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Cowboys Draft: 2nd Round Risks Continue In 2016

The Dallas Cowboys shocked the world tonight. Sitting at 34th overall with players such as Noah Spence, Andrew Billings, and Jonathan Bullard all still on the board, the Cowboys instead drafted Notre Dame Linebacker Jaylon Smith, who comes with more Day 1 questions than answers. Every draft scout seems to have the same sentiment on Smith. If he is healthy, and the nerve in his knee wakes up, he will be a great player in this league. Injuries aside, he very well might have been a top 5 pick in this draft, maybe even to the Cowboys at #4.

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft - Cowboys Draft: 2nd Round Risks Continue In 2016

The Dallas Cowboys shocked the world tonight.

Sitting at 34th overall with players such as Noah Spence, Andrew Billings, and Jonathan Bullard all still on the board, the Cowboys instead drafted Notre Dame Linebacker Jaylon Smith, who comes with more Day 1 questions than answers.

Every draft scout seems to have the same sentiment on Smith. If he is healthy, and the nerve in his knee wakes up, he will be a great player in this league. Injuries aside, he very well might have been a top 5 pick in this draft, maybe even to the Cowboys at #4. Every report says Smith is an absolutely fantastic player and person.

The problem is, the injuries do exist. We don't know if his knee will ever be the same. There have been reports of teams who give Jaylon Smith a 20% chance to ever play football again, and if those odds hold true the Cowboys might have just wasted a great opportunity to add an immediate impact player.

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But, there are also reports that teams believe Smith will be just fine in time. Reports which say he will have a long and illustrious NFL career as a generational type Linebacker. That career just wont start in 2016.

Ed Werder on Twitter

Cowboys source on Jaylon Smith's knee-nerve injury: "He's going to have a 10-year NFL career. We just don't know when it starts.

While this pick shocked Cowboys fans and writers alike, past draft evidence tells us we should've expected something crazy. The Cowboys have shown a tendency to go way off the beaten path during the 2nd round, especially when they target a defensive player.

They love to take risks in the 2nd round.

To be honest, they seem to treat the 2nd round how conventional wisdom tells us teams should treat the 4th or 5th round. Their strategy is simple; find a player who you love, a player with a first round grade who has slipped through the cracks due to some type of risk factor, and then take that very risk. The proof is in the pudding.

This strategy is not new, either. In 2010 the Cowboys took a giant risk on Linebacker Sean Lee, who fell into the 2nd round due to an ACL tear. Lee was reportedly a top 15 player on their board, so when they had the chance to draft him with the 55th overall selection, they jumped on it. Overall, the Lee selection has paid off, but injuries have plagued his entire career so far.

In 2011 they took a similar risk on Linebacker Bruce Carter. Carter had slipped into the 2nd round due to a torn ACL as well, but the Cowboys believed that he was a first round talent. So, they took him. They evaluated the risk and they took the risk even though there were several questions about his health.

Sensing a trend? You should be. But there's even more.

2012 featured a different type of risk with their 2nd round selection, as they decided to trade it away for a chance to move up for Morris Claiborne. If you're keeping track at home, that makes the Cowboys 1-for-3 on these 2nd round risks.

In 2014, the Cowboys traded up from 47th to 34th overall to select DeMarcus Lawrence. Once again, they thought Lawrence was a first round talent, so they took the necessary risk to make him a Cowboy.

The risks moved from injuries to substance abuse during the next draft, where the Cowboys decided to take another risk. This time on Randy Gregory, another player with a ton of talent, who Dallas risked a 2nd rounder on. Unfortunately, Gregory's risk hasn't exactly paid off for the team yet. There is still time for Gregory to turn things around, however.

The Cowboys seem to view the 2nd round much differently than everyone else does. They find players with exceptional talent, and make the moves to bring them to Dallas - even if it means taking some big risks on injuries or drug suspensions.

Jaylon Smith has a chance to be a special player for the Cowboys. The odds are he is not going to play a snap of football in 2016, but he will have that ability to sort of redshirt in Dallas. Rolando McClain is on a one year deal, and if Smith can get right by then, that might be all Rolando gets in Dallas. Or, the Cowboys can bring Smith along gradually with a leader like Sean Lee paving the way.

