is a big void right now, but Church was a solid and not spectacular player. Replaceable.

      Now Then:

      Jaylon Smith
      40 yard dash time: 4.44 seconds
      Weight: 229 lbs
      Height: 6′ 3″

      Suppose the guy makes a full recovery, and you let him roam at SS…

      I’d like to see it attempted.

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

      Travis, I agree that Obi is not going to last under 60th overall. I am not totally comfortable taking him at 28 just yet, but I am coming around on the idea of it.

  • Travis Diggs

    Without knowing the full extent of Jaylon Smith’s recovery It would be crazy to let him roam at safety He has to master HIS LB position first before he can do anything else. Jeff Heath and Kavon Frazier are NOT starters yet We need to look at who’s gonna be Byron’s counterpart for the future

    • Russ_Te

      Not crazy to try it in camp IMO. If it’s a go it doesn’t matter if he learns LB first, becomes irrelevant.

      If he’s not recovered Smith isn’t looking at a big year at LB either, but if he is, he could be a monster at SS with his speed & size. And you don’t go backwards at LB from last year either, since he was out.

      It’s outside the box, but these things do happen. Todd Christensen, was drafted by Tom Landry as a FB. Got cut and the Raiders moved him to TE, where he exploded. Randy White was drafted as a MLB, failed at it and went on to a HOF career at DT.

      Be sure to catch my other post where La’el Collins moves to RT… ;^)

  • deal with it

    Jabrill Peppers.

NFL Draft

John’s 7 Round Cowboys Mock Draft, with Trades

John Williams

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Dimitri Flowers

With Dez Bryant's release, the need for a front-line wide receiver becomes a bit more urgent for the Dallas Cowboys. The 2018 NFL Draft sets up very well for DAL to fill several needs on the offensive and defensive sides of the football. With a lot of depth at positions that the Dallas Cowboys have been looking into, there will be options to move around in this draft that fit what the front office likes to do.

So, here is my new seven-round mock draft, only because the Bryant move made me rethink what I would do.

Using Fanspeak's On The Clock Premium, I explored what it would look like to trade back in the first round, which is becoming my preference if the first round falls right. After picking up an extra pick or two in a trade back in the first, I'd love to see them move up in the second.

I made probably more trades than they would make, but they all make sense from a trade value chart perspective. 

I used Connor Livesay's big board from Pro Football Talk Line and set the computer to use multiple big boards, trying to simulate what an NFL Draft actually looks like. Different teams place different value on the players due to their varying evaluations.

Using the running list that KD Drummond has going over at The Cowboys Wire, I made an effort to select players the Dallas Cowboys have met with in some capacity.

Round 1: James Daniels, G/C, Iowa

National 30 Visit

Five quarterbacks went in the first 18 selections, which is the best case scenario for the Dallas Cowboys at #19. I've been very vocal about the idea that Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson will all go before the Dallas Cowboys pick at 19. There are enough quarterback needy teams in the first half of the first round, and some in the back half, that it just makes sense.

The top two guard prospects, Quenton Nelson and Isaiah Wynn, were gone by 19, and Harold Landry went at pick 14 to the Green Bay Packers.

The New England Patriots came 'a callin' with #23 and their third rounder (#95) to move up to 19. It's not as good as adding a second rounder, but I didn't want to fall back too far and miss out on who I eventually picked for the Dallas Cowboys.

Iowa guard James Daniels.

He's a player that will fit what the Cowboys want to do with their zone blocking scheme. He has the mobility to get to the outside and to the second level. He completes the Dallas offensive line and allows them to continue being the physical run-first football team that they've morphed into over the last three or four years.

 1

Maryland WR DJ Moore

Round 2: DJ Moore, WR, Maryland

National 30 Visit

Maryland Wide Receiver DJ Moore slipped to the top of the second round, so I made a move up from 50 to get him.

In order to do so, I had to give up pick 50, New England's pick at the back-end of the third round (95), and pick 192 to equal 534 points. That is about equal to the first of Indianapolis' two second round picks at pick 36 (540 points).

Moore is a good route runner with quickness and speed to make big plays happen. Was very productive at Maryland and has received comparisons to Minnesota Vikings' Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs.

We still have our third rounder to work with and now have filled the two biggest needs on the offensive side of the ball with players who could be day-one starters.

Round 3: Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa

Heading into round three, I'm feeling really good about the draft so far. Obviously there are still some needs to address, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

Got an offer from the Carolina Panthers to move back from 81 to 85, while also adding their fifth round pick, number 161.

After making the trade, the time came to address the linebacker position and Josey Jewell is the best one available at this point. Also the best available player at a position where the Dallas Cowboys have a hole.

