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Cowboys on the Clock: Anthony Spencer, #26 Overall

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys on the Clock: Anthony Spencer, #26 Overall 1

The countdown to the 2016 NFL Draft is officially on, as our Cowboys on the Clock series is well underway! If you're just getting started with this post, the concept of the series is that - based on the remaining number of days until the draft - we will take a look at the last player the Cowboys selected with that number's pick in the first round.

So, the last player Dallas selected with the 31st overall pick was Travis Frederick, which gave him the honor of kicking off this series right here. The series then transitioned to our alternate "Beyond the Clock" series, as the Cowboys have never selected with the 30th or 29th overall pick.

Instead, Intern Dante Giannetta went into the Dallas Cowboys time machine to bring you the stories of two of the greatest players in franchise history to go undrafted - Don Meredith and Don Perkins.

Dante will continue this series for each day before the draft that does not correlate with a first round selection for the Cowboys, but we won't have to worry about that for some time.

Larry Bethea brought this series back to the on the clock version, where it will stay this way for some time. He was followed by Byron Jones, and now today we take a look at the Cowboys most recent selection at #26 overall.

Anthony Spencer

The Philadelphia Eagles were on the clock with the 26th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, until Jerry Jones called them up and decided to trade back into the round. Dallas gave up their original first round pick in a trade with the Browns, but saw an opening to make the selection of Anthony Spencer with this newly acquired 26th pick.

Spencer played his college football at Purdue, where he steadily improved in each season. From red shirt freshman to team MVP in his 2006 senior season, Spencer went on to have a very solid career with the Cowboys.

At the time of his selection, the Cowboys were very thin on pass rushers. Outside of the dominant DeMarcus Ware, the only other consistent threat was Greg Ellis. With Ellis recovering from surgery to start the 2007 season, Spencer received a chance to start across from Ware in the team's first four games.

He finished the season appearing in every game, although losing the starting spot to a healthy Ellis later on, and recorded 3 sacks along with 2 forced fumbles.

2009 would mark the next significant point in Spencer's Dallas career, as Ellis was released before the season. Spencer filled his shoes nicely, as he started every game for the next two years while recording 11 sacks in that time.

This concluded the years left on Spencer's rookie contract, but he would play three more seasons in the silver and blue. His extensions began with consecutive franchise tags in 2012 and 2013, before signing a one-year deal in 2014 - his final with the team.

2012 would turn out to be a breakout year for Spencer, as he hit double digit sacks for the first time and made his first Pro Bowl. Still, the team missed the playoffs for the fourth time in his six seasons with the team.

Dallas once again used the franchise tag on Spencer entering 2013, when new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin converted the defensive formation back to a 4-3. Now expected to play at defensive end, Spencer never really got a chance to show his ability at the position this year, as he had season-ending knee surgery following the team's week 2 loss in Kansas City.

Still, Spencer was able to stay with the team for his third playoff appearance in 2014, as he signed a new one year deal in the off season. His recovery from the knee surgery was a concern, but Spencer went on to play in 13 games. While the sack numbers were not there, Spencer will be remembered most from the 2014 season for his play at the end of the Wild Card Playoff round vs the Lions.

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys on the Clock: Anthony Spencer, #26 Overall

This forced fumble should have ended the game, but as you can see DeMarcus Lawrence proceeded to fumble the ball right back to the Lions afterwards. Lawrence made up for it moments later, as he recorded a sack of his own against Stafford that turned the ball over on downs and sent the Cowboys to the Divisional Playoffs.

The following week, the Cowboys pass rush failed to get anything going against Aaron Rodgers, as the team was bounced from the playoffs at Lambeau Field - ending Spencer's career with the Cowboys.

He finished his time in Dallas with 33 sacks and 14 forced fumbles. This past summer, he was named the greatest player to ever wear #93 for the Cowboys by our Staff Writer RJ Ochoa in his "Countdown to Kickoff" series.

//insidethestar.com/greatest-93-in-dallas-cowboys-history-is-anthony-spencer/

The following players have also been selected with the 26th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys:

Bill Thomas, RB, 1974

Thomas never recorded a single carry for the Cowboys, after being their first round selection following a Super Bowl win in the 1972 Draft, due to nagging injuries that dated back to his college days at Boston College.

Howard Richards, G, 1987

Richards' time in Dallas was also plagued by injuries, as he went on to only start 16 games over his 6 seasons with the team. Although the team only missed the playoffs twice during his time as a Cowboy, Richards' never got the chance to play in a Super Bowl. He appeared in two games for the Seahawks in 1987 - his last season in the league.

Up next for "Cowboys on the Clock": 2008 first round pick Mike Jenkins

Want to share you thoughts on this series? Do so with a comment below, tweet to @ShoreSportsNJ, or email to sean.martin@insidethestar.com! I look forward to hearing from #CowboysNation!