Selecting Jaylon Smith at this point is the ultimate boom or bust pick, but the Cowboys seem to believe the risk is worth the reward. History seems to tell us the Cowboys 2nd round risks haven't worked out for the best, but Jaylon Smith is a much more special player than almost any of those other players who were selected.

It is impossible to say anything with Smith's health is for sure at this point, but the Cowboys once again shocked the world during the 2nd round.


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.

NFL Draft

Difference-Making Prospects Linked to Cowboys in Latest Mock Drafts

Sean Martin

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Difference-Making Prospects Linked to Cowboys in Latest Mock Drafts 1

The next time we take a look at these mock drafts to see who various members of the media have landing with the Cowboys, it will be on the week of the NFL Scouting Combine. This 2018 Draft process is charging towards Dallas, and with it we have some new prospects to add to the radar this week.

After introducing you to two secondary players last week, along with a consensus top-10 player in Georgia's Roquan Smith, here is the latest crop of college talent to be mocked to America's Team.

Difference-Making Prospects Linked to Cowboys in Latest Mock Drafts

CBS Sports: Calvin Ridley, WR - Alabama

This mock draft comes to us from Chris Trapasso, with the most complete receiver in the draft falling to the Cowboys.

"The Cowboys are thrilled with Ridley still being available. While he's not the biggest wideout and has a skinny frame, he's a dynamic route runner and has the deep speed Dallas has to inject into its offense."

Analysis:

Calvin Ridley may be the one WR in this draft too good for me to pass up on in the first round. As I've studied deeper into this class, the amount of talent available in the later rounds looks much more attractive for a Cowboys team that remains set on at least two starting receivers.

Should this WR depth deter the first 18 teams in the draft order from taking Alabama's Calvin Ridley though, this is a trigger that has to be pulled in Dallas.

Rotoworld: Maurice Hurst, DT - Michigan

Josh Norris' mock draft produces a familiar outcome for the Cowboys, but the talent he passes up on to mock Hurst to this team is certainly interesting.

"I know Vita Vea is on the board, but in Hurst the team is getting more of an upfield, disruptive lineman. He has special moments off the snap, creating instant penetration and totally destroying the offense’s plan."

Analysis:

Yawn. It feels inevitable that at least one mock draft each week will have the Cowboys doubling up on Michigan defensive linemen in the first round - upgrading the 3T position with Hurst. While I'm not dismissing Hurst's talent in any way, I don't see a consistent enough player (nor enough of a difference maker) to warrant the 19th overall pick.

Should the Cowboys lose RFA David Irving, there is no doubt they'll be in need of a disruptive defensive tackle. As the roster stands now though, the Cowboys' bigger need is at the 1T position - which Norris ignores despite the best player at that position (Vea) being available.

Bleacher Report: Tremaine Edmunds, LB - Virginia Tech

Like Chris Trapasso's mock, Mike Tanier's latest draft projection has another top player sliding the Cowboys' way.

"Tremaine Edmunds has been a tricky player to slot in this mock draft. He has limitless upside, but at a position (off-the-ball linebacker) that few teams prioritize in the first round anymore. He should be a Bobby Wagner/Luke Keuchly-caliber contributor by 2019, but whoever drafts him will experience some growing pains as the not-yet-20-year-old Edmunds learns not to get sucked into play action or get caught flat-footed in coverage."

Analysis:

An argument could be made for Tremaine Edmunds as the best LB in this draft. At the very least, he is in elite company atop the board with Roquan Smith. Both prospects play the WILL position, which Tanier correctly points out as one that is devalued currently.

This shouldn't stop Smith from having his name called early in the 2018 Draft, and I have my doubts about it doing the same for Edmunds. A freak athlete out of Virginia Tech, Edmunds will be just 19 years old at the time of April's draft.

This bodes exceptionally well for the Cowboys, who are of course preparing to start Sean Lee at WILL once again. Drafting Edmunds may go against this team's philosophy of drafting immediate starters, along with first round linebackers.

With all that said, Tremaine Edmunds is not a player I could pass up on with the 19th overall pick.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The NFL Scouting Combine will give teams and draft analysts a much better evaluation of where all of these prospects truly belong. Through three weeks of doing this series, I can't say that any player mocked to the Cowboys has been a reach.