The Cowboys coaching staff loves linebackers from the Big 10. See Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson, and Sean Lee.

Josey Jewell is someone who can come in and rotate with Jaylon Smith at the MIKE linebacker spot right away. He isn't fast (4.8 40) but he has the quickness to be a pretty good linebacker at the NFL level. He will need to work on his coverage ability. He can help on special teams right away as well.

*After the trade back, we are armed with two fourths, two fifths, two sixths and a seventh. 

Round 4: Tarvarius Moore, S, Southern Mississippi

National 30 Visit

When our pick came up at up at #116 we had some trade-back offers, but Tarvarius Moore, who excited the masses with his Pro-Day 4.32 40-yard dash, was still available. That speed and his true free safety ability couldn't be passed on any longer.

He makes a great addition to the safety rotation and can potentially be "the guy" at free safety. He'll have value immediately as a special teams gunner with his speed and could compete to be the full-time free safety right away.

Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

The other player I considered was Penn State TE Mike Gesicki. It's time for this team to begin looking at life without Jason Witten and Gesicki has some impressive athletic ability.

According to PlayerProfiler.com, he was no worse than the 95th percentile in any measurable and compares favorably to Vernon Davis -- hopefully without some of the headaches. 

To get him, I sent both of our fifth round picks to Detroit to make the pick.

I traded pick 137 to the Seattle Seahawks for picks 141 and 168, though it was awfully tempting to stay there and take Nyheim Hines.

Nyheim Hines

N.C. State RB Nyheim Hines

Round 5: Nyheim Hines, RB, North Carolina State

National 30 Visit

Was able to pick up an extra fifth, move back and get a player who can contribute offensively and on special teams right away, Nyheim Hines. A dynamic pass catcher, Hines would be an excellent change of pace back to Ezekiel Elliott and Rod Smith.

He rushed for more than 1,100 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in 2017 at NC State, so he could be more Darren Sproles-like as a runner and receiver than anything they have on the roster at the moment.

Breeland Speaks, DT, Ole Miss

National 30 Visit

Attempting to add some depth with promise along the defensive line, Breeland Speaks is a nice addition who could fill some of the Tyrone Crawford role if he sticks. He can take some running-down snaps at defensive end or move inside and play some 3T defensive tackle for you as well.

Here's what NDTScouting.com's Jonah Tuls had to say about Speaks.

"I have a feeling Breeland Speaks will get drafted higher than he should because of his athletic traits and tools as a pass rusher, but his experience is mostly as a two-gap defensive end who is relatively unproven and underdeveloped with his plan of attack. Comparison: Jonathan Babineaux."

Jonah Tuls - NDTScouting.com

Round 6: Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia

Part of the National Championship winning Georgia Bulldogs, the Dallas Cowboys like getting players from the Power 5 conferences and players who have good motors. Thompson has that.

Here's what Connor Livesay from ProFootballTalkline.com had to say about Thompson.

"Trenton Thompson was built in a lab, and passes the eye test with ease. At 6-foot-4 297lbs, Thompson has extremely good size and matches that with a fluid lower half that allows him to move well laterally and vertically. Has very heavy hands and you can see that from the tape when he strikes offensive lineman. Unfortunately, injuries and inconsistent play plagued Thompson’s career, but he can be a quality three-technique in the NFL if he’s able to stay healthy and hungry."

Connor Livesay - ProFootballTalkLine.com

208 - Leon Jacobs, LB, Wisconsin

Another linebacker from the Big 10 who can be competition for Damien Wilson on the strongside, but also has some weakside EDGE potential for you as well.

"The thing with Leon Jacobs is that he may be scheme specific to just a 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker who can drop if asked, but rush with a blend of speed and power as well. He is incredibly raw and will take time to develop mental processing, however. Comparison: Aaron Curry"

Jonah Tuls - NDTScouting.com

Round 7: 236 - Dimitri Flowers, FB, Oklahoma

Private Workout

Yes, they signed Jamize Olawale in free agency, but that shouldn't prevent them from drafting one of the better chess pieces in the 2018 NFL Draft. I outlined my affection for Dimitri Flowers in last week's edition of my mock draft.

Dimitri Flowers is a pet cat of mine that I think could be a dynamic weapon for the Dallas Cowboys offense. He can run, catch, and block. He can lineup in the backfield, in-line as a tight end, or in the slot as a receiver.

If you watch his tape, you see him catching passes over the middle, down the seem, and along the sideline.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

While I don't expect that this is the way the draft is going to unfold, I do think trading back in the first and then up in the second is going to be the best option for the Dallas Cowboys to get the guard, wide receiver, and/or linebacker they need in the first two rounds.

Take it easy on me in the comment section. Thanks for reading.