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys on the Clock: Anthony Spencer, #26 Overall" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Cowboys Defense is Ready to Win Now, Time for Offense to Prove the Same

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Defense is Ready to Win Now, Time for Offense to Prove the Same
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

The Dallas Cowboys lead the NFC East at 1-1, and have a favorable schedule ahead of them. With such an inexperienced roster, early season growing pains were expected, and likely should be still as the team comes off their first win to play in Seattle on Sunday.

Through a season opening clunker in Carolina and hard-earned divisional win against the Giants, the Cowboys have exceeded already high expectations on defense.

With the currently 0-2 Seahawks, Lions, and Texans awaiting Dallas, the time is now for Scott Linehan's offense to hit their stride. It will take more than a five week assessment to determine if the Cowboys are truly playoff contenders for 2018, but it could take even less than that for Cowboys Nation to realize this team is fighting an uphill battle at QB and WR.

Following Dak Prescott's 64-yard touchdown pass to Tavon Austin against the Giants, the Cowboys punted on four of their remaining seven drives. The Cowboys did a better job mixing up their early down play calling to remain ahead of the chains for most of the night, but even still their execution was lacking. Finishing three of ten on third downs, the Cowboys didn't sustain the type of originality on offense that earned them an early cushion.

Thankfully, the Cowboys turning back the clock to 2016 on a clinching touchdown drive of 14 plays would be all the defense needed. Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott would both convert a pair of first downs on the ground. The Cowboys took a 20-3 lead, and more importantly the game clock down to 5:45 with an eight minute and 23 second march.

As such, the Cowboys offense is an enigma. With the return of Brice Butler, the team is currently carrying seven wide receivers and four tight ends.

On defense, the Cowboys are expecting reinforcements in Xavier Woods, Randy Gregory, and David Irving to further bolster this aggressive, blitzing unit in the coming weeks. For the offense, Dallas must make the most out of the unknown depth they have, without any drastic change in style around the corner.

The Cowboys record under Prescott proves they're at their best when Dak is efficient. The ceiling for a new-look Cowboys offense built for Dak is not as high for this reason. Through just two weeks, it's clear that the Cowboys offense will be as good as the sum of its parts - instead of relying on any individual talents.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Cowboys' record when Dak Prescott ... Doesn't throw an interception: 20-4 Records at least a 100.0 passer rating: 15-1 Commits no turnovers: 18-1

After a strong preseason from rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup, the third-round pick has played less than half his team's offensive snaps through two games. Cole Beasley has seemed to regain his connection with Prescott, snagging a team high nine catches so far. Terrance Williams has been a non-factor, and the same is surprisingly said about FA acquisition Allen Hurns.

Regardless of what the Cowboys do over the coming weeks, a few narratives and lingering questions about the team feel evident. With the defense set to tee off against the Seahawks sub par OL this week, Rod Marinelli's unit will still likely not receive the credit it deserves heading into week four.

With the task at hand being maintaining their standing atop the division, the Cowboys must also be out to prove they can sustain success without a consistent passing game.

All of this to effectively say, the Cowboys are going to Seattle expecting to control the game on defense. To finish off Russell Wilson in his home opener (already at 0-2), it will take a sharper performance for a full four quarters on offense too.

A win at the Seahawks might not mean as much as it has in past seasons, but in improving the Cowboys record to 2-1 on the way back to AT&T Stadium, it could be all the confidence they need to understand the NFC East is theirs for the taking while continuing to truly find their identity.

2014 NFL: Week 6 Cowboys vs. Seahawks highlights

Week 6 Own by nfl

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Defense is Ready to Win Now, Time for Offense to Prove the Same" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Cowboys Defense So Far So Good as Seahawks Up Next

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Cowboys Defense So Far So Good as Seahawks Up Next

Dallas may only be 1-1 on the season, but the Cowboys are officially tied for first-place in the NFC East, and fresh off a workmanlike victory over divisional rivals, the New York Giants. It was a game they should have won, and did win, but the takeaways so early in the season are that, although the offense has not clicked on all cylinders, the defense is getting high praise.

The Cowboys sacked New York’s Eli Manning six times and limited the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Saquon Barkley, to a mere 28 yards rushing. It was also a night in which Dak Prescott not only out-gained Barkley by 17 yards on the ground, but torched the Giants’ secondary on a 64-yard touchdown strike to Tavon Austin which proved New York’s Safety Landon Collins wrong when leading up to this game he remarked that the key to a Giants’ victory would be getting Prescott to throw. When Prescott was made aware of the comment in a midweek interview he replied, "…challenge accepted," and the third-year veteran made good on his word leading to the 20-13 victory.

However, Prescott ended the night with just 160 yards passing yet the ankle injury he sustained in Week 1 showed no signs of rearing its head as Prescott moved seamlessly in the pocket and ran the ball well.