Instead, the likes of Smith, Edmunds, and Ridley could soon disappear entirely from the majority of Cowboys mock drafts moving forward. The bigger picture of who actually will be available to Dallas, and who they're targeting in the first round, is slowly coming into focus.

Tell us what you think about "Difference-Making Prospects Linked to Cowboys in Latest Mock Drafts" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: 3 LBs To Pay Attention To

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft: 3 LBs To Pay Attention To

The Dallas Cowboys enter the 2018 NFL offseason with clear needs to fill at linebacker. Starting MIKE backer Anthony Hitchens will enter free agency, starting WILL Sean Lee has been riddled with injuries, and the now third-year Jaylon Smith is still somewhat of a question mark.

Considering all of the doubts surrounding the Cowboys linebackers, it would be wise to target one during the 2018 NFL Draft. Of course, Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have become fan favorites over the last few months.

Both of these guys are clearly first round players, however, and may both be gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock. Dallas will probably need to find their linebacker starting on day two, so I have compiled a short list of some potential targets.

Josey Jewell, Iowa

2018 NFL Draft: Scouting Iowa LB Josey Jewell - Slant Sports

With each NFL Draft cycle, scouts everywhere can typically feel good about their evaluations of Iowa Hawkeyes players. The BIG 10 school is known for producing solid, pro-ready talent that NFL teams absolutely need to fill out a roster. Enter Iowa Linebacker Josey Jewell, a three-year starter and captain on this Hawkeyes defense.

Iowa Hawkeye's linebacker Josey Jewell has been gaining traction within the draft community as of late. The three-year starter and collegiate captain has been discussed as one of the more pro-ready and consistent linebackers in this draft class.

Jewell earned a third round grade on my draft board, and fellow Inside The Star writer Sean Martin saw him in a similar light. Jewell possesses impressive instincts, plays with textbook technique, and is a solid run defender/tackler in the box.

His main weakness, however, is his athletic ability. He doesn't move laterally as well as someone like current Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith did in college. Jewell is a player with a solid floor, but not a very high ceiling. Drafting him would give the Cowboys another good piece on their defense, and a starting SAM backer.

Sean Martin believes he can play at either WILL or MIKE, and we both view him as a potential target for the Cowboys 81st overall.

Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

Jonah Tuls on Twitter

Vander Esch reads it and attacks at 100 mph. Put this guy on my football team. https://t.co/RaTvP9sO7u

Boise State's Vander Esch is a linebacker garnering a lot of hype throughout Draft Twitter. At 6'4" and 240 pounds, Vander Esch certainly looks the part of an NFL linebacker. His athleticism and ability to move laterally leaves much to be desired, however.

Vander Esch totaled 141 tackles and 3 interceptions during the 2017 season, breaking onto the scene as a Junior. Vander Esch is a three down linebacker who has been labeled a leader and hard worker by his Boise State teammates and coaches, making him an excellent "RKG" candidate for Jason Garrett. He is an instinctual player who reads, reacts, and attacks on a routine basis against the run. He is also consistently impressive in coverage, something the Cowboys could use from their linebackers.

Despite his positives, which there are many, I just can't convince myself to draft Vander Esch as early as he's being talked about. I believe he can be a solid professional linebacker, and fit in as an off ball WILL, but if I were running the Cowboys I wouldn't make that pick until the third round.

And the way things look, Vander Esch will be long gone by the 81st overall pick. Maybe Dallas will see things differently, and make the move in round two.

Rashaan Evans, Alabama

nfldraft2018 rashaan evans - Streamable

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

My favorite of these three linebackers, Alabama's Rashaan Evans is an off ball/edge hybrid who was all over the field for Alabama.

At 'Bama, Evans had six sacks and 10 quarterback hits, ranking 16th in pass rushing productivity (Pro Football Focus) among all qualifying draft-eligible inside linebackers. Still, I believe his best plays came from when lined up as a traditional off ball linebacker.

In Dallas, Evans could be used as a WILL backer who also rushes as a defensive end in passing situations. The 6'3" 234 pound linebacker is exactly the type of player that NFL defenses are moving towards, and he would be a welcomed addition to this young Cowboys defense.