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NFL Draft

Top 10 Safeties Cowboys Could Target After the 1st-Round

Brian Martin

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10 Safeties Dallas Cowboys Could Target After the 1st-Round

There has been quite a bit to talk about the Dallas Cowboys safety position this offseason, especially in regards to the possibility of trading for Earl Thomas or moving up in the draft to select Derwin James. Unfortunately, I don't really think either one of these moves happen, but that shouldn't discourage you.

The Dallas Cowboys already have a few safety options on the roster, but that shouldn't keep them from looking for an upgrade. Jeff Heath could reprise his role at free safety this season, but the other safety spot opposite him is completely up for grabs with Byron Jones moving back to cornerback.

Personally, I would like to see Xavier Woods get a shot at one of the starting positions, but that's something to debate and speculate about once we get a little further along into offseason workouts. That is why today I want to share with you the top 10 safeties I think the Cowboys could target after the first-round.

Rashaan Gaulden, Tennessee

Round Grade: 2nd

Rashaan Gaulden was a two-year starter for the Volunteers and was part of the No. 3 nationally ranked pass defense in 2017. He is a bit of a Swiss Army knife defensive back and has lined up at several different positions in the secondary during his time in college.

Gaulden was primarily the starting nickel or inside corner, but I think he projects better as a free safety in the NFL. He has the speed and toughness to play the position, but needs to become a little bit more disciplined. He has all the traits scouts look for in a safety prospect and a good foundation to build upon.

Jessie Bates, Wake Forest

Round Grade: 2nd

Jessie Bates played in 20 career games and has two years of starting experience during his time at Wake Forest. His decision to enter the 2018 NFL Draft is somewhat of a head scratcher since he had two years of eligibility remaining, but he looks like a surefire second-round draft pick.

Bates was the starting strong safety for the Demon Deacons, but probably projects better as a free safety in the NFL. He has a slight frame which could lead to durability issues down the road. Despite this, he is fearless in run support and shows good range and coverage instincts. He fits the mold of the kind of free safety the Dallas Cowboys are in search of.

Justin Reid

Stanford S Justin Reid (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)

Justin Reid, Stanford

Round Grade: 2nd

Justin Reid is the younger brother of Eric Reid, the former San Francisco 49ers safety. He was a two-year starter at Stanford and although he was listed as a free safety on the depth chart, he played several different roles in their secondary.

I believe Reid can be an interchangeable safety in the NFL who is capable of playing deep in coverage or in the box around the line of scrimmage. At Stanford he primarily played in the box or in man coverage in the slot. His smooth athleticism and versatility make him an intriguing second-round option for the Dallas Cowboys.

Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh

Round Grade: 3rd

Jordan Whitehead is a three-year starter at Pittsburgh and lined up primarily at strong safety. But, he also showed off his versatility by playing free safety, cornerback, and even played on offense. He is a premium athlete, but there are some concerns with him as a prospect.

He doesn't have the ideal frame NFL teams look for in a safety prospect and there is a little bit of concern with his character. He also needs to clean up his technique in coverage and play with better eye discipline. As a run defender he is an inconsistent tackler at times because of poor technique, which will need to be cleaned up in the NFL. Overall, he has starting ability, but there are a few things that need to be cleaned up before he is trustworthy.

Terrell Edmunds, Virginia Tech

Round Grade: 3rd

Terrell Edmunds is the brother of Tremaine Edmunds, a projected first-round linebacker who a lot of Dallas Cowboys fans would love to see available at 19. Terrell is a three-year starter at Virginia Tech and bounced around their secondary throughout his collegiate career.

Terrell is a sound run defender and has shown he can make plays on the ball in the passing game, but good route runners will eat him up. He is probably best suited to play in a defensive scheme that utilizes a lot of zone coverages because he really struggles when he's asked to play man to man.

Marcus Allen, Penn State

Round Grade: 3rd

Marcus Allen is a four-year starter at Penn State and helped lead them to a national championship. Despite being listed as a free safety on their depth chart, he played primarily around the line of scrimmage as a box safety.

Allen is an aggressive downhill tackler and finished his collegiate career with 321 tackles, ranking 5th overall in school history and only four behind Dallas Cowboys own, Sean Lee. He has the speed and athleticism to be a coverage safety, but he is much more comfortable making plays in front of him than he is when he has to play in reverse.

Dane Cruikshank

Arizona S Dane Cruikshank

Dane Cruikshank, Arizona

Round Grade: 3rd-4th

Dane Cruikshank was a two-year starter at Arizona. The former Wildcat first started his career at cornerback before making the transition to a hybrid safety role last season. He looks most comfortable as a overhang safety where he can blitz, defend against the run, or cover tight ends and receivers in the slot.

