This year Dallas selected Maliek Collins, a defensive tackle out of Nebraska, with their third-round pick. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was audibly excited about the selection, telling Collins that he "fit us to a T." An immediate scheme fit is a great thing for any rookie, but especially with the opportunity that presents itself on the defensive line.
With defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory facing suspensions to start the year, Dallas will be looking for the best temporary solutions. They have several DE options in free agent addition Benson Mayowa and returning players David Irving, Jack Crawford, and Ryan Russell. They also just drafted Oklahoma's Charles Tapper in the fourth round.
Another possibility is that Tyrone Crawford, typically the three-technique defensive tackle, could play on the edge to start the season. He played defensive end when the Cowboys ran a 3-4 scheme and has the athleticism to do it now. This would open the door wide for Collins, who also projects as a three-technique, to potentially start as early as Week One.
Can Collins contribute so quickly? Third-round picks are probably the biggest "mixed bag" in the draft. Plenty of future starters and even star players have come from their ranks. Others have quickly fallen right out of the league. Just look at the last 10 years:
- 2006 - Jason Hatcher, DL
- 2007 - James Marten, OT
- 2009 - Jason Williams, LB
- 2009 - Robert Brewster, OT
- 2011 - DeMarco Murray, RB
- 2012 - Tyrone Crawford, DL
- 2013 - J.J. Wilcox, S
- 2013 - Terrance Williams, WR
- 2015 - Chaz Green, OT
Marten, Brewster, and Jason Williams were all quickly scrapped. Hatcher, Murray, and Crawford became household names. Guys like Wilcox and Williams have been solid but often leave you wanting more. We're still waiting to see what happens with Green.
With coaches always wanting to find ways to get their best talent on the field at all times, Collins will have every opportunity. Tyrone Crawford and Cedric Thornton are all but locked in as the starters at defensive tackle but Crawford's versatility will present the Cowboys with options.
Even if it's only four the weeks that Lawrence is suspended, Collins could be an immediate factor in the 2016 defense. Guys like Hatcher and Crawford didn't hit the ground running in the NFL but also were having to adjust to the 3-4 scheme. As Marinelli said, Collins will enter Dallas already acclimated to their system.
If Collins contributes early then that will only open the door for more reps as the season goes on, even after the suspended players return. Marinelli loves his rotations and packages and the front office loves it when drafted players deliver. Collins will get every rep he can handle over guys like Terrell McClain, David Irving, and Jack Crawford as long as he's yielding good results.
If Marinelli's excitement was any indication, Collins has a good chance to produce.
Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber
A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.
The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber: https://t.co/TaC6cqjval
Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.
Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.
The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.
Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick
After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.
I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.
This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.
Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.
In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.
Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.
Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space
Patience is a virtue for football fans everywhere this time of the year, especially those of the Dallas Cowboys. A team known for using free agency to deal with their own expiring contracts and players, Cowboys Nation has been anxiously awaiting an addition to improve this roster before the draft. While the wait will continue for outside help in Dallas, the Cowboys have created $7.5 million in cap space by restructuring the contract of Center Travis Frederick.
C Travis Frederick will restructure his deal to help clear up roughly 7.5M in cap space for the #Cowboys per source informed
Restructuring the contracts of their cornerstone players is nothing new for the Cowboys. Rarely doing so with a clear "next move" in sight, the market for top FA talent at WR and OL may have already passed the Cowboys.
Having the space to negotiate with available players now opens the door just slightly further for Earl Thomas or Tyrann Mathieu acquisitions to become realistic. Reportedly, the Cowboys have inquired about both safeties (Thomas via popular trade talks and Mathieu as a free agent, released by the Cardinals) and have been met with price tags the Jones' were forced to turn away.
Giving up assets for players that will warrant large future contracts is not currently the Dallas Cowboys' way, but being able to sign somebody in free agency has been. To avoid a repeat of 2017, a season arguably derailed as soon as the team's free agent class failed entirely, the Cowboys will need to find proven players that can contribute on the market in the coming weeks.
With the help of the anchor to their star-studded offensive line, the Cowboys can come to this market with slightly thicker wallets now. Keep the optimistic tweets alive, and tip Travis Frederick accordingly.
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.).
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Should the Cowboys Restructure LB Sean Lee’s Contract?
NFL Draft1 week ago
Mauricio’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Cowboys Steal Defensive Talent
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys Salary Cap: 2 Easy Moves for $5.5 Million Relief
Dallas Cowboys2 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Cowboys 2018 Free Agency: What’s Left Before Market Opens?
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Do the Dallas Cowboys Have Any Trade Assets?
Star Blog5 days ago
3 Former Penn State Alumni Cowboys Could Target in Free Agency
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Familiar Faces Remain in the Fold for Cowboys Mock Drafts