I believe Rashaan Evans is a top-30 type of player, making it tough to envision being able to draft him 50th overall. If completely wiped out, Evans could be a candidate at 19, though I wouldn't hold my breath. Evans is ILB3 on my draft board, and earned the highest grade of these three linebackers.


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NFL Draft

Could This Draft Sleeper be Dez Bryant’s Successor?

Brian Martin

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Could This Draft Sleeper be Cowboys Next WR1?
Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports

One of my favorite parts of the NFL offseason is jumping into the draft process and studying the next group of incoming rookies. I don't pretend to be a professional scout, but I do trust my own analysis for the most part. I find myself right about these prospects more times than not, but no one is perfect.

When scouting these prospects, I am particularly looking at players that fit in with what the Dallas Cowboys like whether it is based on scheme or preference. I try not to waste my time with the ones who I don't believe fit into those categories.

Today, I want to share with you a wide receiver I happened to stumble upon who isn't getting talked about enough, but probably should. He is still flying under the radar, but I think that could change here in a few weeks when the NFL Combine gets underway.

We all know the Dallas Cowboys would probably like to add another receiver at some point in the draft, but when and where is debatable. I think it's unlikely they take one on Day 1, and possibly not even Day 2. It will likely depend on how things fall, but Day 3 could still have quite a few good options available.

I've started to study these Day 3 prospects, and I think I've found a diamond in the rough. I'm actually surprised he hasn't been talked about, but that could be good news for the Cowboys.

Let me be the first to introduce you to former Southern Mississippi Golden Eagle, Korey Robertson.

WR Korey Robertson, Southern Miss

Korey Robertson

Southern Miss WR Korey Robertson

I don't know about you, but I don't think of ever watched Southern Mississippi play a single collegiate game. They're not a big powerhouse school and don't produce a lot of high-end draft picks, but we've seen small school players make a name for themselves in the NFL before.

As you can imagine, I wasn't expecting much when I started to watch Korey Robertson's game film, but I was pleasantly surprised. I think he has the potential to be a WR1 in the NFL and he reminds me a lot of the Dallas Cowboys own, Dez Bryant.

Robertson was a surprise early entry into the 2018 NFL draft class. He had remaining eligibility left and could have possibly improved his draft stock by returning to Southern Miss, but that's neither here nor there now.

Robertson certainly looks the part of a WR1 in the NFL. He is 6'2", 210 pounds and plays with amazing physicality. I think he could be the best WR in this draft class at attacking the ball in the air and winning those 50/50 jump balls. This is where he reminds me of Dez Bryant the most.

But don't take my word for it, take a look at his highlights and judge for yourself.

Korey Robertson || "NFL Draft Sleeper" ᴴᴰ || Official Southern Miss Highlights

Welcome to Harris Highlights! The #1 Highlight Channel on YouTube (↓↓ click show more ↓↓) Snapchat: @BlakeHHarris Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BlakeHHarris Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/BlakeHHarris Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HarrisHighlights More Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDVRxx3GLCPpNf_geQS8cn0qPIxW9GVBo Videos of me talking football: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDVRxx3GLCPqKJ_pKvK9WBSmtr3jiA7CY Games to Remember: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDVRxx3GLCPqDlPuKw5XUCo1giKkCs024 Check out my Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDVRxx3GLCPrvMs59SM0ITkhCU0R5HmKm ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ Welcome to Harris Highlights, the #1 subscribed and most viewed College Football highlight channel on YouTube!

I really like what I seen of Korey Robertson. I think he really makes an intriguing wide receiver prospect for the Dallas Cowboys. I personally think he has WR1 potential.

He registered 76 catches for 1,106 yards and 12 touchdowns this last season, so the production is there, but he's far from a finished prospect.

Robinson still needs to fine-tune his route running, but it's not terrible. He shows good speed on film and is expected to run in the 4.4 range at the combine. That would definitely boost his draft stock.

I think he checks just about all of the boxes. He has the size, speed, catches the ball easily (with his hands), and plays with the physicality that will immediately make him a fan favorite.

I currently have a third-round grade on him, but I'm probably higher on him with others. I think he will be a Day 3 draft pick, which means the Dallas Cowboys could use one of their compensatory picks to select this talented wide receiver.

What do you think of Korey Robertson as a potential Cowboys WR?


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