Cruikshank projects to be a strong safety in the NFL and has starting potential. He will struggle early on in coverage, but with time to develop could improve in this area. With the Dallas Cowboys, he would likely end up being a player similar to Barry Church, but they may already have that type of player in Kavon Frazier.

Tracy Walker, Louisiana Lafayette

Round Grade: 3rd-4th

Tracy Walker was a four-year starter at Louisiana Lafayette and was primarily used as a boundary safety. He is a former basketball player and as the frame to match. He needs to put in the work in the weight room in order to fill out his frame, but has starting potential.

I believe he could become an interchangeable safety in the NFL with little time to develop. He has the athleticism to become a rangy free safety and has the physicality to play down around the line of scrimmage in the box. He could compete for playing time as a rookie, but he might not be ready for a full-time starting gig.

Tarvarius Moore, Southern Miss

Round Grade: 3rd-4th

Tarvarius Moore is a former junior college transfer and one-your starter at Southern Miss. He put up eye-popping numbers and his pro day and has the potential to become the best free safety in the entire 2018 draft class.

Moore has yet to play his best football and will only continue to get better the more coaching and playing time he receives. His on-field athleticism and range really stand out when watching his game film and he shows really good pursuit angles when chasing down the ball carrier. He also isn't afraid to mix it up in the running game.

DeShon Elliott, Texas

Round Grade: 4th

For many Dallas Cowboys fans, DeShon Elliott's name probably stands out the most on this entire list. The Cowboys have already met with him and worked him out, so you know there is an interest in him in some capacity.

Elliott is a bit of an enigma as a safety prospect. At times he looks like a top prospect, but then in the next instant looks completely lost. He has only average athleticism and play speed, but he has a knack for finding himself in the right place at the right time. He looks more comfortable around the line of scrimmage than he does in coverage. He will likely be a special teams standout as a rookie while he develops.

Any of these 10 safety prospects make sense for the Dallas Cowboys?


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NFL Draft

Cowboys 2018 Draft Needs: Offensive Tackle

Jess Haynie

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La'el Collins

The 2017 season wasn't pretty for the Dallas Cowboys, and perhaps the ugliest moment was at offensive tackle. Given last year's problems, the position may get some attention in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft.

In Week 10 in Atlanta, Tyron Smith was out with a back injury and third-year backup Chaz Green got the start on the left side. The Falcons' Adrian Clayborn had six sacks by himself, of eight total on Dak Prescott, and the 5-3 Cowboys went into a three-game skid.

Of course, Ezekiel Elliott's suspension (which began in Week 10) was the primary cause of that losing streak. But Tyron Smith's health issues were also a major factor in why Dak Prescott struggled last season, and the Cowboys need more from their offensive tackle this year to avoid more disappointment.

The good news is that Smith, according to his own report, is feeling good already. If he can get back to normal, Tyron is one of the elite left tackles in the game. Being confident about what's going on in his blind spot is crucial for Dak Prescott, so this underrated aspect of Dallas' 2017 woes is a big thing for a return to playoff contention.

Along with getting Tyron Smith back on track, Dallas will hope for further growth from La'el Collins at right tackle. After switching to the position last year, Collins had some early issues but was much better later on. He also struggled with health, which may have hampered some of that development.

Cameron Fleming Brings Depth, Competition To Cowboys OL (Film Review)

Dallas Cowboys OT Cameron Fleming

Given everything happened last year, it's no surprise that Dallas invested some cap dollars into the OT depth chart. They signed veteran Cam Fleming, who has started 20 regular season games and in the playoffs in four years with the New England Patriots.

Not only does Fleming give the Cowboys an upgrade at swing tackle over Chaz Green, as would any animate object, but he might even offer some flexibility in the starting lineup.

By the end of August, Dallas could determine that Fleming is one of their best five offensive linemen. They might elect to move La'el Collins back to left guard and start Fleming at right tackle.

Ideally, Dallas will find their new left guard in the draft or perhaps after more veterans get released around June 1st. This would give them a solid trio with Smith and Collins as starters and Fleming as the highly qualified backup.

But if the "Collins to guard, Fleming to start" scenario happens, Dallas may want another OT prospect ready to move up into that swing tackle role. As such, the priority on offensive tackles in this 2018 draft may shift as the event unfolds.

Guard will certainly have a higher priority than tackle on Thursday and Friday. But if the Cowboys don't get a guard in those first two rounds, the gap may narrow. If they like an OT talent more than a guard at their third-round pick, perhaps they take the tackle and then look more at moving Collins again.

So as it stands, offensive tackle isn't a major draft priority. But depending on what happens early in the draft, that could change quickly.

~ ~ ~

Other 2018 Draft Needs articles:


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