After Travis Frederick started our Cowboys on the Clock series, leading us to April 28th and the NFL Draft, it has been nothing but defensive players for the past three days.
We came back from back-to-back Beyond the Clock posts on Thursday with Larry Bethea, and then took a look at Byron Jones the following day. Yesterday, we left off with Anthony Spencer, and the defensive player streak now continues today with the 2008 first round selection of the Dallas Cowboys.
With the 25th overall pick, they selected defensive back Mike Jenkins. Let's take a look back at his time in the silver and blue...
Jenkins filled up the stat sheets in his college days at South Florida, ending his Big East football career with 133 tackles, 47 passes defended (a school record), 6 interceptions, and 5 forced fumbles.
Coming off a 13-3 season, the Cowboys moved up to the 25th pick via a trade with the Seattle Seahawks in the first round. Having already selected Felix Jones at #22, the addition of Jenkins with this pick had Cowboys Nation buzzing.
Jenkins would join the likes of Terence Newman, Ken Hamlin, and Roy Williams in the secondary during his rookie year in 2008, starting 3 games as a slot corner and recording his first career interception - which was returned for a touchdown at the Giants in week 9.
Selected 118 picks after Jenkins in the same draft, Orlando Scandrick would compete for the starting job with Mike in the following 2009 season. Both players would wind up seeing significant time on the field, as Scandrick found a home starting at slot corner while Jenkins won the job for outside corner - going on to intercept 5 passes and be named to the Pro Bowl.
Dallas made the playoffs for the first time in Jenkins' career, but it was Brett Favre and the Vikings that would manhandle the Cowboys secondary in the Divisional Playoffs to end Dallas' season. Favre's four touchdowns, two of which came against the coverage of Jenkins, sent the Vikings to the NFC Championship game with a 34-3 win.
Jenkins would go on to start a full 16 games for the first time in his career in 2010 before his career took a turn for the worse. Injuries began to bug the Cowboys' defender, as he missed the entire 2011 preseason. Even still, he was able to battle and lead the team in passes defended with 10 in just 12 starts that year.
Entering the 2012 Draft, the Cowboys knew that they had to begin to think about adding depth behind Jenkins in the secondary. He was entering the last year of his rookie deal, with the injury concerns still looming.
The team did just that, moving up to #6 overall to select Morris Claiborne. Brandon Carr was also signed from the Kansas City Chiefs that off season. Jenkins had been a big part of the Cowboys defense over the previous seasons, but the Cowboys commitment to bring in reinforcements at his position caused him to skip out on off season activities.
While he was rehabbing another injury, Jenkins was also unhappy with his situation in Dallas, and started just 3 games in 2012 - his final season with the team. Carr and Claiborne took over as starters, with Orlando Scandrick still in place, and those three defenders still make up the Cowboys core of corners entering 2016.
Jenkins, meanwhile, started 5 games for Tampa Bay in 2015. It was his second year with the team, after he spent 2013 with the Oakland Raiders.
The following players have also been selected with the 25th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys:
Tody Smith, 1971, DE
Smith spent just two short seasons as a Cowboy, but won Super Bowl VI with the team over the Dolphins.
Rod Hill, 1982, DB
Hill did a little bit of everything, both good and bad, for the Cowboys in his two years with the team. When on the field, he found a home mostly at the nickel corner position - but also was a key special teams player and kick returner.
Billy Cannon, 1984, LB
Cannon was forced to retire just 8 games into his rookie season after a scary injury suffered against the New Orleans Saints that caused serious damage to two vertebrae in his neck.
Tomorrow on Cowboys on the Clock: 2010 first round pick Dez Bryant
Until then, be sure to get caught up with the entire series right here on Inside the Star, and share your thoughts about Cowboys on the Clock with a comment below or email to email@example.com!
Report: Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch Visiting Cowboys
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.
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.
2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott
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.
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.
Cowboys Draft: PSU WR DaeSean Hamilton Fits Cowboys’ “Type”
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.
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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