As we move ahead to the Cowboys meeting in Seattle, we take a quick check over to one of the most reputable online sportsbooks in the industry - Intertops according to the reviews - where we can monitor the line on this pivotal NFC clash as the week progresses.

Seattle boasts a talented quarterback of their own in Russell Wilson but one who will find the sledding tough if the Dallas defense continues to shut down All-World wide outs like Odell Beckham Jr. and contain future rushing stars like Saquon Barkley. Outside of Wilson, Seattle is not loaded offensively, with their biggest target, Doug Baldwin, ailing with a knee injury and a backfield which consists of two young rushers in second-year man Chris Carson and a first-round rookie in Rashaad Penny who dealt with nagging injuries throughout the preseason and looked unsettled in Seattle’s 27-24 loss to the Broncos.

The Cowboys defense has already proven its worth in Carolina with Cam Newton under center and again last week against New York. The unit is surrendering an average of 14 ½ points per game and is incorporating more blitz packages than we’ve come to expect.

The difference this year is that the players they have on defense are capable of getting to the quarterback quick enough so that the coverage linebackers and secondary aren’t alone on an island for too long. The one concern is the status of Linebacker Sean Lee, who checked out of the game in the fourth quarter Sunday night and brought to mind his hamstring issues of a year ago, but apparently it was in fact cramping, and not straining, of the hammy which allowed Lee to return.

The bottom line in terms of the Cowboys' upcoming matchup on Sunday afternoon is that they will get the Seahawks coming off a short week, as Seattle played on Monday night and should be relatively healthy for the contest.

Dak Prescott may not have the formidable offensive line that he has had in the past, nor a top-tier arsenal of receivers, but he does have the elusive Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield and is capable of extricating himself from pressure situations when no target is available.

If the Dallas defense continues to play at the current level, it will not only be limiting the opposition on the scoreboard but putting its offense in good field position throughout. So check out Intertops, one of the most trusted and reputable online sportsbooks, to see where this line goes because a Dallas win and an ATS cover are just days away.



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Taco Tuesday: Cowboys DE Taco Charlton Starting to Dominate?

Brian Martin

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Taco Tuesday: DE Taco Charlton Starting to Dominate?
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

There has been quite a bit of talk about what a bad decision it was for the Dallas Cowboys to draft Taco Charlton with their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Nearly everybody wanted someone different, not a player that needed time to develop.

Well, fast forward a year later and it looks as if the Cowboys made the right decision.

Don't look now, but Defensive End Taco Charlton is starting to live up to that first-round pedigree. In the first two weeks of the 2018 season, Charlton has already looked like a much improved player from what we saw a season ago. Imagine that, a little bit of time to develop and he's turning into a solid player.

I know I may be getting a little bit ahead of myself, especially suggesting that he is starting to dominate, but I can't help myself. I'm that excited about how much he has improved in one offseason. I may be alone here, but I have high hopes he could turn into something special.

In 2017, Taco Charlton failed to start a single game for the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie. That's not really what you want from your first-round draft pick. To makes matters worse, in 16 games he only registered 25 total tackles, four QB sacks, two passes defensed, and one forced fumble. As you can imagine, it didn't sit well with most Cowboys fans.

Luckily, it looks as if Charlton's offseason in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program has paid off. Already in 2018 he has accumulated six total tackles, one QB sack, one pass defensed, and recovered a fumble. If he keeps this pace up, we could be looking at #97 reaching double-digit sacks this year.

Taco Charlton

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton

Now, I wouldn't call what Taco Charlton has accomplished so far this season dominating, but he is proving to be a starting quality DE along the Cowboys defensive line. It's a unit that has looked really good in the first two weeks of the season and is expected to be even better once Randy Gregory and David Irving are able to return to the field.

In the meantime, the Dallas Cowboys are happy to get plays like this from Taco Charlton.

Taco Charlton Eli Manning sack

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

This is a play Charlton is expected to make. He was left unblocked, but we've seen players left unblocked before not make the play. So, it may not be as impressive as some QB sacks. But, I'll take the routine tackle any day over someone trying to make a splash play and failing.

If you're looking for an impressive play from Taco Charlton, take a look at what he was able to do against Odell Beckham Jr. in the passing game.

Taco Charlton covering Odell Beckham Jr

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

In case you're wondering, that's Taco Charlton in OBJ's hip pocket 15 yards down the field in pass coverage. It looks as if that's where Eli Manning was wanting to go with the ball, but tight coverage by the Cowboys, and Charlton, across the board ended up resulting in a QB sack.

If you don't find that impressive, I don't know what will. A 275 pound DE covering arguably the best and highest paid wide receiver down the field is almost unheard of. I would count that as impressive.

What do you think of Taco Charlton's play so far in 2018?



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